Endangered Archives

Endangered Archives Programme: All Projects

Project Ref: EAP001
Project Title: Faces and Places in Iran. Iranian photography at the turn of the 19th century



Iran has a long tradition of photography dating from the 19th century Qajar period. Invaluable visual material was created and throws much light on the pre-modern period in Iran. The rapid modernisation of Iran in the last ten years, the spread of digital technologies at the level of the population, the increasing internal migration from small to big urban centres, the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, not to forget natural disasters are among the many factors that endanger both private collections and public archives of photography.

This pilot project will investigate the potential and the feasibility of a long-term project aimed at safeguarding photographic materials from pre-modern Iran by:

  1. locating photographic material from the 19th and early 20th century in Iran which is archived in precarious conditions or in personal family collections and, where possible, to copy and/or transfer them to safer places;
  2. identifying Iranian museums or institutions that may be interested in archiving and making available to the public this kind of material. In parallel, this pilot investigation will seek to approximate the duration and cost of a project to relocate and/or copy the material.
Project Ref: EAP005
Project Title: Tuvalu National Archives preservation pilot project



Tuvalu consists of nine islands in the southwest Pacific Ocean and achieved independence from Great Britain in 1978. Vital documentation of the cultural and political heritage of Tuvalu is currently held by the National Archives of Tuvalu in an intermittently air-conditioned room. The archives are endangered through risk of being washed away in a cyclone-prone area. There is a regular danger of archives being saturated and damaged by tidal surges, especially during cyclones. Some material such as Births, Deaths and Marriage registers, Lands records, records of its local colonial administration and newspapers are in particularly poor condition through heavy usage of the originals.

This pilot project surveyed the Tuvalu National Archives holdings, assessing the extent of work required to prepare important series for preservation. In addition, further enquiries were made regarding the existence and preservation of manuscripts, genealogies, photographs and other records of Tuvaluan society in private hands.

Project Ref: EAP006
Project Title: First Yap State Constitutional Convention audio tapes conversion project

The Federated States of Micronesia was established in 1986 with four states – Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae. It is a source of pride to Yapese that they are renowned within the region for their cultural conservatism, which is reflected within their constitution.

From August 1885 until 1986 these peoples were subject to colonisation by a succession of nations; the Spanish, Germans, Japanese and after WW2 the US. Even so, the Yapese have clung determinedly to their cultural values and determined that these values were entrenched within their constitution. At the time of the first Yap State Constitutional Convention in 1982 there were perhaps 6 motor vehicles in Yap. People still dressed and lived very much a traditional lifestyle. These tapes are remarkable and irreplaceable evidence of one peoples’ determination and attempts to integrate culture and democracy.

Recorded during the 1982 Constitutional Convention, this collection of 179 audiocassette tapes is unique. No other copies exist. They are a record of the values held and arguments put forward by Yapese as they struggled to shape a constitution that reflected their cultural values, civil liberties and democratic principles.

Established in 1998, Yap State Archives is staffed by an Australian (Cheryl Stanborough) and two trainees – one Yapese and one Satawalese. It contains a small, growing collection but has little in the way of resources or equipment.

Key issues are local climate, storage location and age of tapes. Although stored within and included as a permanent part of the collection of Yap State Archives, humidity, temperature and fluctuating power supply place this collection at risk. Within the past 12 months Yap has experienced three typhoons and a tropical storm. During the most severe, Super Typhoon Sudal (April 9, 2004), storm surge entered the Archive as well as removed sections of the roof, with much damage resulting.

Tapes are in a mix of five languages: Yapese, Woleaian, Ulithian, Satawalese and English. Often one person will speak in one language followed by a speaker of a different language group.

The audio sound will be migrated from cassette tapes to CDs. The local radio station is equipped to do this and can also remove to a certain extent any background noise. The data will then be transferred to a dedicated server, to be backed up daily, and translated and transcribed into English.

Visit the Yap Visitors Bureau for further information on Yap.

Project Ref: EAP008
Project Title: Folk Theatre Tales: Preserving images, sounds and voices of rural Tuscany

This project is based on a previous census of archives of folklore and oral history in Tuscany and its main focus is Folk Theatre. Folk Theatre in Tuscany is a diffused form of ritual theatre, tied to the crop-growing year cycle and the religious calendar. The most documented genres are the “Maggio Drammatico” and the “Maggio Lirico”. Both performances are acted and sung by groups of local people, on the 1st May in the countryside. The two genres are diffused in two different areas; the Drammatico is mainly located in the northern part of Tuscany, while the Lirico is typical of the South.

Most of these genres are not practiced any more, as changes in the socio-economic situation of Tuscany have produced deep cultural transformations. The only traces left to reconstruct the history of these various forms of Folk Theatre are in sound and audiovisual records, photographs and written text that altogether constitute an enormous documentary heritage on the history and development of Folk Theatre in Tuscany.

The aim of this project is to make digital copies of this documentation. All these materials are at risk of deteriorating if they are not copied onto better supports. The documents will be digitized onto CDs and DVDs in order to prevent deterioration.

31 archives have been selected. These have often been created by local people who have documented their involvement in the Folk Theatre with a tape recorder or a video camera. This project is explicitly targeted on these small content-based archives which do not have the necessary funding to preserve their materials.

Project Ref: EAP010
Project Title: Preservation of rare periodical publications in Mongolia



Mongolia underwent significant political and economic changes during the collapse of communism. Along with the positive consequences of the transition to democracy and market economy, rapid political and social transformation processes also had some negative consequences especially for the cultural and documentary heritage; the euphoria of revolution led to neglecting or even intentional eradicating of documents, publications and other materials from socialist times. Political and economic dependence upon the Soviet Union for seven decades and the resulting sudden release from political ties meant that everything related to the Soviet Union and the period of its dominance was subject to denial. In addition, the deep economic crisis in the 1990s determined that cultural issues including the maintenance and development of libraries, publication of books and actions to safeguard the documentary heritage of Mongolia have been out of attention of the government and public for a while. For example, over the last 10 years there has been a 68% decline in book production per inhabitant per year. In 1989 there were a total of 418 public libraries and more than 600 newspaper distribution points in comparison to 181 public libraries and a collapsed distribution system for newspapers in 2001.

During this time the Press Institute of Mongolia has been collecting old newspapers. At present, the Press Institute's collection of historical periodicals consists of 80 titles of newspapers and magazines bound in 193 bands. This collection includes periodical publications from different years (1923 -1996) which are not available elsewhere. There are no any other institutions except the State Library with the responsibility, willingness and/or respective resources to collect periodical publications and make them accessible for research.

The Press Institute's collection of periodicals both before and after socialism is intensively used by students and researchers so that the physical quality of these materials is rapidly deteriorating. In spite of the urgent need to safeguard these materials, lack of funding, expertise and resources prevent the Institute from preserving them from physical deterioration and destruction.

The aim of the project is to safeguard the collection of old periodical publications that is inaccessible elsewhere from the risk of physical deterioration and destruction, to preserve their content and make them more accessible by digitising the material, delivering the copies online to a broader public in Mongolia and abroad and depositing copies to the State Library, the Library of the National University and the British Library.

Visit the project's website here

Project Ref: EAP012
Project Title: Salvage and preservation of dongjing archives in Yunnan, China: transcript, score, ritual and performance



Until a Naxi dongjing orchestra held extraordinarily successful concerts in Beijing and Paris in the 1990s, dongjing had been neglected for near half a century. However, the “rediscovery” of dongjing does not necessarily mean a better understanding and preservation strategy, let alone research. With the development of tourism and modernization in Yunnan recent years, dongjing has faced a more serious situation than before. The present project aims to salvage and preserve dongjing archives in Yunnan, whose transcript, music, ritual, and performance reveal classics, literature, religion, social life and regional culture of pre-modern China, which are not available in any other source.

Dongjing refers to a body of Daoist and Confucian texts, which are accompanied with traditional scores and could be sung and played by an orchestra. The dongjing originated in Central China in the 13th century, and diffused into Southwest China in 15th century. Due to enduring political turmoil and social transitions, presently dongjing does not survive except in Southwest China and northern mainland Southeast Asia. Dongjing is best preserved in Yunnan. Though the majority of the texts are Daoist, it is Confucians, instead of Daoist monks, who dominated the compilation and performance of dongjing.

The dongjing archives in north Yunnan take the following form:

  1. Text transcripts: some are printed by traditional Chinese woodblock method, the majority are manuscripts, owned by temples or individuals.
  2. Music scores: there exist more than 700 melodies in north Yunnan presently but only less then 100 melodies are recorded, the majority is transmitted in an oral literature manner.
  3. Wenchanggong (Temple of Literature God): it is the key site for dongjing performance. All the temples are in terrible situation now due to lack of fund. Except few, most Wenchanggong temples have never been recorded in any archive format.
  4. Rituals: they are closely connected with, but not limited to temples. Rituals were once banned for ideological reason, and recently partly restored, but are reshaped to attract tourists.
  5. Steles: they are open-aired stored at Wenchanggong, in a neglected situation. Very limited rubbings have been made and stored at county libraries.
  6. Performances: presently there are two kinds of performance, one, organized by government, is modified to satisfy public audience, and the other, organized by clubs of former dongjing guild members, keeps the tradition. The development of tourism has accelerated the disappearance of the traditional performance. Though the modern performance is frequently recorded or filmed, the traditional is rarely done. Both rituals and performances are now endangered by the development of tourism in Yunnan.
Project Ref: EAP016
Project Title: Digitising the photographic archive of southern Siberian indigenous peoples



The objective is to archive, digitise, and distribute a collection of approximately two thousand late 19th and early 20th century glass-plate negatives depicting indigenous peoples of the Siberian Arctic and Subarctic. This project builds upon previous pilot work in the region, and benefits from parallel funding from other international research foundations and councils.

The collections document the lives of several non-European nations at a date before their lives were transformed by Soviet collectivization. These early images are becoming increasingly important for Siberian indigenous peoples as they revitalise their cultures and defend their land rights in the face of post-Soviet oil development. The images also represent one of the best international collections representing circumpolar hunting peoples and are of great value to the international scholarly community.

The negatives are housed in several public and local collections in Southern Siberia, but primarily the Krasnoiarsk Regional Museum. The collections face an imminent threat of degradation due to the poor storage conditions in the recent past. These materials are historically important, are in a fragile state, but can now be safely stored and copied if attention is directed to them quickly.

The Krasnoiarsk Regional Museum has recently been provided with a new climate controlled store room and this project will enable local workers to move the material to the new store and for the material to be catalogued and digitised. Additional funding has also been secured from the Norwegian and Canadian Research Councils.

Project Ref: EAP022
Project Title: Locating audiovisual ethnographic collections of expressive Andean culture in Peru

This project aims to build on a previous project to locate archives and collections of sound materials on expressive culture (music, dance, festivals and oral traditions).

The previous project only aimed to locate sound materials. It was later learned that numerous folklore scholars maintained large collections of old photographs and super 8 films. No one else is trying to locate and preserve these audiovisual collections. If there is no speedy action, these materials will be lost for good.

There are numerous collections of audio tapes, video tapes, Super 8 film and photographs in danger, deteriorating, getting lost, or just being thrown away by the uninformed heirs of these collectors. Research trips have confirmed this, and a project aiming at the preservation of these collections is urgently needed. They remain stored in family homes in several regions of Peru, mostly in the capital city, Lima. Some of them are deposited in small provincial institutional archives without adequate conservation facilities and environment.

The work will be primarily in Lima. But there will be visits to other cities/regions of Peru: Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital; the Mantaro valley, probably the most “modernized” intermontane Andean valley inhabited by one million people; Huaraz, known as the callejón de Huaylas for being surrounded by two mountain chains, the north coast, and the region of Cajamarca, frontier to Ecuador.

The project will be based on some 20 years of experience in this field. Collections will be located, deposited in a central archive in Lima, and copied.

Project Ref: EAP023
Project Title: Preserving Marathi manuscripts and making them accessible



Marathi is a New Indo-Aryan language with inscriptional evidence extending back to AD1012 and literature beginning in the 13th century. Manuscripts of this literature are found in university and monastery libraries and in private homes, mostly in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Some Marathi manuscripts are extremely rare and valuable; a significant number are copies of texts that have not yet been published and of which most people have therefore not even heard. These manuscripts provide most of the extant evidence for the early phase of one of the major regional cultures of India. Many are in a state of neglect and have not been systematically catalogued, in most cases they are not carefully preserved and in no case have they been made easily available to scholars.

Under this pilot project to be carried out with the Marathi Manuscript Centre in Pune, as many manuscripts of Old- and Middle-Marathi will be collected as can be obtained and 300 selected manuscripts will be microfilmed. The overall goal is to collect, preserve and make accessible these manuscripts, of which it is estimated there are more than 25,000 in Maharashtra.

Project Ref: EAP025
Project Title: Transfer of Mosseri Genizah Archive from Paris to Cambridge University Library and its digitisation (with metadata), storage and accessibility:Stage 1



This project is a result of Cambridge University Library being presented with a unique opportunity of rescuing from a bank vault in Paris a collection of precious medieval Hebrew and Arabic documents from the Cairo Genizah. The aging family who owns it is anxious to make institutional arrangements in the near future and if this does not prove possible will simply sell it off (or give it away) as individual items to collectors without any concern for accessibility.

In the past hundred years, the documents found in the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo, Egypt, have revolutionised the study of most aspects of medieval Jewish culture in the Mediterranean area. Some 200,000 items (comprising almost a million leaves), held in various libraries around the world, have not only made possible the reconstruction of many of the best-known Hebrew, Aramaic and Judeo-Arabic works of the 10-13th centuries but have also brought to light the existence of numerous, previously unknown, literary items. In addition, the Genizah materials have also illuminated the daily lives and culture of Jews, Muslims and Christians in the eastern Mediterranean during a period that included the Crusades and that saw contacts with the western Mediterranean and North Africa on the one hand and with India on the other. These fragmentary pieces, in vellum and paper, include bills, lists, itineraries, letters and cheques that have fascinated social and economic historians. Their linguistic characteristics have furnished specialists with insights into the development of various Semitic and a number of European languages (the latter because of their transcription in Hebrew characters). The Genizah texts are undoubtedly as important as the Dead Sea Scrolls for scholarly and popular understanding of cultural history.

Cambridge University Library now has the rare opportunity of obtaining a collection of 5,000 unconserved fragments that are currently unavailable for consultation and research. Much of it dates from the classical Genizah period (10-13th centuries) but there appears to be a greater preponderance of 16th century items and of less “standard” material with magical and mystical content.

The current plan is that, as soon as the first batch of 1,000 fragments is received, work will commence on its conservation. The cost of this part of the work is not included in this project. Once each item has been conserved, a digital image of it will be prepared, accompanied by the necessary metadata. A special area within a new wing of the Library currently being prepared will be assigned to the Mosseri Collection. An efficient and expeditious treatment of these items, and an arrangement to make them widely available to scholars, will demonstrate just how important this collection and this project are to the world of scholarship. If the pilot project to deal with 1,000 fragments is successfully completed, it is hoped then to proceed with the treatment of the remaining 4,000 items.

Project Ref: EAP026
Project Title: Rescuing Liberian history: a pilot study to preserve and enable access to Liberia's Presidential and National Archives

This project proposal arises from a 2004 trip taken to Liberia to assess document repositories still extant after a quarter-century of civil strife in Liberia. This trip confirmed that the vast, valuable repository of presidential documents remained in good condition and that the official papers of Presidents Tubman, Tolbert, Doe, Sawyer (Interim), and Taylor were still intact.

A visit was also made to the Liberian National Archives. In the early 1990s, civil war combatants looted the purpose-built Center for National Documents and Records/National Archives building. Document boxes were rifled in search of valuables and papers thrown outside during the rainy season. Archive employees and other Liberians cognizant of the materials’ historical value salvaged many documents and carried them to the Old Executive Mansion, earlier site of the National Archives. Among the thousand plus boxes of rescued documents were government correspondence, communiqués and reports dating back to the early 19th century, when the colony was settled and the Republic of Liberia founded.

These 19th century materials will be a treasure trove of information on the founding and development of the first independent republic in sub-Saharan Africa. Of additional value to contemporary Liberians would be the use of these early records to reinterpret and retell the history of Liberia. Histories used in Liberian schools largely told the story of black settlers from the new world (both USA and Caribbean), never more than 5% of the population. These histories focused on the foreign-derived Liberian state with little appreciation for the societies into which it was embedded. Contacts and conflicts with the indigenous population and neighbouring European colonies were inadequately addressed. These earlier histories did not address the social cleavages spawned by such contacts and conflicts nor the resistance and rebellion that followed. The challenge of writing an integrated history of Liberia remains and the 19th century documents in the Liberian National Archives are the primary source materials with which to begin the process.

Director-General G. Narrison Toulee and his National Archives staff are making a valiant effort to preserve the salvaged materials, but it is a struggle. The ceiling leaks and rain blows in through air-circulation vent holes. The archival organization has never been completely restored after the looting, and serious preservation challenges remain. The small staff is nearly overwhelmed by the mass of materials and lack of current training, preservation materials, and funding.

Taken together, documents in the post-1965 Presidential Archives and the older National Archives papers offer invaluable and irreplaceable materials for understanding Liberia’s history. The proposed pilot project will survey and sample the Presidential Archives to ascertain the quantity and distribution of the Liberian presidential documents, confirm their organizational scheme, and assess their preservation state. At the National Archives the study will survey and sample to locate and assess the condition and content of the 19th Century documents. Key sets of documents at both archives will be identified for microfilming and, where necessary, preservation, description and arrangement. From this resulting information, plans will be developed and grant proposals written.

Project Ref: EAP027
Project Title: Rescuing Liberian history: preserving the personal papers of William V. S. Tubman, Liberia's longest serving President



In the abandoned library of an unoccupied mansion in Liberia, the personal papers of William V. S. Tubman, Liberia’s longest serving President, have been found in a deteriorating condition. During Liberia’s most recent civil war in 2003, rebel soldiers had rummaged through the file cabinets in search of valuables, tossing folders and papers onto the floor, leaving them damp and insect-infested in Liberia’s tropical climate. Immediate conservation and preservation measures are needed for the papers, followed by restoration of organisation to the collection and then microfilming for long-term preservation of the papers’ content.

A report prepared in the late 1980s of this material by a consultant for the Tubman family reported that the materials showed the nearly complete integration between Tubman’s personal and political lives during his presidency from 1944 until his death in 1971. The bulk of the collection clusters at the beginning (1944-1950) and end (1961-1971) of his administration. Of the collection’s importance, it was stated that given Tubman’s stature as an African head of state during the de-colonization era, these papers will be of particular value for the study of the Organization of African Unity’s early years, as well as for the study of West African diplomacy.

The project proposes to pack and ship the documents to Indiana University where they will be deep frozen to stop mold growth and exterminate insects and then placed in a freeze-drying facility for several months. The facilities to undertake this are not available in Liberia. Damaged documents will be restored wherever possible – if not possible then imaging staff will capture and preserve their content.

Once organised, the entire collection will be microfilmed and the original papers will be shipped back to Liberia to a safe archive.

The costs of shipping the papers to Indiana University and the deep-freeze and freeze-drying, document conservation and restoration processes are not funded by this grant.

The proposal has the full support of the Tubman family and of the Liberian government.

Project Ref: EAP030
Project Title: Identification of the potential corpus for a Mapuche special historical collection

After 300 years of resistance to the Spanish imperial army, the Mapuche people of Araucania and the Pampas were progressively colonised by the young state-nations of Chile and Argentina. This carried the social and cultural consequences of a colonial domination: loss of the Mapudungun language, impoverishment, discrimination, lands usurpations etc. A Mapuche political movement was formed to defend their rights, lands and culture as a racial and ethnic minority. The Mapuche had a tradition of literacy that was continued throughout this period.

The surviving Mapuche texts are fragmented in more than 25 archives, libraries, private or public collections or as single volumes of manuscripts kept by different members of the author’s family.

This pilot project aims to identify material available for a major project to form a Mapuche Special Collection, containing historical, political and ethnographical documents, written by Mapuche people in Spanish and Mapudungun between 1800 and 1950.

Project Ref: EAP031
Project Title: The Treasures of Danzan Ravjaa



The project aims to make digital photographs of a rare privately-owned cache of Mongolian and Tibetan manuscripts that were spared from the communist repression and recently unearthed from caves in the Outer Mongolian province of Dorngobi.

These manuscripts belonged to the person of Danzan Ravjaa (Tib. Bstan ‘dzin rab gyas/ 1803-1857), the 5th incarnation in the lineage of the Gobi Noyons, whose monastery was the centre of a political and artistic renaissance at the crossroads of Tibet, Mongolia and China in the 19th century. Danzan Ravjaa is significant for his eclectic religious outlook that combined both the reformed ‘Yellow Hat’ and the unreformed ‘Red Hat’ sects of Tibetan Buddhism. Besides his eclectic religious orientation, he was an artist and polymath who left behind scores of operas, poems and prophecies.

In 1938, during the suppression of Buddhism in Mongolia under the communist regime, Danzan Ravjaa’s works were hidden in the mountains along with the rest of the monastery’s artistic and intellectual heritage. A map was passed down from father to son in the family of the monastery’s gatekeepers. After the transition to democracy in 1991, the present gatekeeper, Altangerel, unearthed 24 crates of manuscripts and artifacts which he housed in a small museum in Sainshand, about 740 kilometres south of the capital Ulaanbaatar. Another 22 boxes remain buried in the mountains with plans to dig them out in the near future (International Herald Tribune article 17-18 August 2002).

At present, the museum has little money and no security system to guard against theft, mice or fire. Instead, the family members take turns standing guard to protect the relics. Currently, the small museum houses over 5000 manuscripts. About 1000 are works by Ravjaa himself, with another 600 works related to Ravjaa’s lineage, authored by other Mongolian and Tibetan lamas. The remainder of the collection consists of canonical literature which already exists in Western collections and will not be the concern of this project.

This project will focus only on copying Ravjaa’s own writings and works by other authors relevant to Ravjaa’s lineage. Ravjaa’s own writings span a wide range of subjects. They include hundreds of spiritual songs: a famous opera called The Moon Cuckoo; several commentaries and stage notes on the opera; philosophical and polemical treatises; biographies of Tibetan and Mongol saints and finally his own esoteric cycle of Buddhist teachings.

The latter represent a distinct line of non-canonical Buddhist transmission in Mongolia, in that they were transmitted directly to Ravjaa in mystical communication with deities and legendary masters of the past. In Tibet, these types of texts are referred to as Terma, or ‘Treasure texts’, and they became the basis of the Red Hat Nyingmapa sect. But in Mongolia, they were previously unheard of.

Additional funding has been secured from Axis Mundi Foundation (Switzerland) for the purchase of the project hardware.

BBC picture report here

Project Ref: EAP032
Project Title: Preserving East Timor's endangered archives

This project will preserve and make accessible to researchers a rare and vulnerable body of materials related to the history of East Timor (Timor Leste). These materials comprise the complete records of eight public hearings, each on a different theme, conducted by East Timor’s Commission on Return, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) in 2002-2004, and currently held by the successor to CAVR, known as the Post-CAVR Technical Secretariat (STP-CAVR). The material includes written and oral testimonies by the victims and witnesses of crimes against humanity committed during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor (1975-1999); official statements by the perpetrators of some of those crimes; research interviews and consultations conducted prior to the public hearings and multi-media coverage of the hearings themselves.

There can be no doubt about the significance of these materials for research. They represent the most complete available collection of documents about a vital period of East Timor’s history. They also form an invaluable body of knowledge for the study, and the legal prosecution, of crimes against humanity, including genocide. There is likewise no doubt about the urgent need for their preservation. Some of the materials are in immediate danger of physical destruction because of the conditions in which they are currently stored, while others are in danger of being lost or concealed as a result of political indifference or interference. The current political turmoil in East Timor serves as an important reminder of the continued vulnerability of these materials.

The project seeks to preserve these endangered archives by digitally copying and, where feasible, relocating the materials in question to a suitable local archive. It needs to be stressed, however, that there is currently no facility in East Timor ideally suited for housing the rescued materials. In all likelihood, therefore, the project will focus on the identification and copying of materials, and not on their relocation.

Article from UCLA's International Institute

Project Ref: EAP038
Project Title: Survey, conservation and archiving of pre-1947 Telugu printed materials and paintings in India



The objective of this project is to microfilm/digitise 2,000 pre-1920s printed materials, in Telugu located in old libraries, which are fast disintegrating.

The collections that will be selected for copying under this project are the books and periodicals published during the 19th and first half of 20th centuries in Telugu language in South India. Some of them are typical local/small town publications that were preserved in village and town libraries. The Telugu language is considered the Italian of the East. The first stirrings of cultural and religious renaissance were felt in the Telugu speaking districts of Madras Presidency under the British rule. The most powerful expression of social and cultural interaction between the East and the West could be seen in Telugu print culture. From the revival of medical knowledge to various forms of literary genre - classical Prabandha, Ithihasa and Puranic tradition and Panchangas [from 1860s] and Satakas, western forms like novel, short story, poem, drama and literary criticism - could be seen in Telugu printed materials. The print materials are the only living source for the reconstruction of South Indian history. This region is attracting a lot of attention by global community of scholars working on South Asia. Making this valuable material available to the wider audience is therefore imperative.

Most of the print materials are now housed in old village and small town libraries, mostly started during 1890s and 1930s.

Visit Sundarayya Vignana Kendram's website

Project Ref: EAP039
Project Title: Digital documentation of manuscript collection in Gangtey



Since the decline of Buddhism in Tibet, Mongolia and other parts of the Northern Buddhist world, the Kingdom of Bhutan has come to be seen as the last bastion of Mahayana Buddhism. With its long history of isolation and independence, Bhutan has remained a unique repository of the cultural and religious wealth of the Buddhist Himalaya. Its secluded monasteries and temples today represent a literary treasure trove that is largely unharmed and still unexplored.

Gangtey Gonpa, founded by Gyalse Pema Thinley (d. c. 1640), the grandson of the famous Bhutanese saint Pema Lingpa (1450-1521), is one such monastery housing an enormous manuscript collection. This includes a set of the 100-volume bKa’ ’gyur, two sets of the 46-volume rNying ma rGyud ’bum, the world’s largest Astasahasrikaprajñaparamita, and about a hundred miscellaneous titles. The collection, mostly written in the 17th century as a funerary tribute to the founder of Gangtey, holds a unique textual, artistic and historical value of immense religious significance for the local community.

Notwithstanding their unique literary, artistic and religious value, the manuscripts today lie in a temple hall, vulnerable to damage and even to possible destruction. An accidental fire from the habitual butter lamps could reduce the entire library to ashes, as has been the case with many libraries through Bhutanese history. The local community lacks any archival skills or the means to acquire them. Moreover, the market for religious artifacts in the West has led to commercialisation of these objects and consequently also to theft in similar remote areas.

The result of this project will be the reproduction of the entire Gangtey manuscript holdings in digital format.

Project Ref: EAP040
Project Title: Securing of the medieval and early modern archival material (14th to 17th c.) of Brasov/Kronstadt and the Burzenland region (central Romania)



The archival material from 14th to 17th centuries from this archive is one of the main sources for Transylvanian history in todays central Romania. It is the basis for any work on historical backgrounds of the city, the neighbouring settlements and the region itself.

The material was traditionally stored in different back rooms of the Honterus parish building of Brasov. The problem of redeveloping these rooms are being solved by the parish itself so that there will exist secure rooms with adequate shelf units for the holdings. However the conditions of storage were extremely disadvantageous, in particular generating much moisture.

As a consequence some of the collection is subject to mildew. Other problems are the damage by worms and by certain forms of historically used ink. Damage to the paper was caused also by not storing the material properly.

Digital photographing will include the following sections:

  • documents 14th/15th c.
  • ecclesiastical material with focus on 16th/17th c.
  • collection of Joseph Trausch (manuscript copies covering the whole period).
  • documents on educational matters (focus on 16th/17th c.).
  • social interferences, marriage problems in the different quarters of the town.
  • cultural matters (music, liturgy, buildings, local traditions and legends).
  • correspondence (warfare, defence, political relations).
  • different collections of Varia.

Digital photographs will be made of the relevant material from the Middle Ages up to the 17th century (and of copies concerning this time). At the same time the material will be classified so that conservation measures can be taken in the future. The archival material will hence be accessible through the digitised data at the archive itself and at the British Library and will be opened for use in the reading room with help of the two local collaborators trained during the project’s duration.

Project Ref: EAP046
Project Title: Pilot project to seek, identify, contact, and report on collections of the endangered archives of the states of Maranhão and Pará in the Amazon region of Brazil

This pilot project will explore small, unattended archives in two Amazon states in Brazil, Maranhão and Pará, that are related to the history of enslaved Africans and their descendants. Although the major slave importations occurred through the ports of São Luís (Maranhão) and Belém (Pará), these West African slaves could be found as far as the gold mines of Mato Grosso, being transported through Amazon rivers, lakes, and channels, further to the interior and the southern areas.

These archives are very rich in all kinds of information between the early 17th century and the end of the 19th century, and in a few cases the middle of the 20th century. This documentation originated with the state (Portuguese and Brazilian administrations), churches (especially Catholic missionaries and priests), and notarial offices (notarial records and civil contracts).

The physical conditions of the archives vary enormously but most are in a poor condition. The northern region of Brazil is hot and wet, which makes conservation a difficult task. The archives lack financing and therefore do not have access to the necessary technology. The fact is that the vast holdings of this region are deteriorating at an alarming rate. Nature and negligence are together creating a desperate need to rescue this important part of world history.

The pilot project will explore a prioritised number of archives to make inventories and identify the most seriously endangered collections.

Project Ref: EAP050
Project Title: Making Professor Ade Obayemi's life work available to the world

The late Professor Ade Obayemi’s lifetime collection of documents and correspondence lies in the Akodi Africa Museum he set up with his own funds at his home town in Iffe Ijuma, Kogi State, Nigeria. Professor Obayemi made some of the earliest archaeological explorations of northern Nigeria and became the Director General of Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments.

The museum is now empty and overgrown but there are three rooms in the museum library buildings which are packed with Professor Obayemi’s documents: files, maps, letters, unpublished articles and other ‘grey’ literature. There is extensive termite and silverfish infestation.

The objective of this pilot project is to evaluate the collection for the feasibility of a major research project, both in terms of the subject material covered and how much of it would warrant copying or be in a condition to be able to be copied. Digital photographs of a random sample will be taken at this stage to assist in formulating a possible full proposal to copy the material. The original material would be located in the museum, which it is hoped will be re-established.

Project Ref: EAP051
Project Title: Bamum script and archives project: saving Africa's written heritage



At the Bamum Palace Archives – a small dusty room inside the walls of the palace – are held over 7000 documents, many of which pre-date the arrival of the first Europeans in 1902. These documents are written in African languages and transcribed in an indigenous African writing system – the Bamum script of the Cameroon Grassfields.

One book chronicles, from the Bamum perspective, the arrival of the first German military officer and trader. Other books are devoted to the founding of the kingdom, to an invented Bamum religion (fusing Christianity, Islam, and traditional beliefs), to traditional medicine, and even to the art of love. Many leading families in Foumban, the capital of the Bamum Kingdom, also have important documents. One family’s collection includes early Bamum script on banana leaves. Another collection is particularly important, containing thousands of documents on family and kingdom history, transcripts of speeches given by the Bamum King in the early twentieth century, documents dealing with medicine, commentaries on Islam and magic, and – perhaps of greatest interest – many beautiful maps of the Bamum Kingdom with place names and geographic features identified in the indigenous Bamum script.

The above documents are all endangered. The documents in the one-room Bamum Palace Archives, for the most part, suffer less from the ravages of environmental destruction than those in private collections, but the environmental damage is still immense. Another threat to documents is theft and sale, fuelled by the international trade in Bamum art and antiquities.

The goal of this project, then, is to transfer the most significant privately owned Bamum script document collections to a rehabilitated Bamum Palace Archives. Microfilm or digital copies of collections – those in both private hands and in the Bamum Palace Archives – will be deposited in the library archives of the University of Dschang, which is the nearest university, to be made freely accessible for researchers in Cameroon. The outcome will be saving for future generations the most significant pre-industrial and non-western holding of indigenous script manuscripts in all of sub-Saharan Africa.

In the early twentieth century the Bagam people of Cameroon employed a pre-modern alphabet for record-keeping, correspondence, and for farming calendars. Today not a single document exists in Cameroon in the Bagam script, the alphabet having disappeared without a trace. The only known example of the Bagam script is held in the Haddon Library of Cambridge University, deposited by a British military officer who served in Cameroon in the First World War. Immediate action is necessary if Bamum is not to suffer a similar fate.

Report on this project, from the BBC World Service radio programme The Strand, broadcast on 28 November 2008

[MP3, 4mins, 50sec 2KB].
Reproduced here by kind permission of the BBC World Service.

Project Ref: EAP052
Project Title: Rescuing Eastern Nigerian history: preserving the holdings of Enugu and Calabar regional archives



The collections held at the National Archives of Nigeria at Enugu and Calabar, which date from the late 1800s to 1960, are invaluable for the history of European contact with Eastern Nigeria. The collections are known to include official British colonial government papers; papers of native and local authorities; papers of semi-public bodies and institutions; colonial court records; photographs, several petitions, and letters by local people during the colonial period; private and family papers, as well as those of ecclesiastical bodies.

These documents that deal with European contact with Eastern Nigeria are in danger due to deplorable, deteriorating conditions and the frequent use of photocopying of fragile papers. At the Calabar regional archive, thousands of pages of colonial documents and private papers are piled on the floor in a room without climate controls because the archive has no permanent home. These deteriorating conditions leave the records damp and prone to mold growth and termite infestation. The conditions at the Enugu archive are not much better. Without immediate efforts to preserve these materials, they may not last more than a few more years.

The materials located at these archives are significant for a number of reasons. Europe had a long history of economic and political relationship with the societies of Eastern Nigeria. The development of the slave trade in the fifteenth century created the initial economic link with European traders, particularly the British, until the abolition of the trade. Like many parts of Africa, Nigeria was incorporated into the British Empire as the drive for imperial possessions heated up toward the late nineteenth century. The documents at the Enugu and Calabar archives tell the story of this contact, the major players, and the impact on local peoples.

Also, the present day eastern part of Nigeria was perhaps the most important and unique in British West Africa. From the eighteenth century, Britain was the region's most important trading partner both in the era of the slave trade and in the post-abolition period, when the trade in palm oil and later kernel brought the region into closer economic contact with the British. Following European colonisation of Africa toward the end of the nineteenth century, the British entered into several treaties with local chiefs, which eventually gave Britain control of the region. British traders and missionaries provided other opportunities for greater intercourse between Europeans and local people. These papers present stark evidence of that contact. The surviving papers are a unique record of a wide range of African-European relations during the colonial era.

A three month pilot study will be undertaken to assess the feasibility and scale of effort required to preserve the endangered regional records held at The National Archives of Nigeria at Enugu and Calabar. In addition, the pilot study seeks to determine the existence of privately held manuscripts and other records related to the slave trade in the region.

Project Ref: EAP054
Project Title: Archiving a Cameroonian photographic studio



The economic basis for professional black and white photography in Cameroon disappeared in 1998 with the introduction of new identity cards. They were issued with instant photographs, removing the need for 'passport photographs'. These had been the main work of rural photographers who could process and print the film without needing access to electricity. A small supporting industry of photographers, such as have been celebrated in exhibitions e.g. of the work of Seidou Keita, has effectively been destroyed by computerisation of the identity cards and the arrival of cheaper colour 35mm processing in the cities.

One such studio photographer is Jacques Toussele, with a collection of some 20,000 negatives, but who is aging and is not in the best of health. He can recognise many of the people in the photographs, enabling future research to be undertaken, thus greatly enhancing the importance of the archive.

The collection is vulnerable: physically it is stored in a back room of the studio and the roof is leaking - there are signs of deterioration and damage, with some negatives stuck together.

African black and white photography has been recognised as important through some celebrated exhibitions and publications (e.g. of Sidibé, Augustt and Keita) but this has not translated into action to preserve the work of other photographers. Few collections of West African photography have been archived and none are available for study from Cameroon. The archives will enable research in, for example, changing aesthetics, fashions and as the basis for family history research.

Digital SLRs will be used to copy the negatives. Since the negatives are 120 format the images will be of sufficiently high quality to be useful for research purposes. The archives will be housed at the National Archives in Yaoundé, with further copies available for study at the British Council Library in Cameroon and in two Cameroonian Universities: The University of Dschang (the nearest University to the location of the photographer) and the University of Ngaoundéré.

Project Ref: EAP056
Project Title: Locating, listing and protecting the archives of Independent (or African Instituted) Churches in Zimbabwe

Among some of the notable people interviewed through the National Archives of Zimbabwe's Oral History Programme in the mid-1990s was Reverend E.T.J. Nemapare, founder of the African Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. Having been trained and ordained as a Wesleyan Methodist Church Minister in the 1930s, he later broke away to form his own church.

Reverend Nemapare died in February 2003, leaving behind a church based in the rural district of Chirumhanzu in Masvingo province, and other branches in Bulawayo. Like him, several other ministers and lay people in many parts of Africa in the late nineteenth to early twentieth century broke away from the established churches and started their own. Many of these leaders based their operations in rural areas where they had already been active under the mother churches, or in their home areas where they were well known.

Most of the founders of these separatist churches have now passed on, leaving their churches in the hands of sons, close relatives or associates, but the whereabouts of their early records, showing why they broke away, and how they set up and managed their churches, are largely unknown. There is an urgent need to locate these archives, mainly in rural areas or small towns, and negotiate ways of rescuing them from total loss.

This pilot project will find out the extent of the archives in question, and the possibility of transferring the archives for safe custody at the National Archives of Zimbabwe. The project will initially start with locating the papers of Rev. Nemapare and then those of others like him, determine the quantities involved and their condition, initiate contacts with the people in charge, and prepare the groundwork for a major project if the results indicate that course.

Project Ref: EAP057
Project Title: Digitising the photo documents of Georgia's central state audio-visual archive



Due to the economical circumstances in the last decades in Georgia, the state archives and documents of the country have many needs and problems for saving its cultural heritage.

There are especially poor conditions for the documents in the Audio-Visual Central State Archive of Georgia which was established in June 1944 and located in a decaying archival complex (crumbling walls, broken windows, leak, mould, insect and other damage). The lack of state funding other than for salaries compounds these problems and has created a situation in which the documents are in jeopardy. For instance, almost all photo documents which were taken in the 19th century could be totally destroyed in 10-20 years' time, the photos up to the 1950s - after 30-40 years, etc. Of the photo documents held by the archive, there are many faded and deteriorating photos which cannot be repaired since there are insufficient funds and many photos are subject to decay over time and may in addition be damaged by humidity, oxidation and mould and etc, and their use in practice may bring about hindrances.

In addition, the photo catalogue is inadequate for conducting research. The descriptions and annotations are framed according to the priorities of a Marxist-Leninist perspective on Georgian history and therefore omit much valuable information on institutions, political parties, ethnic groups and individuals who were not recognized as valuable contributors to the transformation of Georgia into a Soviet republic. Many photos are not even included in the catalogues; discrepancies exist between the numbers of photos given in the catalogue. Furthermore, the descriptions, annotations and catalogue are written only in Georgian, and they are tattered and difficult to read.

The earliest photographs kept in the archive are taken by Alexander Ivanisky in August-September of 1858. These are the images of old Tbilisi and different places of the capital of Iberia (old Georgia) Mtskheta, architectural monuments and citizens. From 1863 in Georgia the staff of the Caucasian Army Photographic Department began its existence, which had the aim of using photography for topography, ethnography, archaeology and everywhere, where this art can be in use of the country and science.

The immediate goal of this pilot project is to undertake a survey of the content matter of the most endangered photographs, and to take sample copies of the photographs, in order to investigate the potential and the feasibility of a major project aimed at safeguarding the photographic materials from 1858-1921 held in the Audio-Visual Central State Archive of Georgia.

Project Ref: EAP060
Project Title: Diaspora collections at the major archives of the province of Matanzas, Cuba



During the nineteenth century, Matanzas became the centre of Cuban sugar production, which influenced a high demand for slave labour. The territory became the major destination for African slaves in Cuba. This explains why Matanzas currently holds the most valuable documents related to the history of enslaved Africans and their descendants in Cuba. Matanzas' records are among the longest serial data available for the history of Africans in Cuba. The region's archives are very rich in all kind of information on the African populations living in Matanzas, beginning in the early 16th century to the end of the 19th century, including demographic statistics, information on ethnicity, resistance, occupations, property, economy of free and enslaved Africans, etc. Colonial Spanish administration, churches, estates, and notaries offices originated this documentation.

These materials are unique and their condition perilous. Most of the collections are about to disappear, due to the extremely bad conditions in which they are deposited. Cuba's weather is hot and wet, which makes conservation a difficult task. Matanzas' archives lack financing and therefore do not have access to the necessary technology. The reality is that the vast holdings of this region are deteriorating at an alarming rate. Nature and negligence are together creating an urgent need to rescue this important part of Cuban and slavery history. Conservation work and infrastructure reform at the Matanzas' archives would take much time and resources. Unfortunately, in the short and middle term, the only strategy available at the Matanzas' archives is digitisation.

The main objective of the Pilot Project will be concentrated in exploring the most important archives in Matanzas Province, Cuba, containing the most important collections on African slaves and their descendants. These archives are: 1) Archivo Provincial de Matanzas, 2) Archivos Parroquiales de Matanzas, 3) Archivo Histórico Municipal de Cárdenas, 4) Archivo Histórico Municipal de Colón.

The Pilot Project would identify the bodies of endangered, rich, under-utilised, and at-risk documents on Africans and persons of African descent in the archives above mentioned. It would focus on training in digitisation techniques to the staff on the archives above mentioned. During this phase, some of the documents already identified would be digitised.

The Pilot Project would also generate a detailed inventory of the documents identified as at risk. The digitisation of some of these documents would be continued to carry out, as a continuity of the training process of the archival staffs. This would facilitate the feasibility of a future major project of digitisation of all the material already identified.

The final objective would involve the creation of a database with all the material identified and all the documents digitised. The database and copies of all the material would be delivered to the British Library and the archives involved in the Pilot Project.

Project Ref: EAP061
Project Title: The MIPES Indonesia: digitising Islamic manuscript of Indonesian Pondok Pesantren



Pondok Pesantren are traditional Islamic schools that since their establishment have become centres for Islamic learning and the dissemination of Islamic knowledge in Indonesia, where Islamic knowledge is taught formally and Islamic values are practised daily. Their role as institutions of Islamic learning and centres for the dissemination of Islamic teaching in Indonesia can be clearly seen from their manuscripts.

