The earliest Lithuanian and Latvian editorial efforts intended to show that behind the scarcity of mature literary works there existed an older medieval, orally transmitted cultural tradition. Its rediscovery was mostly assigned to folklore publications which were remarkable for their philological quality. The professional collection of folklore was likewise more advanced than that of ancient manuscripts. The character of the first annotated folklore editions was determined by the fact that they were addressed not only to local readers, but also to foreign linguists, whose interest in the Baltic languages required an exact rendering of textual features. The modern national literature drew its pedigree from folk culture and folklore publications, sidelining the heritage of written (religious and didactic) literary sources.