45n3_Fall17_9_smith

Government Information and Linguistic Minorities: A Case Study of Forest Finns in Varmland, Sweden, and Hedmark, Norway

This paper examines government, library, and archival resources available in a national minority language in two provinces that border each other in Sweden and Norway. Finn’s Forest (Finnskogen), a forested area within the borders of Varmland, Sweden and Hedmark, Norway, was populated through immigration in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by an ethnic and linguistic Finnish minority (figure 1). The Forest Finns (Skogfinner) minority population became the target of centuries-long forced linguistic and cultural assimilation practices by the Swedish and Norwegian governments.

In the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, harsh “Swedification” and “Norwegianization” policies directed at the Forest Finn minority banned use of the Finnish language and authorized destruction of homes and imprisonment of individuals who read books written in Finnish.1 Members of other minority and indigenous groups in the two countries were subjected to forced sterilization, inclusion in secret police registries, organized chases with plans for extermination, incarceration, and genocide.2 The last known native speakers of Forest Finnish died in the 1960s.3 At the same time, a cultural revitalization movement began among Forest Finn descendants, primarily in Scandinavia. This movement has resulted in an annual cultural festival in Norway known as “Forest Finn Days” with a temporarily self-proclaimed autonomous republic that rejects Norwegian rule for the duration of the festival and seeks to preserve the linguistic, ethnic and cultural heritage for the minority’s now assimilated descendants through a “Republic Finnskogen.”4

Today, Forest Finns are one of five officially recognized ethnic/linguistic minorities in Norway and Sweden.5 The two countries began to offer national minority status to Forest Finns and other historically persecuted minorities only in the 1990s, following adoption of the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.6

There are private initiatives that seek to provide education about the Forest Finns.7 This paper focuses on government, library, and archival access in Norway and Sweden in light of historic state-sponsored persecution of the Forest Finn linguistic minority. First, how are Swedish and Norwegian national and local governments serving modern Forest Finn descendants who reside in Sweden and Norway (and by extension, the global diaspora of these descendants) as relates to the option for Finnish-language service in daily government interaction? What services are accessible in the Finnish language (such as voting; registering marriages, divorces, and births; registering children for education; obtaining government benefits and tax information, etc.)? Second, how do archives and libraries that hold government and cultural heritage materials related to Forest Finns make those documents available—are archival holdings related to Finnish and Forest Finns searchable in languages other than the dominant cultural language (i.e., Swedish and Norwegian)? The first questions may be assumed to indicate the level of service available to current citizens while the last addresses long-term cultural preservation of a national minority linguistic heritage. Finally, the ready accessibility of English translation services at Norwegian and Swedish institutions highlights what is a comparative lack of e-government services in the national minority languages (and Finnish in particular), which symbolizes ongoing issues with the rectification of historical persecution.

Literature Review

E-government and Website Usage

In a 2016 article, “Where do the Nordic Nations’ Strategies Take e-Government?,” Shaji Joseph and Anders Aydic compared the e-government strategies of four Nordic nations: Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark.8 Because these nations have been leaders in the implementation of e-government, the article compares the focus of e-government strategies in the four countries through tables showing categories of service reforms, development practices, and laws. An appendix shows each country’s classification of e-government documents by category. The article concludes that Nordic e-government is primarily focused on public sector reform.

In an article on e-government service and website quality in 2012, researchers found that the ease of use of websites has a strong correlation with whether those websites are actually used: “effort expectancy has a strong effect on use intention.”9 Websites where the same information in the dominant language is available in translation require less effort of minority language speakers to access. Multilingual website design also increases trust. In 2009, Roy Segovia and colleagues found that websites with paralingual design in areas with a high percentage of bilingual users increased the trust that minority speakers experienced with both the information and website.10 Countries with multilingual populations and high internet usage are increasingly aware of the need for translation options for government websites.11 This need is perhaps even more acute at a local level, given that local government websites may be the first place that residents seek information during an emergency.12

Multilingual websites have grown exponentially in the past 15 years since a 2002 global e-government survey found that 43 percent of websites surveyed were multilingual, with features that allow access to non-native speakers.13 At the time of the 2002 survey, Norway and Sweden were ranked within the top quarter of 198 countries surveyed in terms of quality of e-government. Notably for that time, 91 percent Sweden’s websites surveyed had foreign language translation features while none of Norway’s did. Meanwhile Finland, a neighbor of both countries, had a rate of 100 percent.14

National and Linguistic Minorities

National minorities in Sweden and Norway are the subject of a growing body of scholarly work. In a study of national minority languages in Sweden, Lena Ekberg noted that Sweden is a signatory to the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages and recognizes five official languages.15 Of these, Finnish is the second largest language in use, with about 250,000 speakers. As of 2000, three of the five national languages are in use in the judiciary and in administrative districts which are inhabited by traditional speakers of the language. As of 2010, however, a new law notes that residents can use the three languages outside of regional areas to communicate regarding government services if there are skilled staff available in that language. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ekberg noted that the number of Finnish speakers is decreasing in Sweden, as is bilingual education in Finnish. She also highlighted negative societal attitudes towards non-Swedish language usage.