MIPES stands for Manuskrip Islam Pesantren (Islamic Manuscripts held in Pondok Pesantren). This term refers to all manuscripts which contain Islamic knowledge, used for the teaching of Islam, and still found in many pondok pesantren in Indonesia. Some MIPES are copies of 'Yellow Books' (Kitab Kuning, a term referring to Islamic works printed on yellowish paper), such as Jawhar al-Tawhid, Hidayat al-Sibyan, Kitab Taqrib, Kitab Sittin Mas'ala etc. However their marginal notes make the MIPES totally different from the original books. The marginal notes in the MIPES are an important resource to study the efforts of Indonesia Ulama to translate Islam into the local context. MIPES provide academic evidence for how Islam interacted with local and Indonesian culture. However, the importance of MIPES in reconstructing the view of Islam from the Indonesian world has not been appreciated, and they have been neglected as subjects of study among students of Islam in Indonesia.

These manuscripts will revise current understandings of Islamic intellectual heritage, and will help to reconstruct the history of intellectual dynamism in Indonesian Islam in the period of the18th century to the first half of the 20th century. The MIPES found in previous research are mostly damaged because of inappropriate treatment and due to natural causes. Even if they are in good condition, they are usually separated from the original parts when they are bound.

This major project will be conducted in three pondok pesantren in three Kabupaten in East Java province. In Kabupaten Tuban, the project will be done in Pondok Pesanntren Langitan; in Kabupaten Lamongan the project will be carried out at Pondok Pesantren Tarbiyya al-Thalabah. And the project also will be conducted at Pondok Pesantren Tegal Sari in Kabupaten Ponorogo. Those three locations were chosen because of their large manuscript collections and as most of the collection is seriously damaged.

The purpose of this project is to preserve Islamic intellectual heritage in Indonesia. All the manuscript collections will be photographed by digital camera and the digital reproductions will be deposited in three institutions: (1) the British Library for wider access by researchers; (2) The Institute for the Study of Religion and Society (Lembaga Pengkajian Agama dan Masyarakat, LPAM) Surabaya for the purpose of research among students of Islam in Indonesia at large; (3) the owners of manuscript collections.

Project Ref: EAP066
Project Title: Preservation of historic and rare Nepali monographs and periodicals

The project aims to preserve through microfilming, and expand accesibility of, rare, historic and endangered material published in Nepali. A total of 105,000 exposures will be microfilmed through the project which will cover around 137 monographs and 56 titles of periodicals. All the materials have been chosen from the collection at Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya (MPP). The main reason for this is that MPP is the largest archive of published materials in Nepali. It has been dedicated for the last five decades in the collection and preservation exclusively of materials published in Nepali (both from inside and outside Nepal). No other institution comes closer in terms of the collection at MPP. However, the status of preservation of Nepali published materials in general also leaves much to be desired. A combination of lack of resources, expertise and proper housekeeping has resulted in an unfavourable conditions of materials in Nepali.

Apart from the much important preservation work to be accomplished through this project, MPP also plans to use this work to create awareness regarding the importance of preservation among the stakeholders in Nepal. The notion till now in Nepal (among the four institutions that do archiving work in some capacity and that includes MPP) has been doing archiving work for the sake of archiving. Improving and expanding accessibility has not been propagated enough. This project aims to achieve preservation of important materials as well as their easy accesibility to the users.

The materials proposed for the project have been selected for various reasons. Some of the materials selected are some of the earliest works to be published in Nepali hence their historical value. Some are selected because they are really rare (and they only exist at MPP). Others are selected because of their political significance as they derive from politically and historically significant periods of Nepal. This is a significant and a unique collection, which is currently housed in a very old building, with the whole area subject to the threat of earthquakes.

Visit the project's website

Project Ref: EAP067
Project Title: Preservation of Gypsy/Roma historical and cultural heritage in Bulgaria



At present in Bulgaria, diverse materials from the 1940s and 1950s relating to the Gypsy/Roma culture are kept in small private collections. These include various written texts such as amateur genealogies, personal memoirs, artistic literature on the Gypsy theme, posters of musical performances, hand-outs of community events of the Gypsy organizations and political flyers, photographs and old records of Gypsy music. Since the 1960s with the assimilation of the Gypsy/Roma culture into mainstream society, these materials have become outdated and could become dangerous for their owners. A lot of this material has already been destroyed or lost, but nevertheless nowadays quite a few are preserved in private collections, mainly the descendants of the old activists of the Gypsy movement of the 1940s and 1950s.

There is a serious risk of the absolute disappearance of all these materials. The descendants of the old Gypsy activists do not always realise their importance and may either neglect or physically destroy them. If measures are not taken soon, these materials witnessing the transition of Gypsy/Roma to modern society will be lost.

The main aim of the proposed pilot project is to discover the existing collections of this material, connected with the community and cultural activity of the Gypsies in Bulgaria in the end of the 1940s and the beginning of 1950s and earlier, which will be digitised and also relocated where possible to the Studii Romani Archive at the Ethnographical Institute and Museum of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

In addition, during the 1920s Roma newsletters and booklets were printed, some of them connected to evangelical missions, other to community life. Most of the copies of these newspapers and booklets have disappeared but some issues are preserved in private collections. During the communist era, copies of some of these newspapers were kept in the archives of public libraries. After 1989 some material from the archives was opened to the public, other materials were destroyed, some of them with a high historical or cultural value, and among them were some of the Roma newsletters and booklets. This project will discover the surviving copies of the newsletters and booklets and relocate them, or their copies, to the safe environment of the Studii Romani Archive.

Project Ref: EAP071
Project Title: Archiving texts in the Sylhet Nagri script



This project seeks to locate and archive texts written in the Sylhet Nagri script, a script once widely used in north-eastern Bengal. This script evolved between the fourteenth and the seventeenth century as a simple alternative (only 32 letters; no conjuncts) to the standard Bengali script. Printed texts appeared in the 1870s and became immensely popular. By the early 20 th century there were at least three presses, one in Kolkata and two in Sylhet. The script became a vehicle of popular culture in Sylhet, Cachar, Karimganj, Tripura, Mymensingh and Dhaka. For reasons that are not immediately evident, use of this script declined and it has become almost extinct during the last 50-60 years. Consequently, few people can read it today and the texts, both hand-written and printed, are rapidly disappearing.

In addition to circulating stories, plays, and other aspects of popular culture, there are also many manuscript texts, predominantly religious. Copying manuscripts often became part of the ritual. A preliminary survey located many texts, both printed and manuscript, lying in remote rural masjids, mokams, madrasas and other shrines and also in district libraries and private collections.

The texts are in verse, and were commonly disseminated through group reading. It is believed that women were the primary consumers. In affluent households, women read out the texts to domestic hands and other women after the day's chores.

The texts can be broadly split into five subject categories: Metaphysical and spiritual; Islamic rituals and code of conduct, including lives of the Prophet and saints; Love songs and love stories; Social issues within Muslim society; and Commentaries on natural disasters and social calamities.

Reasons for urgency of archiving: because the script is obsolete, there is no contemporary interest in preserving these texts; the physical quality of the material is very poor; the texts are kept in locations without attention to preservation. Moisture and insects have already damaged some material. The objectives of the project are to locate printed texts and manuscripts in the Sylhet Nagri script and to make and preserve copies in a digitised form.

The project will retrieve not only a unique script and a period-specific literature, but also a new source of information about the region, documenting a complex period of regional history (fourteenth to seventeenth century) when Islam emerged as a social force. It can shed light on the acculturation resulting from the encounter of indigenous culture with Perso-Arabic tradition. The stages in the Muslim identity formation can be studied through sociological insights into different texts. Since some of the texts of the nineteenth century are directed at women, it will also document women's history in the region. Further, this project of retrieving the rich source material will enable in a big way to study the tradition of high Islam as expressed in a regional popular culture, language and religion. Finally, the project is expected to yield rich dividends for researchers on comparative and diachronic Bengali linguistics. Rarely does one come across a stage in the development of a language or dialect with a recently developed writing system, allowing ready access to its phonological and morphological identity.

Project Ref: EAP078
Project Title: Ritual narratives of Bagr Secret Society



This project involves the collection and digital copying of over ten hours of audio recordings, about one hour of video filming and twenty-three photographic images of the Dagara bagr mythical narration recorded or taken during the secret rites of initiation into the bagr cult among the Dagara populations living in the borderland region between Ghana and Burkina Faso. The bagr cult was the single most significant foundational institution of the Dagara people of northern Ghana and southern Burkina Faso and, in the past, was well preserved in memory through yearly performances of rites of initiation of carefully selected individuals according to criteria and who were willing and also capable of devoting their whole lives to a life of secrecy and ritual practice. The practice has, over the years, created an intangible verbal monument of enormous size. Only a very few number of people among the selected group ever qualified as reciting specialist of the initiatory narratives.

The narratives themselves have solidified to consist of two categories of compositions that were only spoken sequentially in ritual context. The two categories were the black bagr and the white bagr narrative compositions. The black bagr was one long narrative audition (the longest oral narrative composition ever to be identified in Africa and spoken continuously by one voice). The white bagr narration was further sub-divided into four narratives sessions, namely, the white bagr of black beans, the white bagr of white beans, the white bagr of bambara beans and the white bagr dance. All the different categories and different narrations have been identified during previous research and now form part of the census of Dagara Bagr archives. The art of the ritual performance is a unique event and will offer researchers the opportunity to study memory; its structure, production and retention. It will also allow researchers to view for the first the ritual production of Africa's longest oral narrative by a single author. The community has given their approval for the recordings of the rites.

Project Ref: EAP080
Project Title: Voiceless choirs. Serbian musical collections from Zemun in 19th and early 20th centuries



Choral societies were the most prominent participants of Serbian musical culture in the 19th century. After five centuries of Turkish supremacy over the Serbian territories and almost lifeless musical tradition (except folk music), the second half of the 19th century was a period of new cultural and musical growth based on European musical practice. The earliest Serbian choral societies were organized by people settled in the Habsburg Monarchy (Budapest in 1834, Pancevo in 1838, etc.), and inhabitants from liberated cities (southern from Sava and Danube River) followed them after 1853.

Between 1834 and 1914 over 150 Serbian choral societies were founded. Some of them had extremely rich musical libraries, with thousands of scores and choral parts. Unfortunately, only few of them preserved their full musical collections, which often included original manuscripts. Numerous collections were lost, divided or even destroyed. However, many of them still exist, but kept in inadequate conditions.

The musical collection of the Craftsmen choral society from Zemun contains 27 large boxes of material: manuscripts, handwritten copies and printed scores, mostly choral music, as well as stage music. Some documents concerning the history of the Society are also attached to it, but they are not numerous. There are compositions written by Serbian, Russian, Czech, German, Austrian and Italian composers.

This collection is an excellent example of the typical musical taste of a growing citizen class, with its own distinct markings. Judging by stamps and signatures, one might conclude that parts of other choirs' libraries were added to the Craftsmen choral society. These are the Serbian Orthodox Choral Society and the Academic Choir, both from Zemun, and the Cathedral Choir from Novi Sad.

This material is currently kept in the attic of the parochial house in St Nicolas church in Zemun. It has been transferred four times in the last ten years and kept in inadequate conditions (high humidity, direct sun light, etc.) which has caused severe damage to some documents. The church authorities are not interested in the preservation of this material.

The main goals of the project are microfilming of the material and relocation to the Historical Archive of Belgrade with its adequate storage conditions.

There are no specialised musical archives in Serbia, and even standard archives usually do not contain musical sources. On the other side, many 19th century resources, including original manuscripts by some of the most famous composers, are being kept in inadequate conditions and unavailable to interested scholars or researchers. Therefore, Voiceless choirs project is the first organised attempt to change this situation in the last 50-60 years in Serbia. It will be focused on preservation of a valuable material and its accessibility to the wider international circle of researchers.

Without the project the musical documentation will be destroyed. This is the only musical material representing the activities of Serbian choral societies in Zemun in the 19th and first half of the 20th century. If it vanishes all the direct traces of their work will be lost.

Project Ref: EAP081
Project Title: Preservation and digitisation of Yi archives in public and private collections in Yunnan, China



The Yi archives refer to books and documents written in Yi language, the native language of an ethnic group located in Southwest China and parts of Southeast Asia. As a writing tradition in the peripheral area, Yi archives have been historically ignored and annihilated by the mainstream Han culture. Social revolutions in the past half century brought large-scale deconstruction of both the archives and the Yi language. The tiny survival collections in Yunnan, either public or private, are now facing further serious preservation conditions due to lack of necessary fund and effective means. Preservation of the Yi archives in Yunnan before they disappear forever is the focus of this project.

The unsurpassable significance of the Yi archives for the study of Yi people and Yi culture exists in that they are the only available written resource in the native Yi language, in addition to their extraordinary richness in contents. The Yi language, first appearing in the 14th century, had been actively spoken and written among aboriginal people until the sharply social changes in the middle 20th century. All of the Yi archives are written, kept and disseminated by bimo, the ritual priests, scribes and intellectuals in the traditional Yi society. The Yi archives are therefore also referred to as the Bimo Sutra. Since they cover epic, chronology, philosophy, politics, history, ritual, geography, calendar, divination, literature, music and more, the archives are regarded as the encyclopaedia of Yi people.

The Yi archives gradually became endangered in the 20th century and the deconstruction process has even accelerated in past decades. First of all, the Yi language itself has become an endangered or extinct language since the mid 20th century, resulted from increasingly contacts with Chinese during the modernization process. Most of Yi people have adopted Chinese as their first or the only language. The native Yi language is preserved only in distant or isolated locations. Secondly, as the writer, keeper and educator, bimo were deprived of the rights of writing and teaching due to ideological conflicts, and the native knowledge tradition of Yi people was terminated in the 1960s and 1970s. The Yi archives developed over six centuries was brought to an end. Although bimo have been partly allowed to restore their religious activities since the 1980s, the writing tradition has never been restored. Third, the physical characteristics of books and documents as woodblock printing or handwriting on rice paper determines that their life cycle is very short, especially when the preservation condition is far from ideal.

Due to neglect, poverty and incapability in archival preservation of the native Yi people, and ignorance and annihilation by zealous revolutionists, the size of the Yi archives shrank dramatically in the middle and late 20th century. A recent preliminary investigation shows that only about 4,000 volumes survive in the world.

Of the surviving Yi archives, the largest public collection and most of private collections are preserved in Yunnan, especially in the Chuxiong Autonomous Prefecture of Yi People. Besides 1,400 volumes in public collections formed since the 1980s, another 900 volumes are estimated to be held by private parties, especially by descendants of bimo families. However, in regards to both preservation and readiness for academic purpose, the Yi archives in Yunnan need the most urgent attention. There hasn't been any positive treatment applied to prevent the aging and mildew process, nor has any image conversion work been done, nor has any material been published before. Our pilot investigation shows that only around 40 volumes in the public collection are mounted, and most books are even unaffordable to be stored in desirable spaces. Written on perishable rice paper in fading mineral pigment, Yi documents will be illegible in several years' time if no preservative action is taken immediately. Neglect resulting from poverty will lead to fatal disaster to the archives.

In the proposed project, the two major tasks are: (1) a thorough registration of Yi archival collections before they disappear silently, and (2) the digitisation and indexing of all available public and private archives. In the former, since the private collections are not as stable as the public, the project will pay extra attentions to the private collections, in order to keep an updated and complete record of the available Yi archives. The Institute of Studies on Yi Culture, the owner of the largest Yi archives in the world, has eagerly expressed the willingness to join the project. The Bureau of Cultural Affairs is also providing access to small public collections of Yi archives in Wuding, Shuangbai and other counties. Relocation is not included in this stage, but will be pursued later by searching matching funds from the local government.

Project Ref: EAP086
Project Title: Archive of Buddhist photographs in Luang Prabang, Laos

One of the 64 Buddhist monasteries of Luang Prabang, the former Royal City of Laos, harbours a unique collection of photographic documents that few people know about and that only one living person has ever seen entirely - the learned and highly respected monk who, for almost seventy years, has been collecting these photographs. The oldest documents go back to the times of early photography; the latest come up to our own days. The archive thus spans 100 years of photography of Theravada Buddhism, concentrating on monastic life, ceremonies and portraits of eminent monks and scholars.

Most of the monastic photographic collections established in South East Asia have been destroyed by a difficult climate, by neglect and by poverty, and, above all, the extraordinary political and social changes, war, civil war and revolution that affected the region during the 20 th century. The influx of tourism and the development of a capitalist market economy constitute a new threat today.

Right from the beginning, the support of a highly respected senior abbot, Phra Khamchanh Virachittathera, has been given to the project. He established the archive of Buddhist photography in his monastery. The archive is still hidden in cupboards covering the walls of his reception room and his Kuti.

The Venerable abbot turned 85 on October 2nd, 2005. He is the only person able to identify the images of the collection today. What will happen to the archive upon his death is not clear at all; traditionally, such photographs are distributed to the monk's followers, as a Dhamma gift, or the photographs might be cremated with the monk's body (they are considered carriers of Karmic energies of those portrayed). If the archive falls into the hands of non-Buddhists, neglect, mistreatment or dispersion are very likely.

Several factors contribute to the assumption that the archive contains unique and rare material:

  • the unusual personal passion for photographic documents of the Venerable abbot;
  • the importance of his monastery as a place of ordinations of members of the royal court;
  • Luang Prabang's importance as a centre of Theravada pilgrimage, and its continuous connections with similar centres all over South East Asia;
  • the fact that similar archives, if they existed at all, would not have benefited from the protection of one and the same monk for over 50 years

The pilot project aims to:

  • acquire a complete overview over the material;
  • identify each photographic document through interviews with the Venerable abbot;
  • start to professionally scan and digitize each document as far as possible, following the technical requirements of the programme;
  • assess the existence of any photographic material that might be stored in other monasteries of the city

The National Library of Laos will be the best local host institution in Laos for any copy material produced in the future, while the originals should remain in the possession of the monastery. It is part of the pilot project to assess the feasibility and conditions of a collaboration with the National Library as well as the evaluation of future preservation and storage conditions of the documents inside the monastery.

Project Ref: EAP087
Project Title: Northern Nigeria: precolonial documents preservation scheme



This pilot project targets endangered archival materials in the northern region of Nigeria, specifically materials in Kano. The project will be undertaken in collaboration with Arewa House, the research centre attached to Ahmadu Bello University, located in Kaduna, Nigeria. The archival materials being targeted include materials in 1) the Kano State History and Culture Bureau (KSHCB), 2) the private libraries of the emir of Kano and the merchant Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, and 3) endangered materials at Arewa House that relate to Kano. The focus on Kano provides coherence for the pilot project, although it should be noted that there are many endangered collections in northern Nigeria, and hence at some point a more exhaustive inventory will be required. The materials at KSHCB are in two large rooms, while the library of the Emir of Kano is probably as large, and the Dantata holdings considerably smaller but still substantial. The physical condition of materials ranges from Arewa House, where deterioration has been stayed, at least, while the materials in KSHCB are largely uncatalogued and lie in piles on the floor in a room without adequate climate control. The private collections of the Emir of Kano and the family of Alhasan Dantata are in a similar condition.

Most materials being targeted are in Arabic and Hausa, although there is colonial documentation in English that relates to the early history of the region that are in bad condition as well. Much of this material is based on oral traditions that would otherwise be lost. During the pilot phase, a full inventory of endangered documents will be undertaken, and where necessary emergency digitisation will be done, both to familiarize staff with the technology and also to produce concrete results that can be examined with respect to standardisation of technique for a larger project. Since the pilot project is focused on Kano, relevant documents that are in bad condition at Arewa House will also be included in the inventory.

The project will work closely with the staff at KSHCB and Arewa House, so that individuals can be trained in the use of the technology while inventories are being done. Hence, the pilot project has several very important components:

1: Educate archival staff in selected archives on how to digitise and preserve collections in line with the standards and expectations of the Endangered Archives Programme.

2: Evaluate the present state of conservation and provide an inventory determining the materials most in need of preservation through digital means.

3: Target specific materials to be digitalized immediately for deposit at the British Library, Tubman Centre, and Arewa House.

Project Ref: EAP088
Project Title: The Golha radio programmes (Flowers of Persian Song and Poetry)



The Gulha ('Flowers of Persian Song and Music') comprise 1578 radio programmes consisting of approximately 847 hours of programmes broadcast over a period of 23 years - from 1956 through 1979. These programmes are made up of literary commentary with the declamation of poetry, which is sung with musical accompaniment, interspersed with solo musical pieces. For the 23 years that these programmes were broadcast, all the most eminent literary critics, famous radio announcers, singers, composers and musicians in Iran were invited to participate in them. The programmes were exemplars of excellence in the sphere of music and refined examples of literary expression, making use of a repertoire of over 250 classical and modern Persian poets, setting literary and musical standards that are still looked up to with admiration in Iran today and referred to by scholars and musicians* as an encyclopedia of Persian music and poetry. They marked a watershed in Persian culture, following which music and musicians gained respectability. Heretofore, music had been practised behind closed doors. Where performed in public spaces, the performers had been tarred with the same brush as popular street minstrels. Until the advent of these programmes, it had been taken for granted that any female performers and musicians were less than respectable. Due to the high literary and musical quality of these programmes, public perception of music and musicians in Iran shifted, its participants came to be considered-virtually for the first time in Persian history of the Islamic period-as maestros, virtuosos, divas and adepts of a fine art, and no longer looked down upon as cabaret singers or denigrated as street minstrels.

During the initial years of the Iranian Revolution, when the verse and song of the great Persian poets were considered to be counter-revolutionary, such that music was completely banned and recitation of manny Persian poets frowned upon, the participants in the Gulha programmes sought refuge in the privacy of their homes. Since the Islamic Republic had forced many of the great musicians to suppress their artistic inclinations and aspirations, many of them went into internal exile or fled abroad. Today, many of them are still banned from performing in Iran, and the female artists are prohibited from performing for mixed audiences.

Since within the next few decades, much of this unique documentary heritage of music may be lost or left to deteriorate, it's very important that these programmes be collected, preserved and stored in an academic institution outside Iran so that this valuable and representative epitome of Persian literary and musical culture be made available to future scholars of Persian literature, music & culture.

The project proposes to collect and construct a digital archive of all those Gulha programmes that were produced by the original producer Mr. Davoud Pirnia, in order to store these for access to academic researchers of Persian music and literature in the British Library under the auspices of the Endangered Archives Programme. This will be done by going to Iran where the Gulha tapes are available in private institutions and various collectors' homes. Digital copies of the programmes that were produced by Davoud Pirnia, which make up approximately 707 of the total 847 hours of recorded programming, will be made. Where possible, the tapes will be copied in a professional sound studio by qualified sound technicians. In the cases where the owner does not want the tapes removed from their premises the sound technician will bring the equipment to those premises to make copies on site. With the help of research staff the literary and musical content of the programmes will be listed.

Visit the Golha website here

* In general, the Golha programmes should be considered to be a veritable audio treasury of the history of traditional Persian Music. Considering the incredible efforts that went into producing these programmes and their strong influence on society, they are still considered today to be the best resource for our music. It is very appropriate and important that these programmes be preserved and passed on to future generations. Homayoun Khorram, The Clamor of the Stars (Ghugha-yi sitaragan), Farhang va Pazhuhish, Special Issue on Music, No. 197 (August 2005), p. 20.

Project Ref: EAP089
Project Title: Reconstruction of sound materials of endangered languages in the Russian Federation for sound archives in Saint Petersburg

In the summer of 2005, a report was published on the research programme called Voices from Tundra and Taiga, initiated by Dr. T. de Graaf at the University of Groningen (Netherlands), the University of St. Petersburg and the Sound Archive of the Russian Museum of Literature, the Pushkinsky Dom (Russian Federation). The programme has been concerned with the study of endangered Arctic languages and cultures of the Russian Federation, which urgently need to be documented before they become extinct. A catalogue has been prepared of existing recordings and also a phonographic and video library of recorded stories, folklore, singing and oral traditions of the peoples of Siberia.

At present, many old recordings still remain hidden in private archives and places where the quality of preservation is not guaranteed. This project aims to make part of these recordings available and to add them to the database developed in St.Petersburg. The St.Petersburg Institute for Linguistic Studies (ILS) is one of the most important Russian centres for the investigation of minority and regional languages in the Russian Federation. Many researchers in this institute have collected sound material and many of these recordings (primary data) are not stored in safe places, whereas the related field notes, manuscripts, card files (secondary data) can be found in the institute or also in private archives.

The aim of the project is to re-record the material on sound carriers according to up-to date technology and store them in a safe place together with the metadata, which will be obtained from the related secondary data. The storage facility provided by the project will modernise the possible archiving activities in the Russian Federation and bring them up-to date with the present world standards. It will be important to co-ordinate this with the staff of the Pushkinsky Dom, where a collection of great historical value (selected by UNESCO in its programme Memory of the World) can be enriched with the new data. In the project we are concentrating on a selection of recordings, especially those of some Siberian languages, such as Nivkh, Even, Evenki, Aleut, Nenets, Udege and other ones.

In the beginning of the project two Russian colleagues will be trained in the Vienna Phonogrammarchiv for the period of two weeks. There the director and his colleagues will be responsible to familiarise Russian specialists with present archival standards and modern techniques. Specialists from Vienna will travel to St. Petersburg to install equipment and locally instruct Russian colleagues. They will also stand ready to assist for the purpose of solving special problems.

The various collections to be safeguarded will be brought to St. Petersburg, where they will be transferred along with relevant linguistic materials from the collection of the Archive itself. Copies will be provided to the British Library and the Vienna Phonogramm Archiv.

A documentary film of the Frisian Broadcasting Company Omrop Fryslân, which was broadcast on national TV in the Netherlands (2001), describes the reconstruction of historical sound materials in the archives of the Pushkinsky Dom, the Russian Institute of Literature in Saint-Petersburg. It shows the collection of Edison wax cylinders and the way that material of some endangered languages in Russia can be obtained from these recordings.

Project Ref: EAP093
Project Title: A survey of the endangered court records of Nevis, West Indies

This pilot project has been generated by a multi-disciplinary, longitudinal study of the enslaved population of Mountravers, a Bristol-owned sugar plantation on the Eastern Caribbean island of Nevis in the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis. Annual field-trips since 1998 have focused on both the archaeology and the documentary material relating to the enslaved populations of Mountravers and neighbouring estates. These estates are now themselves under pressure from the increased pace of unsympathetic development.

The research has found that the main local collection of primary source material relating to the slave populations of approximately one hundred estates on Nevis consists of legal records in the island's courthouse. At least 45 volumes of Common Records are known to cover the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries together with a small number of other legal records. There may also be a large number of volumes recording cases in the Court of the King's/Queens Bench and Court of Common Pleas. There is certainly an unknown quantity of loose material stored haphazardly both on shelves and on the floor in the courthouse vault.

Primary source material recording the history of Nevis can be found in several private collections in Britain including the Pinney Papers at Bristol University. Political and economic material can also be found in the (British) National Archives but the Nevis Courthouse Records are the only other known source. Nevis played a significant role in Atlantic history, being one of the earliest Caribbean islands settled by the British (1628). Thousands of enslaved West Africans were brought there, particularly in the late seventeenth century when Nevis was the location for the Royal African Company's only 'factory' in the Leeward Islands. From Nevis there has been a continual process of emigration to, and settlement in, other islands in the Caribbean and to North America. For these reasons the Nevis collection has an international significance.

However, the collection is equally important to Nevisians. In the legal records can be found the wills of free black Nevisians, former slaves and planters, together with manumissions recording the freedom of individuals. There are mortgages of property and slaves listing whole enslaved populations on particular estates, together with detailed histories of landownership. The documents include some estate plans. These are rare for Nevis and provide clues for the location of slave villages, a process which has only just begun on Nevis. Also to be found are plans of individual house plots in newly formed post-emancipation villages.

Careful analysis of these records will allow historians and archaeologists to compare social development before and after emancipation, investigate patterns of family life, examine the growth of an independent, small-scale economy, locate slave and post-emancipation villages and identify changing patterns of land ownership and use. Significant for the future is the potential for Nevisians to try and regain some of their family history. Because parish records are very patchy most Nevisians can only do this for two or three generations, mostly through oral history. Inevitably, as time passes, the earlier history is being lost.

In common with records in other small Caribbean islands, the Courthouse Records are seriously at risk. The building is threatened by hurricanes although the vault is more likely to be flooded being close to the shore. Inspection shows that the records are deteriorating from the acidic content of the original ink, the variable quality of the paper, 'weevil' damage, lack of air-conditioning and the consequent relative humidity. However, the principal source of damage is the method of storage. The volumes have been kept in no particular order nor are they adequately labelled and spines and covers are regularly damaged in the consequent search for a particular volume. Lack of storage has meant that nineteenth, twentieth and potentially eighteenth-century records are stored on the floor of the vault and access to shelved records has required climbing on piles of these documents. In addition, because of the crowded nature of the vault it is not clear if anyone knows the extent of the archive.

The aim of the pilot project is to survey this courthouse archive, assess the extent of the damage being done to it, identify key sets of documents and investigate the potential for copying and relocating them, or simply copying them. The project aims to assess the political will to allow copying and/or relocation and the local capacity to carry out the work. In addition the project aims to identify whether or not there are other potential sources of documentary evidence on the island within the various government departments and in private hands. The information gathered in the pilot project will be used to develop plans and aid further grant proposals. Hopefully the project may lead to a model for the protection of endangered records on other small Caribbean islands.

Project Ref: EAP095
Project Title: Faces drawn in the sand': a rescue pilot project of native peoples' photographs stored at the Museum of La Plata, Argentina

The Museum of La Plata, Argentina, was established in 1884, devoted to the study of American Man. It was the first institution of this kind in South America, resulting from the donation to the Buenos Aires Province of several anthropological and archaeological collections gathered in the Argentinean inland during the 1870s. The Museum envisioned a continental scope: to achieve its goals it organised different strategies to collect objects that encompassed societies that, by those years, were perceived to be in a process of extinction. In the late 1870s and the 1880s several campaigns against Native peoples from Patagonia and Chaco were carried out as governmental or private initiatives in order to erase savagery from lands to be included into the market economy. On the other hand, indigenous peoples from Northwestern Argentina were incorporated as labour force into the new industries established in that region, such as the Ingenios (sugar refineries) from Tucumán. Either to record vanishing races or to testimony the changes experienced by Native peoples in the process of becoming civilized, photographic expeditions were dispatched to the localities and scenes where that process was taking place. As a result, La Plata Museum became one of the repositories of the visual documents of a history that was not deeply analysed and remains unclassified and under theatening conditions in the deposits of the Museum. The photographic testimony of this history is endangered by its own physical format, lack of professional training, and the poor conditions of storage.

A great deal of the slide collections is affected by fungi and some of the images are already lost (the vanished images represent 10% of the total of the collection of Native Peoples' images. If treated adequately they can be rescued). The La Plata Museum repositories represent one of the potential sources for researching on the pre-industrial period of Native peoples inhabiting current Argentina and the Southern Cone.

Up to now these images have not been the subject of academic research. This project aims at recovering for future research these deteriorated materials by means of their translation to another medium. In particular, this pilot project will aim to:

a) Classify the materials in order to investigate the potential of a major project about the rescue of Native people photographs. This includes identifying the most seriously endangered photographic collections and to locate photographic material archived in precarious conditions in other sections of the Museum or in personal family collections (scientists and private collections). This aspect includes interviewing private holders of the photographs: some Museo de La Plata staff members were disciples of those photographs or technical assistants who took the photographs and the interviews could reveal important aspects of these documents.

b) Train local staff in collaboration with CEHIPE (Centre for Historical Studies and Information Parque España, Rosario, Provincia de Santa Fe), a leading centre in Argentina in terms of best archival practices.

c) Copy a sample of photographs on the basis defined above. 35 mm microfilming will be used as the archival medium in combination with digital imaging. The sample will be done in cooperation with CEHIPE photographers.

Project Ref: EAP097
Project Title: Preserving and digitising the documentation and resource centre of the African Publishers' Network (APNET)

The African Publishers' Network (APNET) is an association of publishers' associations in Africa which was founded in 1992.

APNET's Secretariat was initially established in Harare, Zimbabwe. However, as the political and economic climate in Zimbabwe declined rapidly, APNET's Board decided to relocate it to Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, in 2002. Unfortunately, soon after arriving there, the country was unexpectedly embroiled in a civil war. Partly as a result of this, APNET went through something of a crisis, particularly as regards funding.

A Task Team was appointed to address the situation urgently, and funds were obtained to move the Secretariat to Accra, Ghana, in 2006. However, following a need to reduce costs, only one member of staff, the Membership and Trade Promotion Officer, is now employed.

The matter that concerns this proposal relates to a resource collection (called the APNET Documentation and Resource Centre) that has been maintained at the Secretariat, and specifically its core collection donated by Hans Zell. This collection is described as comprising resource materials on African publishing dating back to 1960, as well as a computerised database of the collection stored on diskettes. It is particularly the Hans Zell collection that is in need of being preserved and digitised. It is unique in many respects, containing a great deal of grey literature - original documents, reports and papers on African publishing, particularly from its early days, gathered over a period of more than three decades.

There is significant danger that this material might be lost, having been moved around in boxes for quite a few years. It is unclear what material is still remaining in the boxes and the condition it is in.

The existence of the collection only in one physical location is of little value to African publishers who are scattered throughout the continent. To serve a more useful purpose, it would be ideal if these historical documents were accessible in electronic form via the Internet - both to African publishers themselves as well as to others interested in the growth and development of African indigenous publishing.

It is APNET's wish that the Resource Centre should remain in Africa. Part of the project will involve discussion with other institutions to ascertain whether they could hold and administer the collection on a permanent basis.

The aims of this pilot project therefore are to:

1. Assess the current state of the original Hans Zell Collection.
2. Ascertain what additional material has been added.
3. Ascertain what amount of cataloguing of these materials has been done and is still needed.
4. Ascertain what electronic databases exist and in what formats.
5. Identify the number and type of materials that are in need of preservation and could be made available electronically.
6. Identify a possible permanent home for the physical collection in Africa.

Project Ref: EAP099
Project Title: Collecting and preserving the records of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania in Moshi, Tanzania



Following the creation of the German protectorate in 1885, German missionary societies established themselves in different parts of Tanzania. The Leipzig Mission founded its first station on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in 1893. By 1939 half of the (predominantly peasant) Chagga population had been converted; today most people are Christians. Although German rule ended in 1919, German missionaries returned in 1926, including a leading figure in German anthropology and mission history - Bruno Gutmann (1876-1966). In 1963 the mission church became the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania in Northern Tanganyika [later: Tanzania], consisting of 5 dioceses: Northern, Pare, Arusha, Meru and Central.

The archive of this church in the small town of Moshi in the centre of the Northern Diocese houses records which extend back to 1895. Some are in English, others in German or Swahili. Most researchers studying the history or anthropology of northeastern Tanzania visit this archive, although the conditions for research are far from ideal. There are plans for the archive to be extended. The material in Moshi suffers from poor shelving, changing temperature and humidity, a complete lack of boxes, in a few cases termites and silverfish, and above all dust. Some papers are in the process of becoming very brittle because of the influence of light. Those held at other former mission stations are in a similar state. Nevertheless, most of the material is still suitable for copying.

The material, produced by missionaries and subsequently by African converts, falls into seven categories, of which the first is the most important in terms of quantity:

  • church registers (births, baptisms, communion, catechists, marriages, funerals)
  • mission council records
  • education records
  • diaries
  • files on individual missionaries, notably Bruno Gutmann, and on African teachers, pastors and evangelists
  • photographs
  • first prints of hymnals and portions of the Bible in African languages.

Six parishes in the Northern Diocese (Kidia, Machame, Mamba, Masama, Mwika, Sika) have already agreed to transfer all their archival material to Moshi. There is additional material of historical interest, even more endangered, lying around elsewhere in the same region. These places, which have no archives of their own, belong to different dioceses (e.g. Ilboru in Arusha Diocese, Nkoaranga in Meru Diocese, Shigatini in Pare Diocese), but the need for cooperation and centralisation is recognised by the respective bishops. In the long term it may be possible to persuade some descendants of the first native pastors to donate whatever papers and / or photographs they have.

Any material not yet inventoried must be sorted and listed before it can be digitally copied. A finding aid will be produced for such material, serving among other things as a link between the digital copies and the originals.

To transfer the Leipzig Mission records to the Tanzania National Archives is not considered desirable in Moshi, where the records continue to have a meaning for the Church and descendants of the early Christians. Hence it seems more appropriate to work towards better conservation in Moshi itself, while depositing a copy of all digitalised records in 1) the Moshi archive, 2) the National Archives (Dar es Salaam) [master copy], 3) the British Library, 4) the University of Leipzig and possibly 5) Yale University.

Project Ref: EAP1013
Project Title: Digitisation of Wills, Deed Books and Powers of Attorney for St Vincent, 1785-1865

This project seeks to digitise manuscripts relating to slavery and the immediate post-slavery era held at the Eastern Caribbean Courthouse, Kingstown, Saint Vincent. The records in question comprise Deed Books, Powers of Attorney and Wills. The documents contain extensive information on land transactions, plantation ownership, testamentary practices, and slaveholding: they are essential for any serious investigation of slavery and plantation life on Saint Vincent and the post-slavery period from 1834 to 1865. This pilot project is an extension of two completed investigations (EAP345 and EAP688) that digitised Deed Books for Saint Vincent.

This project focuses on historical manuscripts for the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent when it was an important sugar producing colony in the British Empire. The main outcome of the current application will be the digitisation of 39 bound manuscript volumes of Deeds, Wills and Powers of Attorney for Saint Vincent for various dates between 1780 and 1865. These historically important volumes contain essential information about the history of Saint Vincent. They have barely been used by historians. This project will disseminate their significance to a broad scholarly audience through digitisation.

This application focuses partly on the same class of records (namely the Deed Books of St Vincent) that were digitised as part of project EAP345 (“A survey of the endangered archives of St Vincent, West Indies, during the slavery era”) and the major research project EAP688 (“Digitisation of the Deed Books in St Vincent for the slavery era, 1763-1838”). In addition, some contemporary manuscript volumes of Wills and Powers of Attorney are also included in this new application: these will add further detail to the information within the Deed Books.

The collections are historically important documents for the slavery and immediate post-slavery era in Saint Vincent at a time when that small island produced large amounts of sugar and coffee that enriched British imperial coffers. The documents have been almost entirely neglected by scholars, even by those of Caribbean origin. The manuscripts are essential for any serious research into the social, economic and legal history of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. One might add that historical study of Saint Vincent and the other Windward Islands in the Caribbean is seriously under-developed compared with the plentiful scholarly studies of Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad.

The material comprises 39 bound manuscript volumes of Wills, Powers of Attorney and Deed Books for various dates between 1785 and 1865. The manuscripts are owned by the Eastern Caribbean Court. Nine are deposited at the National Archive of Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Kingstown, Saint Vincent. The other 30 are held in chaotic conditions in the court vault in Kingstown. These documents are important for research for several reasons. The Deed Books constitute the major surviving series of volumes that document the history of Saint Vincent during the era when it was a British possession largely based on sugar and slavery. They record all property and land transactions on the island, giving the names of properties, identifying buildings and plots of land, and indicating the names and residences of investors and the amount and means of their financial investment. The Powers of Attorney, granted by the Registrar of Saint Vincent, essentially record the same information, though they frequently cover land and property not systematically covered in the Deed Books. The content of the Wills should be self-explanatory. These three classes of documents are available nowhere other than in Saint Vincent; they have never been microfilmed or digitised. They provide comprehensive information on the economic and social history of Saint Vincent between the American Revolution and the mid-nineteenth century.

Project Ref: EAP1014
Project Title: Preservation and digitisation of Zoroastrian historical documents and Avestan manuscripts

The aim of this project is to digitise and preserve the collection of historical Zoroastrian documents and Avestan manuscripts in Arbab Mehraban Poulad’s Archive. This archival collection has remained in scattered locations until recently, and valuable seventeenth to nineteenth century documents have been kept under deteriorating conditions. This project will digitise approximately 20,000 pages and make them available to scholars and the public worldwide. The objective is to undertake a survey and to increase access to, and the visibility of, this most valuable and endangered component of Zoroastrian heritage. The Avestan manuscripts, which have been discovered recently in this collection, would support relevant developments in the history of the transmission, codicology, and genealogy of Iranian Avestan manuscripts. Two Videvdād manuscripts of this collection are of particular significance for Avestan studies. One of them seems to be the oldest discovered Videvdād until today, while another one is the only illuminated manuscript from the Marzbān family, a famous scribe family of Avestan manuscripts.

The material is located at an old house in the Priests’ Quarter in Yazd, Iran. Both the Avestan manuscripts and the historical documents are handwritten and critically endangered. The Avestan manuscripts are in very poor condition and seriously damaged by termites, rodents, and mould. The most serious threat for this collection is theft, which has already taken place several times in recent years.

The archival material includes 10 Avestan manuscripts (four Videvdāds, four Yasnās, one Vājyašt Gahanbār with Doruns and one Xorde Avesta), with a total of more than 8000 pages and more than 15,000 of dated historical, economic, and legal documents regarding the religious minority of Zoroastrians in Iran. The historical documents include communications in the form of letters between Arbāb Mehrabān Pulād and official institutions, and administrative circulars. Most of the documents are bookkeeping record books, legal contracts dealing with sales, leases, settlement of disputes, letters, and official actions. They provide us with relevant information about the structure and work flow of various institutions and organisations during the Qajar and Pahlavi periods in Iran.

Project Ref: EAP1024
Project Title: Beyond the Revolution: Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Frères de l’Instruction Chrétienne Collections, Bringing Nineteenth-Century Haitian History to the World

This project aims to preserve a portion of the most significant repository of nineteenth-century Haitian newspapers in the world, which is held by the partner archive Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Frères de l’Instruction Chrétienne (BHFIC) in Port-au-Prince. It will assist library staff in cataloguing and digitising ninety-one Haitian newspapers published between 1813-1913. The BHFIC is in the heart of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince and is one of the oldest active libraries in the country, founded in 1912. Prior to the current National Library's founding in 1939, it served as Haiti's primary "depository" library. The library’s executive director, Marie-France Guillaume, is currently supported by a small staff, including an administrative assistant and a library technician. Given its central location and the importance of its collections, BHFIC receives a regular readership of Haitian students, professional scholars, and community researchers, as well as researchers arriving from abroad.

