Endangered Archives

Welcome to the Endangered Archives Programme

Unless action is taken now, much of mankind’s documentary heritage may vanish - discarded as no longer of relevance or left to deteriorate beyond recovery. This website explains what the Endangered Archives Programme is, and how it can help.

Learn about the threat to archives.
Find out more about the scope of the Programme.
Search the Endangered Archives Programme's projects.
Browse the Programme's digital collections.

Grants may be awarded to individual researchers to identify collections that can be preserved for fruitful use. The original archives and the master digital copies will be transferred to a safe archival home in their country of origin, while copies will be deposited at the British Library for use by scholars worldwide.

The Endangered Archives Programme is generously sponsored by Arcadia.

What's New

  • If your archive is acutely threatened by a natural or man-made disaster and needs immediate action to safeguard it, the Prince Claus Fund, through its Cultural Emergency Response (CER) programme, and the Whiting Foundation together offer small grants for first aid measures to protect documentary heritage under direct threat. Your documentary heritage does not necessarily have to date back to the pre-industrial period, but it needs to have clear significance to an identified group of people. Proposals are currently accepted on a rolling basis until 31 December 2017.
    For more information and further criteria please visit their website
  • Three additional EAP collections have now been made available to listen to on BL Sounds. Over 7000 Endangered Micronesian recordings are now online, charting the evolution of music in the region, with recordings ranging from religious chants and choirs to modern rock and reggae songs. We've also put two new South Asian record label collections online: 1404 recordings from the Odeon record label; and 1427 recordings from the Young India record label.
  • The first sound recordings from EAP are now available online for free listening! Listen to nearly 8,000 recordings of the Syliphone record label archive in Guinea, or 1,296 recordings of the Golha radio programmes from Iran (‘Flowers of Persian Song and Music’), recorded between 1956 and 1979.
  • In celebration of EAP's 10th anniversary, we are very pleased to announce the publication of the volume ‘From Dust to Digital’, showcasing the historical importance and research potential of EAP digitised collections. Read about the publication in our blog, or read the publication itself: available as free online, free downloadable chapter pdfs, or purchase.
  • 5 million images now online! The latest digital collections include archival documents from Belém do Pará, Brazil and from Tamale, Ghana, and murals on temple walls and ceilings in Tamil Nadu, India. Follow our blog to find out more.
  • Read about the latest projects to be funded in 2015, including political archives in Madagascar; Buddhist manuscripts in Buryatia, Siberia; ecclesiastical documents in Cuba; manuscripts from Nepal; archival documents on the Caribbean island of Nevis; and the archive of the Monastery of Dominican nuns of Santa Rosa, Santiago, Chile.
  • EAP is very grateful to the estate of the late Melvin Seiden, whose generous donation has made it possible to award a small number of grants to preserve exceptionally vulnerable and significant material in fields of interest to the donor. For 2015, EAP is pleased to announce the Melvin Seiden Award to Dr Shanker Thapa of Tribhuvan University, to preserve collections of endangered medieval manuscripts in Nepal, in light of the increased nature of the manuscripts’ endangerment following the tragic circumstances of the 2015 earthquake and the loss of much of Nepal’s cultural heritage. For 2014, the Award was given to Professor Michael Gervers of the University of Toronto Scarborough, to preserve outstanding collections of medieval manuscripts in Ethiopia.
  • Read about the EAP project digitising manuscripts in Timbuktu’s twin city of Djenné in Mali. Listen to the discussion broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Night Waves about the libraries in Timbuktu and a broader discussion about book culture and literacy in Africa, including the work of EAP.
  • Read the article published in the journal 'Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa', authored by the grantholders of project EAP265 on the ‘Tifinagh’ rock inscriptions of the Tadrart Acacus mountains, in SW Libya.
  • Read about some of the issues encountered and overcome during an EAP project to digitise materials held at the Fundamental Scientific Library, Armenia.
  • Watch a video from the Buddhist archive of photography in Luang Prabang, Laos.
  • Listen to a report on Dr Tuchscherer's Bamum project in Cameroon, broadcast on the BBC World Service radio programme 'The Strand'.
  • Read about EAP in the news:
    The New York Times
    Simon Fraser University