In 2009, Kaisa Maliniemi described work by the National Minorities in Public Records in Norway project.16 This project found that hundreds of documents written in non-Norwegian languages (Kven and Sami) from the late-nineteenth century were stored in public archives but had not been labeled or catalogued in any way. As Maliniemi notes, “minorities and marginalized groups frequently are unaware that public archives contain relevant records to them, even in their own languages.” Both the Kven and Sami are two of Norway’s largest ethnic minorities and were subject to mandatory state-directed assimilation practices. In 1999, Norway ratified the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, which aims to protect and give minorities the right to preserve and develop the language, culture, and religion of their populations.17 Although Norway has five protected national minority groups, only the Sami—an indigenous ethnic and linguistic population—currently has its own archives. In 2001, the Norwegian government produced a white paper stating that items related to national minorities should become visible in Norwegian archives, libraries, and museums. However, Maliniemi found both that Norwegian government ministries practiced systematic and durable inequalities regarding materials related to national minorities and that barriers to access at municipal archives, where most of the documents related to minorities are stored, were burdensome and discouraged access, even in areas with sizeable minority populations. Many records related to the Kven and Sami people also disappeared from archives following WWII. Malaniemi concludes that “knowledge of minorities and marginalized groups in the past and present can make them more visible . . . and facilitate their participation in discussions concerning themselves and their interest in a society which has marginalized them for many hundreds of years.”18

Further afield from Scandinavia, Nadia Rubaii-Barrett and Lois Recascino Wise examined American state websites in 2006 for their study, “Language Minorities and the Digital Divide: A Study of State 3E-Government Accessibility.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, the authors found evidence that ethnic minorities prefer websites in their own languages but linguistic minorities “stand as isolated pillars . . . and may be faced with organized opposition in their quest of access to public services” while also being placed at economic disadvantage due to lack of language representation.19 The authors found that American states tended to provide more non-English services when they have a large non-English speaking population and that approximately one half of the variation in states’ non-English language services could be explained by partisan political factors.20 The authors note that the complexity of information that is provided in translation as well as the materials deemed suitable for translation can be influenced by perceptions of language minorities as social dependents rather than economic actors. They conclude by noting that this bias can put public agencies and officials in the undesirable position of “violating essential civil rights.”21

Discrimination against use of Finnish was nationwide within Sweden. A 2010 article on minorities and minority rights in Sweden revealed that until the twentieth century, government supported libraries in the Tornedal region of Sweden, where the population primarily spoke Finnish, were not permitted to provide literature in Finnish.22 More recently, in 2009 the country passed a Swedish Language Law which notes a special obligation of Swedes to use and develop Swedish.23 In the same year, Sweden’s act on National Minorities was passed with the intention of promoting opportunities to preserve and develop minority culture in Sweden.24

Finally, a 2011 study by Joacim Hansson found that public libraries in Sweden have limited services for national minority groups. Hansson concluded that there was “no interest at all in Sweden’s public libraries to prioritize the national minorities when planning and carrying through cultural activities” and further, that “when it comes to . . . introducing, presenting and discussing (national minorities) . . . as parts of the Swedish self-image and Swedish cultural heritage . . . this is being done practically nowhere.”25

E-Government: Comparison of National and Local Services

Background

Sweden is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with twenty-one counties. The executive branch is led by a prime minister and the judicial branch has a tiered system with a supreme court at the highest level. The legislative branch consists of the unicameral Riksdag, a 349-seat legislature formed through proportional representation by direct vote. Ninety percent of the population were estimated to use the internet in 2015.26

Norway, which was formerly a part of Denmark and then Sweden, achieved political independence in 1905. The country is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with nineteen administrative districts (fylker). The executive branch is led by a prime minister and the judicial branch is a tiered system with a nineteen-member supreme court appointed by the monarch. The legislature is a unicameral parliament, the Storting, with 169 members elected through proportional representation by direct vote. As of 2015, 97 percent of the population is estimated to use the internet.27

Norway and Sweden border each other; they also each share a border with Finland. Norwegian and Swedish are Germanic languages, like Danish and English. While different, they share enough similarities in vocabulary and structure to be mutually intelligible. In both Norway and Sweden, Finnish is spoken by a small percentage of the population. Finnish is not a Germanic language but belongs to the Uralic language family, which includes languages like Estonian and Hungarian.