The material which comprises of two collections, series AN-1 and AN-2, have already been identified by the library staff as vulnerable to degradation. BHFIC’s staff called attention to the vulnerability of these materials by publishing a call to action, “La bibliothèque haïtienne des FIC appelle à l’aide pour préserver les documents en état de ruine” on 14 September 2016 in the country’s most widely-read paper, Le Nouvelliste. Because of their fragile state and the library’s limited digitisation capabilities, these newspapers are currently not publicly available for consultation.

The papers date from 1813 to 1900, a period when Haiti, just emerging from a revolution that ended slavery, was organised into an agricultural society with considerable distance between town residents and its peasant majority. At present, a rich and expanding international scholarship engages with the central impact of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), an event that was integral to other Atlantic revolutions and slave societies and the foundations of modernity itself. In sharp contradistinction to this rich body of research, however, scholarship on Haiti’s history after the revolution declines precipitously, creating a catastrophic gap. There is not a single English-language work that systematically considers state making in Haiti from the 1810s through the 1870s. Sources are at the heart of this lacuna. Due to high publication costs in Haiti in the nineteenth century, book production was limited and newspapers provided the central forum for intellectual production in the newly independent state. Yet these sources remain widely unavailable, and their long-term future is in doubt.

This newspaper collection documents a period in Haitian history that scholars have yet to fully explore -- precisely because of the dearth of materials and limited access to what sources do exist. The papers in this collection span much of the nineteenth century, from 1813 to 1900. While the majority of the papers have short runs of two to three years, at least three papers had a longer publishing history: Le Télégraphe (1813-43), Feuille de Commerce, (1827-60) and Le Moniteur Haïtien (1845-72 with gaps). In contrast to the majority of available materials from this period that are published exclusively in Port-au-Prince, these periodicals represent journalism from cities and towns throughout the territory, from the south (Les Cayes) to important political centres in port towns of the north (Cap-Haïtien). The geographic range of these papers will bring to light a period of Haitian history where intellectual production was distributed throughout the country, rather than concentrated almost entirely in the Haitian capital.

The newspapers at the heart of this project are in fragile physical condition. The library’s building is not climate controlled, and the documents have weathered centuries of heat and high humidity. They are shelved in open metal bookcases and, though held in the back of the library, are susceptible to humidity. Moreover, they are exposed to fungi, insects, and dust. The ninety-one newspapers vary in condition, with the majority demonstrating environmental damage including faded print, deteriorating paper, decomposed bindings, torn pages, and evidence of insect infestations. More generally the documents are endangered due to the country’s vulnerability to natural disaster and lack of infrastructure, as seen most recently with Hurricane Matthew. BHFIC’s current building was renovated in 1994 and underwent minimal repairs after the 2010 earthquake, despite damages that imperil the collection. We are trying to ensure the preservation of what survived this disaster. The materials are also endangered by Haiti’s political instability. Haiti’s history of tumultuous cycles of political change has had an impact on the library. For example, the library used additional storage in a building that also housed the cars of former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier. When he left office in 1986, protesters looted the building destroying the cars and the stored documents. Moreover, given its limited means, the Haitian state has never prioritized preservation of historical documents. Haitian archival materials have also been taken from institutional repositories and sold to private individuals, adding urgency to our efforts to digitise.

Project Ref: EAP103
Project Title: Endangered ethnographic archive, Sofia, Bulgaria



The Ethnographic Archive is one of the oldest Bulgarian archives and is situated in the old royal palace of Bulgarian rulers in Sofia - the capital of Bulgaria. Today this building is in a very poor condition and circumstances for record preservation are extremely uncomfortable and unacceptable. The archives have no air-conditioning and there is no protection from humidity, microbes, moulds and direct sunshine.

This project is concerned with preserving two sections of the archives: written documentary material from between the middle of the 19th & 20th centuries and photographic material comprising old photographs, negatives, plates and slides from the second half of the 19th century up to the 40`s and 50`s of the 20th century.

The written documents, containing some 25,000 pages, provide information about the traditions and folklore culture of the Bulgarian society. They include fieldwork researches which scope data to the history, foundation of villages, means of livelihood, Bulgarian material culture (houses, agricultural implements, costumes) and spiritual culture (traditional customs, mythology, folklore). They show the traditional life of Bulgarians and include different villages in the border of Bulgarian ethnic aria. The archival materials present information for Bulgarian pre-industrial society.

The photographic collections contain 10,000 black-white and color photonegatives, 5,000 photographs and 5,000 plates. These photographs document traditional Bulgarian cloths, architectural monuments, rituals, women's traditional costumes, popular customs and life style of Bulgarians. They help to make a complete, exact and objective reconstruction of these lost cultural phenomena, agricultural implements, folk-style objects and national costumes, and present a valuable group of documents to different aspects of traditional folklore culture.

The project will proceed in two stages. The preliminary part of the project will involve moving the written material into archival boxes in new cupboards. A survey will be undertaken of the material at this stage to see which, if any, documents should be digitised. Staff at the Museum will be trained in digitisation techniques and will take significant digital samples of the photographs. A report will be made on the photographs/collections selected for digitising.

The second part of the project will entail the full digitisation of the listed photographic material plus any of the documents which it is agreed should be digitised.

This project will help to preserve for the future this unique valuable and diverse information about the life style, economics and culture of Bulgarians during the pre-industrial period, not contained in any other archives.

Project Ref: EAP1034
Project Title: Preserving Traditional Buryat Book Culture

Special historical circumstances and political events in Russia in the twentieth century made the Tibetan collections at the Centre of Oriental Manuscripts and Xylographs (Institute of Buddhist, Mongolian and Tibetan Studies) and Aga Buddhist monastery ones of the largest in the world. Texts of these collections are classified as (a) serial, (b) pertaining to a set class, or (c) individual editions. This project aims to document and digitise Buddhist xylographs kept in the Center of Oriental Manuscripts and Xylographs (COMX), and the Aga Buddhist monastery. This will result in a digital library with the 400 most valuable xylographs (with approximately 20,000 images) available online.

The team will digitise xylographs of the Tibetan Buddhist canon (including Beijing and Chone editions, approximately 18th century); also, there are numerous Buryat publications in Tibetan language (approximately 19th century), including unknown books in the field of medicine, Buddhist philosophy and ritual. These are unique and important texts from the Buryat region. Continuing fieldwork and research will be carried out to discover which other traditional books and manuscripts may exist in private collections in this region.

Historically, the traditional literature of the region (especially that of a religious nature) has suffered from a continuing complicated socio-political situation wherein preindustrial texts have been destroyed, lost, or hidden away. Between 1925-1937 religion was under attack with religious leaders being imprisoned and approximately 80% of religious literature was destroyed. The period following the Second World War saw a bit of a revival of traditional religious practice among those Buryats who were born in pre-Soviet times; yet, their living traditions had failed to pass to the new generations. Without a relationship to the texts, many were simply lost and left unused in poor conditions due to neglect. Finally, one outcome of the economic depression of the ‘90s was further neglect of traditional texts. People had other, more pressing needs and worries than taking care of books with which they had no relationship (an inability to read the language, and no connection to the religious practices they represented).

Project Ref: EAP104
Project Title: A pilot project aimed at the preservation of Pa'O religious and literary manuscripts



The ethnic Pa'O (Tibeto-Burman, Karenic branch) minority group number close to one million persons and currently occupy areas as far north as the southern Shan State and as far south as the northern Mon State in present-day Myanmar. The Pa'O Literary and Cultural Council Committee (PLCCC) Library has begun to collect endangered materials, largely consisting of Theravada Buddhist texts in palm leaf manuscript and parabaik (accordian-folded paper manuscript) form as well as scrolls of both religious and literary texts. All texts are written in either the Pa'O language or in Pali employing a slightly modified Pa'O script. There is no doubt as to the significance of these texts as they represent Pa'O interpretations of the Buddhist canon, an alternative to the Burmese lineage that now essentially dominates religious discourse within Myanmar. Further, they represent a major collection of the Pa'O literary tradition in as much as recent political conditions have effectively quelled Pa'O literature. Sources of these collected Pa'O texts are disparate; some are harvested from homes in rural villages while most have been gifted by local Pa'O monasteries. The conditions of the texts vary but few are in worse condition than the political and physical environments threatening them.

First and foremost, the primary vulnerability is the instability of the political situation in Myanmar . Secondly, while conditions at the PLCCC Library represent an improvement, they are still far from ideal. The PLCCC faces oversight by the Ministry of Information which could choose to confiscate library holdings at any time. Further, the potential for catastrophic disaster (fire, flood, etc.) should be considered high both in eventual likelihood and in materials cost since unique treasures are being concentrated into centralized holdings. In fact, one Pa'O monastery (including significant library holdings) was destroyed by fire in 2004.

For this pilot project, the principal applicant will travel to Myanmar for a period of two months, during which time the Pa'O archival materials described above will be digitally captured. The project is structured around the capture of both the archival material and representative metadata for the purposes of preservation and access.

Project Ref: EAP105
Project Title: The digital documentation of manuscripts at Drametse and Ogyen Choling



Drametse Monastery, founded in 1511 by Ani Choten Zangmo, the grand-daughter of the famous Bhutanese saint Padma Lingpa (1450-1521), is one of the major monasteries in eastern Bhutan. It is the home of Drametse Choje family which has produced many eminent religious personalities including three Shabdrung incarnations (Jigme Drakpa (1791-1830), Jigme Norbu (1831-1861) and Jigme Chogyal (1862-1904)) and the seventh Gangtey Tulku. The incumbent head of Drametse is Sungtrul Rinpoche, the eleventh Pema Lingpa incarnation, and the drum dance of Drametse has recently been classified by UNESCO as an intangible world cultural heritage.

Drametse's manuscript collection includes the 46-volume rNying ma rGyud 'bum, sixteen volumes of Prajnaparamitasutras and about a hundred and fifty volumes of miscellaneous titles including religious hagiographies, histories, liturgies, meditation manuals and philosophical treatises. Many of the books are written in dbu med script, indicating that the books were most likely brought from Tibet in the distant past.

Ogyen Choling, located in central Bhutan, is a seat of two famous Nyingmapa saints, Longchenpa (1308-1363) and Dorje Lingpa (1346-1405). Although historically a religious establishment, it is now a manor house of the family which claims direct descent from Dorje Lingpa. It is the home of many distinguished individuals in Bhutanese history including Tshokye Dorje, the mid-nineteenth century governor of Tongsa and the de facto leader of Bhutan, Lama Nuden Dorji (1930-85), the last monk scholar of the family and Ashe Kunzang Choden, the acclaimed woman writer.

Its library, housed in three of the five temple rooms in the manor complex, contains several hundred titles of manuscripts ranging from pilgrimage guides to philosophical treatises, including a beautifully executed 21-volume set of Dorje Lingpa's writings. Prof. Samten Karmay has recently catalogued the collection highlighting some of the rare works of Zhang Lama Drowai Gonpo (1123-93), Lhodrak Drubchen Namkha Gyaltshan (1326-1401), Wensa Lobzang Dondrub (1504-1566) and Jangchub Tsondru (1817-57). In addition to the manuscripts, Ogyen Choling also owns a large body of books printed from xylographic blocks.

As manuscripts, the books are all unique copies. They are mostly a few hundred years old and thus beginning to show signs of age and wear. The local community lacks archival skills or the means to acquire them, thus the manuscripts lie in precarious situations. An accidental fire from the habitual butter lamps could instantly reduce the entire library to ashes, as has been the case with many libraries through Bhutanese history. In addition, the market for religious artefacts in the West has led to commercialisation of these objects and consequently also to theft in remote places.

The collections at Drametse and Ogyen Choling hold immense literary and artistic value, and tremendous religious significance for the local community. They constitute the spiritual heart of the two establishments and thus cannot be relocated outside the temples - digital reproduction proves to be the most effective mode of preservation and dissemination. The project will be executed in close collaboration with the head and members of Drametse and Ogyen Choling.

The final outcome of this project will be the preservation and reproduction of the manuscript holdings of the two places in no fewer than 150,000 image files stored on hard drives.

Project Ref: EAP1054
Project Title: Survey of endangered audio material still available with private collectors in India
Description: This project will conduct a survey to discover what endangered audio material is held by private collectors in several locations in India. A systematic study of holdings and the extent of the collections will be recorded and the possibilities of co-operation for a future major project will be explored. A preliminary study has revealed over 50 collectors in various locations, many of which hold material in the form of phonograph cylinders, gramophone discs, magnetic wire recordings, open reel spool tapes and audio cassettes. These collections have been chosen since traditional formats of audio recordings and replay are becoming obsolete for variety of reasons and are lying shelved with private collectors due to neglect and non-availability of playback devices to them. Significant part of these collections contains sound material related to pre-modern and pre industrial period in India. The material represents audio culture and history of various regions of India, both in vocal and instrumental music form. It covers many important styles, types and genre in classical, popular and folk music including spoken words and shall form major source of reference for scholars and researchers.
Project Ref: EAP1056
Project Title: Survey and digitisation of individual manuscript collections in Northern Sri Lanka

This project aims to conduct an extensive survey of the endangered Tamil, Grantha and Sanskrit palm leaf manuscript collections in Northern Sri Lanka and to digitise, digitally preserve and provide open access to a subset of those collections.The project will focus on Jaffna and Mannar districts. Initially, custodians will be contacted via the lists of contacts from Noolaham Foundation’s database. Additional outreach will be done through community awareness raising events and through field research.Smaller collections and fragile items shall be digitised as part of this project itself. About 12,000 images will be copied during this project. Any larger collections shall be deferred for a future project.

Noolaham Foundation is engaged in digital preservation and access activities since 2005. Their focus has been on contemporary print documents such as books, magazines, journals and newspapers. Over the years, they have come across a number of palm leaf collections and have digitised three small palm leaf collections. Noolaham Foundation is a community funded organisation and most of the funding is restricted to contemporary publications as needed by the wider community. An extensive survey of palm leaf manuscripts and digitisation hasn't been carried out due to budget constraints and the need for more specialist expertise and equipment. The project team will gain expertise in this area and will allow the team to undertake larger future projects, such as the digitisation of Eastern Sri Lankan manuscripts.

In Northern Sri Lanka, most of the traditional knowledge is preserved and passed on through oral traditions and through palm leaf manuscripts. A distinct body of literature focusing on traditional medicine, mathematics, astronomical observations, astrology, arts, folklore, local history, customs and laws etc. existed from 13th century onwards. Jaffna and surrounding areas were a focal point of intellectual activity during the 19th century, with record number of works being authored. The endangered materials containing verses and prose about indigenous medicine, astronomical observations, astrology, language, literature, grammar and lexicography, family histories, law, local history, art, architecture and folklore, were written during pre-industrial and colonial period. These works are of primary importance to the local Tamil speaking communities as sources of traditional knowledge. These works can aid the development of local arts and crafts. They are a source of cultural identity and heritage. They also are key primary resources for local history, law and customs. Thus, this material is very valuable to scholars, researchers and students from various fields, including social sciences, humanities and developmental studies. During the long years of war many important and rare documents have been lost. And that no one was in a position to save them. Thus preserving the remaining documents is critical for our communities. The material is endangered because of the continued political unrest in Northern Sri Lanka, poor preservation practices, poor storage facilities and lack of knowledge to transcribe these materials into other physical forms. The majority of the manuscripts are not under preservation. Many are sole surviving copies, and vulnerable to poor handling, weather conditions, natural disasters and systematic removal.

Project Ref: EAP1063
Project Title: Vernacular Mathematics in Pre-Modern India

This project will collect materials from three regional vernacular mathematical cultures in India. The Material includes a variety of pre modern mathematical sources, which reflect the entire textual scope of vernacular mathematical cultures: Palm leaf manuscripts of mathematical treatises in vernacular languages (non Sanskrit), palm leaves of village, temple and merchant account registers, manuals of merchants, accountants and artisans (e.g. sculptors, boat makers), and pedagogical mathematical texts. The regional (linguistic) focus of the project is: Kerala (Malayalam), Tamil Nadu (Tamil), and Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand (Hindi). The material will enable research into social and cognitive contexts of pre-modern Indian mathematics.

So far, scholarship on Indian mathematics has mostly been interested in an abstract and universalised view of mathematics. It therefore focused on canonical Sanskrit treatises that emphasise abstract and universal aspects of mathematics, and on comparisons with foreign high mathematical cultures. This approach to knowledge risks leading to anachronistic reconstructions of Indian mathematics, instead of interpreting it in the context of Indian knowledge and society itself. This result feeds back into the myth that mathematics is a universal and abstract form of knowledge, rather than a locally embedded set of practices, closing a vicious circle.

This project aims at highlighting the local logics of mathematics and the contextual motivations for the development and presentation of mathematical texts. To achieve that, we must complement the Sanskrit sources with vernacular sources that cover the complex continuum of education, accounting, commerce, bureaucracy, artisanal practice and higher theoretical knowledge. This continuum spans a comprehensive social context, and prevents us from identifying one kind of sources (Sanskrit) as the only ‘national tradition’.

Collecting such sources will provide us with the means to analyse how mathematical practices and texts functioned as social and cognitive agents, linking (or setting apart) schools, workshops, civil administration, markets and centres of higher learning. This analysis will shed new light on the pre modern social, economic and intellectual history of several Indian regions, and add to our understanding of local power dynamics in the pre-modern Indian world, highlighting how practices of accounting and compartmentalisation of mathematical knowledge allowed indigenous affluent communities to assert their dominance over lower castes. A similar approach has proved useful in the study of Egyptian, Babylonian, and late medieval European vernacular mathematics, increasing our understanding of the cognitive and social background of higher and lower mathematics.

Moreover, during the 14th-16th centuries Kerala was the home of the world’s most advanced mathematical knowledge, foreshadowing some results of the calculus that were obtained in Europe only in the 17th and 18th centuries. Both the question of the internal processes that led to this breakthrough as well as the question of the transfer of knowledge between Kerala and Europe remain unresolved by studying the canonical texts alone. Looking into vernacular practical texts may shed new light on these questions.

The repositories to be reviewed were chosen in order to obtain as rich a sample as possible of different sources relating to vernacular mathematics in pre-modern India: established national libraries, an East India Company survey, educational and professional training institute archives, temple and village repositories, and private collections. This way we will sample higher mathematical knowledge, educational materials for schoolchildren, practical manuals for apprentices and professionals (merchants, accountants, artisans), and actual accounts and surveys. In turn, this will provide a complete overview of mathematical culture from its most elementary instances to its highest manifestations. The selection of specific repositories is based on published catalogues, secondary literature in local languages, colonial surveys, the research experience of the project staff, academic networks (e.g. the KV Sarma research centre and National Mission for Manuscripts) and informal amateur networks.

The multi-regional and multi-lingual approach will allow for a comparative analysis. Instead of seeing India as one undifferentiated mass, the different regional histories can be correlated with different regional practices to deepen our understanding of the contextual role and development of mathematical knowledge.

Materials in private collections, community centres and libraries are often in a fragile condition due to age, insects, weather and lack of optimal preservation conditions. Many manuscripts reach professional libraries after they had been damaged, so even if they are provided with good preservation conditions, their life expectancy is short. Some of the manuscripts seen in established Kerala libraries literally started breaking or decomposing when opened. Other manuscripts listed in catalogues have already been lost or misplaced.

Poor community libraries cannot afford to invest in preventing rain or fire damage. The little precarious grants that these libraries get are spent on what they consider the most valuable possessions of the library, leaving other materials for slow decay in locked shelves that are rarely opened for the public. Some of the rare, practically invaluable lithographed or printed texts from the nineteenth and early twentieth century housed in various community libraries such as in Lucknow are in the process of decomposition due to the poor infrastructures of libraries.

A particular danger for materials housed in poor local libraries is property feuds. If the library loses ownership of the property, materials are either picked up by people or burnt. For example, a library located in the market of Munger (Bihar) was subjected to the property dispute in May, 2015, and 12,000 rare Urdu books were dumped into the River Ganga forever.

In private collections, when owners no longer have use or access to the knowledge contained in manuscripts, they sometimes ceremoniously burn them or simply discard them. Even if the manuscripts make it to libraries, the obscure and technical nature of the content makes it difficult for the librarians to catalogue them, so they sometimes just set them aside.

Project Ref: EAP1094
Project Title: Digitisation of the Ben Essayouti, the Fondo Kati and the Mohammed Tahar Manuscript Libraries of Timbuktu

The manuscripts of the legendary desert City of Timbuktu have received world-wide attention since the wilful destruction of more than 4000 manuscripts at the Institute Ahmed Baba in 2013, the last act of the fleeing Jihadists at the liberation of Timbuktu by the French and Malian armies.

Already during the occupation a rescue operation had been put in place when hundreds of thousands of Timbuktu manuscripts were removed clandestinely to Bamako SAVAMA, an association of Timbuktu libraries led by Abdel Kader Haidara, who has found worldwide fame as many documentaries and articles have been made about this romantic rescue operation, including the best-selling book ‘The Bad-Assed Librarian of Timbuktu’.

Although by far the majority of the Timbuktu manuscripts have been removed from the beleaguered city, there are several manuscript libraries that chose to hide their treasures in Timbuktu. These libraries are amongst the foremost of Timbuktu. Nevertheless they have not been able to find any sponsorship for the digitisation of their manuscripts since all efforts have been concentrated on the manuscripts that were removed to Bamako by SAVAMA where they are now receiving intensive treatment: digitisation, conservation etc. by a large number of international sponsors.

UNESCO has initiated a restoration and building programme in Timbuktu and these three libraries have been chosen for attention. The Ben Essayouti library by the Jingareyber Mosque is already finished and the manuscripts have been removed from their desert hiding places and have once more been displayed on the shelves in the newly restored library. There are 3000 manuscripts stored in this library, and all three thousand have been catalogued in Arabic by an Iraki publisher. There are another 6000 manuscripts that belong to the Ben Essayouti library but these have received no listing or sorting and are not yet displayed in the main library.

The same Iraki publisher has also produced a similar work on 1000 manuscripts from the Fondo Kati. This library is still being restored but is nearing completion. It was not possible to view any manuscripts from this library, they were still hidden until the completion of the work, but the Fondo Kati enjoys the reputation of being one of the finest collections of Timbuktu. It was built in 2003 by the Junta (Regional Governement) of Andalusia, to celebrate the historic connection between Southern Spain and Timbuktu. There are many manuscripts which bear witness to this connection according to Hawa Touré, the owner/representative of the Fondo Kati library.

The Mohammed Tahar Library is named after the great grandfather of the current owner/representative of the library, Abdel Wahid Haidara. The library had been in the family for many centuries when Mohammed Tahar, a well-known scholar, moved the library to Timbuktu in the nineteen twenties from Arawane, an important oasis 260 kilometres north of Timbuktu, where the caravans still stop today. This library contains a substantial amount of manuscripts which concerns Sufism.

Project Ref: EAP110
Project Title: Tuvalu National Archives major project



The Tuvalu National Archives Pilot Project confirmed that vital documentation of the cultural, social and political heritage of Tuvalu is currently held by the Archives. The surviving records of the Ellice Islands District Administration of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony (GEIC) are held in good order at the Tuvalu National Library and Archives (TNLA) together with the item lists prepared by the Western Pacific Archives. In addition the TNLA controls archives of the Government of Tuvalu.

The GEIC archives and part of the Tuvalu government archives are held in an intermittently air-conditioned room on the low-lying atoll of Funafuti. Although comparatively well housed, the archives are endangered, at best, through frequent and heavy use and, at worst, through risk of being washed away in a cyclone-prone area. Environmental and handling damage is occurring to key customary records. There is evidence to indicate that sea levels have risen and that flooding in Tuvalu is more prevalent than formerly. Many garden pits and wells that formerly held a fresh water lens are now directly affected by high tides and are now saline; parts of the underlying coral structure have been so damaged both by nature and by man (especially during World War II) that formerly productive lands are no longer useful.

The National Librarian and Archivist, Mrs Mila Tulimanu, and others on Funafuti feel a sense of urgency regarding the need to secure Tuvalu 's archival holdings in the immediate future, particularly since the flooding of archives in Niue by Cyclone Heta in January 2004. (Tuvalu is a much lower island and more vulnerable than Niue.)

The Pilot Project successfully used a combination of microfilm and digital reformatting to produce over 10,000 images of documents held by the TNLA. The Major Project would use the same combination of reformatting equipment.

Based on the survey results and reformatting experience gained in the Tuvalu National Archives Pilot Project, the major project would undertake the following activities:

  • Complete the microfilming, commenced in the Pilot Project, of GEIC's Ellice Islands District land records held by the Tuvalu National Library and Archives, covering the following islands: Vaitupu, Nanumanga, Nui, Nukulaelae, Nukufetau, Niutao (and Niulakita). The microfilm images to be scanned to .tif and .pdf files on DVD for supply to TNLA and EAP.
  • Continue digital copying of GEIC and other records held in the Tuvalu National Library and Archives documenting Tuvaluan language, history, environment, culture, traditions, customs, skills and arts.
  • Undertake digital copying outside the TNLA, in particular in the outer islands at, for example, Motufoua School, Vaitupu Agricultural Research Station, Elisefou School, churches and Island Councils.
  • Microfilm the Tuvalu New Sheet and Tuvalu Echoes (1976+) and scan to digital format for Island use.
  • Microfilm the main series GEIC correspondence, covering all districts of the Colony, now held in the National Archives of Kiribati and scan to digital format for supply to Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru.
  • Continue exposure of TNLA staff to reformatting techniques giving additional hands on experience in microfilming and, especially, digital reformatting. Digital reformatting equipment will remain with the TNLA to enable staff to carry on reformatting programs in the future.
  • Create systematic metadata for digital images produced during the pilot and major projects to enable longterm storage and retrieval of digital masters.
Project Ref: EAP115
Project Title: Collection and digitisation of old music in pre-literate Micronesian society

In an oral society such as Micronesia, music conveys considerable information on the past even as it reflects changing cultural patterns. Traditional chants evoked memories of the historical events that inspired them. Tales that some cultures might tell in story form, Pacific islanders will often sing or dance. Elegies, sung at the funerals of notable persons, were testimonies to the achievements of the deceased. Love songs were often tales of love and courtship between particular couples. Even church songs often called to mind the context in which they were created and first sung.

The evolution of the music itself, from nose flute and chant to reggae or rap, is of considerable interest in that it reflects at a basic level the social transformation that is occurring throughout the culture.

The archival material consists of audio tapes, many of them old 7-inch reel-to-reel tapes, scattered throughout the region on the shelves of offices, local radio stations and private homes. After years of neglect, the tapes are often damaged in places. This project will attempt to collect this material and/or digitize and archive it, and make it available to Micronesians as the valuable historical resource that it is.

The project will collect and digitise recorded chants and music from throughout the region (each of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, the Marshall Islands, the Northern Marianas and Guam). All the chants and music will be listed and the lists available on the Micronesian Seminar website so that visitors and researchers can search for musical pieces of interest to them. Copies of the recordings will be deposited with the donor, with local archives, the Micronesian Seminar library, the University of Hawaii Library and the British Library.

By the end of the project period, it is anticipated to have digitised perhaps 4,000 to 6,000 items from all the islands of Micronesia.

Project Ref: EAP117
Project Title: Digitising 'sacred heirloom' in private collections in Kerinci, Sumatra, Indonesia



The highlands of Sumatra remain one of the most neglected regions of insular Southeast Asia in terms of philology, history and archaeology. Our knowledge of highland life and political-economic ties with the lowlands and other parts of Southeast Asia remains limited, relying mainly on the first European accounts from the beginning of the 19th century. Manuscripts and artefacts from the material culture are hence the most valuable sources of information about the region. The project is expected to reveal substantial data on the trading connections between the highlands and the lowlands, providing additional clues to the interpretation of the archaeological data.

Of the more than 80 private collections held in Kerinci with over 200 manuscripts and hundreds of artefacts, this project intends to cover about 40-60 collections, resulting in a digital archive of rare ancient manuscripts and artefacts from the 14th to the 20th century.

Some of the manuscripts and artefacts have already almost completely disintegrated while others are in better condition, but the majority are in a suitable state for copying. The materials are kept as sacred heirlooms and getting access to the materials is subject to negotiations with the caretakers and is time-consuming. During several small-scale pilot projects a small number of manuscripts were documented, enabling a good network to be established and support gained from senior figures of the Kerinci society, including the regent (bupati) of the Kerinci regency. Through this network of support it will be relatively easy for permission to be granted to document the collections.

There will be close cooperation with archaeologists to classify the artefacts and gather as much background information about provenance, distribution, and age of the artefacts as possible. The manuscripts will also be closely examined and all manuscripts in the Kerinci script will be character mapped for a possible reconstruction of the development of the Kerinci script and its relation to neighbouring Sumatran scripts. Malay language manuscripts will be examined in cooperation with Indonesian and international scholars.

It is planned to centrally store all information (digital images, descriptions, and transliteration) in a searchable database, which will be made available to the national libraries of the three Malay speaking countries Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, the Indonesian National Archive, the British Library, and a selected number of national and international libraries with a strong SEA focus. The database will also be accessible online.

Visit the project website and view some of the digital collections.

Project Ref: EAP119
Project Title: Preservation of historical periodical collections (1900-1950) at the Al-Aqsa Mosque Library in East Jerusalem



The main goal of this project is to digitise the historical periodical collection located at the Al-Aqsa Mosque Library in order to create archival quality digital copies of the deteriorating newspapers and magazines. In addition, the project intends to create multiple derivative copies to extend access of these rare materials to scholars, students and the general public. The original collection includes 20 sets of historical materials that document the history of Palestine in the first half of the 20th century. This unique collection of periodicals represents an irreplaceable source of information about Palestine and its people. Digitization will help to preserve these historical newspapers and magazines for current and future generations.

The collection is an important source of information about Palestine, its history, and people in the first half of the twentieth century. The newspapers provide access to primary sources about the Arab nationalist movement and Palestinian reaction towards Jewish immigration and the establishment of a Jewish national homeland in Palestine. They cover many important historical events and political movements, such as the Balfor declaration, the Al-buraq events of 1929, the Alqassam revolution of 1931, Palestinians political parties, the Palestinians armed forces, the 1936 strike, 1936-1939 revolution, and British policy against Arab leaders.

In addition, the collection documents the development of the Arab press during the British Mandate Period of 1917-48. Many of the titles included in the collection were published at the beginning of the twentieth century and are particularly rare as they represent the only copies available in the region.

This digitisation project provides an opportunity to preserve these historical periodicals and share them with a wider community of scholars and students. The newspapers and magazines held at the Al-Aqsa Mosque Library are endangered not only because of the risks that many historical periodical collections face, such as poor quality of paper and the lack of environmental control, but also because of the location of the Al-Aqsa Mosque Library in the occupied territory and the unstable political situation in East Jerusalem. Many of the titles included in the collection are particularly rare as they represent the only known copies of these unique periodicals.

Project Ref: EAP121
Project Title: Preserving the archives of the United National Independence Party of Zambia

The objective of this project is the electronic reproduction of the bulk of the documentary collection housed in the archives of Zambia's former ruling party, the United National Independence Party. Kenneth Kaunda's United National Independence Party (UNIP) was formed in 1959. It was the driving force behind the attainment of Zambia's independence in 1964, the country's ruling party between 1964 and 1973 and the only officially recognized party during the Second Republic (1973-1991). The importance of the party records to be preserved extends well beyond the realm of political history. The comparative shallowness of the post-colonial collections of the National Archives of Zambia - itself partly a result of UNIP having taken over most executive functions during the country's one-party era - makes the archives of the party a prime resource for virtually all historians of modern Zambia.

Following UNIP's removal from power in 1991, the archives of the party suffered from almost complete neglect and rapid decay. The building where the party records are presently kept, a disused warehouse in Lusaka's light industrial area, is thoroughly inadequate, vulnerable to both rain and fire. As a result of the National Archives of Zambia's intervention in 2003, the bulk of the material is now stored in cardboard boxes, but these offer only partial protection against dampness and the rats and silverfish by which the warehouse is infested. Fortunately, with the exception of the few unboxed files that are already in too advanced a state of decomposition, most records are still in a suitable state for electronic reproduction.

There are also more deep-rooted factors militating against the archival material's long-term survival. UNIP is presently a shadow of its former self, plagued by debt, factionalism and poor electoral performances. In the event of its future disappearance from the Zambian political scene, the party's archives would be one of the first casualties. In light of all of this, the urgency of the proposed digitization exercise cannot be overemphasised.

All the digitised documents will be recorded on DVDs. The master copy will be sent to the National Archives of Zambia, while additional copies will be deposited at the UNIP headquarters and the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP124
Project Title: Pages of Azerbaijan sound heritage

Azerbaijanian oral folk and traditional music is a vast and rich cultural heritage. One of its most representative and sophisticated branches is the art of mugam. This is a refined music expression which requires a high level of professional skills, imagination and memory from the performer, as well as knowledge and emotional devotion from the listener. Mugam is traditionally played at wedding feasts and intimate gatherings, and is also a part of Sufi dramatic ta'zie and shabih traditions. The musical tradition of mugam goes back centuries but, due to its oral form of transmission, there are only indirect sources allowing the reconstruction of its history and the curve of development/changes in the practices and form of this art as well as the relationship with similar music cultures of the region. Since the mid-nineteenth century, performances of mugam in the public domain have been documented through medium such as posters, photographs and newspaper articles and only since the early 1900s has the phonographic recording been available, which allows for an invaluable source of comparative research of performance patterns and styles.

In 2003 Azerbaijanian mugam was entered onto the list of UNESCO Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humankind. Among the urgent measures for preserving and promoting this cultural treasure, the action plan includes the necessity of collecting and safeguarding existing phonographic material and associated documentation.

There is no training of personnel who are responsible for work in audio collections. There is no united national audio-graphic collection and no reference data on holders of audio-phonographic units. There are virtually no interdisciplinary audio researchers in the country.

Firidun Shushinski (1925-1990) was a passionate collector and tireless researcher of Azerbaijanian folk music and mugam. He was considered a living memory of the mugam history, as he wrote books and articles, studied archives and collected personal evidences by mugam performers, led TV series and organized memorial concerts. After his death, the precious archive of the researcher with unique gramophone discs, vinyl records, photographs, press clippings, concert posters and documents was kept in a cellar in cardboard boxes remaining unsorted and unregistered. His archive on the history of mugam will be digitised, listed and relocated to the State Sound Archive of the Azerbaijan Republic. This pilot project is urgent and should serve as a catalyst for further projects.

Project Ref: EAP127
Project Title: Archiving 'popular market' Bengali books



This project aims to archive Bengali 'popular books' - street literature targeted at a demotic, non-metropolitan public, using traditional obsolescent technology, geared to a non-elite, virtually pre-industrial social phase. They exist alongside elite publications, but are marketed through entirely different channels for a different readership: through the humbler type of bookshops , but more often through hawkers on roads, buses and trains, in stalls and village haats (temporary markets). They are at a still more humble, demotic level than 'Bat-tala' publications. The latter have received some attention, but the 'street literature' has never been collected or archived, and seldom studied - they are totally ignored in formal literary and academic circles.

The material covers such varied subjects as religion, folk culture, local history, popular literature, pornography and erotica, popular redactions of elite practices such as fashion and cookery, instruction on traditional rural pursuits such as agriculture and animal farming) and instruction on technical occupations such as repairing machinery and appliances, citizen's rights, law, government procedure, public hygiene and social reform.

The books are of unique sociological interest, illustrating a changing society, culture and economy of Bengal at a popular level. The great variety is itself crucial to the social picture. They illustrate special sectors of Bengali printing history and book trade and special developments of the Bengali language. They were invariably printed cheaply on poor paper, quickly discoloured, and badly handled and preserved. However, the majority are in a fit state for scanning or digital photography.

The paper and printing of these books is poor and readily deteriorates, especially given the hot humid climate. Each print run is quickly exhausted, almost like ephemera though not technically such. Reprints and new editions may appear, but each issue has a very short market life as well as a short shelf life. They are sometimes found only in single copies in remote locations.

Without this project, most of the material would simply vanish without trace. A tiny fraction might remain with private collectors, unknown to most researchers. Scattered copies with individual buyers would be untraceable and eventually lost.

A digital copy of each title will be deposited with the British Library, whilst the originals will remain with Jadavpur University, or with the individual collectors and libraries that own them.

Project Ref: EAP128
Project Title: Thai rainbow archives project: a digitised collection of Thai gay, lesbian and transgender publications



The emergence of open gay, lesbian, and transgender (GLT) cultures in major world cities is a sociologically significant phenomenon. The Thai capital Bangkok is home to some of Asia's oldest and largest GLT communities. Only a decade ago, Asian GLT studies was a neglected if not taboo field. However, the 1st International Conference of Asian Queer Studies in Bangkok in 2005 demonstrated the rapid maturing of this new field. Research libraries though have not kept up with this rapid academic development, and for a variety of reasons have not collected the publications of Thai GLT communities.

Since the 1970s, Thailand's GLT communities have produced large quantities of Thai language publications including multi-issue periodicals and magazines and community organization newsletters. This large volume of vernacular materials, totalling several thousand items, documents the history of one of the world's most important non-Western homosexual/transgender cultures and is a largely untouched research trove. Thailand's GLT magazines are an academic resource of genuine international importance.

While extensive, like the communities they represent, Thai GLT magazines are socially marginalised and culturally stigmatised. Thai GLT publications have often been ephemeral and of an underground nature known only to the members of these marginalised communities themselves. They have rarely been distributed through mainstream bookstores or magazine outlets. As a result, there is currently no public archive of Thai GLT vernacular materials anywhere in the world, and research in this field is seriously hindered by this institutional deficiency. These materials are in danger of being destroyed and disappearing completely in the next few years. Since no Thai or Western library or archive has collected these materials, the only remaining copies are in the hands of private collectors.

This project is part of an attempt by Thai community organisations, working in collaboration with the Australian National University, to preserve materials that have not been collected by any Thai institutional archive. In order to set the groundwork for this project, the Principal Applicant has already spent the past year working in collaboration with Thai community organisations to physically salvage the materials that will be digitised. These materials have never previously been collected in one location. This project also operates under the added disadvantage of a local situation where some authorities view the materials as deserving of destruction rather than preservation.

Visit the Thai Rainbow Archive website.

Project Ref: EAP132
Project Title: Digital archive of north Indian classical music

The history of sound recording in India goes back more than a hundred years. Knowledge about the vast body of recorded music that has accumulated over the decades is still patchy and incomplete: for example, there is no single available list of gramophone records made in India. There is also no public archive of any note anywhere in India where sound recordings are stored and are made available to researchers into music, musicology and cultural history.

Kolkata has traditionally been one of the main centres of musical performance, patronage, commercial recording, and music collection. A major incentive to the circulation of classical music in Bengal was the arrival of the exiled Nawab of Avadh, Wajid Ali Shah, in Kolkata in the mid nineteenth century. This supplemented existing practices of music patronage among aristocratic families of the region. Commercial recording began in Kolkata and the city continued to be the hub of activity for the Gramophone Company until the 1960s. In the mid 20 th century, the majority of the most important public concerts (music festivals) were regularly held in Kolkata and nearby towns (like Serampore, Uttarpara, Howrah, Vishnupur, Agarpara and so on) at which all the greatest artists of the country regularly performed. We also know that an affluent mercantile class in Kolkata patronized classical music and were instrumental in creating new patterns of patronage for music. Consequently the region is rich in terms of private collections, both of commercial recordings (from 1902) and concerts and private recitals (from the 1940s).

These collections strongly reflect personal tastes (some collectors spent their lives collecting the work of individual artists, or particular styles of music). The circulation of recordings also has a strong local character, showing the popularity of artists in specific geographical regions.

Many collectors built up large personal collections battling against the difficulties of locating, acquiring, documenting and preserving records and recordings: working entirely out of a commitment to the preservation of music, and with no external means of support, they have often made these recordings available to serious listeners. Collectors are however now finding these collections difficult to maintain, and have welcomed the possibility of digitisation. A full set of digital copies would be given to the owners of the collections so that they are able to listen to the music without further compromising the original material. This may also be the last chance to access the work of a whole range of artists: some were never recorded commercially in their lifetimes (in some cases posthumous recordings were commercially released from private recordings). In fact a very large body of music exists entirely in private collections, and whatever knowledge about them exists is on the basis of the limited circulation of these private recordings.

It will be possible ultimately thus to create an archive that contains illustrative examples of most if not all the major recorded artistes in the last 100 years or so. This is particularly necessary with regard to music recorded in the 78 rpm phase, the great bulk of which was never transferred to any other kind of recording medium. Large collections which are known to have existed even a few decades ago have simply vanished: records have been sold off as junk, or even melted down for their raw material. It needs to be stressed that a large proportion of musical recordings have been destroyed through neglect and want of care. This includes some of the most brilliant and valuable musical pieces and performances ever made. If an effort is not made at this point of time to preserve records of the past, there will be even greater loss, and invaluable records of our cultural history will disappear.

The estimated size of the digitised collection at the end of the proposed two year project will be a minimum of 1,500 listening hours, preserved in CD format as well as on hard disc, and these new recordings will join the collection already held by the Archive of Sound Recordings in the School of Cultural Texts and Records. Additionally it will be necessary to solicit the help of musicians and musicologists with technical questions of artist attributions, song-texts, styles and genres and dates and locations of landmark recordings. Other technical information, such as recording pitch will need to be verified.

It is to be stressed that the recordings will be made available to listeners under the normal conditions of a public reading library: that is to say, for consultation and study within the archive itself. No copying or public use of the recordings housed in the Archive will be permitted.

Project Ref: EAP139
Project Title: Rescuing Liberian history - preserving the photographs of William VS Tubman, Liberia's longest serving President



The project aims to conserve, organise and digitise approximately 6,500 unique Tubman-era photographs, containing the only extant visual records of a major period in Liberian history and its role in the African pre- and post-independence era. Official government photographers with direct access to Tubman shot most of these images. With these photographs, researchers can reconstruct key events, validate oral and written accounts, and perform spatial analysis of personal relationships.

All the photographs are currently stored in Indiana University's archival storage facilities, having been shipped over to the E. Lingle Craig Preservation Laboratory at Indiana University with the collection of President Tubman's personal papers, the subject of the separate project EAP027. 2,000 photographs were cleaned at the time the Tubman papers were cleaned in 2005-06. The remainder are unprocessed, but stabilized in an archival freezing unit. Problems included staining and discoloration and sticking between stacked photographs. Some images have missing areas, destroyed by insects or from wet emulsion left sticking to adjacent surfaces. All photographs are capable of being flattened for digitizing on a flat-bed scanner.