Both Sweden and Norway have a large percentage of their populations who speak English as a second language.28 They are also countries that have a history of heavy outbound migration to the United States and a large ethnic diaspora in proportion to their total current populations.29 Government information in Norway and Sweden is both accessible by and accountable to the global community since English is an official language of the United Nations and understood by hundreds of millions of people globally. Many government websites at both the local and national levels have a robust English language option. The high level of English-language services in Sweden and Norway both for government and private functions should not be understated.

Evaluation of Services

In Sweden and Norway, where the vast majority of the population uses the internet, web presence for this study is considered to proxy for actual bricks and mortar institutions and is viewed in many ways as a more essential service, given that the two countries were both early adopters of e-government and e-government services can be more efficient for the public to use.30 Both Norway and Sweden enable a high degree of e-government for their residents. This study examines the websites of national and regional governments, archives, and libraries to determine the extent to which e-government related services are available in Finnish, a minority language in each country.

An evaluation of Finnish availability at the main national government websites for each country was made for legislative, executive, and judicial branch entities (tables 1 and 2). To compare national services with regional services in traditional Forest Finn settlement areas, municipal websites were then selected representing the administrative regions of Hedmark, Norway, and Varmland, Sweden, and were similarly evaluated for services in Finnish (tables 3 and 4).31

When a Finnish language translation option was available on a website, that option was selected and the site was evaluated via clickthroughs to see if the information presented on pages in the majority language was presented similarly in Finnish. For this paper, translation parity between the dominant language (Swedish in Varmland and Sweden; Norwegian in Hedmark and Norway) and Finnish was judged to exist when a website presented an embedded language option which, when selected, offered the same webpage layout, information, links, and other data as offered in the dominant language or in English. Translation parity was deemed to positively exist if a user could access the website, select a Finnish language option, and then navigate through the site in a similar manner as available in English. Translation parity was deemed mixed when some information on a website was available in Finnish but other aspects of the website design or information were included only in the dominant language or English (for example, menu headers and navigational links). Parity was also judged to be mixed if some static information was available in Finnish or if a link was easily identifiable for a translation option but was not fully embedded (i.e., Google Translate).32 Translation parity was deemed negatively present when no Finnish translation option was available in embedded or linked form on the site.

National-Level Websites

As table 1 shows, while Finnish translation is available for descriptive areas of all websites assessed in Sweden, only the judicial branch offered embedded translation options in Finnish via a Google translate tool. Notably, search functionality was restricted on all sites to Swedish and English language options. However, Swedish websites for the legislative and executive branches as well as the National Library presented descriptive information in a variety of world languages.

Finnish translation was not available for descriptive areas of any of the websites assessed in Norway. The Norwegian legislative, executive, and judicial websites assessed provided embedded translations in English and Sami in addition to Norwegian. However, the National Library and National Archives, which are presumably tasked with preserving cultural heritage materials regarding all citizens, only offered access in English and Norwegian.

Regional-Level Websites

Next, an assessment of language translation at the administrative district level was conducted within two regions of central Scandinavia that were heavily populated by Forest Finns. The Norwegian fylke of Hedmark (figure 2) and the Swedish province of Varmland (figure 3) lie contiguous to each other within the south central area of the Scandinavian peninsula. Hedmark and Varmland function similarly to the state level of government in the United States. Within the boundaries of these provinces is the cultural area known as Finn’s Forest (figure 1).

As tables 3 and 4 show, the regional government, libraries, and archives in Hedmark and Varmland did not serve the Finnish-speaking population better than the national entities. A claim could be made that, as they are provided by institutions located in traditional Finnish linguistic areas where there may be a reasonable expectation of translation availability, these websites were less helpful to Finnish speakers than the national services. Hedmark and Varmland provinces constitute much of the Finnskogen area, yet only the county administration board in Varmland and the provincial libraries in Varmland and Hedmark offered any form of Finnish translation service (the latter two via a Google Translate link). In Hedmark, neither the provincial authority nor the archives had Finnish translation options. This discovery was unexpected as these regional entities are presumed the most likely to have materials of interest and relevance to both their local population—which likely includes descendants of Finnish speakers—as well as a global audience that could include Finnish speakers and descendants who reside outside of the country. These local institutions are also the entities most likely to advocate for preservation of locally relevant Finnish language cultural heritage materials and documents.

Analysis

There are many factors that affect the representation of minority cultures in traditional archival settings, including the fact that minorities do not always choose to participate in producing the type of historical records of interest to genealogists and other researchers. In the United States, the Dawes Commission census rolls of Native Americans are incomplete because many individuals feared that being counted by the government would lead to persecution.33 A history of persecution and stigmatization has also dampened participation by members of the Romani national minority with an educational initiative aimed at better educating Norwegians about Romani culture.34

There are many reasons why cultural heritage materials for national minorities may not be available. Given a history of linguistic and ethnic persecution, these individuals experience less opportunity to own or farm land. This is turn results in fewer government and institutional records available (i.e., absence of land or tax records).35 Poverty can also dampen an individual’s ability to access services that incur a cost, for example registering a marriage or birth.36 Finally, there is the dilemma that at even a most basic level, social attitudes among the majority population can discourage preservation of materials related to minorities, which leads to an absence of information for future generations. Genocidal practices such as those pursued against Jewish and Romani populations during World War II have led to current efforts to document victims’ names for posterity.37 But descendants of national minority groups who suffered less severe forms of state discrimination and persecution, or were “successfully” assimilated via government policy into a majority population, may find less information available. In the case of the Forest Finns, a surreptitious census was conducted of the population in the 1800s and there were clear efforts to preserve the culture and language of the group.38 The Finnish researcher Carl Axel Gottlund recorded names of Forest Finns in an early 1820s work which has been used to reconstruct family surnames (Sweden and Norway used patronymic naming traditions while the Forest Finns used fixed surnames, which were not recorded in government censuses). The presence of the Gottlund census suggests that other Finnish language and Forest Finn cultural materials may be available.

If fewer resources relating to minority cultural heritage have been collected and preserved, there is an argument that local library and archival institutions have a responsibility to actively discover and make such information available, especially information that extends beyond what may serve the state’s interests (i.e., tourism services) or that was written in the minority language and provides the direct voice of members of the minority group. In an age of e-government, when information is increasingly accessible only via electronic means, governments that legally require their citizens to use electronic means to access services have an obligation to prevent the loss of digital access to newly-created cultural heritage materials and to digitize older materials. One of the measures of how invested a government is in making information available to linguistic minorities can arguably be whether that government provides the same information in the minority language as it does in the dominant language for its primary communications vehicles. As Segovia, Jennex, and Beatty discovered, full parity in website translation can increase the trust that members of a bilingual population feel toward their government, a sentiment that would seem of even greater importance when there has been a history of linguistic persecution. Similarly, one can get a sense of how invested a community is in providing access to government services for linguistic minorities by whether information is available at libraries and archives in the minority language.

As table 1 shows, the website for Sweden’s National Archives presents descriptive information in three languages. While Finnish translation was available for main page navigational areas, material in the digital collections in the National Archives Database is searchable only in Swedish and English. At Sweden’s National Library, catalog search is only available in Swedish and English. At the regional level in Varmland province, the county level administrative website offered full parity for Finnish with Swedish. However, the regional archives offered catalog search only in Swedish; the regional library offered a mixed level of parity due to a Google translate link option.

Finnish translation was not available for descriptive areas of any of the Norwegian websites assessed for this project. The Norwegian National Library and National Archives, which are presumably tasked with preserving cultural heritage materials regarding all citizens, only offered access in English, Sami, and Norwegian. At the regional administrative level in Hedmark, no parity for Finnish was found. Similarly, no parity was found at the regional archival level (the regional archives in Norway are administered via the National Archives and therefore the regional website is linked to the national site, which does not offer Finnish translation). At the regional library level, as for neighboring Varmland, Hedmark achieved only a mixed rating due to the presence of a Google Translate tool.