The project will:

  • Develop a web-based image metadata cataloging tool for viewing and describing the digitized images in order to efficiently assign identifications, key words and descriptors in the database.
  • Develop a web-based searchable database, with a results page that includes thumbnails linked to a larger, viewable image.
  • Restore damp and damaged photographs to a condition where they can be digitised.
    (The above three elements will be funded from alternative sources.)
  • Digitise 6,500 photographs (most black-and-white: mainly 8 x 10 and 5 x 7 inches with some smaller and larger formats).
  • Restore any digitised photographs to enable easier identification during interviews. This will be in addition to the preservation copy of the digital images, which will be as close to the condition of the original photographs as possible. (Preliminary survey indicates only a moderate number of photos require this kind of corrective work.)
  • Interview Liberians and other people knowledgeable about the Tubman era to correctly identify individuals in photographs.
  • Resolve Intellectual Property issues to ensure non-restricted use of these photographs. About 70% of the photographs include agency or photograph identification.

This project has the full written support of the Tubman family and the Liberian government and the photographs will be returned to Liberia at the end of the project. In addition, two workstations loaded with the project's digitised Tubman photographs and printers will be transported to two designated Liberian educational or archival institutions. DVDs with the digitised photographs may be supplied to additional institutions.

The digitised photos can be viewed on the Indiana University website.

Project Ref: EAP140
Project Title: Preservation through digitisation of the Tangut collection at the Institute of Oriental Studies, St Petersburg Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences



The Institute of Oriental Studies holds 4,600 manuscripts and 3,765 block-prints in the Tangut language, the largest collection worldwide. The collection constitutes a unique archive of information on a Silk Road people who established their own kingdom between the 10th-13th centuries in present-day northwest China. Their language was in the Sino-Tibetan group, closer to Tibetan. They subsequently invented their own script, based on Chinese, and translated the whole of the Buddhist canon into Tangut. They were annihilated by the Mongol conquerors in 1227 and the spoken language disappeared completely. Full access to this material through digitisation would allow a reappraisal and full exposition of the historical legacy of the Tanguts from primary sources, as opposed to the more subjective secondary sources of neighbouring peoples.

This project will digitise the Tangut collection. These unique historical, literary, and administrative texts are of immense value for understanding Tangut language and culture. The metadata and images will be made freely available on the International Dunhuang Project database and websites in Russia, Britain, China, Germany and Japan. This will open the material to scholars worldwide, currently unable to study the materials firsthand due to distance and unsuitability of handling originals. High resolution digital images will help solve this problem. The manuscripts are very fragile, suffering from paper destruction and fungus lesion and there are currently no surrogate copies - they are unique documents. The 8365 Tangut manuscripts will require a minimum of 30-35,000 images - some are in scroll format requiring more than one shot, and the recto and verso of each item is always taken to ensure a complete archive.

The project will start with digitising the Buddhist part of the Tangut collection, about 600 items (5,000 images). These are Tangut sutras of the 12th century (mainly translations from Tibetan and Chinese taking into account the Sanskrit texts). They are absolutely unique, some of which (Mahaprajnapararamita, Mahaparinirvana, Suvarnabrabhasa) exist in a number of handwritten or wood-printed copies, which would allow codicological and palaeographical research to be undertaken. The project will then move on to the remaining 7700 items which would require a further 25-30,000 images. These are historical, literary, administrative and other texts and are of immense value for understanding both the Tangut language and the culture.

The material will be checked by the conservator from the Institute of Oriental Studies before being passed for digitisation. In some cases the conservator might need to carry out some stabilisation work to allow safe digitization, or to flatten and unfold material. A grant from other sources was awarded in 2006 for the conservation of this material and so it is probable that most will be suitable for inclusion in this project.

Project Ref: EAP141
Project Title: Ibadi private libraries in the Mzab Heptapolis, Algeria

The Mzab oases in southern Algeria have been a refuge for Ibadism (a branch of Islam) since the destruction of the Rustamid State in North Africa by 909 AD. The Mzab became the centre of scholarship on Ibadism, with links between North Africa and the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. Mzab has therefore been an important hub for both scholarship and trade, where written documentation has been highly valued because it was the means by which links between the scattered Ibadi communities were maintained. The materials targeted in this proposal have not previously been used. They concern the slow disintegration of Ibadi communities in the Sahara , the integration of the Mzab in Ottoman Algeria, the shift from the transsaharan trade to temporary migration to the North, and the extent to which Mzab maintained itself as a major relay point in the transsaharan trade until its decay. The materials are valuable to intellectual history, particularly the relations of Mzab intellectuals to other places in the Sahara and beyond, especially before the age of colonialism. This pilot project is targeting new sources in one of the seven cities of the Mzab: Beni-Isguen.

The documents being targeted are dispersed in private libraries, collections, and boxes which have been passed down from generation to generation. They are at risk of permanent damage and loss if someone decides to give away, either by ignorance or by necessity, their inherited collection. There is an urgent need to locate, list and preserve, through digitisation, such documents.

Fortunately, people in the Mzab are very aware of this situation. The foundation of the Association for Patrimony in the mid 1980s is an indicator of this awareness and the Abu Ishaq Tefayech Association for the Service of Heritage is another active and dynamic association in the field of the preservation of archives. The aim is to undertake a survey, report on the condition of the documents, and plan a strategy for preservation and eventually for digitisation. Where appropriate, selected digitisation of particularly endangered manuscripts will be done.

The target of this pilot project is the town of Beni-Isguen, where there are numerous private collections belonging to descendents of Ibadi scholars and traders. The physical condition of the materials ranges from well-preserved to completely neglected manuscripts, resulting in fragments of documents containing information about trade, accounting, private correspondence. These endangered documents provide valuable information about daily life in and out of the Mzab during the 18 th and 19 th centuries. Also, there are numerous rare manuscripts, including an 11 th century profession of faith (`aqida), in Berber.

Project Ref: EAP143
Project Title: Preservation of the last hieroglyphic manuscripts in China: Shui archives in Libo, Guizhou



Shui manuscripts are the written records of the Shui people, an ethnic group with a population of four hundred thousand in south and southeast Guizhou, China. The writing system in Shui manuscripts, similar to that in the Dongba sutra in Yunnan, is identified as one of the few surviving hieroglyphics in China. Due to neglect in history, natural death of the last generation of scribes and the desertion of the Shui language by native people, the Shui manuscripts face the fate of extinction unless effective preservation means is in action.

As the documents accumulated over last four centuries, Shui manuscripts are not only the key materials to understand the unique culture of the Shui people but also constructive for studying history, anthropology, folklore and even palaeography in general. Similar to many aboriginal texts in various ethnic groups, Shui manuscripts are written, kept and taught by the native priesthood. The manuscripts are used in rituals, as well as in teaching the next generation of priests. The contents of the Shui manuscripts are so abundant covering aboriginal knowledge on astronomy, geography, folklore, religion, ethic, philosophy, art and history that the manuscripts are called the encyclopaedia of Shui people. The manuscripts are precious and irreplaceable for understanding the Shui people and Southwest China.

Presently, Shui manuscripts are mainly found in Sandu, Libo, Rongjiang and Kaili in Guizhou and Hechi in Guangxi. Up until ten years ago, all the Shui manuscripts had been kept in private hands. Archives in several counties have collected up to 6,000 volumes of the Shui manuscripts, but the majority of Shui manuscripts are still preserved in private collections of Sandu and Libo counties. A survey reveals that a total of around 20,000 volumes of the Shui manuscripts survive in the world. The storage condition for both the public and the private collections raises further concerns on preservation.

Many factors have made the Shui manuscripts endangered. In the aspect of the physical properties of the manuscripts, they are written (in only one case, it is printed and it is dated to 16 th century) on cotton paper, which is apt to perish if demands on space, temperature and humidity are not met. This high specification archival space is not available for state-owned county archives, let alone private. In the aspect of the social context, the manuscripts are endangered by neglect, lack of financial support, political discrimination and recent social change. Although some scholars have solicited to establish an archives or museum to preserve the Shui cultural heritages for years, very limited advance has been achieved. In the revolutionary era, the Shui priests were fiercely criticized for political or ideological incorrectness. The manuscripts therefore were viewed as meaningless, useless, and harmful by the authorities. A great many Shui manuscripts were thus discarded or destroyed in the past decades. The economic and social reform since the 1980s has brought many fundamental changes to the Shui society, as well as to the Shui manuscripts. In particular, the native Shui language has been marginalised and the priests no longer carry out the educational practice. More and more Shui people adopt Chinese in daily life and even in ritual practice. The old Shui priests find it even harder to recruit young apprentices, who have left villages to pursue their lives in cities.

Considering the abundance of the materials and the little work that has been done to date, this project will concentrate on Libo county. About 400 volumes in the county archives and 200 volumes in private collections are planned to be preserved in this project. In addition, materials at the periphery of the Shui manuscripts, which had previously been neglected, will also be included. Two major types of materials will be collected in the latter sections: the first, oral-historical interviews with senior Shui priests, since they are the last generation who knows how to write and read the Shui writings and use them in ritual practice; the second, photographs and video-recordings of Shui native rituals in which Shui manuscripts are applied. The funding of these audio and audio-visual recordings will be from alternative sources.

The project will establish a multimedia and interdisciplinary database when it is accomplished. The database will include digital images of Shui manuscripts, original Shui manuscripts, oral historical interview recordings, audio and video recordings of ritual practices, and relevant photographs.

Project Ref: EAP144
Project Title: The digitisation of Minangkabau's manuscript collections in Suraus



The main aim of the project is to digitise 250 manuscripts from five suraus in West Sumatra. These manuscripts contain various texts such as Al-Qur'an, Al-Qur'an Translation (Tafsir), Tasawuf, Fiqh, Agiography (The Stories of the Saints), Arabic Grammar, Minangkabau Laws, Kaba, Hikayat, Nazam, Azimat, Letters and Medicine which hold important information for Minangkabau culture and Islamic history. They will contribute greatly to the study of Islam, Tasawuf, Traditional Laws, Language, Literature, Culture, and Medicine in Indonesia.

The manuscripts are mostly written on European papers, some are written on traditional paper (Daluang) in the Arabic, Malay and/or Minangkabau language using Arabic or Perso-Arabic letters. They were written and copied in the 18 th and 19 th centuries. Some are now seriously neglected and decaying, the inks are washed out, pages are ripped apart and rotten. It is made worse by the fact that they are not kept in proper conditions and are piled up in rooms or above the ceiling in suraus together with other material.

Surau Lubuk Ipuh, Pariaman has 70 manuscripts with approximately 14,000 pages in total; Surau Bintungan Tinggi, Pariaman has 30 manuscripts with approximately 6,000 pages overall; Surau Pariangan, Batusangkar has 70 manuscripts with 14,000 pages in total; Surau Malalo, Solok has 50 manuscripts with 10,000 pages overall and Surau Tanjung, Pesisir Selatan has 30 manuscripts with a total of 6,000 pages.

After digitising the manuscripts the project team will structure and name the files, transfer the files onto CDs and send copies to the manuscripts owners (Suraus), and relevant institutions such as the British Library, Museum Aditiyawarman Padang, Balai Kajian Sejarah, IAIN Imam Bonjol and STAIN Batusangkar.

The project also aims to train local staff. The lack of awareness of the manuscript owners of the importance of their preservation, together with their lack of skills in archival management, are the greatest factors contributing to the destruction of this historical heritage. Therefore, the project includes training on manuscript preservation, archival management, manuscript photography, and creating manuscript catalogues to improve the knowledge and skill of local staff. The training will be conducted for the staff of Museum Aditiyawarman Padang; the Philology Laboratory of the Faculty of Letters Andalas University; the Center for History and Traditional Wisdom; the Center for Documentation and Information of Minangkabau Culture in Padang Panjang; IAIN Imam Bonjol Padang, STAIN Batusangkar, and representatives of suraus with manuscript collections. The training will be held in the first five days of the project, thereby ensuring the awareness and skills of the local staff are enhanced.

Project Ref: EAP148
Project Title: Inventory of archival holdings in Jamaica



The targeted libraries and archives contain valuable historical collections that focus on the lives of enslaved Africans and free blacks in Jamaica during the period 1655-1800. The documents are important to scholars studying the Caribbean, especially Jamaica, and supplement the extensive records that are held in Britain on the forced migration of Africans to Jamaica.

The materials are located in Kingston, specifically in the National Library of Jamaica and the Roman Catholic Chancery, as well as in the Elsa Goveia Reading Room at the University of the West Indies at Mona. Also targeted are the Jamaica Archives located in Spanish Town.

The physical condition of documents ranges from very poor to fair, with many documents crumbling and in danger of disappearing. The most urgent attention should be directed at the Chancery, which does not have a preservation department and is not a formal archive. There is concern within the Chancery at the decaying state of the documents and this initiative to digitise documents is welcomed.

At the Jamaica Archives, the National Library, and the UWI-Goveia Reading Room, there are extensive endangered materials to be digitised and an interest in doing so. The Archives has expressed interest in targeting collections on enslaved Africans before 1800 in conjunction with their annual marking of the abolition of the British Atlantic slave trade to Jamaica. At the National Library and Goveia Reading Room, the Library expressed interest in its m ap collection, the Nuttall Collection (Anglican Church) - 19th Century, newspapers. The Goveia Reading Room collection includes letters, personal journals, and various loose documents.

The intention is to work closely with the staff at the Jamaican repositories, so that individuals can be trained in the use of the technology while inventories are being done. Hence, this pilot project has several very important components:

  1. Workshop for archival staff on digitisation as a means of preserving collections.
  2. An evaluation of the present state of conservation and determining the materials most in need of preservation through digital means.
  3. Compilation of an inventory of endangered materials.
Project Ref: EAP149
Project Title: Voices of the living past: the 'Ashug' minstrel music of Azerbaijan

The ashug art is a 500 year-old narrative and musical tradition that has survived in the mountains of Azerbaijan. The core of the art is the dastan epic that is told to the accompaniment of the Azerbaijani lute by an ashug, a minstrel who must train many years with a master in order to learn the art. These lengthy epics, which combine Caucasian folklore with Sufi philosophy, have been passed through generations for hundreds of years. Ashugs also engage in contests called deyishme in which they pose riddles intricately woven in improvised verse. There are many regional schools of the art, each of which has its own repertoire and music. Continuing a traditional method of encoding and communicating information over time, dastan contain layers of cultural, linguistic, and historical information about the peoples and microcultures of the Caucasian mountains. Every ashug performance is based on verbal improvisation within a traditional framework, thus every recording represents an artistic moment which will never be repeated.

Because this art is often dismissed as back-country folklore, there has been little effort by state cultural organs to preserve its traditions. Contemporary ashugs concentrate on short lyric songs in order to compete in the profit-centred entertainment marketplace, and many original features of the art are rapidly disappearing. Tragically, due to the territorial wars of the past 20 years, whole regional ashug schools have been wiped out, their surviving members dispersed as refugees. In addition, because of enduring economic crisis, the population has shifted to Baku, further undermining cultures of the rural regions. Today, epic dastan, deyishme, and the subtleties of regional variants are only known by the oldest ashugs, and this living heritage may be lost within the next 10 years.

Thanks to the efforts of Archive Director Madatov, the Azerbaijan State Archive of Sound Recordings has a significant collection of ashug arts of the past 70 years recorded on phonograph records, magnetic tape, and video. They also house a collection of photographs and field recordings. These holdings include more than 100 dastan, as well as deyishme and songs performed by ashugs from all regions of Azerbaijan. As the 20 th century witnessed several waves of dispersion and destruction of archives, many of the recordings are unique representations of a specific dastan or a great master ashug. Because these holdings are stored on media that is vulnerable to embrittlement over time, it is important that they are copied to digital media, both as a method of preservation and as a way to make the collection available to the public. Thus, the first goal of the pilot programme will be to identify the 50 most voluble items related to the ashuq art and to create digital copies.

The second goal of the project will be to identify other collections of significant ashiq materials (which can include recordings, photographs, and perhaps manuscripts). Potential institutions with large collections include the Museum of Musical Culture under the direction of Allah Bayramova, the Folklore Institute under the direction of Huseyin Ismailov, the Azerbaijan State Radio Gold Fund, and the Museum of Ashiq Arts in Tovuz. In addition, there are many scattered collections of very rare materials that are being kept by folklore enthusiasts, families of ashugs, and regional cultural centres throughout the country. Accordingly, regions of Azerbaijan will be visited to identify these collections and reach an agreement with the owners and will be used as the basis of a future major project.

Project Ref: EAP150
Project Title: Documenting regional artistic traditions: Peru ca. 1750-1950

Art history as an academic discipline has had scant development in Peru. It is taught only at the undergraduate level at one university (Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos), and very few professionals are active in the field. The rich artistic and cultural heritage of Peru from the post-conquest period to the present has thus been largely neglected, and little effort has been placed on the recovery of archival documentation that could contribute in the future to research on this vast legacy.

Due to the lack of institutional supports for artistic practice, documentation is largely dispersed among private associations and individuals, and is hence difficult to identify or preserve. This project's basic purpose is to identify such archives and to formulate strategies for their recovery and for making them accessible to the scholarly community.

This project focuses primarily on regional traditions developed outside the capital, and it places emphasis on the Central and Southern Andean regions. Art generally forms part of communal life, and both production and patronage is defined largely by communal contexts and regional circuits. Boundaries between genres is also blurred, as art forms part of complex ceremonial and festive contexts. Further, in the case of the traditions under study, categories such as fine, popular or applied arts become more fluid and open. The complexity of the subject makes the retrieval of documentation a more difficult challenge.

Types of documentation:

1. Confraternity books and accounts. Much artistic regional production prior to the early 20 th century revolved around communal celebrations, usually of a religious nature, centered on the confraternity as the main axis. Confraternity books and accounts usually contain significant information regarding the organization of feasts, contracts with artisans and inventories of cult objects. Such materials are dispersed among a number of different institutions. Many are housed in the Archivo Arzobispal de Lima, the Archivo General de la Nación, Beneficencia Pública de Lima, as well as in departmental archives, bishoprics and other ecclesiastical institutions. In many of these cases, neglect has even recently led to substantial loss of documentation. One of the aims of this project is to generate an inventory of such holdings in different archives that would allow us to determine an adequate form of copying for preventive conservation.

2. Regional artistic associations, intellectuals and photographers. The lack of institutional spaces for the development of art historical studies, as well as the general absence of institutional affiliations for most artists and creators, makes the retrieval of documentary materials a true challenge. The project will search for families of intellectuals and photographers who might hold written and visual records of importance, and will trace the whereabouts of archives relating to associations that operated in the 20 th century. The project will also search for archives holding regional publications and ephemera, which are very rare, as they were usually printed in extremely low runs.

3. Associations dedicated to regional traditions in Lima. During the 20th century, a number of individuals and institutions worked towards the promotion of regional arts and traditions. The project considers developing contacts with regional clubs in Lima , institutions, owners and administrators of the main galleries active in the period, as well as photographers and intellectuals who hold documentary materials.

Except for the archives of intellectuals and photographers, it is expected to find mostly fragmentary documentation in a number of diverse locations. This project should compile discrete gatherings of documents which, together, can constitute a highly significant source of information of interest to a broad range of disciplines, and especially to art historians, anthropologists, and ethnohistorians. By the end of the project it is hoped to have summary inventories of documentation and to have tracked down collections of documents that may form part of future retrieval projects. The project will also generate a map of types of institutions, individuals, and associations that have played an important role in regional artistic traditions.

Project Ref: EAP153
Project Title: Riau manuscripts: the gateway to the Malay intellectual world



There are small collections of documents in the Riau Archipelago, which may throw new light on our appreciation of the wider Malay-Muslim world. However, these collections are in private hands, have not had the benefit of professional archival care, and are being cannabilised for commercial sale by antique hunters. There is a strong possibility of these documents being lost forever if this situation continues unchecked.

This proposal is aimed at saving these endangered works by making digital images of them, archiving them and placing the copies in repositories where free access is available to all scholars interested in Islam, and political dynamics, culture, language, literature and society in the Malay world. Also some basic provisions for the preservation of the documents will be provided, as well as advice how to preserve them best in the conditions of their location.

The Riau Archipelago spreads over a vast geographic area in the triangle between Sumatra, Singapore and the Borneo . During the nineteenth century the area was part of the Dutch East Indies and considered to be the core area of Malay language and culture, and the heir to the legendary port/state of Malacca. In their endeavour to standardize the Malay language, Dutch officials collected manuscripts from the archipelago; these manuscripts became the basis for a standard grammar and dictionary of the Malay language. This collection process not only resulted in several large repositories of Malay manuscripts, but also kindled a renaissance of Malay writing at the court of Riau and beyond. The remnants of this manuscript and book culture can still be found in private collections of books and manuscripts scattered throughout the region.

A well-known centre for this book culture was the island of Penyengat, once the seat of the viceroy, where the most famous Malay Islamic scholar of the nineteenth century, Raja Ali Haji (1809-1873), lived and worked as well as cultivated an interest for books and study in his siblings and subsequent generations. Most of the research carried out on this revival of Malay writing has centred around Penyengat and Raja Ali Haji, while possible similar developments in other islands, such as Lingga (once the seat of the sultan), Natuna, Karimun, and others have passed unnoticed.

The opportunity to view a (complete) collection in situs provides insights into the configuration and formation activities of its establisher(s). Relatively large collections of (mostly) nineteenth-century Malay manuscripts have led to a distorted vision of Malay intellectual history, as they were selected by colonial officials or missionaries with their own time-bound predilections. Establishing the composition as well as the contents of private collections will enhance our understanding of the configuration of an indigenous epistemology.

This project aims to preserve through digitisation and list private collections of documents for future generations to enhance possibilities to gain a better understanding of Malay intellectual history. The preservation of these documents is important for the people who own them, as well as as for scholars who want to study the dissemination of ideas throughout the Malay World.

Project Ref: EAP156
Project Title: Endangered archives of Sudanese trade unions (1899-2005)

The trade union movement has played a central role in Sudan's national politics. It is expected to play a critical future role in building and sustaining a democratic system in post-civil war Sudan. During the last 60 years, the movement produced substantial amount of data. This data is an important source of knowledge to study the modern history of Sudan and to understand the social forces that shaped it. It is also significant in the political debates about the transition of Sudan from dictatorship to democracy and the essential role of trade unions and other civil society organisations in that process.

The project will focus on the feasibility of the recovery of the endangered archival documents of Sudanese trade unions. It will look at practical ways to deposit or to relocate the vulnerable archival material, if that is reasonable. Also the pilot will assess the technical possibility of copying of such materials for the wider research community - inside Sudan through depositing it in a publicly accessible centre and outside Sudan through depositing a copy in the British Library.

Many ex-leaders of the movement or their families keep important rare documents at home such as manuscripts of books, leaflets, photographs, tapes, videos and minutes of meetings. The main reason for that is the long period that the trade union movement worked underground - trade union activists worked underground for 37 years, during three military regimes. This is an important source of knowledge, where most of these personal archival materials are not available in any other location. These archival materials are scattered in different towns inside Sudan such as Port Sudan , Wad Madni, El Obied and Atbara . However the capital Khartoum is the main source of individual and union collections.

Some rare documents have been identified from four important periods: the colonial era and especially the period between 1946 to 1953; the first military regime 1958-1964; the second military regime 1969-1985 and the last military regime 1989-2005. These documents are not available in any official archives and are not kept properly.

The signing of the peace agreement in 2005 produced a new political climate where there is a margin of democracy that gives a chance for unrestricted travel and free contacts with ex-union leaders. Also this new climate led many trade union activists to come to the public life after been banned for 17 years. Some of them, even, returned from exile. This may be the last chance to carry out this project, because of the instability of the Sudanese political life.

This project will identify and list all trade union documents that are in danger of extinction. The project focuses on two main sources: individual collections and trade unions' collections. Individual collections consist of documents owned by ex-leaders of trade unions or their families and for these collections, the project plans to identify its period and the topics it covered and made a detailed list for each personal collection. The intention is not at this stage to copy documents, but however, with the consent of the owners, some of the documents that are facing the risk of being lost forever will be copied. Trade unions' collections are documents, from different periods, which were left in storerooms and then neglected. The plan is to identify what is there, discuss with union leaders the importance of their collections and how the project can provide a practical long-term solution to their archives.

Project Ref: EAP160
Project Title: Digitisation of Bolivian indigenous communities records on ayllu structure, tax and land tenure



This project aims to digitise and microfilm 163,000 pages of the records of the indigenous population who lived in communities and large private properties in rural areas of Bolivian Altiplano, from around 1829 to 1930. Bolivia has the largest indigenous population in Latin America and undoubtedly the least developed in the region. Most of the indigenous population has lived since the Colonial period in the high plateau -known as the Altiplano boliviano- at 4,000 meters above sea level.

After Bolivia's independence and throughout the 19th century, only 10% of Bolivians lived in the urban area. The bulk of the population was concentrated already in the department of La Paz, and specifically in the rural area.

The indigenous population that lived in the communities and in the haciendas (large private estates) continued paying, as in the Colonial period, a state tax known as the indigenal contribution, amounting as much as 40% of the state total income. For tax purposes, the government registered all the indigenous population in the communities and haciendas.

This project aims to record certain types of documents of the 19th century, called padrones, in a digital and microfilm format for the following principal reasons:

(i) These documents are testimonies of an old tributary system associated with land tenure. Given that the Agrarian Reform of 1952 has not completely abolished the community system, those documents are important legal sources for present day land tenure consolidation. These documents register all the names that were community and hacienda members as tax contributors.

(ii) These existing files have high demand among the indigenous communities. Many indigenous communities and individuals use these records as proof of their community membership and land tenure.

(iii) These documents are a source of information on social and political organizations of that time, revealing the segmentary form of the ayllu system. During the XIX century it can be seen how these entities were changing and how some of them became haciendas.

(iv) These are documents that can be easily handed to each of the communities as they solicit them for their own use in a CD-ROM format.

(v) The condition of these documents has been deteriorating with time and are at present in a very bad condition given their constant use and slow destruction as a result of photocopying.

The documents will be digitised and then a microfilm copy created from the digital images. The digitised data will be not only available for the general public and researchers, but will be delivered, in CD-ROM and in print, to the Indian communities and to the local authorities in the departamento of La Paz. In addition, the knowledge acquired through the whole experience will be a good training base for the archive personnel in the departamento of La Paz.

This project will preserve some of the few written records of the history of the indigenous peoples - due to the essential oral nature of their cultural tradition, there remain very few historical records. It will preserve an important and unique collection of an old tax system associated with their social organization, land tenure, Indian views and colonial situation and it will make these records available for many indigenous communities and individuals so they can use them in order to prove their community membership and land tenure.

Project Ref: EAP164
Project Title: Preservation, storage and accessibility for archives of the pre-industrial rural society of the Ukrainian Steppe



The traditional rural society of Southern Ukraine from the second half of the 18th to the first half of the 19th century was a unique part of the Ukrainian society. It was formed by different ethnic and religious social groups - amongst them former Zaporozhian Cossacks, settlers from the northern regions of Ukraine, Russian dissenters moved from the central regions of the Russian Empire, Bulgarians, Albanians and Gagauses, escaped from the Tartar threat, Greeks, Armenians, Germans and Poles. When living in the conditions of the Southern Steppe on the border of settled territories and steppe, representatives of these groups tried to preserve their traditional culture, which became the main factor of self-identification. At the same time, in spite of the heterogeneity and mixed character of settlers of the Ukrainian Steppe, the peasant community started to consolidate. The main factor of this social consolidation was the frontier nature of the Ukrainian Steppe region, facing permanent threats and challenges, cruel necessities just to live, to respond to economical, natural and military threats. The fact that during the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century the Ukrainian Steppe turned into the granary of Eastern Europe and the Russian Empire was evidence of the effectiveness and stableness of the social and economical model. This peculiarity was noticed by historians, ethnography researchers and linguists. Scholars from Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Macedonia and Croatia have a chance to study the remains of the archaic culture of those who came from the metropolis and preserved features of their original culture, which no longer exist in their country of origin.

Since the beginning of the fast development of the minerals and metallurgical industry in the region at the end of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century the unique rural culture of the Ukrainian Steppe started to break down. The brutal actions of the Soviet Regime against the peasants, violent liquidation of the private farms in 1929 and the organisation of the artificial famine in 1933, caused the complete ruin of the traditional rural society in Ukrainian Steppe. But collective farms and appropriate organization of life in villages temporarily conserved the traditional rural culture. The decline of peasantry and deserted villages imply the loss of traditional rural culture of Ukrainian Steppe and its material evidences.

During the last 10 years the Zaporizhzhia Learned Society of Ya. Novytskyi (attached to Zaporizhzhia National University) has been working on the discovery and salvage of documents relating to these societies. As a result of 52 expeditions, organized by Zaporizhzhia Learned Society of Ya. Novytskyi, thousands of documents and material of peasant origin have been collected. This material needs to be researched and to be stored in appropriate conditions. Until now, many unique collections are in the families of peasants' descendants and in the former soviet institutions. They are generally stored in bad condition and under threat of being completely lost.

Rural people's memoirs and diaries. This collection is a great demonstration of a pre-industrial society. During the 1997-2006 archeographic expedition of the Zaporizhzhia Learned Society on the territory of Steppe (South and South-East) Ukraine , collections of more than 50 memoirs were found. Some of them were written during 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century by several generations of authors, other memoirs were generalized by the family members in the first part of the 20th century. Such memoirs and diaries have thousands of pages. A great number of the collections are in the hands of heirs who didn't agree to pass the original material to the archives. So copying of such materials is an urgent problem.

Rural people's family archives. This is a collection of different materials amongst which a major part are peasants' letters, notes, official records, photographs. Due to the field expeditions more than 123 family archives are already stored in the Zaporizhzhia Learned Society. But it is a small part of the rural collections. The problem is that the owners of such collections are mainly old people and very often after their death unique documents are lost. That is why further expeditions for collecting and copying of the already discovered family archives would preserve them for the future generations.

Audio records. In 1994-2006 more than 2,700 peasants of South and South-East Ukraine were interviewed - Ukrainians, Russians, Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Albanians, Gagauses born during the years1885-1925 year of birth. The results of those oral expeditions were stored on tapes, and now they are under the danger of demagnetization. Around 10,000 tapes now are stored in inappropriate conditions in the Zaporizhzhia Learned Society and may soon be lost.

Project Ref: EAP165
Project Title: Rescue of two photographic collections of rapidly changing cultures in rural Guatemala dating from the 1890s through to the 1930s



The Center for Mesoamerican Research (CIRMA) is a non-profit foundation founded in 1978 and based in Antigua, Guatemala. As part of its mission to recuperate and preserve historical records and to promote historical research about Guatemala, CIRMA has built the most comprehensive social science library in Central America, an historical archive with more than 7,000,000 documents in forty collections, and a photographic archive that today constitutes Guatemala's premier archive of visual history, with more than 1,000,000 images in 104 collections.

This project aims to rescue more than 4,300 glass plate negatives showing daily life in the interior of Guatemala at the turn of the 20th century. Taken by the photographers Juan de Jesús Yas (Japan's first immigrant to Guatemala), José Domingo Noriega, and the Mexican of Italian descent Italian Tomás Zanotti, the images are central to the understanding of ethnicity and culture in Guatemala. Inherently fragile and made more so by climatic and geologic conditions in Guatemala, the glass plate negatives will be transferred onto flexible negatives, copied digitally, and made publicly available for the first time to researchers and the general public.

The three photographers - Yas, Noriega, and Zanotti - produced arguably the most extensive photographs on culture and ethnicity in Guatemala in the late 19 th and early 20th centuries. Their images document the evolving nature of interethnic relations in Guatemala, the emerging syncretism and dialogue between native cultures and Western culture, and the broad cultural change provoked by the expansion of the coffee industry as of the late 19th century. At a time when virtually all other photographers focused on the metropolitan elite in the nation's capital, these three revealed the rapidly changing cultures in the interior of the country.

Kohei Yasu (who became Juan José de Jesús Yas in Guatemala) was the first person to migrate from Japan to Guatemala in 1877. He settled in Antigua, the former colonial capital of the Spanish empire in Mesoamerica. He and his godson, José Domingo Noriega, photographed mestizos of all classes, indigenous families, and civilian and religious elites, recording the professional identity and social status of their subjects. They also documented local popular traditions and the natural and urban landscape of the region, leaving an excellent record of the state of Antigua's colonial architecture in the late 1800s -- after the 1773 earthquake but before the devastating earthquake of 1976 which left the city in ruins.

Tomás Zanotti was a contemporary of Yas, and born in Mexico to a Mexican mother and an Italian father. He migrated to Guatemala in the 1890s and settled in Quetzaltenango, located in the Western highlands. He photographed Mayan people, German, Chinese, and mestizo families in the studio, in their own homes, and in activities of their choosing, and documented the rapid social and cultural change brought on by the rise of coffee culture in that region.

Both the Yas-Noriega collection, acquired by CIRMA in the early 1980s, and the Zanotti collection, on extended loan to CIRMA by the Girón family as of 1990, arrived partially deteriorated. They had been poorly stored in Guatemala and had been exposed to high levels of humidity and variable temperatures. Many had developed bubbles, flaking emulsion, or were scratched and stained, and others were chipped. Since arriving at CIRMA, the glass plates have been stored in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment. With some cleaning and repair, these glass plate negatives will transfer well onto internegatives.

These two collections are the only significant collections of images of their kind in existence today. The glass plates are extremely fragile and susceptible to breaking, further flaking, and scratching caused by dust and age. The fragility of the glass plates requires expert handling and thus the plates are not accessible to researchers or the general public except in exceptional circumstances.

Project Ref: EAP166
Project Title: Preservation through digitisation of rare negatives and photographs from Nepal



Work on photographic archiving is very important in Nepal - photographic records for as late as the 1950s and 1960s of all of rural and much of urban Nepal are historically significant because such pictures actually record the landscape and human scope of a hundred to two hundred years previously. This is because Nepal was kept in period isolation by the 104-year Rana dynasty until 1950. Court photography in Nepal goes back to the 1930s, however the handful of amateur photographers of the early to mid 20th century provide an important record of the lives of the middle-class and (to some extent) the rural poor. They also mark public cultural events and family rituals among a diverse plane of Brahmin, Chettri and Newar communities. At the same time, it is important to start a collection of photography from among the 'martial' hill ethnic and Tarai plains communities from this period.

The main objective of this project will be to preserve and make accessible an historic and rare collection of approximately 7,000 images. The project aims to digitise the collection, which contains images covering a wide range of topics such as journalism, literature, religion, sociology, culture and politics of pre-modern Nepal . The collection can be generalised into two major parts.

The collection of negatives is from noted Nepali litterateur, photographer and journalist Madanmani Dixit who was born on 17 February 1923. He accompanied the official teams from Nepal on their numerous foreign visits during which he managed to collect a good photographic documentation of political events and political leaders. Mr Dixit and his camera were eyewitness to the political transition period from the fall of the Rana regime to democracy in 1950, the advent of democracy, a royal coup in 1960, the rise of the royal autocracy of the Panchayat system, the plebiscite of 1970 and the fall of the Panchayat system and transition to multi-party democracy in 1990. As a journalist he also captured Nepali communities for various newspapers. His collection reflects the pictures of various aspects of Nepal from 1950 to 1990. It now becomes very important that the valuable information of which he is the best (and maybe the only) informant be captured and preserved.

Apart from this, Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya (MPP) has a collection of around 3,000 black and white photographs taken before 1950. The collection is mainly related to the rana rulers at the time. The photographs in the collection showcase the rich lifestyles of the ranas during the time. Wildlife hunting in the jungles of Nepal is also included in the collection. Also included in the collection are the various buildings which showcase the architecture of the time.

Both the photographs and the negatives are in deteriorating physical condition due to lack of proper management. They have to be properly cleaned and stored accordingly to stop any further damage. As the originals would be too fragile for frequent handling, the only way of providing access of the valuable collection to the users is through digitisation.

The project would use negative scanners for digitising the negatives and flatbed scanners for the photographs. Information on both the photographs and the negative would also be collected and stored along with the digital images. Low resolution copies of the images would be made available online at the website developed through the project as well as high resolution images being deposited with the British Library and kept at MPP.

Project Ref: EAP171
Project Title: Feasibility survey of documenting selected 18th-20th century written heritage from Nepal



Nepal is one of the few remote places on earth where westernisation and modernisation have been approaching with unparalleled speed. After the democratic movement of 1990 and the national revolution against the traditionally established age-old monarchy this year, globalisation and other modernising social and political processes are intensifying still further. Such changes have brought with them a dangerous challenge to the preservation of written records of high historical and cultural value.

Currently, no detailed and extensive exploratory survey of documentary sources has been undertaken in Nepal. A few documentation works are either related to specific collections, religious scriptures from the National Archives or a particular subject or language area.

Although in a very vulnerable condition, documents of high historical value are still available for proper recording and copying in many places in Nepal. The descendants of old feudal and priestly families, traditional socio-religious institutions such as temples, monasteries, and smaller local and central depositories of government departments all hold them. However, this rich documentary heritage is rapidly vanishing and deteriorating due to natural and human phenomena including theft, mass ignorance, modern material activities, unsuitable weather and environmental conditions.

There are presently many original historical documents already collected and stored privately or in various institutions under loose supervision of historians involved in their collection, all awaiting appropriate archival recording including proper listing, indexing and copying. Similarly, in several government departments, land transaction and revenue documents from between the 18th and 20th century are still stored in a very vulnerable situation. Dust, insects and damp conditions have infected a considerable segment already. Original royal orders can be found in dusty sacks of government papers stored in the old Record Section (lagatphaant) of the Department of Land Revenue and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (old jaisi kothaa) in Kathmandu. Also, there are many socio-religious traditional trusts (guthees) related to leading monasteries and temples where centuries-old documents are still lying without proper inventory.

This pilot project will conduct an inventory survey of documents indicated above by locating and opening old files, bundles, and sacks from different stores and making a standard preliminary list of them. Samples of selected documents from each source will be digitised and microfilmed. This will also pave the way for a future major project documenting these manuscripts digitally and on microfilm. These will be documented from several sources, prioritising on the basis of importance, size and condition of manuscripts surveyed.

Project Ref: EAP177
Project Title: Buddhist archive of photography in Luang Prabang, Laos - major project phase I



An EAP pilot project (EAP086) investigated the extent and conditions of an archive of Theravada Buddhist photographs now mainly preserved in one monastery of Luang Prabang/Laos, and started scanning and digitizing the material. The material found is of high scientific and documentary significance, and very rare. In more than 15,000 single photographs, it covers 120 years of Buddhist photography. The archive has escaped loss, dispersion and voluntary destruction that afflicted many historic collections of photography in South East Asia with the extraordinary political and social changes that afflicted the region in the 20th century, only because a highly venerated monk, Phra Khamchanh Virachittathera, who for more than 70 years has been a collector of photographic documents, found ways to astutely gather, protect and, for many years, hide the archive from outsider intrusion and inspection. With the loss of the photographic collections of the National Archive and the National Library of Laos during the revolutions of 1975, this surviving collection is of particular significance and importance.

The important and vulnerable archival material found in the monastery is highly endangered. Curiously, the fact that few people know about it, represents one of the biggest threats today: laypeople and monks of the monastery would not know how to deal with the material, and how to resist possible commercial interests towards the older photographs it contains. The way of keeping and stocking of the photographs at this moment does not respect normal archival standards; some photographs have been dramatically mishandled in the last years.

The pilot project EAP086 won the confidence of the abbot and his agreement for a complete digitisation of the material, and started systematic identification of single documents through interviews with him. A small local team of former monks has been formed to do this work. Part of the research project is to further train this local staff, and a group of selected students from the Buddhist Secondary School of Luang Prabang, in copying and preservation techniques - the first such teaching in Laos ever.

One of the urgencies for the research comes from the extraordinary chance to do these interviews. This is a unique moment to collect vital contextual information which it will not be possible to acquire in any subsequent occasion.

A particular quality of the material lies in the fact that it is a view from inside: all photographs seen so far were done by Buddhist people involved in the ritual life of the city, or even monks that worked as photographers, who documented their own world. The archive therefore contains a view totally different from the experience of western ethnographic photography of the past, or from photographic documentation of today, done by westerners.

The project will establish digital copies of all images in accordance with the EAP copying requirements and the original photographs (all highly vulnerable, and now often in dangerous conservatory conditions), will be relocated in the monastery, setting up a minimum of conservatory standards. Full digital copies of the archive will be established for the British Library and the National Library of Laos in the capital, Vientiane. The National Library has an ongoing commitment to make its archival material accessible to the Lao people, providing public access points for the viewing of digital data. A reference listing of the archive's images will be produced in Lao and English to facilitate access to the archive for local monastic and lay communities in Luang Prabang after the conclusion of the project.

Project Ref: EAP180
Project Title: Preservation through digitisation of the endangered Armenian rare books and making them accessible on the Web (phase 1)



One of the largest collections of early printed books and periodicals in the Republic of Armenia is located in the Fundamental Scientific Library (FSL). The rare book collection is in particularly poor condition and requires urgent action to protect them and prevent further damage.

The first Armenian book was printed in Venice in 1512 by Yakob Meghapart. Between 1512 and 1513 he printed five titles: Urbatagirk, Parzaytumar, Pataragatetr, Altark and Tagharan. The collection contains 231 titles printed between 1512 and 1800.

After the establishment of the communist regime in Armenia in 1920 and ideological cleansings of 1937, substantial numbers of manuscripts and books were destroyed and the remaining were confined to the archives. A huge number of Armenian periodicals published during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were placed in closed archives classified as 'Top Secret'. The reason was that articles could be found in these publications describing historical events of that time not in the way desired by the communist party leaders; or the founders and publishers of the periodicals were political parties, clergy or persons not cooperating with the communist regime. The FSL was the location selected by the authorities to house such material and a very limited number of researchers had access to these materials. Since 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet regime and the emergence of Armenia as an Independent Republic, all spheres of Armenian society have experienced a tremendous and fundamental change. The category of material previously labeled 'Top Secret' is now open to all users. Periodical literature is a vital and unique source of information for the study of the history of the Armenian Diaspora, their literature, culture, institutions, church life, and politics.

The preservation conditions are not satisfactory - all the collections are very fragile, suffering from paper deterioration and fungus lesion, and the physical condition of the books is rapidly deteriorating. The fluctuation of temperatures and level of humidity in the stacks during the autumn and spring seasons and the pollution level remain uncontrolled. Many rare books which were indicated as sources in the publications of scholars at the beginning of the twentieth century are currently unavailable as they have been destroyed, either through poor storage, or because of the fragility of the paper or lost in war and civil strife, and there are no surrogate copies for them. The same will happen with the remaining ones, as the paper continues to deteriorate.