Conclusion

While Sweden and Norway are both signatories to Council of Europe and UN recommendations on national minority languages, in practice their level of commitment to providing digital information in those languages at a national level seems minimal at best. At the regional level, where the bulk of materials and users are presumably concentrated, this commitment is also lacking. For two countries that are noted leaders in e-governance initiatives, these results suggest that there is further work to be done to ensure adequate access of government services and information to national language minorities. Such efforts are even more pressing considering that in 2015 it was revealed that more research has been conducted on recent immigrants to Norway than on national minorities.39

The lack of Finnish-language translation at libraries and archives at both the national and regional level should be of concern. As information is increasingly born digital, there is the possibility that governments create a monopoly on available information regarding national minorities. As James A. Jacobs wrote in a study of born digital information in the United States, “when the underlying information resource is not available for preservation outside the government, preservation of the resource is also left to the whims of government and to the subjective determination of government alone of what is worth preserving.”40 In addition, libraries have a special duty of care because “it is a strength of libraries to be able to select information for their designated user communities and build collections that fit the needs of these communities. If libraries rely only on issuing agencies to preserve their own information, they will be relinquishing to those agencies the decision as to what is worth preserving.”41 In particular, the lack of Finnish language translation options at the Norwegian national library suggests that there is an expectation that Finnish speakers are not using the library, which raises concerns about the extent, representativeness, and comprehensiveness of Finnish language material in the collection itself.

The Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities is intended to allow for linguistic freedom, promote conditions regarding preservation of culture, religion, language and traditions, and prohibit forced assimilation.42 As countries that have been paving the way in e-government, Sweden and Norway serve as examples for other governments around the world. If the availability of minority language translation services in national and regional government, library, and archival websites in these two countries is an accurate indicator of the availability of minority language materials and inclusive e-government outreach to members of national language minorities, it would seem both have more work to do and there is cause for concern elsewhere in the world.

Acknowledgments

The author thanks Shari Laster of the University of California at Santa Barbara for reviewing the manuscript and suggesting valuable improvements. The author also thanks Nathaniel Lee and Michael Hawkins of the Kent State University Map Library for their assistance in creating the maps included in this work.

Deborah Smith (dsmit181@kent.edu), MLIS student at Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science. She has a bachelors in cultural anthropology from Oberlin College and an masters in performance studies from New York University.