This project will digitise the Armenian rare book collections and periodicals being kept in the FSL and make them available on the web. These unique texts, pictures and atlases are of immense value for understanding the culture, traditions, political structure and habits of the people and the nations living in Asia Minor in medieval times. The collection comprises 4,200 endangered books and 190 titles of Armenian language newspapers and periodicals. Professional training will be provided for those involved in the digitising activities and these retrained staff will then provide training sessions for the Armenian library community.

Web versions of the images are being hosted on the FSL webpage under the heading 'Armeniaca'.

Project Ref: EAP183
Project Title: Preserving early print literature on the history of Tamilnadu



Roja Muthiah Research Library (RMRL) is a resource and research hub for south Indian studies covering diverse fields from humanities, social sciences to popular culture. Through this project, RMRL proposes to preserve early print literature on the history of Tamilnadu by microfilming the publications and later by digitizing the microfilm reels.

A wealth of 19th & 20th century material lies scattered in different libraries and private collections in Tamilnadu. These libraries are under-funded and struggle to preserve their collections. RMRL has as its highest priority the preservation of important Tamil publications before they deteriorate beyond the point of use. Some of the items that have been located are related to Dravidian movement, political movements, history of Vaishnavism, Saivism, Jainism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. These histories if preserved through microfilming can be accessed more easily by current and future researchers.

Approximately 500 book titles and 10 to 15 periodical titles will be preserved with the selection of items for preservation undertaken by senior scholars and the exact numbers to be decided at the start of the project. A committee will be formed of established research scholars working in different disciplines related to the history and culture of Tamilnadu and they will prioritise the titles that need attention.

In most cases the paper has turned brown in colour and some of the paper is brittle. The newsprint items are made of cheap paper with high acid content thereby making their life shorter. So it becomes imperative to preserve them on a priority basis. The collections are scattered in different locations in Tamilnadu both in urban and rural areas. Most of the materials are fortunately in a manageable condition at present. In a few years they will become unmanageable as they will turn completely brittle. Microfilming is the best option for copying them without damaging them further.

The original material will be microfilmed for high quality images through archival microfilming procedures and appropriate bibliographic control will be provided in the microfilms through technical targets. From the master negatives two service negative copies will be produced. One copy of the service negative will be scanned and saved as digital Tiff images.

Project Ref: EAP184
Project Title: Digitisation of endangered African diaspora collections at the major archives of the province of Matanzas, Cuba



This project will be focused on four archives in Matanzas Province, Cuba, containing some of the most important collections on African slaves and their descendants in the Americas. These archives are: 1) Archivo Provincial de Matanzas, 2) Archivos Parroquiales de Matanzas, 3) Archivo Histórico Municipal de Cárdenas, 4) Archivo Histórico Municipal de Colón. At the archives, during a previous pilot project, approximately 48,000 files were identified as endangered, rich, under-utilised, and at-risk documents on Africans and persons of African descent. The aims of this project will be to digitise and list these documents.

The project also aims to continue the training of local staff at the targeted archives in such areas as manuscript preservation, archival management, manuscript digital photography, and creating manuscript catalogues and databases. These tasks will improve the knowledge and skills of local staff.

During the nineteenth century, Matanzas became the centre of Cuban sugar production, which influenced a high demand for slave labour. The territory became the major destination for African slaves in Cuba. The region's archives are very rich in all kinds of information on the African populations living in Matanzas from the early 16th to the end of the 19th century, including demographic statistics, information on ethnicity, resistance, occupations, property, economy of free and enslaved Africans.

During the pilot project, a detailed inventory on the physical condition of the documents was created. Almost all the documents and collections are suffering from severe mould, insect damage, iron gall ink corrosion, water damage, and fading. Most of the materials are stored in archival rooms with broken windows and with ceilings that are almost collapsing, thus the documents are exposed to wind and rain. Heat, humidity and dust are extremely high inside the rooms where the materials are kept.

These materials are unique and their condition perilous. Most of the collections are about to disappear, due to the extremely bad conditions in which they are deposited. Cuba's weather is hot and wet, which makes conservation a difficult task. Matanzas' archives lack financing and therefore do not have access to the necessary technology.

The reality is that the vast historical holdings of this region are deteriorating at an alarming rate. Nature and neglect are together creating an urgent need to rescue this important part of Cuban and slavery history. Due to the deteriorating conditions of the documents targeted by this project they must be digitised and preserved soon otherwise they will be lost forever.

Project Ref: EAP187
Project Title: Syliphone - an early African recording label

This project aims to create an archive of sound recordings released on the Syliphone label, and also to copy unreleased Syliphone studio recordings from their current reel-to-reel format to compact disc and to archive these recordings.

In 1958 Guinea gained independence and the newly elected government sought ways to revitalise the nation after a long period of colonial rule. In order to instil a sense of nationhood and to revitalise the indigenous arts the government introduced the concept of authenticité, a cultural policy whereby artists were encouraged to look at the past for inspiration and to incorporate themes and styles from local traditions into their new works. The authenticité programme saw the creation of a vast network of state-funded regional arts troupes, which represented the nation's towns, districts and regions. Over 40 regional and national orchestras formed a major part of these troupes, and together with groups such as Les Ballets Africains they toured the world and travelled extensively within Africa. The concept of authenticité was thus spread to other African nations, such as Mali, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Zaïre, many of whom adopted authenticité as their official cultural policy.

In Guinea, authenticité provided the basis for the development of new styles of popular African music in the 1960s. A key method of the music's distribution was via Guinea's Syliphone recording label. A state-funded enterprise, Syliphone was the first state-funded African recording label of the postcolonial era, and the company released 82 long play records and 75 singles. This catalogue of over 700 songs featured Guinea's modern orchestras, folkloric troupes, and solo artists. Production of Syliphone recordings continued until 1984, with the death of President Sékou Touré. In 1985 an attempted coup in Conakry saw the building which housed the Syliphone catalogue destroyed. This was the only complete collection in the country.

This project will assemble and digitise the existing collections of Syliphone vinyl discs. In addition to this catalogue there exist reel-to-reel recordings of studio-quality unreleased material dating from the 1960s, with each reel containing approximately 75 minutes of music, which will also be digitised. It is planned to locate all of the material at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Conakry and the project has the support of the library's director, Dr. Baba Cheick Sylla.

The reel-to-reel recordings have a limited lifespan and transferring them to digital form must occur soon. If the recordings were to perish then an invaluable resource, one that has been neither properly catalogued nor publicly released, would be lost. Similarly, the vinyl stock also has a limited lifespan. If neither were archived, the consequences would be that Guinea's recording label, West Africa's first, would remain enigmatic, and an important chapter in the development of African music would be lost.

This project has great significance for African researchers. In an era of globalisation, the authenticité movement via the Syliphone catalogue represented a significant chapter in African history, when a new nation asserted its voice and placed the indigenous arts at the forefront of its cultural identity. In 2008 Guinea celebrates its 50th year of independence. This project will bring to light the true scope of the authenticité policy, a cultural policy which captured Africa's imagination and led to an extraordinary era of creativity in Guinea and in Africa. The archive of Syliphone recordings will serve as a showcase for the nation's rich cultural heritage.

Project Ref: EAP188
Project Title: Rescuing text: retrieval and documentation of printed books and periodicals published prior to 1950 from public institutions in Eastern India

This pilot project will prepare an index of books from eastern India, available in public libraries in West Bengal and Assam but which are lacking basic preservation facilities.

The history of printing in Eastern India dates back to 1778, with the establishment of public libraries in Calcutta and neighbouring districts from the 1850s. These public institutions played a crucial role in the formation of civil society under colonial surveillance. They were not only hubs of intellectualism but also created a depository for documents emerging from within and outside the modern European disciplinary approach. Many contain unique books and monographs on subjects such as caste, religion, regional history and and social practices in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Bengal.

The majority of public institutional libraries in eastern India are not adequately funded, with most of them running on voluntary services and very little in the way of funding from the provincial governments. This lack of funding is leading to a crisis for the documents in their custody, from damage due to lack of maintenance to pilering. Just the one example of Chaitanya Library shows that more than 5,000 of pre-1930 publications have disappeared since the production of the catalogue in 1936. Paper documents in the libraries are often laminated with cheap lamination papers that will lead to the total destruction of the document. Hence, the fragile nature of paper documents produced in colonial India and the lack of conservation measures make these documents endangered.

A survey will be conducted of approximately fifteen public libraries in these regions to identify unique books and periodicals published prior to 1950 - those titles that are already held elsewhere as shown by cataloguing records will be eliminated. Approximately 5,000 titles will then be prioritised for microfilming and digitisation as part of a future major digitisation project. The prioritisation will be based both on the nature of endangerment and the subject specific interest of the documents.

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Project Ref: EAP190
Project Title: Digitising archival material pertaining to 'Young India' label gramophone records



This project will digitise gramophone records, record catalogues and publicity material from 'The National Gramophone Record Manufacturing Company Ltd. Bombay'. During 1935-1955, this company produced hundreds of 78-rpm shellac gramophone records in Bombay, India.

During 1930-35, the British and German record manufacturing companies were well established and had a major share of disc manufacturing in India. The 'Young India' record label was an 'indigenous' effort at record production. The company issued over 10,000 songs on different subjects such as film music, classical music, folk music, publicity and educational material. Mainly amateur and upcoming artists have recorded on this label. The company ceased to function in 1955 so these recordings have never been reissued on audio tapes and CDs. Hence, it is important and relevant to preserve these invaluable recordings and the associated documents.

During 1935-55, the company produced over 10,000 titles on 78-rpm, 10 inch diameter shellac discs with two songs per disc. Each side could be played for over 3/3.5 minutes on spring wound gramophone machines. The recordings of film, popular, classical and folk music were issued. The repertoire covered music from different regions of India and sung in many different languages. During the long tenure of over twenty years, Indian citizens witnessed several important events such as the movement and struggle for freedom, Indian Independence in 1947, World War II and the beginning of the romantic period of independent India. This was also reflected in the records produced. Thus, there are speeches of great leaders, ballads, skits and dialogues on a number of subjects depicting changing social and political situations.

In late 1948, the 'National' factory at Wadala was experiencing both technical and financial problems which severely curtailed its production capacity. The situation worsened slowly and by late 1955, the factory had closed down with stocks left over at the factory sold off at greatly reduced prices to a number of agencies. With time, the records and catalogues were either destroyed or scrapped. Slowly, all the material related to this company began to disappear.

It is estimated that over 1,000 records are available in the private collections of record collectors, located in Mumbai, Ahmadabad, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata, and are only available on 78-rpm breakable shellac discs. In addition, over 100 catalogues, booklets and record sleeves are held by private collectors and it is possible to collect or borrow them for this project. These have never been sold commercially, with the result that very few copies have survived to the present.

All the material is over sixty years old and free from issues related to the copyright. Copies can be made for preservation. Through this project endangered archival material pertaining to 'Young India' record label will be restored, digitised and thus preserved for posterity.

Project Ref: EAP191
Project Title: Strategies for archiving the endangered publications of French India (1800-1923)



The aim of this project is to digitally preserve and archive the endangered periodical publications of French India that were published in Pondicherry between 1800 and 1923. These publications are currently held at the library of the French Institute in Pondicherry (FIP). The process of digitisation will be carried out on-site at the FIP.

The substantive French presence and imperial drive in the Indian sub-continent ended after 1763, and French possessions in India were subsequently limited to several smaller land pockets, namely Pondicherry (Pondichéry), Karikal, Mahé, Yanaon and Chandernagor. Pondicherry and the other French territories continued to exist surrounded by newly independent milieus and separated by large distances until the de facto transfer of the territory on November 1, 1954. However, the milieus that provided and to an extent nurtured the amalgamation of Indian and French identities were destined to disappear in the foreseeable future.

The French presence in India remains a relatively under-studied aspect of the genre of colonial and post-colonial writings, especially when compared to the level of scholarship on the French presence anywhere else on the globe. In particular, little has been written about French colonial interaction within South Asia and its meaningful ambivalence when it came to defining, understanding and dealing with so-called natives.

One of the earliest cultural artefacts of French colonial existence in India is a group of French language publications that were published in India. Taken as a group, these colonial publications are extremely interesting as they contain not only delayed breaking news from the Metropolitan France, but also report the daily administrative transactions that characterised the French colonial milieu in India. These transactions are of particular interest to those who seek to understand and decode daily colonial discourse and what it represented to the literate élite within these colonial enclaves. These publications also reveal various characterisations of the often troubled relationship between the colonial populace and metropolitan France.

There are over 11 rare French publications at the FIP that are in need of serious preservation. The earliest periodical in the holdings of the FIP library is the Bulletin des actes administratifs des Établissements français de l'Inde. This was the first French newspaper to appear in French India in 1823.

The periodical publications proposed for digitisation were originally intended to be ephemeral and tended to be printed on acidic paper. In environments where preservation resources, including expertise, are scarce and the climate is not conducive to preservation, the effects of aging and neglect are exacerbated. These colonial artefacts at the FIP library are in critical need of systematic preservation efforts. The condition of the periodicals ranges from time-related yellowing and general deterioration to extreme fragility rendering them unusable in their present condition. If preservation efforts are not undertaken, these publications providing evidence of colonial practices in French India will continue to deteriorate to an irrecoverable degree and will finally be lost to the effects of time, humidity and heat.

Project Ref: EAP201
Project Title: Study and collection of Hakku Patras and other documents among folk communities in Andhra Pradesh



This project is concerned with the collection and preservation of Hakku Patras found in the possession of nomadic and non-nomadic performing communities. They are documents of Rights, granted to performers 200-500 years ago, by the village elders or other institutions, to perform certain duties in an assigned area. Hakku Patras are fragile social documents and their contents are important for the study of rural social dynamics. They should be located, copied and thus preserved against the onslaught of urbanisation.

The documents are inscribed on copper plates and written on a piece of paper or paper scrolls. The content of Hakku Patras contains the name of the village, performing community, dates of sanctioning of the grants and form of the performance. But these documents are culturally more significant. They play an important role in the socio-cultural milieu of marginalised communities. These documents contain information which is mutually shared by all sub-castes and well understood and respected by all members of patron communities. In spite of many social upheavals the tradition is continued.

Preliminary research has identified some 40 Hakku Patras in many regions, with indications that there are many sources of documents in rural areas. In this pilot survey, it is planned to collect the details of their location. These documents can easily be damaged permanently, as their custodians are constantly moving and unable to protect them. The copper documents are relatively safe, but due to poor economic condition these documents are often sold away, mortgaged or melted down. These factors make the documents endangered and rare archival materials. Owners of these documents are relinquishing their traditional professions and adopting other remunerative vocations which provide them with more means of income. They are constantly migrating from their villages to urban industrial area working as labourers. The poor living conditions of these people left the Hakku Patras to the mercy of rain, fire and termites and made the survival of the precious documents most difficult.

An example is the potter community in a village. The potter has to make a variety of pots which include Ritual Pots, Festival Lamps, Ceremonial Pots, Water Pots, Stored Water Pots, Festival Pots and many other varieties. When the potter provides his work, combined with his skill and art to the villagers, they honour and pay their gratitude to the potter in return. It is beyond the minimum financial transaction. For instance a marriage ceremony within a family begins with the ceremonial pots (Ireni Kundalu) of the potter and the family head thanks him as per the family tradition. It is a practice current in villages. This process is part of the 'Right' reciprocated by potter and villages.

The Hakku Patras are unique in their nature as documents revealing the place and position of marginalised dependant castes in society. The dependant castes are nomadic and non-nomadic - they are story tellers, folk-narrators and caste priests. They narrate myths from the origin of the patron caste and also recite genealogies and they hold their place of importance as the folk bards, owning 'mirasi right'. They are considered to be important because of the services they render to the society. Dependant castes keep an oral record of caste and its evolution through their genealogies. Unfortunately, those who sing and recite about the social structures are eliminated by the society of their position and rights. Hakku Patras are the documents showing their rights. Up until now, academics did not notice the importance of these patras and their valuable share of work in society. Now, their existence is on the edge of extinction. To collect those patras that have survived becomes inevitable on the part of academics. The State Archives, State Museums or any other similar local institutions have not found or have on record any documents of this type. So scholars have not been aware of the existence of these documents. This project realises the true value of these documents and wants to preserve them.

Project Ref: EAP204
Project Title: Digitising the photographic archive of Zenzo Nkobi

This project will digitise and conserve over 5,000 photographs taken by Zenzo Nkobi, a South African who went into exile during the 1960s and who worked as a professional photographer in the 70s and 80s in Southern Africa. Nkobi recorded the Southern Africa liberation struggle camps, leaders, conferences, the massacres of the 1970s, the impact of South African military destabilisation and the Gukurahundi (the 1980s post-independence repression in western Zimbabwe).

This is perhaps the only intact photographic collection recording the Southern African liberation movements in exile. From the early 1970s to the early 1990s, Nkobi recorded the Southern Africa liberation struggle. To ensure security, photographers were not permitted in residences and camps unless fully vetted by the movement; Zenzo Nkobi, as the son of ANC treasurer-general Thomas Nkobi, had complete access. His images cover ANC and Zimbabwean refugee and military camps in Zambia and Botswana in the 1970s. His photographs show ZIPRA military training camps and the only known images of the Freedom Camp massacre and other destabilisation raids on Zambian soil by Rhodesian and South African troops.

Zenzo Nkobi photographed liberation movement leaders at major regional and international conferences, as well as people's daily lives in exile, in Lusaka and Maputo. Zenzo was a member of the ANC photography unit in the 1980s; however, the unit's stored images were destroyed by water damage in Zambia in the late 1980s.

In 1980, he photographed the return of exiles and elections in the newly liberated Zimbabwe, and rare images of the Gukhurahundi (repression of the population around Bulawayo in the early 1980s).

Initial research will place these photographs into context, through preliminary interviews with people present at the events recorded. This will ensure the initial indexing and filing of the images, providing the foundations for future in depth research, which is beyond the scope of this immediate project.

The photographic negatives were given by the Nkobi family to the South African History Archives, unsorted and unreferenced in plastic sleeves within looseleaf folders, in cardboard boxes. The negatives need to be placed in a secure conservation environment as soon as possible, to prevent further deterioration.

As the collection is unique, it is believed essential to have multiple digital copies made accessible for research and record purposes in key archival repositories. Without this, an important and irreplaceable visual record may be lost. The project will provide digital copies to local and international historical repositories; and conserve the original negatives in a proper archival environment.

Project Ref: EAP205
Project Title: Endangered manuscripts of Western Sumatra. Collections of Sufi brotherhoods



This pilot project is based on the results of recent field research work in Western Sumatra and deals with written Islamic heritage of this region, especially Sufi literature. The manuscript collections are preserved mainly in the surau * of Sufi brotherhoods (Shattariyah, Naqshbandiyah) with a small minority kept in private collections. All these collections of manuscripts are written in Jawi (Arabic Malay) or Arabic and consist of examples of al-Qur'an, tafsir, works on fiqh and tasawwuf as well as agiographical treatises of auliya' (Muslim saints), historical and cultural works of Minangkabau region. There are some unique examples of calligraphy and illumination, in particular in the mountain regions of Minangkabau with the traces of its Hindu-Buddhists past. Such regions which are difficult to access and still remained unexplored can give different opportunities and treasures to investigate. Further studying of such written heritage can contribute much to the history of Sumatra, of Islam and Sufism and especially to the studying of the local form of Islam of Minangkabau. Most of these manuscripts are in a very poor, almost illegible state because of the humid climate and insects and can vanish and be lost to research within 10-20 years.

The research staff of Andalas University in Padang has already started the work of digitisation in some surau in a project led by Mrs. Zuriati, with whom this project will be coordinated. It is hoped that these two projects will supplement each other. The project of Mrs. Zuriati covers the territory where the main surau of Shattariyah brotherhood are located in the villages close to Padang (max. 50km) while the distant Shattariyah surau still remained unexplored. So the field work of this pilot project will be held partly in the region of Agam located rather far from Padang (100-300 km) in the mountain villages (Sejunjung, Palembayan) where it is planned to visit approximately five surau and identify their collections. The most valuable examples and those which are in the worst condition will be digitised.

This project will also investigate Naqshbandiyah manuscript collections preserved in the surau around Padang. Naqshbandiyah is another Sufi brotherhood which is widespread in the Minangkabau region and were introduced in Western Sumatra even earlier than Shattariyah, in the 17th Century. It is also planned to meet with the owners of private collections in Padang, identify their collections and digitise where possible.

As the outcome of this pilot project, a report of the survey will be prepared which will contain the guidelines to develop a future major digitisation project in the surau of Sufi brotherhoods in Western Sumatra. The most endangered and rare manuscripts will also have been digitised and preserved.

* Islamic study centres led by Sufi sheikhs as well as the places of Sufi ritual practice and preserving manuscripts.

Project Ref: EAP207
Project Title: 'Faces drawn in the sand': a rescue project of Native Peoples' photographs stored at the Museum of La Plata, Argentina - major project



This project aims to preserve for future research the photographic collections identified in the previous pilot project. Microfilm and digital copies of the collections stored at Museo de La Plata will be created.

The albums and collections that will be microfilmed are:

Guido Boggiani Album (Gran Chaco)
Pedro Godoy Album (Tierra del Fuego)
Francisco Moreno Album (Museo Antropológico de Buenos Aires,1878-Viaje 1883-1884)
Samuel Boote Album (Tehuelches)
Calchaquí Album (Calchaquí Valleys-NW Argentina)
Christiano Junior Album (Río Negro-Patagonia)
Julio Koslowski Collection (Patagonia)
Carlos Bruch Collection (Yungas, NW Argentina)
Roland Bonaparte Collection (Collection Anthropologique du Prince Roland Bonaparte-Old and New World)
Natalio Bernal Collection (Altiplano-Bolivia)
Fernando Lahille Collection (Tierra del Fuego)
Adolfo Methfessel Collection (NW Argentina)
Omar Gancedo Collection (Paraguay)
«Gaucho» Collection (Buenos Aires)
Hermann ten Kate Collection (Tehuelches)
Benjamin Muñíz Barretto Collection (NW Argentina)
«Vignati » Collection (Patagonia)
Fuegian Collection (Tierra del Fuego)

The collections stored at La Plata Museum provide a picture of pre-industrial societies of a wide area of South America during the late 19th - early 20th centuries. They include photographs on paper, albumens, and glass plate negatives. During the previous pilot project they were relocated to Archivo Histórico (Museo de La Plata) and are currently kept in good climatic conditions. The albums Boggiani, Bonaparte (Old and New World), and the Bolivian Collection represent objects used by ethnologists as visual data of distant Indian tribes. The Moreno Album contains images of F. P. Moreno's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, established in 1878. This album along with Calchaquí Album were presented at the Paris World Exhibition of 1878 and both contain very rare images.

The materials which have been affected by fungi and improperly stored have been physically stabilised and can be microfilmed. There are no back-ups of the glass plate negatives; their destruction would mean the definitive loss of the collections. Although the collections have been relocated, these unique collections have been damaged by years of bad conditions of storage that cannot be repaired. Thus microfilming is the proper way to ensure the survival of the material. Moreover, access to these materials being requested by different communities and researchers cannot be granted in their present state as there would be a great risk to the integrity of the collections and the total loss of legibility. Microfilming would allow open access to data for a history that is still waiting to be written.

La Plata Museum, Argentina , was established in 1884, dedicated to the study of American Man. It was the first institution of this kind in South America, resulting from the donation of several anthropological and archaeological collections gathered in the Argentinean interior during the 1870s. This Museum envisioned a continental scope: to achieve its goals it organised different strategies to collect objects that encompassed societies that, by those years, were perceived to be in the process of extinction. In the late 1870s and 1880s several campaigns against Native peoples from Patagonia and Chaco were carried out as governmental or private initiatives in order to erase savagery from the lands to be included into the market economy. Besides, indigenous peoples from Northwestern Argentina were incorporated as labour force into the new industries established in that region, such as the Ingenios (sugar refineries) from Tucumán, Salta y Jujuy. Either to record vanishing races or as testimony to the changes experienced by Native peoples in the process of becoming civilized, photographic expeditions were dispatched to the localities and scenes where the process was taking place. As a result, La Plata Museum became one of the repositories of the visual documents of a history that was not deeply analysed.

This proposal aims to:
a) List the materials, providing the cultural, social and political background in which the photographs were created;
b) Continue the training of local staff in the Image Permanence Institute of Rochester;
c) Microfilm all the photographic collections described in the pilot project. 35 mm microfilming will be used as the archival medium in combination with digital imaging. The process will be done in cooperation with CEHIPE photographers;
d) To create an online catalogue of the collection, with access from La Plata Museum web page;
e) To consolidate a Southern Cone local centre for the preservation of endangered archives with special focus on photography and glass plate negatives.

Project Ref: EAP208
Project Title: Preserving memory: documentation and digitisation of palm leaf manuscripts from northern Kerala, India



This proposal seeks to locate, document and digitise approximately 500 palm leaf manuscripts, totalling around 50,000 pages. These documents, which are in a fragile and endangered condition, contain several insights into areas of knowledge like ecology, agriculture, science, arts and spirituality. Initial efforts at locating them have pointed to the existence of a much larger number of similar materials.

The manuscripts shall be collected from various private repositories for digitisation and thereafter shall be returned to the owners. One digital copy (preferably in DVD) shall be given to the manuscript owner and one copy of the work shall be shared with the British Library. As per the standards, each manuscript will have 3 DVDs (one raw tiff DVD, one clean tiff DVD and one jpeg DVD).

This proposal would focus attention on the neglected knowledge resource of socially disadvantaged minority communities like Tiyya, Asari, Maniyani, and Salia in the northern-most regions of Kerala and create an opportunity for the global academic community to explore interesting links with contemporary thought. These palm leaf manuscripts and the knowledge they contain were marginalised with the advent of modern education leading to the near-extinction of these manuscripts, first abandoned to the attics of old ancestral homes and later consigned to sea or fire as custom demanded.

There is a new interest in understanding and interrogating this intellectual heritage globally and this project seeks to contribute to that process. Modern information technology tools can aid such an effort.

The manuscripts are presently in the possession of individuals, traditional houses and with smaller libraries. The texts' traditional knowledge on treatment of diseases is highly localised and exclusive. There are songs dedicated to different local deities, with references also to the history, customs, and rituals from each zone and area. The corpus of manuscripts in the category of Poorakkali, the temple-oriented ritual, was found to be extremely rare and informative, because they cannot be found in any other part of Kerala. A preliminary survey threw up information on such exclusive knowledge systems specific to the area. There are interesting manuscripts that deal with such unusual fields as seduction of the opposite sex and the science of disappearance. It is an unexplored treasure trove of knowledge that these manuscripts contain and challenge the 21st century scholar to investigate them in detail.

The potential to scale up this collection exists and preliminary reports suggest the existence of over 15,000 manuscripts in the region, mostly from ancestral houses scattered in the region. On a preliminary inquiry, it was found that many families which own important manuscripts have no objection to relinquishing them. This is because they understand the knowledge value of the manuscripts, but realise that they do not have the facility to take care of them by themselves. The texts if they are sourced can be expected to be in a much poorer state due to fungus, termites, humidity and poor storage facilities in the homes that now hold them. Local custom ordains that if houses get rebuilt or if manuscripts become unusable due to decay they should be burnt or thrown into the sea.

The original material and digitised archive will be kept in Folkland: International Centre for Folklore and Culture, an institution based in Kasargod district, Kerala, India.

This work will be directed by Sudha Gopalakrishnan, who led the team that created a database of one million Indian manuscripts as Mission Director of India's National Mission for Manuscripts, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Government of India between 2004-2007. It will be executed by SAHA: Stirring Action on Heritage and the Arts, an organisation dedicated to the preservation and promotion of India's arts and heritage.

Project Ref: EAP209
Project Title: Survey on surviving dongjing archives in Jianshui, Tonghai and Mengzi



This pilot project aims to survey and assess the current conditions of surviving dongjing archives in South Yunnan. Containing ritual, music and text once popular in central China centuries ago, dongjing only survives in Yunnan. It is further threatened by the marginalisation of dongjing societies and the development of the local economy. Although sharing some features with that in north Yunnan, the dongjing in south Yunnan has its own characteristics. Due to the lack of updated information over the last 20 years, this project will survey the size and quality of the remaining archives.

The prominent value of dongjing archives exists in two major aspects. Firstly, dongjing preserves music dating back to the 15th century. The music was once popular among social elites in the central China, but now it cannot be found in its original place any longer. The texts used in the dongjing activities are generally dated to the 18th and 19th century. Dongjing keeps the memory of ritual form and affiliating texts and music from centuries previously, which are not available from other sources. Secondly, dongjing archives reveal the social changes which have taken place in Yunnan over the past three centuries.

There are several reasons for the endangered situation of dongjing archives. Firstly, due to social changes and turmoil in central China, the dongjing archives can be found only in frontier areas, such as Yunnan. Secondly, the same social change, especially the change in social power structure, marginalised dongjing societies, which had to change into amateur music societies in the late 20th century. Thirdly, few of the younger generation join dongjing societies. With the death of the old generation, the knowledge and memory concerning dongjing will be lost forever. Lastly, during local promotions on the tourist industry in Yunnan, many traditions and cultural heritages are distorted to meet the market requirement, and dongjing is one of the victims.

A general survey reveals that currently dongjing archives can be found only among dongjing societies in about thirty counties in Yunnan. Dr Jian Xu has managed a thorough investigation and collecting dongjing archives under the aegis of the Endangered Archives Programme in 2005-2007.

References dating back to the 1950s indicate that the dongjing archives in south Yunnan are mainly distributed in three counties: Tonghai, Jianshui and Mengzi. About thirty dongjing societies are reported to be still active there. So far there is no public dongjing collection and all archival materials are kept amongst the various societies.

The project hopes to locate the following archival materials:

a. Prints and manuscripts: though some are dated back to the 18 th century, the majority of the prints and manuscripts are dated later than the 19th century.

b. Scores: scores are written in two formats - traditional Chinese scores and simplified western-style scores. All scores are dated from the late 19th century.

c. Other documents, including files concerning the maintenance of the society, rubbings of steles, and so on.

This project will present a written survey report and a small collection of sample images. The project report will assess the need and feasibility for a future major research project and will provide detailed information on the size and quality of the surviving archives.

Project Ref: EAP211
Project Title: Digitising Cirebon manuscripts



Cirebon was one of the important Islamic Sultanates in Java, together with Demak and Banten, and had been a centre for Islamic learning and the dissemination of Islamic teachings in West Java. Cirebon was also considered to be one of the cultural centres in the Indonesian archipelago, which can be seen in its manuscripts.

These Cirebon manuscripts will contribute towards the understanding of Islamic intellectual and cultural heritages, and will help to reconstruct how Islam spread in West Java in the period of the 15th century to the first half of the 20th century. According to the latest survey, Cirebon manuscripts are mostly damaged because of inappropriate treatment and natural causes. Others were neglected due to a lack of knowledge about the storage and handling of manuscripts.

Some of the Cirebon manuscripts can be found in various public collections in the Netherlands, Britain, and France. Even though they are spread over various countries, they are limited in number. Cirebon itself has the biggest number of them held in traditional Islamic schools, by Cirebon sultans, and the private collections of sultan descendants.

Up to now, these manuscripts have not been explored and studied by either local or foreign scholars and there is no published catalogue of them. They include Qur'an and religious manuscripts, the story of puppet shadow (wayang), genealogy of Cirebon sultans, traditional healings, literatures, Cirebon traditional chronicles, Javanese Islamic mysticism written as poetry (Suluk), divining manuals, and manuscripts of talismans. The majority of them are physically in quite a fragile condition. This project will cover the whole area of the former Cirebon Sultanate (including Kasepuhan, Kanoman, Kacirebonan, and Kaprabon), Pengguron and Sanggar, starting in those where the manuscript conditions are precarious. Approximately 13,000 pages of these endangered manuscripts will be digitised and a report will be written.

The purpose of this project is to preserve Cirebon manuscripts through digitisation and the digital reproductions will be deposited in three institutions: (1) Bayt Al-Qur'an and Museum Istiqlal, for the purpose of research among scholars of Islam in Indonesia at large; (2) the British Library, for wider access by researchers; and (3) the owners of the manuscripts.

Project Ref: EAP212
Project Title: Locating, documenting and digitising: Preserving the endangered manuscripts of the Legacy of the Sultanate of Buton, South-Eastern Sulawesi Province, Indonesia



This project will conduct an inventory survey of around 830 Butonese manuscripts from eight private collections held in Bau-Bau, Maligano, and Kendari, and will search for other families owning manuscripts in the insular region of the former Butonese Sultanate, which is now included in the territory of South-Eastern Sulawesi Province, Indonesia.

The Sultanate of Buton (c 1342 -1960) was a sovereign maritime kingdom, consisting of dozens of islands, situated off the south-eastern tip of Sulawesi. Its dynasty left behind various kinds of manuscripts, now privately kept by the descendants of Butonese noble families.

The Butonese manuscripts are mostly written on European paper in the Arabic and Wolio languages using Jawi - Wolio script. A few others were written in the Buginese and Dutch languages using the respective scripts. These manuscripts were written and copied between the 17th and the 20th centuries. Their contents are manifold, among them are legends, genealogies, various correspondence (such as official letters, contract letters, personal letters), and accounts of traditional ceremonies. Other manuscripts contain Islamic teaching and Sufism, Islamic mysticism, Arabic grammar, Al-Qur'an, language, traditional maritime knowledge of sea navigation, chronicles, Butonese traditional laws (such as taxation, customary law, maritime law, Islamic law), traditional medicine, and divination manuals (astrology, prognosis, and interpretation of dreams). These documents are important sources for the study of language, literature, local Islam, traditional political history, culture and society in Indonesia.

For a long time these Butonese manuscripts have been inaccessible to scholars since they are privately owned by families on the islands of Buton. The Buton archipelago is isolated in eastern Indonesia. Local transportation networks are still underdeveloped and there are no international flights to Kendari, the capital of South-Eastern Sulawesi Province.

Considering their archipelagic nature, the Butonese manuscripts may reflect the culture and history of an insular community in Indonesia. Quantitatively, such manuscripts that show maritime characters, which were produced by archipelagic ethnic communities such as the Butonese, are far fewer than those manifest continental characters that are much found in European, Asian, and African mainland countries. Today, many Butonese manuscript collections are endangered not only by the tropical weather, but also their owners' lack of knowledge in archival preservation and management. Moreover, there has been little interest in safeguarding traditional cultural heritage such as manuscripts, because of the strong effects of modernisation on Indonesian local societies, which make old things less attractive and worthy. If no effort is made to safeguard these collections, there is a strong possibility we will lose forever these important sources of historical and cultural heritage especially since few original Butonese manuscripts have been preserved outside of Buton. Furthermore, the lack of skills in archival management of the manuscript owners and the dearth of moral and financial support by the national and local governments are factors contributing to the destruction of this historical heritage. These collections are also succeptible to the illegal international trade in Indonesian manuscripts. Last year a manuscript 'poacher' from Malaysia smuggled 24 Butonese Manuscripts to his country. This caused a furore among cultural observers and academics in Indonesia's South-Eastern Sulawesi Province.

This project will produce a written survey report and digital samples of selected manuscripts from the eight collections that have been identified. Since this is a pilot project, not all manuscripts will be photographed at this stage. Agreements will be drawn up with their owners for complete filming in the future. Other collections will also be located and permission sought to photograph their manuscripts at a later stage. If permission is obtained, it is hoped this pilot project will lead to the development of a major research project for digitising these Butonese manuscripts, conducting training for the owners of the collections and local staff working in relevant institutions in South-Eastern Sulawesi Province, in order to preserve the manuscripts from total destruction and help save them for the future.

Project Ref: EAP217
Project Title: Digitisation of Yi archives in south dialect in Yunnan, China



This project will digitise endangered archival material written in the south dialect of the indigenous Yi language in Yunnan, China. All the materials covered by this project have survived various destructions in the past century but still remain in unsatisfactory conditions. The archival materials come from several counties in south Yunnan, namely Xinping, Yuanyang, Jianshui and Mengzi. Besides these tiny private collections, the largest collection has been established by the Yunnan provincial administrative office of minority classics in Kunming. Amongst more than 4,000 surviving volumes of Yi texts, there are about 800 volumes written in the south dialect. This project will digitize the entire collection of 400 volumes in the public collection in Kunming and another 200 volumes from various public and private collections in the counties mentioned above.

The Yi archives are the most important and irreplaceable materials for research on the indigenous Yi people in Southwest China. They are the only available texts written in the Yi language and character, which stands for an uninterrupted indigenous writing tradition for six centuries but now is endangered as well. The Yi archives cover a wide range of topics including calendar, epic, history, medicine, philosophy, ritual, geography, literature and music. This material written in the Yi language is not available in either Chinese or another script.

For understanding the Yi people in Southwest China and Southeast Asia, the archival materials in the Yi language are very crucial in that they are the only aboriginal written sources. The Yi archives are written by the aboriginal priests and literati bimo and represent the entire range of the traditional knowledge of the Yi people, they are therefore known as the Yi's encyclopaedia. The Yi language is divided into six dialects, each one differing dramatically from the others. Written archives are found in four dialects. The Yi archives in the south dialect are significant specifically in understanding the cultural heritage and tradition in south Yunnan.

Most of the Yi archival materials under this project are in script. The earliest Yi script in the south dialect is dated to the early 19th century, but the majority of the archives are in the range from the late 19th to the mid 20th century. One major feature of the Yi scripts in the south dialect distinguishing themselves from those written in other dialects is that many of them have unique and beautiful illustrations, painted in bright mineral pigments. The oral tradition is presently preserved in some villages in Xinping and Yuanyang county.

Most of the Yi archives in the south dialect have been destroyed in the past half century. A further threat to the Yi archives in recent years is smuggling and the illegal trading market. In addition, the physical feature of Yi archives as paper scripts reminds us the threat of deterioration.

The material at the archive of the Yunnan provincial administrative office of minority classics is stored in minimum preservation conditions: the archive is not equipped with any facilities to preserve the scripts, no positive action, such as mounting or moisture-resistance processing, has been taken and even the storage space is not large enough. The situation for the county archives with Yi scripts is even worse. The private collections come from a dozen bimo priests and normally the scripts are stored in the attic above the kitchen and open to unfavourable environmental conditions. A script in this condition normally can't last for 40 years. Moreover, scripts easily disappear if there is no successor in a bimo family when the old priest passes away.

An outcome from this project will be the creation of a database of digital images of the archives. The most endangered scripts in the private collections will be relocated to the public collection in the Yunnan provincial administrative office of minority classics. The master copies of the entire archives will be stored at both the University Library of Sun Yat-sen University and the Archives of Yunnan provincial administrative office of minority classics.

Project Ref: EAP218
Project Title: The endangered archives of Sudanese trade unions (1899-2005) - major project



This project aims to collect and digitise the endangered archives of the Sudanese trade union movement, based on the survey carried out during the previous pilot project. A website will be devoted to the collected materials and a training course will be held, comprising of 10 weekly sessions of theoretical and practical aspects of archiving and digitisation.

This project will show the struggle to establish Sudanese trade unions by Sudanese workers themselves and will draw attention to the role played by trade unions in the period after the October 1964 revolution, when they dominated the government. In contrast it will also draw attention to other periods when unions were vigorous opponents of different governments and managed to survive the sustained oppression endured under three military regimes.

The archival materials are in very poor physical condition and on the verge of total disintegration. Many trade union leaders keep their documents hidden away, in unsuitable conditions. The materials are kept in houses without any access to modern technology or suitable conditions of storage. Most ex-leaders are aging and it is certain that their families will not take care of their papers. Any delay in undertaking this project means these archival materials will be lost forever. The unstable political situation in Sudan adds to the urgency of the project.

The Sudanese trade union movement played a radical role in the modern history of Sudan. It was a leading force in fighting the colonial state and in achieving Sudanese Independence. Also it offered the people of Sudan a new type of organisation that was not based on tribalism or religious affiliation. Moreover, it was the leading force that masterminded and led the overthrow of two military dictatorships, in 1964 and 1985. All these facts led the movement to be oppressed by three military regimes. It was banned and refused legal existence [in 1958, 1971 and 1989] and its collections have been confiscated by the State Security Services from unions' offices or leaders' homes.

During the pilot survey, there were no trade union archives or archival materials to be found in the National Records Office, universities or private institutions. Even in the national centre of trade unions there is no official archive and they have a collection for the post 2002 period only. The reasons for this were:

  • The Sudan State Security Services, having confiscated the entire document collections of the unions three times, never returned a single document to its owner. Whenever they arrested any trade union leader or activist they confiscated their documents without returning them.
  • Some trade union leaders were not aware of the importance of keeping their documents for the future and they kept their documents in the offices of their unions, usually at the back store. This placed the documents under the mercy of weather, pests and theft. Some union leaders, for political reasons, even decided to burn collections under their control. Two of the major known damages were done in 1979 and 1993. In 1979 all documents kept in the office of Sudan Railway Workers' Trade Union were burned by one of their leaders, claiming that it was 'waste' from the Communist era. In 1993 a group, appointed by the Military Government to run Sudan Teachers' Union, decided to burn all the documents they found.
  • The government office of the 'Trade Unions' Register', which has legal powers to monitor, regulate and even dissolve trade union does not have any archive documents.

An Advisory Committee will help in advising and observing the project. The proposed Advisory Committee consists of: representatives of different trade unions, the National Records Office, veteran leaders of the movement, families of ex-leaders, journalists, academics, solicitors, main political parties, our volunteers and the director of our local partner. The Minster of Labour has agreed to sponsor the project and chair the Advisory Committee.

The main outcomes of the projects will be:

  • A digital copy of the documents that will be collected.
  • The original documents and a master digital copy will be kept at Abdel Kaream Murghani Cultural Centre in Sudan.
  • A digital copy will be donated to the Sudanese National Records Office.
  • A digital copy of the collection will be submitted to the British Library.
  • A website will be created that is devoted to the preserved collection with free access to all.
  • A training course on finding, archiving and preserving the history of the Sudanese labour movement will be held for trade unionists.
  • The project will raise awareness among trade unionists and other civil society organisations about the importance of their documents and the necessity to archive them.
Project Ref: EAP219
Project Title: Assessment and preservation of the old Vietnamese École Française d'Extrême Orient archive in ancient ideographic Nôm script



This major research project is an effort to save the endangered Nôm archive at the Institute of Social Science Information (ISSI) in Hanoi, Vietnam. Nôm is the ideographic national script used in Vietnam for over 1,000 years since the country's independence from China in 939. The archive, left behind in 1954 by the École Française d'Extrême Orient, includes many documents that have deteriorated beyond repair. The project will complete a thorough inventory of the archive in international standard protocol, will post the inventory online for further classification by librarians, will digitise volumes in the most vulnerable section of the archive and post these online, and will move the most vulnerable (approximately 1200) documents to a secure, isolated, climate-controlled room in the new ISSI building.

The most vulnerable section of the ISSI Nôm archive comprises fragile village and district administrative documents including village and district records of families, land ownership, real estate and property exchanges, contacts with the royal courts, decrees by various emperors for people in the villages, maps, names of inhabitants, and so on. Since Nôm was the national script used in Vietnam for over 1,000 years, the archives have an inestimable historical value providing, together with Han-Viet records, the main written record of the history and culture of Vietnam for 10 centuries. The documents were collected and stored by the Ecole Francaise d'Extreme Orient but, because of the history of wars and poverty over the last 125 years, the collection has never had a proper inventory and the documents themselves are being housed in areas without proper climate control or security.

The archive materials were all handwritten, sealed in colored ink (usually red), including decrees by emperors related to the villages, on dó (mulberry paper), stab bound, in different sizes. Dó paper is acid free but the documents have been rebound with whatever pieces of scrap papers were available. The covers are mostly not acid free, and many are in bad condition. Because of the poor condition of the books, scanning and Xeroxing are not an option. It is proposed instead to use the less invasive technique of high resolution digital color photography.

The materials are currently housed in a small three-storey building, occupying the second and third floors, without air conditioning, packed in tight rows of bookcases and boxes. Windows are sometimes left open for air circulation. Since Hanoi is very humid in the wet season and very dusty in the dry season, the books are subjected to damaging atmospheric conditions year round. Many of the books are without covers. Many of the documents are simply in piles on the floor. There are wormholes in many of the manuscripts.

Since 1919 there has been no systematic training of Nôm scholars and those who can read and understand Nôm today are almost extinct, following the general acceptance in Vietnam in the 1920's of the Latinised script called ch? qu?c ng?. Those Nôm scholars who do exist are not authorized to teach in colleges and universities because many of them lack university graduate degrees. Also, as a result of the wars and the requirements of modern education, there are precious few Vietnamese teaching materials for Nôm.

This project is a cooperative effort between the Center for Vietnamese Philosophy, Culture, and Society at Temple University and the ISSI in Hanoi, a research unit of the Vietnamese Academy of Social Science (VASS). The Temple Center and the ISSI have been collaborating for several years. It is hoped that this project, combining inventory and digitization, and bringing a set of documents onto a web platform, will serve as a working model for future Nôm archival work, facilitating further efforts to copy and preserve this endangered material.

Project Ref: EAP220
Project Title: Saving archival documents of archaeological researches conducted during the 1920s and 1930s in Ukraine



The aim of this project is to save documents related to an archaeological expedition which, in 1929-1935, investigated a unique complex of monuments from the Old Russian era located near the village of Raiki in the Kyiv region.

This archaeological expedition, led by T. Movchanovskiy, explored a complex of monuments including a hillfort, settlements and a graveyard. Its uniqueness lay in the fact that it was the largest hillfort in the locality, with a special historical and geographical position on the border of the South Russ and the nomadic world. Raiki is the only fully excavated South Russ hillfort dating from the 13th Century, which collapsed after a sudden raid. The lost people, animals, buildings, decoration, food and treasures had not been stolen and had remained intact at the time of the excavations. Thanks to the suddenness of the settlement failure there is the possibility to study the peculiarities of medieval life. All the above was documented by the expedition leader. These documents let us identify the exact time and the reasons that caused the tragedy, and to trace in detail the features of the economy and way of life of the early medieval town, including anthropological and ethno-cultural characteristics of the population.

The principles and methods used to conduct the field researches were new for the time and makes the expedition documents especially valuable. Documents describing the research history and the researchers' fate are unique also. The expedition leader was arrested and was executed in 1936. He had not managed to process and publish the findings of the excavations. Some of the documents were probably confiscated by Stalin's special services (NKVD) after the arrest of T. Movchanovskiy and some documents were lost during the Nazi occupation of Kiev in 1941.

At present, the majority of the complicated documentation on Raiki is kept within the archive of the Institute of Archaeology of the NASU. Documents are kept in four separate funds and the material has not been processed and catalogued. This archive consists of different types of documents. Annual scientific reports, field diaries, inventory lists and register cards for artefacts, rough copies of the advanced studies with text documents on various organizational and financial matters of the expedition - approximately 97 separate files with an overall volume of 2950 separate leaves of different formats. 123 field drafts and pictures, including unique water-colours, are kept within 15 separate files. The paper of these documents is of extremely bad quality. Most of the handwritten texts and drafts are in pencil with the writing wearing off each time the document is used. Plans and drafts are in the worst condition with large format drafts often torn.

The expedition's photographic archive needs special attention. There are 368 glass plate negatives of various formats. Because of unsatisfactory storage, there are cracks and spots and many items are broken into pieces with the emulsion being removed. There are also over 200 photographs related to the Raiki expedition kept within the Institute of Archaeology archive.

Some of the expedition's materials are kept in other archival institutions: the Institute of Manuscripts of V. Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine, the Central State Video-, Photo- and Phono Archive of Ukraine, the Berdychiv Affiliate of Zhytomyr Regional Archive, the State Archive of Safety Service of Ukraine. The expedition materials are alien to these archives, thus there is a threat of their improper processing, removal or transfer.

There is information that some materials of the expedition archive are kept in the cities of Zhytomyr and Odessa , and in the Russian Federation (Moscow and St Petersburg). The volume of these probable funds needs clarification.

The main aim of this pilot project therefore is to locate and survey all the existing archival material from the archaeological researches on Raiki hillfort, to compile a consolidated listing of all the material and to carry out trial digitisation. This will lay the groundwork for a future major digitisation project.

Project Ref: EAP229
Project Title: Acehnese manuscripts in danger of extinction: identifying and preserving the private collections located in Pidie and Aceh Besar regencies



This pilot project will identify, copy and conserve manuscripts kept in private collections in the Pidie and Aceh Besar regencies. Acehnese individuals have collected more than 400 manuscripts dating from the 16th to 20th centuries. It is planned to take an inventory of these, make preliminary lists of the survey and reproduce some samples of the manuscripts.

Aceh is an important area possessing and maintaining a large number of manuscripts as cultural property. Historically in this area there have been a number of prominent religious intellectuals, called ulamas. Between the 16th and 17th centuries, Aceh experienced an intellectual golden age. Four prominent figures were Hamzah Fansuri, Syamsuddin as-Sumatrani, Nuruddin ar-Raniry, and Abdurrauf al-Fansuri. However, during the 19th century Aceh was attacked by the Dutch and the activities of intellectual figures were reigned back.

Because of these intellectual efforts, many unpublished manuscripts can be found. Some of them have been preserved by public institutes but some are still in the hands of the Acehnese people. Based on a preliminary survey, manuscripts are kept by people scattered in several villages located in Pidie and Aceh Besar regencies.

In Aceh, many people tend to keep manuscripts regardless of the authors. For some of them, having manuscripts, especially religious manuscripts, is a matter of pride and they carefully keep them in boxes or cupboards or on tables. For example, one collector keeps his manuscripts in a wood case and on a table. He takes care of the manuscripts by inserting dried-tobacco in each page of the papers. According to him, dried-tobacco can deter insects from the manuscripts. In spite of this, the pages of manuscripts still look yellowish and stay humid.

Some manuscripts though are under threat of either being discarded or sold. One collector selects and then sells the best quality manuscripts for a high price.

This project hopes to identify and preserve the manuscripts kept in Aceh, before all of the manuscripts are destroyed. The two regencies that are the focus of this project, Pidie and Aceh Besar, have been chosen for three main reasons:

  • The physical condition of the manuscripts is extremely bad. Most of them already have insect damage and all of them have damage to the paper with some becoming brownish and some yellowish in colour. Some are in very humid conditions.
  • These two areas are susceptible to both natural and man made disasters. The tsunami occurred in Aceh two years ago, and some parts of these two places were swept away by this disaster. Fortunately, some manuscripts are left, kept by the local people. Apart from this, Aceh is an area where earthquake frequently occur.
  • The private collectors do not know the appropriate way to conserve the manuscripts and several collectors intend to sell their manuscripts.

The project will produce a written report of the survey including preliminary lists of the manuscripts and some digital copies.

Project Ref: EAP231
Project Title: Social history of the Gambia: rescuing an endangered archive, police and court records



The Court Record collections of the Department of State for Justice in Banjul, the Gambia, are in a poor state and need urgent preservation. They comprise civil, police, and criminal records dating from the 1820s, with the documents facing damage by insects, mould, moisture, and mice. This pilot project will assess how best to copy and preserve them for future use.

The documents date from 1820 to 1960 and stretch 1500 feet (457 meters). Documents are roughly bundled and piled on the floor in a space with no climate control. They are not catalogued and not available to researchers. If preserved, the collection will be of great use to students, historians and legal scholars. The judicial records date back to the 1820s, soon after British settlement. Few other collections in Africa date from such an early period, making these rare and worthy of such an effort. The collections are valuable given recent historiographical trends in which scholars have turned their attention to court records to seek a deeper understanding of how colonial agents and local communities engaged one another. Court records reveal struggles between men and women, elders and youths, and elites and commoners. Since African women could visit colonial courts to seek divorce, court transcripts are one of the few places where historians hear African women's voices - how women articulated their discontent in male dominated societies. They, too, reveal disputes over land, other forms of property, child custody and many other things. Most often common people - not elites -visited the courts, making the records rare treasures for social historians.

This pilot project will be implemented by Professor Walter Hawthorne and two Gambians, Bala Saho and Elizabeth Bahoum. The project's main objectives will be:

  • to begin a process of training Gambian archivists in methods of digitising and disseminating endangered archives and of preserving endangered original documents;
  • to provide initial equipment to continue preservation/digitisation after the pilot ends;
  • to devise an organisational scheme for documents;
  • to prepare for a future major digitisation project.

Visit the project's website and watch a news report shown on Gambian national television.

Project Ref: EAP234
Project Title: Identification and description of the colonial documentary fond at the Lima Metropolitan Welfare Society (Sociedad de Beneficencia de Lima Metropolitana)



The Lima Metropolitana Welfare Society Archive is an invaluable source for understanding Peruvian colonial history in matters as diverse as real estate ownership, public health or illegitimate children. The documentary fond holds documents from the 16th to the early 19th century. Regrettably, the preservation conditions are poor - badly stored, without a catalogue and lacking skilled professional staff, this is truly an endangered archive. Responding to the urgent need to preserve this repository, this team will undertake a pilot listing project to survey its extent and condition, as a preliminary to a future copying and preservation project.

Since its establishment, the Lima Metropolitana Welfare Society has been in charge of real estate and holding management of almost all the former colonial welfare institutions, especially the brotherhoods that owned real estate properties within the city of Lima and several farms in the surrounding valley during the 18th and 19th centuries. In that sense, and due to its role as administrator of welfare institutions, the Lima Metropolitana Welfare Society holds a large number of colonial documents dating from the 16th century. Its archives hold documents about foundations, benefactors, brotherhoods, chaplaincies, rural and urban properties, contracts, slaves, wills, payments letters, receipts and accounts records, which provide information on the daily operations of many charity institutions. These documents are especially valuable as sources of economic, social, religious, art and medicine history, as well as for studies of judicial and administrative processes. The historical value of this unique collection demands careful organisation and protection.

During colonial times (16th to early 19th centuries), the so-called houses of mercy within the Peruvian Viceroyalty relied on brotherhoods or societies sponsored by the Church authorities. The Royal Welfare Society was established in 1819, with the specific design to address the creation of a hospice for poor people, but began centralising all charity establishments and resources for building other houses of mercy.

During the Peruvian Republican Period, the houses of mercy ceased to be in charge of the clergy to become dependent on Public Welfare Societies. The Lima Welfare Society, as it functions until the present day, was instituted by a Presidential Decree of June 12, 1834. Its mission was to take care of welfare hospitals, hospices, and cemeteries, as well as brotherhoods or secular congregations for religious and philanthropic purposes, which dated back to the start of colonial times. All these were entrusted to the Lima Metropolitana Welfare Society since 1865.

At present the Lima Metropolitana Welfare Society Archive preserves documents dating from 1562 to 2000. A general inventory conducted in 2004 revealed that the Archive contains 4,544 files (legajos), 400 of which date back to colonial times. Another 481 files have never been catalogued. It is estimated that there are no more than 500 files left related to the colonial period, which mainly belong to the series Brotherhoods and Hospitals. These documents are unique, as with exception of some or other trial, they are not duplicated in Spanish archives. Neither is it possible to find them in Peruvian archives, although some series are divided between the Lima Metropolitana Welfare Society Archive, the Archbishoprie Archive of Lima (AAL) and the General National Archive (AGN).

The Archive is quite neglected, without any special care to prevent damage or theft. Presently, there is neither a proper catalogue nor trained staff to attend to researchers and visitors. Thus, consultation is restricted and the maintenance and search of documents could be much improved. Archival conditions are inappropriate for document conservation. The collection is sheltered in a colonial house built with adobe bricks (building material of sun-dried earth and straw) increasing the probability of deterioration by humidity, acarus and xylophagous. It has been established that at least 40% of the archival collection is in danger of data loss due to the oxidising process of ink where ink 'eats' paper. To secure future reproduction, it is imperative to undertake initial filing, basic cleaning and storing procedures. In addition to this, a sample of the documents will be digitised. This preliminary listing and initial filing will allow future inventorial control of the archival holdings and will ease researchers' consultation of the repository. It will also permit the public to consult the Archive through a printed catalogue.

A 2003 report made by the Peruvian National Archive revealed:

  • A complete lack of archival organization, to the point that considerable documentation lies loose on the floor;
  • Lack of an item-by-item catalogue;
  • A research/reading room far away from archivist supervision;
  • A reception desk located in the document storage room, jeopardising the integrity and protection of the collection.

A formal institutional agreement between the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and the Lima Metropolitana Welfare Society assures the cooperation needed to complete the project.

Project Ref: EAP248
Project Title: Preserving more Marathi manuscripts and making them accessible - major project



Marathi is a New Indo-Aryan language with inscriptional evidence extending back to A.D. 1012 and literature beginning in the 13th century. Manuscripts of this literature are found in university and monastery libraries and in private homes, mostly in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Some Marathi manuscripts are extremely rare and valuable; a significant number are copies of texts that have not yet been published and that most people have therefore not even heard of. These manuscripts provide most of the extant evidence for the early phase of one of the major regional cultures of India.

The texts whose manuscripts this project will preserve and make accessible are, for the most part, religious in their inspiration, but they also give a great deal of evidence about everyday life in pre-modern India, and some of them relate to such sciences as medicine, astronomy, engineering, and horse-breeding. They are thus great resources for intellectual and social as well as religious history.

It is estimated that there are more than 25,000 Marathi manuscripts in Maharashtra. Many are in a state of neglect. They are not systematically catalogued, in most cases they are not carefully preserved, and in no case have they been made easily available to scholars throughout the world. Some libraries that house manuscripts have inadequate arrangements for protecting them even from dust and insects, let alone humidity; in private homes, manuscripts are often stuffed into gunny-sacks in dusty, smoky attics.

Modernisation and the advance of new technologies are proceeding rapidly in Maharashtra; there is more and more disposable income; and yet funding (both public and private) for preserving the basic sources for Marathi literary culture is woefully inadequate. Manuscripts in private homes are often discarded or even burned as the generation that cherished them dies off and another takes over and cleans out the house. Institutions devoted to the preservation of traditional literary culture and history suffer from inadequate funding. There is no organisation planning to catalogue or preserve, let alone copy to make accessible, the tens of thousands of Marathi manuscripts in Maharashtra itself. The Marathi Manuscript Centre in Pune was therefore founded and has begun the collection of manuscripts and preparation of a catalogue.

The material to be copied under this project is presently found in two institutions in India: 510 catalogued manuscripts at the library of the Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute in Pune, and 359 manuscripts of the Prajna Pathshala collection from Wai, which has been donated to the Marathi Manuscript Centre.

Both digital and microfilm copies of these 869 manuscripts will be created. Besides sending the microfilms and one copy of the digital version of each manuscript to the British Library, one digital copy will be retained in the Marathi Manuscript Center, Pune. Deccan College will be given digital and microfilm copies. These 869 manuscripts should produce approximately 120 rolls of microfilm, and the digital copies (.tiff files and .pdf files) should fill 24 DVDs.

The project will also focus on the need to involve and train a new generation of manuscriptologists. For this purpose, a three-day manuscriptology workshop will be held, selecting 20 MA, MPhil, or PhD students from Maharashtra to learn how to read, catalogue and care for Marathi manuscripts. In addition one postgraduate (MPhil or PhD) student will work as an apprentice in manuscriptology for the duration of the project.

Project Ref: EAP250
Project Title: Preserving East Timor's endangered archives: stage two

This project will preserve and make accessible to researchers the balance of a rare and vulnerable body of materials related to the history of East Timor (Timor-Leste), following the successful copying of a portion of this archive in 2007 under the previous project EAP032.

The materials that are the focus of this project comprise the complete records of the Statement Taking Team of CAVR (which includes written testimonies of the victims and witnesses of crimes against humanity committed during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, 1975-1999) and related research interviews. Other material to be copied as part of the project will include Indonesian court records from the period in question, documents relating to the implementation of the CAVR process, and documents relating to CAVR's outreach program to refugees in Indonesian Timor.

The project has the full support of the Post-CAVR Technical Secretariat, the successor body to East Timor's Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR).

The principal objective of the project is to digitally copy the archive for security and access reasons. Having digital copies available to users will enhance protection of the original documents and increase access to the collection and its value. The original material will continue to be housed at the rehabilitated former colonial prison which served as the Timor-Leste truth commission base and is now managed by the Post-CAVR Technical Secretariat.

The materials comprise the primary source documents that formed the basis of the Timor-Leste truth commission report. They constitute the principal body of documented evidence in Timor-Leste regarding the decolonisation of Timor-Leste and related political, legal, historical, international and military questions. They are a rare resource in a largely oral, pre-industrial society where few written or other records exist or survived the destruction of 1999. The documents provide a unique insight into the functioning of a society under occupation and its survival strategies, and the role of international law and the international community. They are also a window on the New Order regime of Indonesia's recently deceased former President Soeharto and its powerful military. Should the crimes committed in Timor-Leste 1975-99 ever be the subject of international or other litigation, this archival material will also form an important part of the prosecution's case.

Potential threats to the material come from two principal factors: (a) climatic and (b) political.

The climatic threats include severe variation between the wet and dry seasons and related challenges of insects, dust, humidity and variations in temperature. Measures are being taken to offset these factors, including air-conditioning and attention to cleaning, but they still remain a significant challenge.

The potential political threats relate to the sensitive nature of the contents of the much of the archive. Though the precincts were stormed in 2006 and motorbikes stolen, no direct threat has been made to the material. However, the political and security situation in Dili remains fragile and volatile and the debate on the CAVR report scheduled to be held by the Timor-Leste National Parliament in 2008 will increase public awareness of the archive and its contents. For both these reasons, there is broad consensus in the benefits of copying the material and ensuring copies are also held in a safe off-shore depository.

The material represents a significant collection of documents about a vital period in Timor-Leste's history and, indirectly, about the role of the UN and international community in finalising one of the last outstanding processes of decolonisation. Much of the material comprises direct interviews with individuals who played significant roles during this 25 year period, politically, diplomatically, and militarily. They also form a valuable body of knowledge for the study, and the legal prosecution, of crimes against humanity.

Project Ref: EAP254
Project Title: Preservation of the historical literary heritage of Tigray, Ethiopia: the library of Romanat Qeddus Mika'el



This project aims to digitise the library in the church Romanat Qeddus Mikael Dabre Mehret, Enderta. The library possesses around 70 codices and includes several valuable manuscripts of high quality, some of them with illuminations and valuable marginalia. The collection builds an indigenous and integral local documentary archive in a region important for the history of Ethiopia. The library remains practically unknown and unregistered and is endangered due to the poor preservation conditions and relatively easy access.

The Christian Ethiopian Civilisation has long attracted scholars' attention - particularly the highlands, where Christianity was introduced in the 4th century, in the present-day northern part of Tigray province. The numerous churches and monasteries of the area and their manuscript collections bear witness to the ancient history. Each year however, the old manuscript heritage of Ethiopian monasteries diminishes - victim of thefts, fires, poor preservation conditions and lack of consciousness of the religious communities.

The library of Romanat Qeddus Mikael was built up over more than 300 years. Among the books preserved in the monastery, the following are of specific significance: a large Synaxarion, commissioned by Sellus Hayla, most probably the wife of King Minas (r. 1559-63); a monumental manuscript of Gebre Hemamat (the Rite of the Holy Week), from the late 17th - first half of the 18th cent., a beautiful example of the Gondarine scribal art; the Vita of Anania, a holy monk (until now, it has been known only from the paper copy, made in the beginning of the 20th century for an Italian scholar).

Most of the manuscripts are more or less well preserved, including the most valuable pieces, but there are a few older manuscripts which today are in poor condition. The church was completely rebuilt some 15 years ago but the books are preserved in the traditional way. The collection is particularly endangered since it is practically unknown and unregistered. There is no exact register of the books and most of the books are not used for the church service anymore.

The original manuscripts will remain in the church. The digital copies will go to the British Library; the Romanat church; Tigray Culture and Tourism Agency Office, Mekelle; the Research Unit Ethiopian Studies, Hamburg University; and the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa.

Project Ref: EAP255
Project Title: Creating a digital archive of Afro-Colombian history and culture: black ecclesiastical, governmental and private records from the Choco, Colombia

This project will recover, catalogue, digitise and make freely available to researchers through the internet, approximately 100,000 ecclesiastic, governmental and personal records of African and Afro-descendant communities in the Chocó region of Western Colombia.

Thousands of African slaves were forcibly transported to the Chocó to exploit the gold and silver mines in the basin of the Atrato river. The Afro-descendant communities of the Chocó live in one of the poorest and more dangerous areas of Colombia, and of the entire Americas. There, not only paramilitaries and guerrillas, but also the brutal conditions of the tropical forest in which most of the territory is located, have damaged centuries of church and official records going back to the fifteenth century. In peril are materials dating from the sixteenth to the early twentieth centuries that hold the memory of the most African region in the Americas, the record of a people largely ignored in Colombian and Latin-American history.

This documentation represents the richest available historical record of the majority of Africans and their descendants in Colombia. The history of this population has been, for the most part, ignored in Colombian and Latin American historiography and is waiting to be written. The documents that will be rescued represent the longest, and most uniform, serial data available for the study of Afro-Colombians. Furthermore, they hold the only available systematic data on African ethnicities in Colombia, information of use for nations in West and West Central Africa who lost populations to the slave trade.

The archival material is currently dispersed in several places in the Colombian pacific coast including Quibdó, Buenaventura, Nóvita, and Tado. The documents are held uncatalogued and piled on floors or open shelves in rooms without climate or humidity control in churches, and notarial offices in these towns. At least 5% of the documents overall are in a very advanced state of deterioration, and 50% show some degree of deterioration. Particularly problematic are the ones of the Notary of Buenaventura. Although rapidly deteriorating it is still possible to capture and preserve these through digitisation.

Probably more than in any other place in America, the surviving records in the Chocó are in imminent danger of being lost forever. The Chocó's extreme tropical climate and the volatile socio-economic conditions of this Colombian region make the preservation of these records urgent. Most of the material is held in local churches or municipal governmental back rooms and is at risk from climate, bug infestation, and other damage. Clerks often discard these treasures as old papers. Furthermore, both churches and governmental offices are often the first places to be destroyed in guerrilla or paramilitary attacks.

The Centro Nacional de Documentación y Estudios de las Culturas Afrocolombianas (National Centre for the Documentation and Studies of the Afrocolombians cultures, hereafter, CNDECA) at the Technological University of the Chocó (TUC), in this department capital, Quibdó, for the last three years has been locating material in urgent need of preservation throughout the western Colombian Pacific coast. However, this institution does not have the resources or technical knowledge to organise, digitise and save the thousands of folios in immediate danger of disappearance that they have located.

This project will therefore unite the local knowledge and identification of archives in the Chocó by the people from the CNDECA, with the know-how of a team already experienced in Cuba and Brazil in the preservation of colonial documents related to the African Diaspora. In Vanderbilt, together with universities in Canada and Brazil, the ESSS team led by Prof. Jane Landers has already digitised and made available to the world through the internet 80,000 documents some of which have since already disappeared.

The proposed documents for digitisation are already identified and consist of colonial church and notarial records, early twentieth century photographs and maps. Among the most endangered materials to be digitised and catalogued will be the First Notary of Quibdó, the Notary of Buenaventura, the Parochial Archive of Tadó and the Parochial Archive of Novitá. The project will also digitise the very deteriorated records of the San Francisco de Asissi Cathedral in Quibdó, capital of the Chocó. The humidity of the Colombian Pacific is a major threat to the integrity of the documents, and water damage and mould is visible on the oldest documents. In total there are approximately 110,000 folios in danger of disappearing. The value of these documents for studying the African Diaspora is difficult to overstate. The Catholic Church mandated the baptism of African slaves in the fifteenth century and extended this requirement across the Catholic Americas. Baptismal records thus became the longest, and most uniform, serial data available for the history of Africans in the Americas, continuing through to almost the end of the nineteenth century. Once baptised, Africans and their descendants became eligible for the sacraments of marriage and Christian burial, thus generating additional records of their lives.

The primary aim of the project involves preserving all these materials by training local Chocó historians and archivists to create high-resolution digital images that will be stored on multiple drives, copied on disk and magnetic tape to ensure their long term preservation, and made available via Vanderbilt Library's Digital Collections webpage. This project will also train local Chocó personnel in palaeography, transcription, basic preservation and digitisation techniques, as well as basic collections and grant management. The proposed trainees of this project will be recent graduates from the TUC all of whom come from Chocó.

At the end of the project, the results of the project will be publicised in conferences in Colombia and North America and the newly created archive will be highlighted through the use of advertising in h-net and similar academic outlets.

Visit the project's website and view the digital images of the documents.

Project Ref: EAP256
Project Title: Preservation of endangered historical records in the Public Records and Archives Administration (PRAAD) in Tamale, Northern Ghana



This pilot project will investigate the possibility of rescuing endangered archival materials within the Public Records and Archives Administration's (PRAAD) regional branch in Tamale, Northern Ghana. These materials are threatened due to inadequate facilities for conservation, overuse and deterioration from humidity and other hazards of the tropical climate. The project will assess and identify documents in urgent need of preservation and will digitise a selection. PRAAD's staff will be trained in the technology and techniques of digitisation and digital preservation.

Many of the documents date back to the pre-colonial and colonial periods of Ghanaian history. They are important not only in terms of preserving the history and culture of northern Ghana but also for their potential impact on historical scholarship, legal matters and public policy. Except for the other PRAAD branches in Accra and Kumasi, there are no similar archives in Ghana housing materials of this historical, cultural and political importance.

Located 400 miles north of the Atlantic coast in West Africa, Tamale was founded in early 1907 by the British as an administrative centre for the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast. British Direct Commissioners were stationed there, reporting to the governor in Accra on colonial and administrative matters. PRAAD's holdings in Tamale now include these reports, recording colonial disputes, administrative tasks, boundary discussions, court proceedings, land tenure and chieftancy affairs, as well as correspondence with the missionary church in the Northern Territories. The archives also contain historical manuscripts on diverse subjects including slavery and the history and culture of northern Ghana. The extent of the archives is quite large, containing over 30,000 boxes and approximately 2,100,000 individual records.

Frequent electrical failures and fragile technical conditions are not ideal for preserving these materials. The tropical climate is causing a significant number of records to deteriorate at an alarming rate. The historical records regarding chieftancy and native affairs are particularly poor, with some fragile and broken beyond repair. Excessive handling and exposure has caused the documents to become increasingly fragile and vulnerable - in many cases documents are so damaged that they should no longer be consulted in their original form. Unless digital copies are made to preserve these endangered records, they will perish before long.

This project will undertake a detailed survey and assessment of the materials in order to explore the eventual digital preservation of the archives. Some of the documents in the most urgent need of preservation will be digitised both in order to preserve them and also as a mechanism for training the Archive's staff. The chief Archivist of PRAAD, Mr Mahama Zakari, will be fully involved in all aspects of the assessment and will be providing advice and guidance to the project team.

Project Ref: EAP261
Project Title: Digital archive of early Bengali drama



This project will digitise the wide collection of rare and unique material of, and on, Bengali drama held by a private collector, Dr Devajit Bandyopadhyay. The collection covers the 19th and early 20th centuries, and includes texts of formal 'modern' drama, texts of jatra or traditional Bengali folk theatre, books of songs from plays, and secondary material of that period.

The collection is carefully stored in Dr Bandyopadhyay's private flat, but much of the material is cheaply printed and produced, and so preserves badly, especially in Kolkata's hot humid climate. In addition much of it was in a poor condition when it reached him. At present, all the material can be copied, though often slowly and cautiously owing to its brittle state. Some items are already badly discoloured.

Dr Bandyopadhyay's huge collection, built up over a lifetime, covers a uniquely wide range of rare material, relating to three main areas of Bengali drama:

1. 'Formal' Bengali drama on Western models for the urban theatre: volumes of single play-texts, collections of play-texts, and studies. This wide variety of volumes also has a wide range of publishers, formal and informal. Many items were produced for private distribution only. Many others are made unique by virtue of the signatures, marginalia, or other manuscript insertions they contain. The collection is thus important not only for the history of drama but also for Bengali bibliography, book history and printing history. Finally, it is important for Bengali social history of the 19th century, the crucial development of new westernised cultural norms. The rise of a new patriotism, leading on to the freedom movement, can also be traced in many of the texts.

2. 'Jatra' or traditional Bengali folk theatre: this is a uniquely large collection of such texts, covering all major types, mythological, historical and socio-political. They are not linked to the world of formal or elite publishing, but to a different category of popular publishers. Basically, they are much closer to the tradition of oral transmission, so that any printed documentation is of special value.

3. There is also a large body of dramatic song-books, with and without notation. Drama provided a chief platform for song-writing and the development of new musical conventions. This collection contains some extremely rare volumes of theatrical and other songs, including unique manuscript volumes of material not known from other sources.

Apart from the documentary value, the collection offers unique opportunities for historical and thematic study. Bengal saw the first major rise of Western-type drama in India. The Western influence derived largely from Shakespeare and other Renaissance drama, and had suggestive resemblances with traditional folk theatre. The entire process can be traced through this archive, combining jatra with Western-type drama.

Both the lines of development, jatra and Western-type drama, are living influences on contemporary Bengali theatre. In fact, its main formal identity is defined through various balances and combinations of these two influences. Few practising theatrepeople have the opportunity to access this type of rare material. If it is now made accessible, some results could be expected in the future development of Bengali drama. This could be a rare instance of an archive influencing a current art form in a major way.

The material will be digitally copied and the original material will remain with its present owner, Dr Devajit Bandyopadhyay. The copies will be held by the British Library and the School of Cultural Texts and Records. Jadavpur University.

Project Ref: EAP262
Project Title: Retrieval of two major and endangered newspapers: Jugantar and Amrita Bazar Patrika



This project aims to digitally retrieve and store issues of two leading newspapers, Jugantara patrika (Calcutta, Bengali, daily: 1937 - 1980) and Amrita bazar patrika (Jessor/Calcutta, bi-lingual / English, bi-weekly / daily: (1872 - 1890; 1892 - 1905; 1911; 1919) - two of the most important newspapers from colonial and post-colonial Bengal. Most issues of both these newspapers are not available or usable in any safe archive.

Amrita bazar patrika is a bilingual weekly which later transferred to an English language daily and established itself as a nationalist newspaper as a sharp contrast of its European counterpart, The Statesman. Jugantara patrika started as a Bengali daily from the same house in 1937. Both newspapers recorded all important events of the nationalist movements in India, partition of Bengal in 1905, Indian perspective on both World Wars, the famine of 1943 in columns of leftist intellectuals of the time, recorded the independence of India, the partition and massive influx of migration and related trauma, and of course the process of nation-building in post-colonial period, with critical review of the coercive machinery of the nascent democratic state of India. Both newspapers are important tools for research for historians and social scientists.

The newspapers, press-copies of the publication house, were lying in the building of the publishers since 1996. In 2006 the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC) recovered all the available volumes from the non-functional building. The newspapers were printed on cheap newsprints and are brittle and damaged in many ways but copying of the entire set is still possible.

Many of the newspapers will only be able to be opened once before they disintegrate so it is important that the papers are digitised to allow future use by scholars.

The total amount to be copied is approximately 270,000 pages and will be stored as TIFF images. One copy will be transferred to the British Library and another set together with microfilm rolls will be stored as an archive copy at the CSSSC, together with the original newspaper copies.

Project Ref: EAP264
Project Title: Preservation through digitisation of rare photographic negatives from Mongolia



The Archives for Cinema, Photography and Sound Recording in Mongolia houses over 160,000 photo negatives, including 10,552 glass plate negatives. This project aims to digitise all these glass plate negatives, the majority of which contain images taken between 1921 and 1945 and have never been printed. The collection covers a wide range of topics such as the army and military, public health, animal husbandry, archaeological finds, nature, prominent Mongolian people, people who were politically repressed during the 1930s, historical documents, construction works, industrial development, Mongolia's contribution to the victory of WWII, culture, religion and politics.

The collection is housed in the Archives building, which has no adequate and controlled preservation environment and lacks humidity and air control. The glass plates are kept in paper envelopes on shelves where they are exposed to physical mishandling and deterioration in image quality. Only 3,000 have been catalogued. Since no digital images are available to researchers and the general public, these glass plates are in danger of being exposed to frequent printing which represents a threat to the physical condition of the originals themselves. Once degraded in quality or detroyed due to frequent printing and mishandling, this unique pre-industrialised history of Mongolia will be lost for ever.

As the originals will eventually be too fragile for frequent handling, the only way of preserving and providing access to users of this valuable collection is through digitisation. The remaining 7,000 glass plates will also be catalogued. Training schemes will be developed to preserve and further restore archival photographs and the introduction of this digital archive will inspire the Archives, the MSV Foundation and other individuals to carry out further projects to help preserve and digitise the remaining archival holdings.

Project Ref: EAP265
Project Title: The tifinagh rock inscriptions in the Tadrart Acacus mountains (SW Libya): an unknown endangered heritage



The Tadrart Acacus is a massif averaging 150km long and 50km wide located in the Fazzan region, in the south western corner of Libya. Italian archaeological research carried out over the last fifty years has already illuminated the richness of the archaeological and rock art heritage of the area, which has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. Nevertheless, previous research has focused mainly on prehistory and on the Holocene paintings and engravings of the region whilst leaving aside a systematic investigation of the historical rock inscriptions which also occur throughout the massif. Valuable and astonishing remains dating to historical times are undoubtedly represented by these writings incised along the cliffs that cross the massif. Vaguely described as tifinagh inscriptions, a Tuareg word indicating the traditional writing still in use throughout the Sahara desert, they are a remarkable record related to the history, both ancient and modern, of the Acacus mountains. According to research carried out in other North African regions (i.e. Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania, Algeria), the age of those scripts ranges from the second century BC up to current times. In contrast to what has been done elsewhere, the Libyan rock scripts of the Tadrart Acacus have never been the object of systematic recording, even though they represent a unique and available 'archive' of inscribed material from the Garamantian period up to the present time.

The location of these inscriptions, which have been reported in the course of several archaeological surveys, is known but no real cataloguing or photographic campaign has been carried out so far. The written records are carved in rock walls and range from a simple short incised line to longer, articulated inscriptions which constitute a crucial source of the individual and social memory of the communities that have been living in the area over the last two millennia. The rock of the Acacus has allowed for the preservation of a unique palimpsest of written documentation, from the Old Libyan up to the present times.

In the last decade the area has been severely threatened by the increasing number of tourists visiting an environment which is extremely fragile and not well suited to hosting such numbers. This phenomenon has already led to the damage of some of the most beautiful and easily accessible rock art galleries, having a strong impact on rock walls which include the inscriptions. Each year this situation is getting worse, in spite of the efforts of the local management authority. This is especially true for those areas which are close to the main passageways through the mountain, which means the mountain passes and the rock walls close to the principal routes crossing the Acacus, and those places where water is available. Unfortunately, these areas are also the places where long historical inscriptions most frequently occur. This means that they are constantly at risk. Moreover, in the last fifteen years, the whole region has experienced a strong impact due to oil exploration and exploitation. The Messak Settafet (located to the NW of the Acacus, but culturally related to it), has been seriously affected by seismic lines and oil fields that have badly damaged part of the plateau area and its archaeological heritage. Oil Surveys have also been carried out in the area surrounding the oasis of Ghat, directly adjacent to the Acacus mountains, and certainly represent a further threat.

The aim of the project is to identify, locate, catalogue, photograph and document the state of conservation of all the rock inscriptions along the four main passes through the Acacus mountains crossed from ancient times. This includes rock walls related to the main caravan routes and to the places where water is available, which will be the richest areas in inscriptions and the most endangered. This will provide a digital archive of the written records.

The work will be carried out with the collaboration of the Libyan Department of Antiquities in Tripoli and with the Jarma Archaeological Museum, which is the local institution in charge of the management of the cultural heritage of the area. This will contribute to raising the awareness of local personnel of the importance of safeguarding and archiving this kind of written documentation in their region.

The seeming durability of stone no longer ensures the preservation of these remains, and under the pressure of contemporary exigencies this neglected part of past and present life requires urgent recording.

Project Ref: EAP266
Project Title: History of Bolama, the first capital of Portuguese Guinea (1879-1941), as reflected in the Guinean National Historical Archives



Portuguese sovereignty in Portuguese Guinea during the centuries before the scramble (1884/85) was but a fiction, in spite of the erection of forts and the installation of artillery pieces. After nearly a century of dispute over the authority on Bolama between the British and the Portuguese the conflict over the island was arbitrated by US President Grant in favour of Portugal. In 1879 the Portuguese declared Bolama the first capital of their newly proclaimed colony of Portuguese Guinea which previously had been administered together with the Cape Verde Islands. The desperate attempts of the Portuguese between 1885 and 1915 to fulfil the conditions of effective occupation reflect this situation. Luso-Africans (Guinea-born and from Cape Verde) and not the Portuguese were the principal disseminators of Portuguese and Luso-African social and cultural influences during the period of colonial rule.

The Bolama collection at the National Historical Archives of Guinea-Bissau consists of circa 80 ml; the documents were first registered in the late 1980s. Initially they were stored in 279 archival boxes. The documents had been transferred to the Archives in Bissau from totally neglected rooms in the Mayoral Office of Bolama by the Archive's Director and his staff in 1988. Before that date, probably no Guinean archivist or historian had ever touched the material. It includes all the documents of the public administration which could be found in Bolama in 1988. It covers the period of Bolama, the capital (1879 to 1941), some documents go back as far as 1870, whereas other sections continue until the 1960s.

The Bolama collection was heavily affected by the war of 1998/99. Its first registration had been completed in 1990 and was published as Catálogo Sumário (survey catalogue). A basic physical renovation of the National Historical Archives at INEP took place in 2007 & 2008. It is only now, a decade after the war, that acceptable conditions for document storage and treatment can be provided again.

Out of the original 279 boxes only 85 have been found intact after the military conflict or could be recompiled. The rest is mixed up, particularly with still untreated documents of the Bolama custom authorities. About 10% may be lost. Approximately 50% of the collection is in acceptable condition. These documents are readable, after some preparation measures parts of it could be digitised without problems. Another 25% of the collection can be opened, but is mildewed. To salvage this part should be possible by quick intervention and subsequent digitising. About 15% is in a very bad condition. Only further analysis during this project will allow a detailed report on its conservation state and historical value. About 10% of the collection cannot be touched at all; the paper is crumbling away.

In January 2009 some additional research was undertaken in Bolama and other public documents from the colonial period on the island were found, seriously vulnerable to deterioration. Other relevant documents of the Bolama Court are stored in the huge and disorganised archives of the Ministry of Justice in Bissau, also in quite alarming conditions, as the colonial archive is on the loft of the old Palace of Justice with a roof in bad repair.

The Bolama collection is of high historical value. It reflects the fundamental change in Portuguese colonial rule from outside administration (directed from the Cape Verde Islands) to significant Portuguese presence and the political and economic penetration of the Guinean mainland. Five fields of promising historical research can be identified at this stage:

  • External trade and economic relations, nexus to Portugal: documents of Bolama port (one of two most important ports before 1941) and custom authorities;
  • Documents related to the pacification campaigns: the Guinean people of the mainland were finally conquered in 1915, whereas those in the Bijagos islands remained resisting until 1936;
  • Status of the indigenous and the development of racist laws, documents of Bolama Public Administration;
  • Organisation of the Portuguese administration: internal functioning and relationship between centre (Bolama) and administration posts of the mainland;
  • Ruling Luso-African personalities at the crossroad of personal and national history.

This pilot project aims at reorganising the Bolama collection. Some prioritised document series will be analysed (with regard to its high historical value and its conservation status) and from this material the first digital sample copies will be created.

Based on this preliminary document selection and treatment the conservation needs will be defined and an estimation of the quantity of documents that should be digitised in the major research project because of their extreme endangerment.

For treatment and safer storage, the documents from Bolama Island and the Ministry of Justice will be moved to the National Historical Archives at INEP. The AHN building was renovated in 2007-8 and now offers remarkably improved storing facilities as well as staff trained in scanning of archival materials. The archive and additional staff will be trained further in digitising techniques and in basic aspects of historical analysis necessary for a better understanding of the documents of the Bolama collection. Thus continuous participation of a Guinean historian with archivist interest in all steps of this pilot project is assured. After reorganisation and preliminary analysis of the complete Bolama collection with regard to conservation status and historical value, a future major research project will be developed.

Project Ref: EAP269
Project Title: Preliminary survey of Arabic manuscripts in Djenné, Mali, with a view to a major project of preservation, digitisation and cataloguing

This pilot project will survey the scope and extent of the existing Arabic manuscripts of Djenné, Mali, a town which has historically equalled Timbuktu in importance as a centre of Islamic learning and sub-Saharan trade since the foundation of both towns around a millennium ago.

It has been estimated by the Malian scholar Abdel Kader Haidara, the Director of the Mamma Haidara Library in Timbuktu, that there are approximately 10,000 manuscripts in Djenné, some dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries. These manuscripts include those written in situ by individual Marabouts, and also many purchased from elsewhere by Djenné collectors. Most of these manuscripts are kept by individual families, and only a very small portion have been deposited in the newly built Djenné library.