References and Notes

  1. “Forest Finns,” Wikipedia, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_Finns; Birger Winsa, “Language Planning in Sweden,” Language Planning and Policy in Europe, vol. 1, edited by Robert B. Kaplan and Richard B. Baldauf (Clevedon; Buffalo, NY; Toronto: Multilingual Matters, 2005), 279.
  2. Nils Muiznieks, “Time to Cure Amnesia About the History of Roma in Europe,” Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, July 30, 2015, http://www.coe.int/en/web/commissioner/-/time-to-cure-amnesia-about-the-history-of-roma-in-europe; “Compensation to Romani/Taters Subjected to Coercive Sterilization,” report of working group to the Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, August 2003, https://www.regjeringen.no/globalassets/upload/fad/vedlegg/sami/nasjmin/rapport_tvangsster_romani_en.pdf; Josefina Lundgren Skerk, “Speech by Josefina Lundgren Skerk” (speech, United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Fourteenth Session, New York, April 20–May 1, 2015), https://www.sametinget.se/88495; Rakel Chukri, “Sweden’s Shameful Secret,” VoxEurop, September 27, 2013, http://www.voxeurop.eu/en/content/article/4182451-sweden-s-shameful-secret; Ragnhild Schluter, “Travellers—a forgotten Norwegian minority,” European Journal of Intercultural Studies 3, no. 2–3 (1993): 45.
  3. “Forest Finns.”
  4. Stein Mathisen, “Festivalising Heritage in the Borderlands: Constituting Ethnic Histories and Heritages under the Rule of the Finn Forest Republic,” Journal of Ethnology and Folklore 3, no. 2 (2009): 13–31; Torun Selburg, “Festivals as Celebrations of Place in Modern Society: Two Examples from Norway,” Folklore 117, no. 3 (2006): 297–312.
  5. See “National Minorities,” Government.no, accessed October 11, 2017, https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/indigenous-peoples-and-minorities/national-minorities/id1404/; and “National Minorities,” Lännsstyrelsen Stockholm, accessed October 11, 2017, http://www.lansstyrelsen.se/Stockholm/En/manniska-och-samhalle/nationella-minoriteter/Pages/default.aspx. In Norway, the five national minority peoples are the Forest Finns, Jews, Kvens, Roma, and Romani/Tater. In addition, Norway recognizes the Sami as indigenous inhabitants but does not classify them as a protected national minority. In Sweden, the five national minority peoples are Jews, Roma, Sami, Tornedalians, and Swedish Finns (which encompass Forest Finns as well as Finnish speakers who live in the north of the country).
  6. United Nations General Assembly (47/135), Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, December 18, 1992, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/Minorities.aspx.
  7. These include the Norsk Skogfinsk Museum (http://www.skogfinskmuseum.no/) as well as academic research on architecture, place and family names, and DNA studies. See Maud Wedin, “Highlights of Research in Scandinavia on Forest Finns,” American Swedish Historical Museam, October 2012, http://www.americanswedish.org/Highlights%20of%20Research%20on%20Forest%20Finns.pdf.
  8. Shaji Joseph and Anders Advic, “Where Do the Nordic Nations’ Strategies take E-government?” Electronic Journal of e-Government 14, no. 1 (June 2016): 3–17, http://www.ejeg.com/volume14/issue1/p3.
  9. Mohammed Alshehri et al., “The Effects of Website Quality on Adoption of E-government Service: An Empirical Study Applying UTAUT Model using SEM” (paper, 23rd Australasian Conference on Information Systems, Geelong, Australia, 2012), 8.
  10. Roy Segovia, Murray Jennex, and James Beatty, “Paralingual Web Design and Trust in E-government,” International Journal of Electronic Government Research 5, no. 1, (January–March 2009): 44–45.
  11. “Government Underscores Importance of Website Usability,” Xinhua Economic News Service, December 1, 2014, http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2014-12/01/content_19005610.htm.
  12. “Local government websites are first line of defense in emergencies,” American City and County, May 18, 2015, http://americancityandcounty.com/products-work/local-government-websites-are-first-line-defense-emergencies.
  13. Darrell M. West, “Global E-government, 2002,” Center for Public Policy, Brown University, September 2002, http://www.insidepolitics.org/egovt02int.pdf, 9.
  14. Ibid., 25–29.
  15. Lena Ekberg, “The National Minority Languages in Sweden—Their Status in Legislation and Practice” (paper, European Federation of National Institutions for Language Conference, Dublin, Ireland, 2009), http://www.efnil.org/documents/conference-publications/dublin-2009/12-Dublin-Ekberg-Mother.pdf/view.
  16. Kaisa Maliniemi, “Public Records and Minorities: Problems and Possibilities for Sami and Kven,” Archival Science 9 (June 2009), 15–27 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10502-009-9104-3.
  17. Council of Europe, “Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities,” ETS 157 (January 2, 1998), University of Minnesota Human Rights Library, http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/euro/ets157.html.
  18. Maliniemi, “Public Records and Minorities,” 26.
  19. Nadia Rubaii-Barrett and Lois Recascino Wise, “Language Minorities and the Digital Divide: A Study of State E-Government Eccessibility,” Journal of Public Management & Social Policy (Fall 2006): 8. Interestingly, the authors note that the state of Delaware’s tourism website includes Swedish translations, a fact they do not explain is likely due to the state’s historical connection with the New Sweden colony. While New Sweden settlers traveled from Sweden, a sizeable percentage were of Finnish descent (Forest Finns). These individuals were an ethnic and linguistic minority in Sweden at the time of their outbound emigration. See Taru Spiegel “The Finns In America,” factsheet, Library of Congress European Reading Room, http://www.loc.gov/rr/european/FinnsAmer/finchro.html.