The Djenné manuscripts are similar to those of Timbuktu, i.e. the main part consists of transcripts of the Koran, many illuminated and some bearing comments in the margin. There are many other types of manuscripts too, including material treating subjects such as mathematics, medicine, geography, law and astronomy. The historical manuscripts include information on economic connections between Timbuktu and Djenné. In addition there are manuscripts transcribing the oral history as handed down by the 'griots', or the 'minstrels' of West Africa. There may well be differences between the Djenné and Timbuktu material as yet not discovered. Although the two towns are linked and often called 'twin cities', their geography and populations are very different. While the population of Timbuktu is overwhelmingly made up by the light skinned nomadic desert Tuaregs, the town of Djenné, situated in the heart of the Niger inland Delta, counts amongst its population the Fulani, the Bozo, the Bambara, and the Songhai. Some of these tribes are a darker-skinned population descended from the ancient Malian kingdoms to the south, a population for whom animist traditions have remained strong, running alongside their Muslim faith. These cultural differences are likely to be mirrored in the Djenné manuscripts and may well throw new light on aspects of West-African history.

There are approximately 200 manuscripts currently held by the Djenné library. These are not in any immediate danger of decay. The vast majority of the manuscripts kept by individual families however suffer numerous environmental threats such as from termites and also water damage during the rainy season when the mud roofs of Djenné often leak.

During this pilot project, there will be a programme of information aimed at the individual Djenné families to reassure them that their manuscripts will be well taken care of if housed in the Djenné library and that the collections will be kept intact bearing the name of the family. The project will be carried out by a Malian Arabic scholar and archivist, trained in Timbuktu, working with a Djenné Arabic scholar who would at the same time be receiving training. The project would be supervised by Abdel Kader Haidara, who has given his full support.

The project will produce an overall view of the Djenné manuscripts which will pave the way for the eventual copying and cataloguing of this material, and this preliminary stage will also provide an early encounter between the families and the researchers, which will hopefully foster good relations for a future major preservation project.

Project Ref: EAP272
Project Title: Preservation of historic ephemera and manuscripts from Nepal



The main objective of this project will be to digitise and preserve approximately 1,450 ephemera from the period 1900-1960 and 215 manuscripts ranging from the early 19th to early 20th century.

The ephemera range from religious, social, cultural but are mostly political. They are mainly pamphlets and leaflets, with some posters and postcards.The ephemera from the period 1900-1951 represent the last 50 years of Rana Period and the titles from 1951-1960 when Nepal was opened to the outside world for the first time. It was also the period of Nepal's short stint with parliamentary democracy, until the first elected government was toppled by a coup from King Mahendra in December 1960, replacing the multiparty democracy with his own brand of 'partyless political system' named the 'Panchayat'.

The manuscripts date from 1808 and cover a wide range of subjects such as religion, culture, philosophy, law, medicine, hagiography, natural history, and literature. The majority of the manuscripts are written in Nepali, some in a mixture of Sanskrit and Nepali, some in Newari and a few in Hindi or a mix or Hindi and Nepali. Approximately 10 manuscripts are 'Thyasaphus' - folios of handmade paper, stitched or glued together along the edges. There are also rare manuscripts of literary works by major litterateurs of the country.

From invitations in 1918 to attend Nepali language adaptations of Shahespeare in the Rana palaces of Kathmandu, to anti-Rana leaflets strewn in the alleys; from a lore in a 200-year old manuscript recited by healers for treatment of sinusitis, to a rare collection of astrological charts of kings; these are all exciting avenues for researchers to explore.

The collections are currently housed within the old Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya building, which is in a dilapidated state. The materials have become highly brittle due to poor-quality paper and ink. Leakage during the monsoons results in damp and humid conditions which leads to fungi and insect attacks. Urgent preservation intervention is required before the collection deteriorates altogether, making them unsuitable for copying.

Project Ref: EAP274
Project Title: Digital music archiving: Digital archive of North Indian classical music: phase II (special collections) and digital archive of recorded Bengali songs

The Digital Music Archiving Project is a combination of two separate projects in which technical and human resources can be best shared. The two parts retain their individual focus and distinct character, but the staff and equipment are common to both.

1. Digital Archive of North Indian Classical Music: Phase II with emphasis on Special Collections
The Digital Archive of North Indian Classical Music was initiated in 2004 as part of the School of Cultural Texts and Records at Jadavpur University, Kolkata. The aim at inception was to create a collection of digitised recordings of North Indian classical music, and by 2007 a collection of about 1,000 hours was digitised, catalogued and made available. This new project will concentrate on performances of artists usually under-represented in large general collections. This appears to be because these artists performed within a limited geographical range, and their music did not circulate widely; certain styles like the ancient dhrupad were less popular, and hence survived in fewer copies.

It is estimated that another 1500 hours of recordings will be digitised in the next 24 months, which would be in part selective and focused, concentrating on particular artists, styles, genres and instruments. Prominent among them would be the dhrupad style of singing and the music of the rudra-veena, surasringar and surbahar. There would also be an attempt to acquire recordings of artists less recorded and circulated, but of great historical importance. Most of these collections are held by different collectors in and around Kolkata.

2. Digital Archive of Bengali Songs
This part of the project will digitise a collection of Bengali songs from 78rpm shellac disc records. The first commercial recording in India was made at Kolkata (then Calcutta) in 1902. These records, for the first time, enable us to preserve as an archive what was earlier an oral and performative, hence unrecorded, tradition.

The kind of material to be digitised consists of all types of popular (non-classical) Bengali songs, such as folk, devotional, romantic, comic, songs from theatre and complete musical dramas in the folk tradition etc. Many of these songs actually go back to the 19th century but have been put in recorded form only in the 20th. Unless they are preserved properly, some remarkable specimens of Bengali music, and the rare voices of many eminent artistes will be irretrievably lost. A private collector has approximately 9,000 records in his collection, spanning the entire period of recording in India. The physical condition of these records is mostly satisfactory to allow them to be copied. However, if the work of preservation of these records is not taken up now, this huge collection of Bengali songs and music will be lost for ever. Quick and proper action is needed to save it by transferring the records to digital mode, as the old 78 rpm records are made of shellac, which is very fragile. Approximately 4,000 songs will be digitised and thereby preserved from the oldest and most valuable portion of the collection, from 1902 to 1937.

Project Ref: EAP276
Project Title: Documentation and preservation of Ambon manuscripts



The island of Ambon is situated in the central Moluccas (Maluku Tengah) which lies in the eastern part of Indonesia. Compared to many other parts of Indonesia, little is known of its pre-colonial history. Today, Ambon is well known for its beautiful scenery and the musical talents of its people who originally had their own local language which has now been superseded by Malay.

In the 15th century, Islam already had a firm foothold in the Moluccas. The most dominant kingdom in North Moluccas was the Raja Ampat (Four Kings) federation. In the Central Moluccas, the Kingdom of Hitu was also an important political centre. After the domination of the Portuguese, and afterwards the Dutch, the Central Moluccas were Christenised, first to Catholicism and later to Protestantism which has been the dominant religion ever since.

In the bid for monopoly in the spice trade, the Dutch created a spice centre in the Central Moluccas especially for cloves while its place of origin, the Northern Moluccas was abolished as a place of its cultivation. The direct control which resulted from this situation has made its influence felt in the social and cultural atmosphere of this region.

The National Library of Indonesia has 354 items of Moluccas provenance listed in its catalogue but according to researchers of Pusat Bahasa (Language Center) in Ambon, a number of collections are still waiting to be studied. Two sources which are frequently mentioned in studies of Moluccas history are Hikayat Tanah Hitu and Sejarah Ternate.

At present many manuscripts in the Ambon archipelago are still kept by local people, particularly in the areas of the former kingdoms, such as Kaitetu, Hitu, Hila, Laha, Banda, Halmahera, and Seram. According to sources, more than 200 manuscripts have been found in the Ambon archipelago in the possession of the local population - most of these manuscripts are in a poor condition and need to be preserved as soon as possible.

Until now, little or no attention has been paid to Ambon manuscripts, perhaps because this part of the country is known for its Christian population and the manuscripts are in Arabic script, so that there was little interest as to their contents.Those manuscripts that have already been located will be digitised and copies deposited with the National Library and the University of Indonesia. Efforts will be made to persuade the owners to allow the original manuscripts to be relocated to a safe regional archival home. If this is not possible then they will be shown how to care for their manuscripts. A survey for other manuscripts will also be undertaken.

According to researchers of Pusat Bahasa (Language Center) in Ambon, a number of collections are still waiting to be studied. Manuscripts kept in personal collections are extremely vulnerable, due to the tropical climate and the lack of knowledge of manuscript preservation. If no action is taken soon, we can be certain that the Ambon manuscripts will be lost. This means that our source of knowledge of the spiritual life of the ancient Moluccas people will also be lost forever.

Project Ref: EAP279
Project Title: A rescue programme for the Matsieng Royal Archives, Lesotho



The Royal Family of Lesotho has been based in Matsieng since just after the 1858 war, when Matsieng was established by the second Lesotho king, Mohato (Letsie 1). Matsieng is near Morija, the original missionary settlement in Lesotho dating from 1843, where King Letsie 111 was born. The royal family has been based at Matsieng continuously since the founding of Matsieng, which has been a 'royal hub' of the Basotho kingship and chieftainship. The documents that have accumulated at Matsieng cover material dating from the early 19th century. The collection includes records of historical, political, legal and economic significance:

  • records on chieftainship and succession to high office
  • court proceedings and judgements
  • boundary disputes and resolutions
  • traditional marriage systems and records
  • inheritance documentation and disputes
  • official speeches
  • correspondence (of national and international significance, as it includes official communications between Lesotho and the UK, and diplomatic contacts with many other countries)
  • books and serials
  • official administrative records covering the colonial period
  • records of public works
  • financial records of governmental divisions

Most of this material is unique. Repatriation of the Royal Archives material will allow a much more comprehensive, complete and coherent record to be established, documenting the national history of Lesotho from the early 19th century.

The material was in poor storage at the Royal residence in Matsieng, Lesotho. The ceiling then collapsed leaving the materials exposed to rain. The University Archives arranged 'emergency repatriation' in December 2007 and January 2008. The material is all paper, though in a range of physical formats: papers in folders, paper assembled with treasury tags, ledgers and other bound record books, and many stacks of individual papers.

The University has fumigated the material and re-boxed it, with box-level content listing. About 20% of the material may be too damaged to scan; about 40% is damaged but copying should be possible.

This project will scan all the documents from Matsieng that can be scanned. The files will be organised by a database, with detailed cataloguing in the archive's existing system. Additionally, each document will exist as a PDF of one or more scans, accessible from a digital library using the Greenstone (open source) software. The University will host one copy of the digital library, the Internet Archive will also host the collection, and the full data will be available to the British Library.

Funding from other sources will cover the organisation and documentation of the Matsieng papers and their physical storage at archival standard.

Project Ref: EAP280
Project Title: Retrieving heritage: rare old Javanese and old Sundanese manuscripts from West Java (stage one)



This project focuses on endangered collections of rare Old Javanese and Old Sundanese palm-leaf manuscripts, dating back to the pre-Islamic period of the 16th century and earlier. This corpus is our chief source of knowledge about the little known Old Sundanese language, and pre-Islamic Sundanese history and religion. But it also bears important data for the field of Old Javanese literature, enabling scholars to study it from the perspective of a significantly earlier tradition than that of Bali, the island where 90% of the extant Old Javanese texts have been transmitted. While Sundanese manuscript collections dating from later than the 17th century have been documented and reproduced, the present corpus has never been systematically documented, photographed or studied. Only a handful of these manuscripts have ever been described and transliterated, and no photographic reproductions are available to the public.

The project will focus on collections in the Garut regency and Cirebon:

1. Garut regency
This collection, preserved in an ancient Hindu sacred site (kabuyutan) consists of approximately 30 fragile palm-leaf manuscripts that have miraculously survived since they were written at least five centuries ago. The manuscripts are piled inside three wooden boxes stored in a plain wooden hut, watched over by a keeper, who is in charge of periodically handling them for ritual purposes.According to a preliminary estimation, the corpus consists of manuscripts of different materials (Borassus Flabellifer, Nipa Fructicans) presenting a variety of West Javanese scripts, languages (Old Sundanese, Old Javanese, Sanskrit), and contents (Hindu-Buddhist religious texts, epics, etc). The urgency of undertaking the work of documentation and preservation is high. The collection is kept in very inadequate conditions, exposed to atmospheric agents and to various pests. In spite of his commitment and zeal, the keeper of the collection has no professional training to handle the manuscripts with appropriate care. The result is that, although most of the manuscripts are complete and still legible, several of them have fallen apart into fragments, while others have been attacked by insects and mice. Unless immediate action is taken this precious and unique collection will disappear within a short time.

2. Private collections in the Garut regency and Cirebon
According to the 16th-century chronicles, several kabuyutans existed around the slopes of the Cikurai mountain and in other localities in the Garut regency. Although very few of these have survived the ravages of time, it is probable that early palm-leaf manuscripts might still be in the possession of private individuals. Sundanese people, albeit deeply Islamised, have preserved a strong belief in the supernatural powers of ancient manuscripts, which are kept as traditional heirlooms. Such belief is also current in the area of Cirebon.

Local informants have referred to the existence of palm-leaf manuscripts in at least one of the town's four royal palaces, and pointed at the concrete possibility that such manuscripts might also be found in Sufi brotherhoods and private households. Of course, chances are that these artifacts are in a poor state of conservation due to the lack of proper care. Urgent action ensuring the preservation of such cultural treasures is required.

This project will produce detailed documentation and partial photographic reproduction of the known collection and will locate and survey the unknown collections. The results from this should lead to a future major preservation project.

Project Ref: EAP281
Project Title: Locating and identifying Lepcha manuscripts as a first step towards their preservation



The survival of the native culture and language of the Lepcha people is endangered. Although the Lepcha people are indigenous to Sikkim in India, today they constitute a minority of the population of Sikkim and neighbouring areas. Many Lepchas today never mastered the Lepcha language at all and give preference to Nepali and English, and the great majority of young Lepchas have lost interest in Lepcha religious and cultural traditions. The Lepcha culture and language have been losing ground for more than a hundred years now and although there are still areas in which Lepcha language and culture flourish, the situation appears to be worsening.

The Lepcha people have their own indigenous script which dates back to the 18th century. The invention of this writing system is likely to have been motivated by the religious activities of Buddhist missionaries. Nowadays, the Lepcha orthography is mainly used in government language textbooks and in journals and magazines privately published by groups of Lepchas who are actively writing stories, poems and songs in serious attempts to keep their language and culture alive.

Lepcha manuscripts are the remnants of the earliest stages of the Lepcha literary heritage. The oldest handwritten materials that have so far been identified were written in the second half of the 19th century. Many of the Lepcha manuscripts that have been identified contain texts of a Buddhist nature, a smaller number of texts reflect older indigenous Lepcha traditions. The study of Lepcha manuscripts is still in its early days, but is expected to shed light on the nature of indigenous Lepcha religious beliefs and the spread of Buddhism in the area, whereas from a linguistic point of view the language used in these old texts is of historical interest.

During recent fieldwork in Sikkim and the Darjeeling district in 2008, a collection of approximately thirty Lepcha manuscripts in a private family archive in Kalimpong was shown to the grantholder and there were stories of similarly-sized collections held by a handful of other families in the area. During fieldwork in the 1990s, approximately ten Lepcha families in the Kalimpong area and Sikkim were visited, who each owned one or two manuscripts. These manuscripts were often hidden from sight in the owner's house and were rarely shown to outsiders. Many of the older generation of Lepcha people claim to own one or two old manuscripts, which they generally cherish as valuable heirlooms. There are some local institutions that are rumoured to own sizable collections, notably the privately-owned Lepcha Museum in Kalimpong, which is thought to hold about sixty Lepcha manuscripts. The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology in Gangtok in Sikkim holds at least six Lepcha manuscripts.

Most of the Lepcha manuscripts that are available in libraries in Europe have been identified and catalogued by the grantholder. All the manuscripts that have been consulted are written on paper, many of them are vulnerable and incomplete and practically all have suffered from moisture, smoke and insect attacks. This holds especially true for the manuscripts in private collections in Kalimpong and Sikkim that have been shown to the grantholder. Despite the care taken by most private owners to preserve them, the Lepcha manuscripts in private collections in Kalimpong and Sikkim show clear signs of ongoing suffering from being kept in unfavourable climatic and archival conditions.

With the loss of interest in their cultural heritage, many of the younger Lepchas have no attachment to these heirlooms, which puts the future of these delicate materials at great risk. During this project, the areas that are inhabited by the Lepcha people will be visited: Sikkim and Darjeeling district in India, Il_m district in Nepal and Samtsi district in southwestern Bhutan, in order to locate and identify Lepcha manuscripts in private collections.

The survey this pilot project hopes to produce should provide the basis for a major preservation project of Lepcha manuscripts, as it will provide information on the content, context and background of the materials, as well as a physical description of the materials, details of the location and ownership.

Project Ref: EAP284
Project Title: Before the war, after the war: preserving history in Sierra Leone



The Sierra Leone Archives hold documents which can barely be equalled in importance for telling the Atlantic slavery story. Foremost are the Liberated African Letter Books, which record the slave ships captured by the navy patrol, list all Africans disembarked at Freetown and indicate what became of them. There are also treaties between local chiefs and the new settlement from 1788 to the 20th century and the 1790s journal of John Clarkson, brother of abolitionist Thomas Clarkson. This project will create an inventory and digital images of endangered documents.

The intention is to put into place a plan to digitise the Sierra Leone archives as part of a wider plan to assist Sierra Leone in the recovery and preservation of documents and materials both in Sierra Leone and abroad, that relate to the history of the country and the African diaspora origins of its population.

The rationale for this project arises from the importance of the Sierra Leone archives to the study of trans-Atlantic slavery and the terrible conditions of surviving documents following the Sierra Leone civil war. Particularly important are the letter books which record the slave ships captured by the navy patrol, list all Africans disembarked at Freetown including details of all their physical features, and indicates what became of them. This relates to approximately 80,000 people who became Africans in diaspora within Africa. These unique records include information on each individual. Documents in which enslaved Africans reveal their own names are extremely rare. In this case, the materials are even more important because they include information on age, gender, ethnic origin, and other details. They are indispensible in our understanding of trans-Atlantic slavery and the African diaspora, and it would be a further tragedy were they to be lost. This inventory will establish what has been done, what needs to be done, and what cannot be done because documents have been lost or too severely damaged.

Besides the Liberated African Letter Books, there are treaties between local chiefs and the new settlement after 1788 and extending into the 20th century, including the treaty by which the original land was secured; governors' dispatches; documents on land disputes; legislative council minutes; Aborigines Department letter books and birth and death records for the colony.

Settled in 1787 by the 'black poor' (mostly former slaves) from London, Sierra Leone received waves of immigration from around the Atlantic arena: African American ex-slaves who had fled to Nova Scotia; Jamaican Maroons who had been removed from Jamaica and initially settled in Nova Scotia; and most numerically significant, thousands of people who were liberated off slave ships after 1815 and were known as recaptives liberated by the Royal Navy and settled at Freetown. To these were added migrants from the hinterland, including Muslims from the north and north east, and local ethnic groups - Mende, Temne, Vai, Sherbro, etc. Sierra Leone became home to a unique polyglot Atlantic community. Its study is central to understanding slavery, abolition, race, meanings of freedom and political sovereignty throughout the region.

As a result of a long and brutal civil war, the infrastructure of Sierra Leone was virtually destroyed. This affected the archives, whose surviving documents are housed in temporary quarters. Many documents have substantial insect damage and suffer ongoing deterioration from heat and humidity: in a city where humidity is constantly around 90% and with no climate control facilities, these records cannot survive much longer without outside assistance. Most documents need rebinding urgently. Ultimately, digitisation is essential for the long term survival of the knowledge contained therein.

Documents are stored in temporary and insecure locations with little or no protection from the elements. They are now being moved to a more secure site on the University of Sierra Leone campus. The goal is to place the documents in a secure location pending the creation of an inventory and their digitisation. Because of local conditions, there were virtually no resources locally to fund this relocation, and certainly no resources to support preservation. The archives do not have internet connections, human resources or technical mechanisms to digitise the collection. This project will include the training of human resources and the development of appropriate technologies.

Project Ref: EAP285
Project Title: Preservation of Gypsy/Roma historical and cultural heritage in Bulgaria - major project



In Bulgaria, many different materials dating from the beginning of the twentieth century can be found which reflect the life of nomadic and settled communities of Gypsies in the pre-industrial period in their first attempts for empowerment and their struggle for equality, and the state politics in the region towards them.

This project is a continuation of the previous pilot project. The aim is to complete the collection and digitisation of material located in Bulgaria and to train interested Roma students in the preservation of the material. Relevant material will be relocated and preserved in Studii Romani Archive at the Ethnographical Institute and Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

It is anticipated that approximately 1,000-1,500 items will be digitised, among them manuscripts of family history or memoirs, Roma written artistic literature, around 300-400 photographs, 100-200 pages old description of customs, old songs, legends and oral histories, 10-20 posters, 10-20 political flyers, 5-10 booklets, 5-10 rare old publications, at least 100-200 pages of different kinds of administrative documents of central and local governments, towns and village chronicles, 50-100 recordings of old Roma songs and video recordings of family and community celebrations, 200-300 pages of documents connecting with early Romani movement, 200-300 pages of documents witnessing the efforts of Bulgarian Roma to establish links with Roma from other countries.

The majority of material will be collected from representatives of Gypsy communities and from various archives and collections. There is a serious threat of the total disappearance of all these materials. Members of the Gypsy communities and descendants of the old Gypsy activists do not always realise their importance and make no effort for their preservation, even in some cases destroying them. If urgent measures are not taken soon, these materials witnessing the transition of Gypsy/Roma to modern society will be lost.

From the academic point of view, this material is very important as it is under-researched. On the basis of the outcome from the pilot project there is reason to expect that the material will throw new light on the history and everyday life of Gypsy/Roma communities in pre-industrial period of time. The addition of new and unknown material in this field will widen significantly the source base and will reveal a new, significantly richer perspectives for its scientific development.

Project Ref: EAP286
Project Title: Digitising and conserving Ethiopian manuscripts at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies



The collection of priceless manuscripts in Ethiopia's premiere research institute is in danger. This project will help preserve the collection and make images available for research by: 1) digitising the 3,391 un-digitised items in the collection; 2) producing a database of metadata on the items; 3) generating backups of the digital images (in RAW, JPG and TIFF formats) to be kept in various locations; 4) and generating a PDF set of images of each item for access for readers in the Institute of Ethiopian Studies (IES) reading room and elsewhere. In addition, 1,500 of the most fragile codices will be placed into conservation boxes.

The IES is the major custodian of Ethiopian cultural and historical antiquities in Ethiopia. Manuscripts in the collection have come from government offices, monasteries, churches, mosques, public libraries, and private collections from all over the country and represent the entire scope of Ethiopia's extant manuscript history (ca. 600 years). Located at the University of Addis Ababa, the materials in the IES collection facilitate primary research on Ethiopian subjects such as history, language, anthropology, traditional art, religion, diplomatic relations.

One of the largest parts of the collection is made up of Ge'ez manuscripts representing the history and literature of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Numbering more than 1,500 items, these manuscripts cover the wide range of genres (bible, liturgy, history, theology, grammar, so-called magic scrolls, etc.) produced by the church.

Another substantial part of the collection is the Arabic manuscripts representing the history and literature of the Muslim community in Ethiopia and the set of Amharic manuscripts representing the last 150 years of Ethiopia's emergence into the international community.

With very few exceptions the materials in the manuscripts and archive department have had no conservation work performed on them. They are exposed to general humidity and temperatures. Even worse, the materials are stored in an environment at extreme threat from electrical fire and water damage.

A master and backup set of the digital images will be kept at different locations in Addis Ababa; a master set of TIFFs will be deposited at the British Library; and a deep backup set will be deposited at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library in Collegeville, Minnesota, USA.

Project Ref: EAP291
Project Title: From memory to history: preserving handwritten, typed and photographic sources of Old Believers in the Danube region (18th-20th centuries)

This project aims to collect and digitise rare documents, manuscripts and photographs relating to Old Believers' (or Lipovans) lives. These materials are kept in family and church collections and their owners are often unaware of their importance.

These unique sources constitute a series of snapshots of the history, culture and community features of this group in all its distinctiveness, which is very conservative in both religion and culture. Many aspects of the ritual and daily practice of Old Believers are considered anachronistic by wider society and are often seen as being of little importance and value.

Over the course of many expeditions to the Old Believers villages in the Danube region, consisting of about 50 thousand people, the project team has seen that this cultural community still lives in the old manner with an isolated traditional world view and preserving rare forms of religious orthodoxy, such as a special kind of singing, Byzantine canons of icon-painting, handwritten and oldtyped books etc.

The new stage of development began on both banks of the Danube, in Ukraine and in Romania, when, under the influence of external modernising factors and the general level of the development of a technical society, the traditional customs and way of life began to disappear. Modern developments have considerably changed these communities. Ten communities in the Ukrainian part of the Danube have unique documents, photographs and manuscripts from the 18th - 20th centuries.

Thus, if a project is not carried out in the near future to preserve this unique corpus of material on the communities of the Izmail and Kilija districts of the Odessa region, Ukraine, this original orthodox tradition will be lost for ever. This pilot project plans to carry out a preliminary cataloguing of these rarities. These archives have been gradually disappearing over the years - if this isn't done soon future generations will be deprived of these original sources.

This project was proposed by the priests of local communities in charge of these documents. They are willing to allow the originals to be copied and for the copies to be made available to the wider academic community. Thus, the integration of local intellectual forces (the Odessa University, Izmail archive, regional specialists) with the spiritual instructors of the Old Believers communities will help preserve the unique material of this research project, which includes old printed books, hand-written documents from the 17th - 20th centuries, memoirs, private documents and family picture albums.

During this pilot project it is proposed that an inventory will be made of the books and hand-written documents which are in the church collections (10 Old Believer temples in the Ukrainian part of region) and in the private collections, personal and community documents and photographs of Old Believers communities. Digital copies will be made of the majority of these unique materials.

Project Ref: EAP292
Project Title: Creation of a digital archive of social reform movements among the Dalit and lower caste groups in Kerala, South West India

This project will carry out a survey of documents related to Dalit and lower caste social reform movements in the twentieth century Kerala, South West India for collecting and preserving them in a digital archive. These reform movements were decisive in negotiating modernity from the perspectives of the underprivileged in the Kerala society. Most of this documentary material is at risk of being neglected, damaged or thrown away due to a lack of awareness about the importance of the material and poor state of storage and handling.

A previous survey has resulted in locating rich sources available for digitisation in scattered personal collections and in the official holdings of various institutions involved in reform movements. Some institutions and key individuals have already consented to part with these sources provided a digital repository of these sources is made freely available. The pilot project will provide information on the feasibility of developing a future project on developing archives of conventional and alternative sources such as photographs, visual materials and audio resources which can be made available in a search and retrieval system online.

The collections are important as they constitute the primary source materials that would enable any social scientific study of various social movements. They include campaign materials, writings and transcriptions of speeches, memorandums, and photographs that are kept in the personal collections without due care and permanent loss of the materials is imminent. There are individuals who have collected such materials in Cochin, Kottayam and Trivandrum who cannot afford to preserve them as they do not have access to costly modern preservation technology.

The first half of the twentieth century had witnessed a flourishing of the social movements of Dalits and other lower caste communities in Kerala. The Dalit communities that had evolved powerful social movements in the early twentieth century Kerala include Pulayas and Parayas. These communities were at the bottom layer of traditional social hierarchy in Kerala and suffered several forms of caste inequalities. In this category lower castes such as Ezhavas, Viswakarmas, and other similar social groups would be included although their conditions were better than that of Dalits. These were the communities that developed social movements that were oppositional to the upper caste domination and have generated rich written materials as part of their movements.

These social movements are significant to scholars studying modern Kerala society, irrespective of their academic disciplines. However, as in the case of most other social movements organised by the deprived caste groups, materials relating to such movements are scattered among the private collections and collections of the various social institutions emerged as part of these movements such as the Prathyaksha Raksha Daiva Sabha (PRDS, 1909 to the present), Sadhu Jana Pariplana Sangham (Society for the Protection of the Poor,1907-1945). Similarly there were other organizations such as Brahma Prathyaksha Raksha Dharma Paripalana Parayar Mahajana Sangham of Kantan Kumaran (1915- 1940) that worked for the development of the Parayar community. Other popular Dalit leaders such as Paradi Abraham Issac and Vellikkara Chothi also led movements that were relatively small in the same period. Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP, 1902- to the present) under the leadership of Sree Narayana Guru was very decisive in the history of modern social movements as it generated different currents of thoughts and practices that signified modernity. There are other movements such as Pulayar Maha Sabha, Sambavar Sangham, Sidhanar Service Society, Cheramar Sangham (1970's to the present) which are relatively new. They are followed by contemporary movements such as Gothra Maha Sabha, a front organisation of many Adivasi communities. Similarly we have Dalit Christian organisations that are engaged in the struggle for equal rights with other Dalits in India.

All these organisations have generated a great deal of documentary material that is important for analysing the social transformation of Kerala Society which will be great value to historians, sociologists, anthropologists, South Asianists, and policy makers.

Project Ref: EAP294
Project Title: Recovering the provincial nineteenth-century press: survey of newspapers held in national and regional archives in Peru

In spite of being distant from the capital and therefore apparently removed from the politics of the country, the provincial press in nineteenth-century Peru was surprisingly developed. The many publications that were produced in medium-sized and small provincial towns have been hardly studied and remain an important and untapped source for the revision of the history and society of early republican Peru. Most of these publications remained in the localities where they were produced and are now languishing in under-funded regional archives that do not have the resources to keep them in the appropriate conditions. These newspapers are unique because they contain the particular visions of local, national and international realities produced in these rarely studied areas.

For example, a newspaper from Ayacucho, a small town in the Andes, discusses in its editorial in 1849 the importance of the 1848 revolutions in Europe and their impact in local politics, a topic that will once again resonate during the 1854 revolution in Peru, where slavery was finally abolished. The study of these newspapers will make it possible to have a more complete and more nuanced understanding of the recurrent regional conflict that engulfed Peru during most of this period. Access to the provincial press, and through it a better comprehension of the thinking that took place outside the capital, will make it possible for historians to move further away from the Lima-centric focus of Peruvian historiography. So far attempts to widen the knowledge of Peruvian history has led to studies of mayor cities such as Cuzco and Arequipa, but these studies have been focused only in one region, they have not given real attention to smaller urban areas, or to the interaction between provinces and not just between the provinces and the centre. Making these resources known will be extremely useful and foster a renewed interest in the press similar to the one that took place once the catalogue of newspapers of Cuzco appeared in 1999.

During a survey of the regional archive in Cajamarca in 2004 the newspaper collection was examined and it was surprising by how important and significant the collection was on one hand and yet on the other by the terrible state it was in; it could hardly be consulted because it was in urgent need of repair. The whole collection was in a general state of neglect with not more than a handful being able to be read because of the extent of the damage and their delicate condition. It has been affected by moths, in some cases humidity, as well as by previous attempts at repairing it with the wrong materials, such as sticky tape. The archivists lacked training in how to care for this fragile poor quality paper.

This project aims to visit most urban centres in the country that now house regional archives. In the north Trujillo, Chiclayo, Piura, Cajamarca and Huaraz will be visited, in the centre Huancayo, Huanuco, Tarma and Cerro de Pasco, and in the south Arequipa, Ayacucho, Moquegua, Tacna and Puno. These visits will make it possible to ascertain the holdings as well as their state of conservation and level of risk. Samples will be taken with a digital camera and each archive will be consulted on their training needs. Once this has been established the pilot will consider the best way to proceed to the digitisation or microfilming of the collections, investigate the best way to provide training to the staff in the archives in preservation of newspaper collections, and produce a detailed listing of the existing newspaper holdings.

The final outcome of the project will be a catalogue of all available nineteenth-century newspapers produced in Peru. It will contain the details of the publications making clear where each number and edition can be found and their state of conservation. The catalogue will make it possible to have a sense not only of the current state of the collections, but also of the importance of particular holdings. This will be an extremely useful tool for research, as for the first time there will be a clear sense of the amount of newspapers produced and the topics and periods which they covered. The catalogue will also include details of newspapers available in Lima and in other important collections such as the ones held at the Universidad Católica, Universidad de San Marcos, and the National Library, as well as Yale University and the John Carter Brown Library, which are the places with the largest collections that hold nineteen century newspapers. This catalogue will be made available to the research community through publication and copies of this catalogue will also be deposited in each of the regional archives as well as in the Archivo General de la Nación and the Biblioteca Nacional in Lima.

Once the pilot project is completed a second application for funding will be prepared for a major grant that will create copies of all the newspapers held in the regional archives identified as being at risk. The project will also develop a training programme for the staff of these archives to make it possible for the conservation of their current holdings.

Project Ref: EAP295
Project Title: Digitising the endangered archives of Grenada



This project seeks to digitise the unique historical archives of Grenada which record the island's significance at the intersection of the British and French Empires during the second half of the eighteenth century, and provide a rare vision of how the Windward Islands experienced the transition from slavery to emancipation during the mid-nineteenth century.

The project focuses on digitising 132 volumes of deed records and local government correspondence which provide a crucial source for understanding the major political, social and economic transformations of the Southern Caribbean. These rare sources can also be used to reconstruct the experiences of the everyday and subaltern lives.

The material provides a micro-vision of how Grenada was transformed in the late eighteenth century by imperial conflicts, the expansion of plantation slavery and revolutionary politics. The Supreme Court records reveal the multi-racial alliances and conflicts that marked slave society while Government House correspondence expresses the local negotiations and conflicts that shaped the prolonged transition to a free society during the mid nineteenth century. The French Records are held in a storeroom of the registry and have suffered considerably from heat, humidity, fading and corrosion. The papers are extremely brittle, the text is beginning to discolour, and the bindings are in danger of damage due to cramped storage conditions.

Government House correspondence was displaced by Hurricane Ivan which resulted in significant loss, and the disruption of its original listing order. The Public Library lost parts of its roof in 2004 which have yet to be fully repaired. Its fragmented newspaper holdings are extremely rare.

The French Deed Records provide a unique vision of the social complexity of Grenadian society as it was being transformed into a plantation colony during the late eighteenth century. They provide a valuable source for tracing the personal trajectories of migrants from Africa, Europe and elsewhere in the Caribbean and for understanding how the social and economic relationships between Grenada's white, black and large mixed race population were being transformed during this period. The Letter Books of Grenada's Colonial Secretary offer a detailed narrative of local events which is particularly significant given the limited and fragmented collections of local newspapers held by Grenada's Public Library and the British Library. These papers provide a revealing counterpoint of local debates to the official correspondence of the Governor held in the National Archives at Kew. The inter-island correspondence of the Governor in Chief of the Windward Islands during the transition of emancipation is a crucial source for social, political and economic history of the Southern Caribbean, which has remained unused by historians despite the excellent scholarship of Woodville Marshall and Bridget Brereton on the region.

Digitising these records would enable public and scholarly access to these materials not only in Grenada and Britain, but also elsewhere in the Southern Caribbean, where these records would be of considerable interest in St Vincent, St Lucia, Martinique and Trinidad.

The project will begin with the newspaper collection of the Grenada Public Library as this allows for a small discrete collection through which project members can be trained in best practice for digitisation and the management of meta-data. During the second third of the project the French Deeds will be digitised while the archival researcher re-orders the Government House correspondence in preparation for later digitisation.

Digital copies of the rare deed records, local government correspendence and local newspapers will be deposited with the National Archives of Grenada and the British Library; the Government House correspondence and Registry records will be ordered and preserved in archival boxes; a digital photographer and archival researcher will be trained in current best practice; and two training sessions on best practice in digitisation and digital records management will be open to relevant professionals within and outside Grenada - it is hoped these would attract public sector personnel from across the Eastern Caribbean.

The project has the full support of the University of the West Indies and the Grenada National Archives, with Dr Curtis Jacobs and Ms Lillian Sylvester project co-applicants from these respective institutions.The Grenada National Archives Committee intends that within the life of this project the Grenadian government will have authorised the construction of a new National Archive building which would be the repository for the originals and digital copies generated by this project.

Project Ref: EAP296
Project Title: Digitisation of the manuscripts and xylographs held by the Tibetan Yungdrung Bon Library of the Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India

The Menri Monastery in northern India possesses the world's largest collection of manuscripts and block-print books relating to Bon, the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet. Most of these materials were rescued from ancient Tibetan monasteries before those institutions were destroyed in the Cultural Revolution (1966-69). They are essential to support the efforts of Bon monks and nuns to preserve their unique culture as well as the efforts of scholars elsewhere to understand not only the Bon religion but also the distinctive aspects of Tibetan Buddhism and indeed the early cultural and intellectual history of Central Asia. It is proposed to survey the holdings and facilities of this library in order to prepare a proposal for a future major digitisation project.

These treasures are presently subject to a variety of perils. They are currently housed in a recently-completed building but it is only partially air-conditioned and humidity-controlled, and the functioning of these systems is frequently interrupted by power failures. Having so many unique materials in this one location means that a single disaster such as a massive mud slide (one of which destroyed a nearby building a few months ago), an earthquake (not an infrequent occurrence in this area), or a fire (in the absence of control mechanisms and professional fire-fighters) could quickly extinguish substantially if not entirely the records of this ancient tradition. There is virtually no security against theft or vandalism, the former being a threat of great concern due to the flourishing and growing black market in stolen art objects of all sorts in the sub-continent.

There is therefore an urgent and compelling need to digitise a substantial portion of the holdings of the Yungdrung Library. This pilot project would enable a systematic survey of the library to be undertaken with a view to determining just how much there is that ought to be digitised and is suitable for such copying, the facilities that are available and the training needs of the staff.

Where Bon manuscripts and xylographs are held elsewhere in the world, the focus has been on making the canonical scriptures (the Tengyur commentaries as well as the primary source Kanjur) accessible, but little else. Limited, and often incompletely catalogued, collections of Bon manuscripts and xylographs are held by the British Library, the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London, the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, India. Modern reprints are held at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, Columbia University in New York, the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago, the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and in much smaller collections in several other universities.

A written report will provide a thorough analysis of the holdings of the library and identify those that ought to be digitised, together with an estimate of their number and a description of their condition. The report would also suggest how the necessary training of staff members might be organized. It would, in addition, describe the workspace and facilities available for the project and would detail the equipment and supplies that would have to be acquired. This report would be the basis for an application for a major grant to support the digitisation and preservation effort.

Project Ref: EAP298
Project Title: Preserving endangered ethnographic audiovisual materials of expressive culture in Peru



This project will build on the achievements of the previous EAP project conducted by the Institute of Ethnomusicology. On that occasion, three provinces of Peru were covered: Cajamarca, Ancash and Junín - all located to the north of Lima. This project will cover the Departments of Ayacucho, Arequipa and Puno, located to the south of Lima with their distinctive regional variations.

In the Andean world, cultural representations are, in the absence of written literature, the primary expressions of the Andean worldview and the aspirations of its people. These expressions are fundamentally drama, music and ritual-dance defined in a broad sense. The best way to record and remember these cultural representations is through audiovisual means, since these materials are the only visual testimony of Andean expressive culture in the twentieth century. Audiovisual means have been used for decades in the Andes by local intellectuals who took responsibility to record the expressive culture of their own towns.

The physical condition of the audiovisual materials that are kept in Andean Peru generally varies from a careful organisation of the material to the careless storage in cardboard boxes in private homes. These private collections in the Andes do not have suitable environments for the preservation of this type of material. Most of the collectors are local intellectuals in their own towns who dedicate their lives to document by audiovisual means the expressive cultures of their fellow villagers, but who do not have the means to preserve them adequately for future generations. Most of these collectors are older senior citizens, and those who have passed away have left their holdings to their families. Some of these families are eager guardians of their legacy, but others ignore the cultural value of these materials.

If these audiovisual materials in the Peruvian provinces are not relocated, digitised, or both, they will be lost in time to deterioration, or oblivion.

This new project is an opportunity to apply all the experience gained during the previous project to other cultural regions of the country. Peru is a multicultural nation; more than 60 native languages are spoken in Peru besides Spanish. Most of them are in the Peruvian jungles, but even in the Quechua areas there are six different Quechua dialects that are distinct from each other. Modern Peru is divided in 24 Departments, and each Department includes a variable number of provinces.

In this project covering the Departments of Ayacucho, Arequipa and Puno, the focus will be on fieldwork in the city capitals, because in the rural areas there are few possibilities of finding audiovisual materials. Thanks to the previous experience, most of the fieldwork will consist of short field trips designed to locate important collections and establish a relationship with the collectors or their heirs. The previous project established it was better, and cheaper, to bring the materials to the offices in Lima. The reputation of the university throughout Peru makes this possible.

The original materials will be returned to their owners after they have been digitised in the audiovisual labs of the Institute of Ethnomusicology (IDE) in Lima, Peru - except in those cases where the owners wish to donate permanently their materials. The IDE will keep one digital copy of each item in its audiovisual archives, and send another digital copy to the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP310
Project Title: The digital documentation of manuscripts in Thadrak, Tshamdrak and Nyephug Temples



The temples of Tshamdrak, Neyphug and Thadrak in Bhutan hold significant collections of ancient manuscripts such as Buddhist canonical texts, religious and philosophical writings, historical and biographical literatures, which have hitherto remained unknown and inaccessible to scholars. The books are also in a precarious situation, vulnerable to damage and destruction. This project aims to preserve the collection in digital surrogates by producing tiff images for archival purposes and jpeg images for making the texts available to scholars. A comprehensive list of these temple collections will also be produced.

Thadrak, which is a couple hours climb from Thimphu, has about seventy titles of a very ecumenical composition. These include works on philosophy, language, meditation and rituals, and over 26 biographical and historical writings, many of which are either very rare or not known to scholars. There is virtually no information on the history of Thadrak although Thadrak was said to be once a thriving religious centre, and a school of Vajrakila tradition known as Phur pa mtha' brag ma is attributed to it. It is hoped that more information on the temple and its past will emerge from the project.