  20. Rubaii-Barrett and Wise, “Language Minorities and the Digital Divide,” 17.
  21. Ibid., 23.
  22. Dominik Zimmermann, “Better Protection of National Minorities and Minority Languages in Sweden?,” International Law Observer (February 16, 2010), http://www.internationallawobserver.eu/2010/02/16/better-protection-of-national-minorities-and-minority-languages-in-sweden/.
  23. Sveriges Riksdag, Spraklag (2009:600), http://rkrattsbaser.gov.se/sfst?bet=2009:600.
  24. Sveriges Riksdag, Lag om nationella minoriteter och minoritetsspråk (2009:724), http://rkrattsbaser.gov.se/sfst?bet=2009:724.
  25. Joacim Hansson, “Public Libraries and the National Minorities of Sweden—Results of a National Survey,” New Library World 112, no. 9/10 (2011): 411, 413.
  26. Central Intelligence Agency, “The World Factbook. Europe: Sweden,” accessed July 14, 2017, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/print_sw.html.
  27. Central Intelligence Agency, “The World Factbook. Europe: Norway,” accessed July 14, 2017, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/print_no.html.
  28. An estimated 54 percent of the Swedish population speaks English (see http://languageknowledge.eu/countries/sweden); Wikipedia estimates that 90 percent of the Norwegian population speaks English (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_English-speaking_population).
  29. Sweden sent the most emigrants and in the United States. According to the 2000 Federal Census approximately 4 million Americans identified as having Swedish ancestry, a figure almost half the current population of Sweden. An estimated 1 million Norwegians emigrated to America between 1820 and 1920. Norway’s current population is estimated at 5 million, see https://augustana.net/general-information/swenson-center/academic-activities/swedish-american-immigration-history and https://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/immigration/scandinavian3.html.
  30. West, “Global E-government, 2002,” 5.
  31. For a history of Finnish minorities in Sweden and Varmland see Earling Wande, “Two Finnish Minorities in Sweden,” Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 5, no. 3–4 (1984): 225–41; and Jarno Lainio, “The Sociofunctional Position of Finnish in Sweden,” University of Amsterdam, accessed October 11, 2017, http://dpc.uba.uva.nl/cgi/t/text/get-pdf?idno=m1602a05;c=tvs. For more on the geography of Finnskogen, see Ingunn Holm, “The Forest Finns of Norway and Sweden and Their Use and Conception of the Landscape,” Bergen Open Research Archive, accessed October 11, 2017, https://bora.uib.no/bitstream/handle/1956/11322/holm-the-forest-finns-of-norway-and-sweden-and-their-use-and-conception-of-the-landscape.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y.
  32. While easy to use, Google Translate has been criticized as not always offering accurate translations. The Washington Post reported in 2016 that Google has been working to increase accuracy for machine translation but so far this doesn’t include Finnish. Karen Turner, “Google Translate is Getting Really, Really Cccurate,” Washington Post, October 3, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2016/10/03/google-translate-is-getting-really-really-accurate/?utm_term=.d66117cac7d5. A study of the accuracy of Google Translate for work in the sciences has shown mixed results depending on the languages being translated. Ethan M. Balk et al., Accuracy of Data Extraction of Non-English Language Trials with Google Translate (Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2012), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/books/NBK95238/.
  33. “Dawes Commission,” Cherokee Heritage Center, accessed October 11, 2017, http://www.cherokeeheritage.org/cherokeeheritagegenealogy-html/dawes-commission/.
  34. Jana Baudysova, “Parallel Worlds: The Life of Romani People in Norway,” romea.cz, December 29, 2014, http://www.romea.cz/en/news/world/parallel-worlds-the-life-of-romani-people-in-norway.
  35. More information regarding landowner and tenancy traditions in Norway is available via the Sons of Norway Genealogy Unit (https://www.sofn.com/_asset/7kcp99/CS5_finalR.pdf).
  36. In a 1982 master’s thesis, Elizabeth Haavet examined illegitimacy in Norway in the early 1800s as related to the cost of formally registering a marriage. See Elizabeth Haavet, “Avvik Eller Uhell? Ugifte Foreldre Omkring 1800—En Social Analyse” (“Mishap or Misbehaviour? Unmarried Parents Around the Year 1800”) (Bergen, Norway: University of Bergen, 1982).
  37. The Holocaust Memorial Center’s Genealogy and Registers of Names Online (https://www.holocaustcenter.org/TraceSurvivorsorVictims) and other partner organizations seek to collect and document the names of individuals who perished under the Nazi regime.
  38. Gabriel Bladh, Jan Myhrvold, and Niclas Persson, “Skogfinska Slaktnamn i Skandinavien,” Karlstad University, 2009, https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:278627/FULLTEXT01.pdf; Jan Myhrvold and Niclas Persson “C.A. Gottlunds <<Folkmangden pa Finnsskogen>> fra 1823,” 2004, http://docplayer.se/79888-Jan-myhrvold-og-niclas-persson-c-a-gottlunds-folkmangden-pa-finnskogarne-fra-1823.html.
  39. Ingrid P. Nuse, “More Research on Immigrants than National Minorities,” Science Nordic (April 20, 2015), http://sciencenordic.com/more-research-immigrants-national-minorities.
  40. James A. Jacobs, “Born-Digital U.S. Federal Government Information: Preservation and Access” (paper, Leviathan, the Center for Research Libraries Global Resources Collections Forum, 2014), 5, https://www.crl.edu/node/10225.
  41. Ibid., 14.
  42. Council of Europe, “Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.”
Figure 1. Finnskogen Areas: Hamar, Norway, and Karlstad, Sweden

Figure 1. Finnskogen Areas: Hamar, Norway, and Karlstad, Sweden

Figure 2. Hedmark County, Norway

Figure 2. Hedmark County, Norway

Figure 3. Varmland County, Sweden

Figure 3. Varmland County, Sweden

Table 1. Comparison of National-Level Government Websites—Sweden

Government Entity

Website Accessed

Language Translation Available?

Languages Served?

Finnish Available?

Parity of Finnish Translation with Information in Swedish

Legislative branch

http://www.riksdagen.se

Yes

22+ Swedish

Yes

No; document search is only offered in Swedish

Executive branch

http://www.government.se/government-of-sweden/prime-ministers-office/

Yes

16+ Swedish

Yes

No; a 17 page pdf in Finnish outlining how the government works is available. A direct embedded Finnish translation of the pages of the Prime Minister’s office is not available—this information is available in English.

Judicial branch (highest court)

http://www.domstol.se/Funktioner/English/

Yes

4+ Swedish

Yes

Mixed. The site has embedded translation in the national minority languages of Finnish, Sami, and Meankieli as well as a google translate link on the menu bar. However, the top navigational bars remain in Swedish only.

National Archives

https://riksarkivet.se/startpage

Yes

3+ Swedish

Yes

Mixed. Finnish available for main page navigational areas but material in the digital collections in the National Archives Database is searchable only in Swedish and English.

National Library

http://www.kb.se/english/

Yes

13+ Swedish

Yes

No. Catalog search is available in Swedish and English.

Table 2. Comparison of National-Level Government Websites—Norway

Government Entity

Website Accessed

Language Translation Available?

Languages Served?

Finnish Available?

Parity of Finnish Translation with Information in Norwegian

Legislative branch

https://www.stortinget.no/en/In-English/

Yes

3 (English plus Norwegian Bokmal and Norwegian Nynorsk)

No

No. E-brochures describing the parliament are available in multiple languages however e-brochure in Finnish are not available.

Executive branch

https://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/smk/id875/

Yes

2+ Norwegian

No

No. Fully embedded language translation options are Norwegian, Sami, and English.

Judicial branch (highest court)

https://www.domstol.no/en/Enkelt-domstol/-Norges-Hoyesterett/The-Supreme-Court-of-Norway-/

Yes

2+ Norwegian Bokmal and Nynorsk

No

No. Fully embedded language translation options are Norwegian Bokmal, Norwegian Nynorsk, Sami, and English.

National Archives

https://www.arkivverket.no/eng/The-National-Archives

Yes

Norwegian and English

No

No. Notably, information about the Sami Archives linked via the National Archives is available only in Norwegian and English.

National Library

http://www.nb.no/English

Yes

Norwegian and English

No

No. The catalog does have options to return results in four languages: Norwegian Bokmal, Norwegian Nynorsk, Sami, and English.

Table 3. Comparison of Provincial-Level Government Websites in Traditional Finnish-Speaking area of Varmland, Sweden

Government Entity

Website Accessed

Language Translation Available?

Languages Served?

Finnish Available?

Parity of Finnish Translation with Information in Swedish

County Administration Board

http://www.lansstyrelsen.se/varmland/Sv/Pages/default.aspx

Yes

5+ Swedish

Yes

Yes.

Provincial Archives

http://www.regionvarmland.se/varmlandsarkiv/

No

Swedish; English summary page available

No

No. Catalog search in Swedish only.

Provincial Library

http://www.visitvarmland.se/en/do/city-library-28625 and http://karlstad.se/

Yes

English, Bosnian, Arabic, Persian, Kurdish, Somali and Swedish

No

Mixed. Google translate link available with Finnish as an option on navigational bar.

Table 4. Comparison of Provincial-Level Government Websites in Traditional Finnish-Speaking area of Hedmark, Norway

Government Entity

Website Accessed

Language Translation Available?

Languages Served?

Finnish Aavailable?

Parity of Finnish Translation with Information in Norwegian

Municipal Administration

https://www.fylkesmannen.no/en/Hedmark/Municipal-administration/ and 2) https://www.hedmark.org/Om-fylkeskommunen/Nyttig/English

Yes, Yes

3+ Norwegian Bokmal and Norwegian NyNorsk; Norwegian + English

No/No

No; No.

Provincial Archives

http://www.arkivverket.no/eng/The-National-Archives/Hamar

Yes

English + Norwegian

No

No. The regional archive is part of the National Archive website

Provincial Library

https://www.hamar.kommune.no/category2363.html

Yes, via Google translate tool link

Google translate language options + Norwegian

Via Google translate tool only

Mixed. Google translate tool available.

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