Neyphug monastery was founded by gter ston Ngag dbang Grags pa (1525-1599) in 1550 and has remained as the main seat of the successive incarnate lamas of Neyphug. These lamas were prominent figures in western Bhutan and the place is also well known for clay sculpture which the third incarnation started. Although a fire in 1864 gutted the main residence and destroyed many historical records, it only partially damaged the main temple and the manuscript collection remained unharmed. Neyphug holds a set of the Kanjur canon created in the seventeenth century during the time of second Neyphug lama. Books in Neyphug also include the writings of the great Tibetan 'Brug pa scholar Pad ma dKar po, of the Bhutanese historian and chief abbot rJe mKhan po Yon tan mTha yas, of the ecumenical master Byang chub brTson 'grus, of rGyal dbang Chos rje, and of Neyphug's founder Ngag dbang Grags pa. Copies of these collections are indeed rare and very useful for codicological studies. The autobiography of the founder Ngag dbang Grags pa and the account of Neyphug by the seventh incarnation Nam grol rDo rje, which seems to sparsely record the information lost to the fire in 1864, are documents of immense historical significance.

Tshamdrak temple in Chhukha district was founded by Nga dbang Grub pa (1682-1748) and has been the main seat of the successive incarnate lamas of Tshamdrak. The temple has a set of Kanjur in 98 volumes as well as a set of Tanjur in 222 volumes for which the first couple folios are written in gold. It also houses a set of 46 volume rNying ma rGyud 'bum manuscript, for which black and white copies have been reproduced by the National Library of Bhutan in 1982, and many gter ma literature including those of Sangs rgyas Gling pa, Ratna Gling pa and Pad ma Gling pa. There is also a 21 volume set of hagiographies of the 'Brug pa bKa' brgyud hierarchs. Besides being a prominent religious centre in the western Bhutan, Tshamdrak also has a reputation for its excellence in the art of drumming.

In the traditional manner, the books in these three places lie on the temple shelves, often under a layer of dust. They are mostly wrapped in cloths and sometimes bound with wood covers. Despite their long existence without proper archival facilities, the books have survived in good condition. Although some books are old and brittle, they are in a good condition for photography.

After the decline of Buddhism in Tibet and other parts of the Northern Buddhist world, the Kingdom of Bhutan has come to be seen as a unique repository of the cultural and religious wealth of the Buddhist Himalayas. With a long history and undisturbed continuity, its far flung monasteries and temples today represent a literary treasure trove that is largely unharmed and still unexplored. However, by the same token, these collections, libraries and archives have remained mostly inaccessible, their values unapprised and their existence uncharted and uninsured.

The collections in the three temples are exposed to dust, dampness, worms and even rodents. The temples do not have proper protection against fire. An accidental fire from a habitual butter lamp or incense could instantly reduce the entire library to ashes, as was the case with many Bhutanese temples. Despite their importance as community relics and as unique copies of books, the manuscripts lie in precarious situations. The whole collection could be easily lost if no effort is made to copy them. The illuminated manuscripts are also vulnerable to theft for art markets. The manuscripts in these temples are generally a few hundred years old with a few old ones most likely from 14th or 15th century and the most recent ones produced in early 20th century.

The collections at these temples hold immense literary and artistic values, and tremendous religious significance for the local community. They constitute the spiritual heart of the establishments and cannot be relocated outside the temples.

The final outcome of this project will be the preservation and reproduction of the manuscript holdings of the Thadrak, Tshamdrak and Neyphug temples in no fewer than 150,000 jpeg and tiff image files stored on external hard drives and DVDs.

The digital reproduction of these three collections will not only help us preserve the unique collections in the form of a digital backup, and thus enhance its visibility and accessibility in the domain of international scholars, but also reveal substantial information on these places which are so far not known. The project will certainly be the first attempt to explore and study these collections and assess their significance as a whole. The full story of the impact this project will have on our knowledge of the Himalayan culture, religion and history can be told only after the project is complete.

Project Ref: EAP314
Project Title: Rescuing Tamil customary law: locating and copying endangered records of village judicial assemblies (1870-1940)



This project aims to locate handwritten documents of village judicial assemblies, or traditional courts of customary law, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Though these villages judicial assemblies never acquired legal sanctity, whether under the British or the Indian government, the practice of recording the nature of the dispute and the judgment handed down by village elders became a standard procedure in this region of India in the late 1860s.The location of such documents which are rapidly deteriorating will enable researchers to acquire novel insight into Tamil rural social life.

Though India's rich legal history and traditions has attracted great interest from historians, anthropologists and legal scholars, very little is known on actual processes and legal reasoning of customary law in this region. The lack of scholarship on this important legal institution rests largely on the absence of written evidence and records. This panchayat, though once a pervasive mode of managing disputes, has disappeared in many regions of India. Where it still sometimes survives, such as in Tamil Nadu, it has been declared illegal by the government. Therefore recourse to ethnographic observation and/or the memory of informants as primary sources to investigate and understand customary law is increasingly problematic. However, from the late 19th century up to the 1940s, handwritten documents pertaining to these panchayats were produced, providing, if made accessible, an invaluable window onto Tamil customary law.

Unfortunately, it appears that no steps have been taken to preserve these documents. If located, preserved and made accessible, such documents would constitute a very rare body of study and knowledge of the practice of customary law for which there is insufficient scholarship, due precisely to the lack of primary sources of study. This pilot project proposes to implement a systematic survey in the villages of two districts of south-central Tamil Nadu (Madurai and Coimbatore) in collaboration with identified local researchers over a period of twelve months in order to locate the largest possible number of such documents. Given the advanced state of deterioration of some of the documents that have been seen, some of the documents will be digitised.

The outcome of this pilot project will be a written report of a survey of the location and condition of these documents, accompanied by digital photography and recordings. This will lead the way to a future major preservation project.

Project Ref: EAP323
Project Title: Endangered African diaspora collections of the state of Pará in the Amazon region of Brazil

This project will focus on two archives in the State of Pará, which hold collections on African slaves and their descendants in the Amazon region of Brazil - the Aquivo Público do Pará and the Museu Integrado de Óbidos. The previous pilot project identified endangered files that are rich, under-utilised, and at-risk documents on Africans and persons of African descent. This major project will concentrate on the digitisation of this vast body of documents. The project also aims to continue the training of local staff at the targeted archives in manuscript handling and preservation, digital and archival management, manuscript photography, and creation of digital and manuscript catalogues and databases.

The Amazon region of Brazil is the country's poorest one. Despite its rich history, the social and economic processes of this history, as well as its particularities and participants, are still largely unknown. African and Black presence in the region, although of importance, remains almost invisible in both official discourse and historical research. The material housed by the Aquivo Público do Pará and the Museu Integrado de Óbidos contains important information on African and Black slavery and slave life produced by civil, administrative, military, ecclesiastic, and judicial personnel from the 17th to the 19th century. The digitisation of these endangered collections will not only improve preservation of the originals but also ensure access to local and world-wide researchers on the subject.

The archives in this region of Brazil are in a very bad shape. Facilities and restoration are seriously compromised by the lack of appropriate financial and material resources. Despite personal and institutional efforts to preserve archival collections, most original documents suffer from fading, severe mould, weather injury, insect damage, and iron gall ink corrosion.

In colonial times, the Portuguese Amazonia was known variously as Maranhão, Maranhão and Pará, and Grão Pará and Maranhão. The modern Brazilian State of Pará is located in the lower Amazon river basin bordering on six Brazilian states, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and the Atlantic ocean. The Portuguese settled in the area during the 17th century in order to keep out English, French, and Dutch incursions. Until the 1750s there was moderate sugar, rum, and cacao production. The so-called 'drogas do sertão' (black pepper, vanilla, clove, cinnamon, etc.) were the principal products of the region. Most of the labour force was made up of enslaved Native Americans. In 1751, the northern region of Portuguese America was dismembered from its central and southern counterparts, and Belém was transformed into the capital of the newly-created State of Grão Pará and Maranhão. In 1755, 'Indian' slavery was abolished in the Portuguese Amazonia. In the same year, the Grão Pará and Maranhão Company was created to develop the region with African slave labour and approximately 22,000 Africans were brought to the region in the next 20 years. The Marquis of Pombal, prime minister of Portugal, banned Jesuit missionaries from the region and many were imprisoned and sent to the metropolis. After Brazilian independence from Portugal in 1822, Pará struggled for its own independence for more than one year. Between 1823 and 1835, provincial life suffered from political disorder and violent social disturbance, culminating in the civil war called 'Cabanagem' (1835-1840). About 30 to 40% of an estimated total population of 100,000 died during the conflict. The participation of African and Black individuals in the civil war was never deeply studied. In 1888 Brazil abolished slavery, and thousands of Africans and their descendants remained more or less integrated to economic activities in the Amazon region, while many others created isolated settlements scattered along the main rivers and their branches.

The Arquivo Público do Estado do Pará (public archive) is an autonomous government agency subordinated to the Secretary of Culture. It is one of the most important archives of the Amazon region due to the privileged situation of Belém, which remained the capital of Portuguese Amazonia for several decades. However, the documentation was neglected for many years. Long-lasting negligence and weather conditions caused the destruction of considerable number of documents and, today, many more are under the risk of being lost. The documentation is divided into 10 major collections covering subjects related to Executive, Legislative, and Judicial powers, mainly for the 17th-19th centuries. The archive holds approximately four million original documents. The codices are bounded into volumes, stored in carton boxes and/or wrapped in brown paper. Besides manuscripts and printed documents, the archive possesses collections of iconographic material, maps, blueprints, drawings, and a copy of the rare Atlas da Costa Brasileira published in 1640 by the cosmographer João Teixeira de Albernaz.

The Museu Integrado de Óbidos was created in 1983 by the Associação Cultural Obidense. The main objectives of the association were: to restore architectural patrimony, to preserve and stimulate regional culture, and to establish a museum unit. In 1985, Museum facilities were installed in a 19th-century building, which also houses an important collection of local, colonial, and independent government documents. The documents are basically bound into 200 volumes and approximately 1,000 one-page manuscripts. Each book contains 150 to 250 pages. The inline extension of the collection is approximately 20 meters. The documents are placed into metal cabinets, in files (manuscripts) and wrapped in brown paper (volumes). Weather conditions threaten the documents since there is no climatic and humidity control. Fungi have already destroyed several documents.

Local staff will be trained on manuscript handling and preservation, digital photography, and archival management of digital copies and databases. At least four workshops will be organized convening professional photographers, computer technicians, research assistants, senior researchers, and local archive's staff.

Team members and specialists from the Arquivo Público do Estado do Pará will provide at no-cost the fundamentals on archival material handling and preservation of originals and digital copies (the latter entirely based on the EAP Copying Guidelines). Team members will be regularly instructed on the production of detailed lists, following the rationale established in the EAP Listing Guidelines. Team members and local archival staff will digitise collections and generate Preservation and Access copies of the material, following the EAP technical recommendations.

This project will limit its scope by only focusing on 50,000 endangered files concerned with African and Black slavery in the region. Most of the targeted files have already been identified during the execution of the previous pilot project. Digital copies of all material and lists will be delivered to the British Library, the two archives involved in the project, and the Harriet Tubman Institute.

Project Ref: EAP326
Project Title: Buddhist archive of photography, Luang Prabang, Laos - major project phase II



Previous projects undertaken through the Endangered Archives Programme discovered a surprisingly large and varied body of Theravada Buddhist photographs taken and collected by the monks of Luang Prabang/Laos, from ca. 1880 up to the present.

Coming from more than 20 distinct monastery collections, this unique view from inside documents 120 years of monastic life and ritual, pilgrimage, monks portraits, history and social life. Important historic and political events of an agitated century in Laos at the same time appear as in a mirror: French colonialism, the Royal court, civil war, the Indochina and Vietnam wars, revolution and socialist rule. Quantity and quality of the material are as surprising as is the fact that it was produced in a city as isolated as Luang Prabang. It seems that there has been a particular inclination towards photography, which had been introduced very early by the French, was practised by the Royal court where young princes would learn about it, and take it with them when they were ordained as monks and became abbots of the various monasteries (there are 64 in town).

A particular cultural understanding of the sacredness of the image coming from Indian traditions (darshan) gave photographs of monks and ceremonies importance and power that goes beyond western categories (historic, aesthetic) and could explain why some monks so courageously protected these images in the revolution, when their possession could put them in serious trouble, especially in the first ten years of socialist rule. This protection was so efficient that, in the 1990s, when the country opened to the West, very few people knew about the existence of these collections. Many of the great monk collectors or photographers had died. Their belongings were either dispersed (which meant that their photographs collections were destroyed) or kept in sealed rooms (with the Sangha's permission, the EAP team opened several of these sealed rooms for the first time). A senior monk, Phra Khamchan Virachittathera, for over 70 years had established the largest collection. Upon suggestion by photographer Hans Georg Berger, he opened it for EAP research and agreed with a Major Research Project shortly before his death in July 2007. One by one, other monasteries followed his example. With growing trust in the work of the small EAP team of monks and former monks, an absolutely surprising amount of photographs in about 20 monastery collections was discovered. The collections vary in content and size, and in preservation status.

15,000 photographs have been treated so far in EAP research (digitisation, identification). 17,500 photographs, among them 7,500 negatives, will be preserved in this second EAP Major Research Project. The aim is to fully digitize and secure all Buddhist photographs of Luang Prabang. Digital copies will be with the British Library and the National Library of Laos in the capital Vientiane. All originals remain in Luang Prabang, property of the monasteries. This will make the full body of Buddhist photographs of Luang Prabang accessible for future research, inside and outside the country. The National Library of Laos has an ongoing commitment of making such source material available to Lao students.

For future safe storage of the originals, it is intended to establish an Archive of Photography of the Sangha of Luang Prabang at Sala Thammaviharn, at Vat Khili, Luang Prabang where the EAP work space is at present. The Sangha has agreed to dedicate the space for this purpose.

At the conclusion of the project, EAP will have significantly enhanced the ability of the Sangha to preserve and manage this heritage in the future. The EAP projects comes at a time of revival of Buddhism in Laos, and especially in Luang Prabang, where numerous young people study in Buddhist schools and live in the monasteries. The government's awareness of the importance of cultural heritage is growing since Luang Prabang was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995. EAP research will empower local government, the Sangha and local people to acknowledge, treasure and protect Buddhist heritage, and their immaterial culture.

Project Ref: EAP327
Project Title: Guinea's Syliphone archives

This project will digitise Syliphone studio recordings from their current reel-to-reel format and archive these recordings. Syliphone recordings were the primary means by which the Guinean government communicated its cultural policy of authenticité, a programme whereby artists were encouraged to create new musical works based on local traditional forms. The reels of music contain a large quantity of unreleased material, and would thus reveal the true scope of the authenticité programme.

In 1958 Guinea gained independence and the newly elected government sought ways to revitalise the nation after a long period of colonial rule. In order to instil a sense of nationhood and to reinvigorate the indigenous arts the government introduced the concept of authenticité, a cultural policy whereby artists were encouraged to look at the past for inspiration and to incorporate themes and styles from local traditions into their new works. The authenticité program saw the creation of a vast network of state-funded regional arts troupes, which represented the nation's towns, districts and regions. Over 50 regional and national orchestras formed a major part of these troupes, and together with groups such as Les Ballets Africains they toured the world and travelled extensively within Africa. The concept of authenticité was thus spread to other African nations, such as Mali, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Zaïre, many of whom adopted authenticité as their official cultural policy.

In Guinea, authenticité provided the basis for the development of new styles of popular African music in the 1960s. A key method of the music's distribution was via Guinea's Syliphone recording label. A state-funded enterprise, Syliphone was the first state-funded African recording label of the postcolonial era, releasing some 728 songs which featured Guinea's modern orchestras, folkloric troupes, and solo artists. Production of Syliphone recordings continued until 1984, with the death of President Sékou Touré. In 1985 an attempted coup in Conakry saw the building which housed the Syliphone catalogue destroyed.

The earlier project EAP187 successfully restored the Syliphone catalogue of vinyl recordings, which are now housed in Guinea's national library. The Guinean government recognised this project through the awarding of the national's highest civilian honour, the Medaille de Palme Académique en Or, and a Diplôme d'Honneur through the Ministère de la Culture, des Arts, et Loisirs, to the Principal Investigator. The archive was officially launched in Guinea's National Museum complex in September 2008 as part of Guinea's 50th year of independence celebrations.

Guinea's Voix de la Révolution studio recorded the bulk of Guinean music in the era of the 1st Republic (1958-1984). Many of the original studio recordings date to the early 1960s and exist only on reel-to-reel format. These tapes are deteriorating rapidly but Guinea's sound archives have neither the resources nor the hardware for transferring the music to digital format. During previous research in 2008 over 750 reel-to-reels were discovered - 129 reels were digitised and the remainder will be digitised during this project.

This project has great significance for African researchers. In an era of globalisation, the authenticité movement via the Syliphone catalogue represented a significant chapter in African history, when a new nation asserted its voice and placed the indigenous arts at the forefront of its cultural identity. This project will bring to light the true scope of the authenticité policy, a cultural policy which captured Africa's imagination and led to an extraordinary era of creativity in Guinea and in Africa. A complete archive of Syliphone recordings would serve as a showcase for the nation's rich cultural heritage.

Project Ref: EAP329
Project Title: Digitising private collections of Acehnese manuscripts located in Pidie and Aceh Besar regencies



This project is a continuation of the previous pilot project which surveyed and located Acehnese manuscripts privately held by collectors in Pidie and Aceh Besar regencies. The pilot project identified and listed 405 manuscripts with 46,029 pages in total, written between the 17th and 20th centuries.

These important and vulnerable manuscripts are to be found in Pidie and Aceh Besar regencies. The content of the manuscripts is a part of Acehnese history with regards to lifestyle, the kingdom of Aceh, and the war against colonialism. They also relate to Islamic knowledge and Islamic mysticism (Sufism) and its order. However, the manuscripts are highly endangered. They are not kept in the best of conditions to aide their preservation, mainly through lack of knowledge and resources. They are often attacked by insects and some of them have been corroded by the ink used or have water damage. Conflicts and natural disasters in Aceh have also had a bad effect on the manuscripts.

To preserve them from destruction and further decay, immediate action must be taken for their preservation. One of the best actions that is the most urgent to perform is to digitise them to prevent the total loss of this cultural heritage.

The pilot project won the confidence of the collectors to preserve their manuscripts through digitisation and they understand the reason and the benefit of copying them. This major project will establish complete digital copies and lists of the manuscripts that will be useful for the owners and future scholars. Digital copies will be deposited with the Aceh Information and Documentation Centre, the National Library of Indonesia and the British Library. A printed copy of their manuscript will be given to each owner.

Project Ref: EAP333
Project Title: Collecting and preserving parish archives in an Andean diocese



This project aims to rescue, organise and protect parish documents of historical interest presently dispersed in 19 localities of the Huacho diocese in Peru. In its first phase, the project involves visiting the parishes to assess the number and quality of existing documents dating from before 1940. The second step involves making provisional inventories and taking the documents to the diocese archives in the city of Huacho where, in a third phase, they will be classified and placed in the diocese historical archives. Finally, digital copies of these documents will be made and sent to the parishes they originally came from and to the British Library. Two workshops, one on archival training and another one on the historical significance of the collection, will also be organised.

The importance of parish records for historical research has been amply demonstrated by numerous scholars around the world. The bulk of the documents to be collected and copied contain information on the local population, such as baptism, wedding, and death records for the period between the late sixteenth- up to the mid-twentieth century. In Peru, there are many parish archives, but very few of them are professionally organised. Parish records from rural areas which are housed in historical archives are rare. Hence the interest of this archive. In addition to the documents mentioned, there are confraternity records, documents of pastoral visitations, investigations on priests' behaviour and priests-parishioners relations, and other papers documenting a range of economic and religious activities over a period of at least 300 years.

The archival material involved can be divided into two parts. The first part has already been collected from fourteen parishes and is presently housed in a small but adequate room in the buildings belonging to the diocese. However, because the town in which the see is located is a seaport, the papers are threatened by the humidity and salt natural in this kind of environment. The second part is presently in twenty parishes that have not yet been visited. Most of these parishes are located in remote places and which house their documents in precarious conditions. Their archives are exposed to several negative conditions, from the effects of political and social upheaval to the action of damp, rodents and insects.

The area in which most parishes are located has been subject to the presence of subversive groups active in Peru over the past twenty-five years. Reports on whether these groups still constitute a threat are contradictory. Because of poor communications, the parishes are vulnerable to attacks and robbery. The precarious conditions in which the papers are usually kept contributes to their deterioration due to the action of fungi, insects, and rodents. The excellent quality of the paper dating to the colonial period has helped the preservation of a significant part of them, but the poor quality of the ink used during the same period, and that of the paper used in the 19th and early 20th centuries are real threats to their preservation in the long run.

In each of the twenty parishes that will be visited, the quantity, type and condition of documents will be appraised. A provisional inventory can then be produced which will be essential to planning the transportation to the diocese archive and the ensuing work of storing and copying. Simultaneously during this period, the documents that already exist in the diocese archives from fourteen parishes will be digitised. The dates of these documents run from 1569 to 1940 and it is expected that the parishes that will be visited have records within similar dates.

The first of the two workshops, on archive organisation and document handling, will be held during this first phase of the project to train university students who will be doing part of the work.

Once the documents have been collected and taken to Huacho, the team will classify them to organise digital copying. During this time, the documents will be placed in an area where they will be protected from damp and other potential threats, ideally with adequate dehumidifiers and on appropriate storage conditions. Copies on CDs will be made and print outs will be given to the parishes where the originals were collected. CDs will also be made and sent to the British Library.

The second workshop will be organised at the end of the project and will present the collections to a local audience. Two or three papers will be presented to illustrate the significance of the documents housed in the archive.

Project Ref: EAP334
Project Title: Digital preservation of Wolof Ajami manuscripts of Senegal



For centuries, Ajami (the modified Arabic scripts used to write African languages) have been deeply embedded in the history and culture of Islamised societies of West and East Africa. While playing an important role in the spread of Islam across Islamic Africa, Ajami has also provided the circuitry for the reverse flow of African influences upon Islam, and continues to be used by the speakers of more than ten major African languages for everything from poetry and historical writing to road signs and advertisements. With its roots intertwined with those of the madrasas of Islamic Africa, Ajami remains particularly important in rural areas where the Qur'ānic school is the primary education institution. Nevertheless, Ajami is little known outside the communities where it is used and is gradually falling out of use even in some of those. Many of the oldest and most precious Ajami manuscripts are in danger, and few of those with a scholarly interest in these materials have access to them.

This project will create a digital repository of Ajami manuscripts written by the members of the Muridiyya Sufi order founded in Senegal in 1883 by Ahmadu Bamba (ca 1853-1927). The reasons for the flourishing of Ajami among Murids can be linked to the desire for Wolof cultural autonomy, and the pedagogy and teachings of Ahmadu Bamba, who stressed the importance of physical work, Sufi education, and accommodative relations with the French colonial power.

Some of Bamba’s senior disciples developed a Wolof Ajami literature as they realised that the genuine conversion of the Wolof masses could only be achieved through writing that could be sung or read out loud to illiterate village audiences. This Wolof Ajami literature is extremely varied, consisting of satirical, polemical and protest poetry, as well as biographies, eulogies, genealogies, talismanic resources, therapeutic medical manuals, historical records, speeches, and instructions on codes of conduct. While the general biography of Ahmadu Bamba and his own Arabic writings are relatively well-known and well-preserved, the works of his senior disciples who communicated his teachings to the rural masses using Ajami are largely unknown outside their communities and are mostly kept unprotected in private collections and trunks in homes in the regions of Thies, Diourbel, Louga and Saint-Louis.

This project will focus on the manuscripts written by Wolof Ajami pioneers such as Khali Madiakhate Kala (1835-1902), Mor Kayre (1869-1951), Samba Diarra Mbaye (1870-1917), Mbaye Diakhate (1875-1954), and Moussa Ka (1883-1967). It is expected to make and preserve digital copies of at least 5,000 pages of endangered Ajami manuscripts following EAP guidelines.

The project will achieve the following goals: (1) it will preserve permanently and make available worldwide the works of the most influential and important Wolof Ajami scholars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; (2) it will increase our understanding of the expansion of Islam in rural, non-Arabic speaking areas of Senegambia through Ajami literature, and (3) it will constitute new resources that will enhance the quality of scholarly research and teaching of Islamic West Africa in general and the Wolof language, culture, society, and history in particular.

WARC (West African Research Center) in Dakar is the overseas branch of the West African Research Association (WARA), which has its US headquarters at Boston University. WARC has agreed to serve as the umbrella organisation for this project and to support it through its network of scholars and services. WARC will provide office space in Dakar for the duration of the project.

In addition, well-respected native scholars from each of the target areas (Thies, Touba, Diourbel, Louga and Saint-Louis) will be hired as on-site facilitators to introduce the fieldwork team to manuscript owners and assist in obtaining the approval of the copyright holders to make the materials freely available to scholars, students, and the public. The research team will work with these facilitators to make copies of the materials found in the field, to list and describe them, and to create preservation and access copies using EAP guidelines.

Three copies of the archives will be made. One will be deposited at WARC, one with the British Library, and one at Boston University library's digital repository.

Project Ref: EAP336
Project Title: Preserving the lay bet andemta: the Ethiopian intellectual legacy on the verge of extinction

This project aims to digitise the andemta (Ge'ez - Amharic commentary) manuscripts of biblical and patristic commentaries made according to the lay bet exegetical tradition. The formerly famous exegetical school of thought known as lay bet has survived only in the much endangered codices which are kept mostly in private and in rare monastic collections in Eastern Gojjam and Southern Gondar regions, Ethiopia. The material includes 70-75 codices which cover the Ge'ez - Amharic commentary of the four sections of Ethiopian Exegesis: Old Testament, New Testament, Patristic Works and Monastic Canons & Writings.

The original codices will remain in the hands of the custodians. The digital copies of each item will be kept for documentation and access for readers at the British Library, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church's Patriarchate Library Museum, the National Archive and Library of Ethiopia, the Monastic Library of (the Monastery of) Debre Dimah St. George (East Gojjam), and the University of Hamburg.

Study of the andemta commentary tradition in general and the lay bet andemta tradition in particular has lagged behind the studies of the other branches of Ethiopian culture mainly due to the lack of material in modern libraries and museums. This project should facilitate further work in the field in general and the rest of the Hermenutical Books in particular.

The majority of the manuscripts identified are in a sufficient condition to be preserved. About 75% of the manuscripts are parchments while the rest are papers. The majority of them are found in East Gojjam (in the rural areas of Debre Markos, Bichena, Dimma, Debre Work, Motta, Addet) where the school of thought once flourished. The remainder are located in the adjacent areas of East Gojjam and South Gondar regions. About 65% of the codices are kept in private hands - farmers and local small business owners who received the codices from their parents as a family inheritance. Their unfamiliarity to the contents of the codices can be shown in a short expression of one interviewee: ''they are the caskets of a dead knowledge.'' The state of preservation of the codices in most of the private owners and monastic collections is hazardous. The codices are kept along with other stuffs packed in boxes and simple shelves in the houses of the owners and monastic eqa bets which can be easily destroyed by fire or flood or the general temprature and humidity they are exposed to.

In the contemporary ecclesiastical scholarship of Ethiopia, the old lay bet andemta tradition is considered as obsolete and students are not encouraged to study it at all. This is a result of the long negligence the tradition received from students of the field due to the gigantic nature of its content and the different archaic features it contains. There is no traditional school in the country which hosts the lay bet andemta even in Gojjam where it could stay flourished for centuries after being successfully rescued from the subjugation of the tach bet ('Upper House') andemta. No initiatives have been made to document this rich tradition of medieval scholarship either at home or abroad.

Project Ref: EAP340
Project Title: Photographic preservation of the manuscript collection in the monastic church of Ewostatewos at Däbrä Särabi (Tigray, Ethiopia)



The objective of this project is to digitise the collection of 98 manuscripts at Däbrä Särabi (Tigray), the maternal monastery of the 14th-15th-century dissident Ethiopian monastic group, the Ewostateans. The collection is of particular historical and art historical value, but extremely vulnerable to damage and loss due to totally inadequate storage conditions.

The collection will be secured in situ by removing insects and dust, and by boxing fragile items. This collection of important and often rare works will be made available to international scholarship through the distribution of digitised copies on DVD and over the internet. Miniatures, marginal decoration and drawings will also be independently digitised which will be of particular interest to art historians. Valuable manuscripts which remain in regular use (during the liturgy and for daily readings) will be photographically reproduced and given to the church as replacements for the originals which will be placed in boxes and held in church storage.

The manuscripts contain material crucial for the study of Ethiopian and Eastern Christian monasticism, the history of Ethiopia, Christian and Ethiopian church literature, and Ethiopian art history in the context of Byzantine and Christian Oriental artistic traditions. Identifiable groupings are:

  • Texts relating to the history of the Ewostatean monastic community and its founder.
  • Historical documents and notes relating to the history of Ethiopia, 15th to 18th c.
  • Eastern Orthodox & Ethiopian Christian literary texts, some little known, or entirely unknown.
  • Liturgical texts.
  • Illuminated mss. (miniatures, ornaments, drawings).

The collection contains many old manuscripts in a bad condition which will be discarded and replaced either by new ones, or printed editions. Badly worn manuscripts are kept in the abandoned cave-church, condemned to deterioration. Those used for the liturgy are under constant threat - read by candlelight, they become splattered with bees’ wax and are regular victims of fire. Finally, Däbrä Särabi is a frequently visited church inadequately protected against theft. The types of damage recorded include accumulation of mould; ravages of mice; male caterpillar holes; burning; and detached folios.

The monastery was established in around 1300 by abunä Ewostatewos (1273-1352), the organiser of a highly influential Ethiopian monastic movement. The Däbrä Särabi manuscripts are of a particular historical and artistic value. The story of the Ewostateans and its founder, underlines the importance of preserving what remains:

The spiritual movements initiated by Ewostatewos were originally of a clearly dissident character, acting in opposition to civil and ecclesiastic authorities alike. The major point of controversy on the religious level was the addition of the observance of the Sabbath on Saturdays and, on the civic, the forceful plea for independence on the part of the monks from any authority, civil or ecclesiastic. This position, although in keeping with the old teaching of the Apostles, obviously was not shared by the highest representatives of the Ethiopian Church. The prolonged disputes and confrontations, often held at the royal court and in the presence of a ruler, divided Ethiopian society and caused far-reaching consequences in the political and religious life of the country. At some point, the controversies went so far that Ewostatewos and his closest disciples were obliged to leave the country. After appointing leaders to already well-established Ewostatean communities, the refugees went to Egypt where they spent some time living in strict asceticism in the desert of Scetis, famous as the cradle of early monasticism. The group subsequently travelled to Jerusalem, and finally travelled through Cyprus to Armenia. When Ewostatewos died there, some of his disciples joined the Monophisite communities in Syria, while others returned to Ethiopia.

In the 14th and 15th centuries the Ewostateans played a significant role in the christianisation of northern Ethiopia. It was this area which witnessed the widest diffusion of monastic settlements of the “House of Ewostatewos”. Some of them grew into intellectual centres where the theological heritage of Ewostatewos was enriched and elaborated. Many of them established the scriptoria responsible for copying and spreading the Ewostatean writings. The expansion of the movement in the 15th century, along with the growth of its religious and even political influence, contributed to the transformation of attitudes towards the Ewostateans at the royal court and among the ecclesiastic authorities. In the end, this transformation resulted in a change of the dissident monks’ status: during the reign of King Zära Ya’eqob (1434-68) this persecuted minority was enabled to found a renowned monastic school and its theological teaching was accepted as fully legitimate.

Thus Däbrä Särabi, the maternal monastery of Ewostatewos and the place which witnessed the movement’s birth and early development, preserves precious documents which, when accessible to international scholarship, can throw new light on the history of the Ethiopian church and on the political situation of the country in the 14th and 15th centuries. It will also clarify as yet insufficiently researched contacts between the Ethiopian and other Monophisite monastic communities, in particular those in Coptic Egypt, Armenia and Syria.

Digitisation will be carried out in the presence, and with the assistance, of employees of the Office of Tourism and Culture of the Tigray, and of the Centre for the Preservation of Ethiopian Heritage at Meqele University. They will be instructed in the use of the photographic and other recording equipment which will be left at their disposition at the end of the project. Digitisation will also be carried out in the presence of the ecclesiastics responsible for the manuscripts, who at the same time will be instructed on how to care for them.

Copies of the entire archive will be produced and distributed to the following:

  • The monastery of Däbrä Särabi
  • The Office of Tourism and Culture of the Tigray for the Municipal Library of Meqele (which falls under its jurisdiction)
  • The Library of Meqele University
  • The Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa
  • The British Library
  • Hamburg University Institute für Afrikanistik und Äthiopistic (presently the principal centre for Ethiopian studies in the world)

The material will also be made accessible electronically through the on-line database: Mazgaba Se’elet. Information about the accessibility of the Däbrä Särabi archive will be announced on the website of ESF COMSt, the international forum for scholars studying, recording and otherwise dealing with the preservation of oriental manuscripts.

Project Ref: EAP341
Project Title: Rescuing text: retrieval and documentation of printed books and periodicals from public institutions in eastern India published prior to 1950 - major project



The previous pilot project EAP188 created a database of 26,579 books in minor archives and libraries located in districts without any infrastructure. From this database 5,000 unique and endangered books will be selected for digitisation for this project.

A combination of the lack of availability in safe archives, either within India or internationally, and poor storage conditions make the fragile printed books endangered. The priority is also further based on more vulnerable libraries and for digitising non-fiction documents first. The books will be digitised from eight public libraries in the districts of Howrah, Hooghly, 24 Parganas North and 24 Parganas South, all located in semi-urban and rural areas within the proximity of Calcutta.

The history of printing in Eastern India dates back to 1778 when the pioneering effort of Charles Wilkins with the assistance of Panchanan and Manohar Karmakar led to the first metal typecasts in Bengali. This ushered in the era of Bengali printing. Public libraries were established in Calcutta and in the neighbouring districts from the 1850s. For example, with the patronage of Jayakrishna Mukherjee, the zamindar of Uttarpara, a library for the public was established in 1854 with an initial holding of 3,000 books. Other public libraries were set up in Konnagar and Bali in the same year. Mohiary Public Library in Howrah district was established in 1886 with the initial patronage of local elites and then by common people - the library is now a depository of hundreds of unique titles of books and monographs on caste, religion and social practices in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Bengal. These public institutions played a crucial role in the formation of civil society under colonial surveillance. They were not only hubs of intellectual exercise but also created a depository of all sort of documents that emerged within and outside the modern European disciplinary approach addressed for the public sphere.

Most of the public libraries are now suffering from a severe financial and management crisis that make most of the documents completely unsuitable for consultation and the remainder are disappearing fast. This project will provide visibility of those documents to the historians of present and future.

The project team will capture images of books following the EAP guidelines for digitisation. On completion of the project the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta (CSSSC) will provide access both from its reading room and online through CSSSC – University of Heidelberg cooperation. Copies will be given to the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP345
Project Title: A survey of the endangered archives of St Vincent, West Indies, during the slavery era



This project involves surveying manuscript records for the slavery era in the St Vincent and the Grenadines Archives, West Indies; undertaking some sample digitisation of these records; and liaising with the archives in question over the selection and training of someone qualified to extend the digitisation for a major project. The manuscripts for this project have been neglected by researchers. Some have damage from insects, water and a tropical climate. The St Vincent and the Grenadines Archives has no funds for conservation and operates with a skeleton staff. The manuscripts are important for understanding the social, economic, legal and political context of the Windward Islands in the slavery era. The aims of the project are to provide an up-to-date survey of the records for use by historians and to preserve the records identified in digital format for their wider scholarly use.

It is hoped that this work will form the basis for a larger project that would digitise these records and thereby preserve and make them more widely available to researchers. St Vincent was acquired by Britain from France at the end of the Seven Years’ War as one of the Ceded (or Windward) Islands in the Caribbean. Over the next seventy years (1763-1833) the island imported thousands of African slaves (up to 1807) and English and Scottish planters invested extensively in land in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Thus, the small island of St Vincent was drawn into the commercial orbit of slavery in the British Empire. As the Caribbean was the wealthiest part of that empire in that period and as slavery has left an indelible legacy on the modern West Indies, the preservation and analysis of historical records relating to that era is of prime importance for British imperial historians and for scholars of slavery and the African Diaspora to the Americas.

The survey would cover five main types of document. First, there are the Colonial Secretary’s deed record books, which cover (with many gaps) the period 1770-1830. These include powers of attorney, substitutions, bonds, bills of exchange and slave manumissions. Second, there are the Registrar’s deed record books, covering 1776-1834, and mainly recording land and property ownership. Third, there are Powers of Attorney record books for 1778-1838 (including some indexes). These document landownership for sugar and coffee plantations in particular. Fourth, there are numerous series of Court Record books, including those for King’s Bench and Common Pleas, dealing with disputes over commerce, finance and real estate, and Court of Chancery Minute and Judgement Books, mainly concerning the recovery of debts. Finally, but not least, there are incoming and outgoing dispatches relating to the activities of the Governor of the Windward Islands in the first half of the nineteenth century. Altogether, around 100 bound volumes and a large set of bundles of loose papers would need investigation.

These documents have considerable potential for researchers investigating the social structure, patterns of slave and estate ownership, and commercial underpinnings of slave society in St Vincent during the final decades of slavery. If made more widely available, these records would be used extensively by social, economic, legal and cultural historians of the Caribbean and by genealogists. Their preservation and digitisation would enhance the study of St Vincent and the Windward Islands in conjunction with parallel documents deposited elsewhere. This would serve to promote the use of these somewhat neglected but rich archives.

Project Ref: EAP347
Project Title: Vanishing voices from the Uralic world: sound recordings for archives in Russia (in particular Udmurtia), Estonia, Finland and Hungary

This project will improve the recording facilities in the sound archive of the Udmurt Institute for History, Language and Literature by providing the necessary equipment for digitisation and storage of digital samples. Historical data which are stored on cassette and open reel tapes will be collected and a selection of about 600 hours of the available recordings will be made. Most of the material will be related to the endangered Uralic languages like Udmurt, Mari and their cultures.

The collection is stored on approximately 1,000 cassette tapes and an unknown number of open reel tapes. Some of these analogue tapes are very valuable as they contain rare material of endangered languages and dialects.

The aim is to digitise the selected tapes and store the items on digital hard discs which will be kept in the archive and also sent to the British Library and other institutions such as the sound archives in Helsinki, Tartu and Budapest. The estimated size of the digitised collection will be about 1,000 GB.

The Uralic language family consists of 39 languages which are spoken by approximately 25 million people. Most of these languages such as Udmurt and Mari are endangered and some are nearly extinct. In the past during ethnological expeditions many sound data on these languages have been collected by scholars from various countries. This historical sound material is very important for the safeguarding and possible revitalisation of those languages.

Storage conditions of these collections, which are mostly in private houses, are between "sub-optimal" and "impossible", with large annual temperature fluctuations further accelorating deterioration of the carriers. An even greater urgency is caused by the availability of modern replay equipment. Small collections such as these will be lost unless they are preserved through concerted actions, such as this project.

In order to achieve the aims of the project, there will be close collaboration with archives in Tartu (Estonia), Helsinki, Budapest and Saint-Petersburg and the expertise obtained in the previous EAP project will make it possible to successfully complete the project.

This project will provide an example for sound archives in other parts of the Russian Federation and will contribute to the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of this country.

Project Ref: EAP352
Project Title: Endangered manuscripts of Western Sumatra and the province of Jambi. Collections of Sufi brotherhoods - major project



This project deals with written Islamic heritage in Arabic and Jawi (Arabic Malay) of two regions - Western Sumatra (Minangkabau region) and Jambi, specifically Sufi collections of manuscripts mainly from two Sufi brotherhoods: Shattariyah and Naqshbandiyah.

From the point of view of Islamic Studies it is interesting to note that many Sufi surau collections possess the treatises on the peculiarities of regional Islam such as the history of local Islam, agiographical works and works on Naqshbandiyah and Shattariyah mystical conceptions written by local shaikhs. The manuscripts describing suluk mystical ritual can be especiallly distinguished as the ritual of suluk is practiced only in the remote corners of Sumatra and is considered to be old-fashioned and unpopular among young generations of Muslims. There are also interesting examples of al-Qur’an and works on traditional medicine in Jambi.

Further studying of such written heritage can contribute much to the history of Sumatra, the history of Islam and Sufism and especially to the studying of the local form of regional Islam of the regions of Minangkabau and Jambi. These collections contain unique examples of calligraphy, illumination and binding which are important to preserve.

Almost all collections of manuscripts are preserved in rather bad conditions in small surau (old wooden or stone houses) most frequently in paper boxes or more seldom in the special holes in the walls or in the ceilings. Some of the manuscripts are partly illegible because of the humid climate and insects. The manuscripts mainly date back to the 17-19th centuries.

The conditions of preservation both in surau and in private collections are very poor. The material is endangered due to the humid climate, insects, the poverty of the population, frequent fires of wooden houses and earthquakes.

During the work it is planned to make digital copies of about 100-120 manuscripts. Copies will be received by Andalas University of Padang, Philological Faculty and National Library of Indonesia in Jakarta as well as the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP357
Project Title: Identifying endangered monastic collections in the Säharti and Enderta regions of Tigray (Ethiopia)



The project will undertake a survey of monastic libraries in the Säharti and Enderta regions of Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. The survey will involve travelling to some thirty selected churches or monastic sites and documenting the content of each library holding and identify rare books and collections. The state and condition of each library will also be assessed and the degree of danger posed to each collection. Sample selective digitisation will be undertaken according to BL specification.

Ethiopian Christian manuscripts written in the classical language, Ge’ez, contain precious and vital information on the history, culture and traditions of Ethiopia. Of the first corpus of Ge’ez texts were translations of the Bible from Greek in the 4th century followed later by hagiographic, liturgical and historical documents. There remain, according to some estimates, over 350,000 Ethiopian Christian manuscripts in Ethiopia.

The current state of manuscript keeping and writing in Ethiopia is worrying. Because of such factors as the introduction of the printing press with its massive scale of production of a specific version of a book and the costliness of branna (the traditional parchment material), the art of manuscript writing is rapidly disappearing. Manuscripts are also increasingly being traded for basic goods, as monasteries are generally lacking in resources and surviving minimally. Ethiopia also lacks a national preservation programme, a body which would otherwise identify, document and assemble valuable monastic collections.

The main objective of this pilot project is to identify valuable collections in the Säharti and Enderta regions of Tigray, undertake inventories of selected endangered materials and provide samples of inventoried materials. Tigray is Ethiopia’s northernmost province and home to over 4,000 churches and monasteries. Until recently, the area was heavily absorbed in a civil war, making any kind of study or survey of monastic libraries rather difficult. The region has, of recent times, experienced some measure of calm and political stability, opening a window of opportunity to explore and identify key and endangered collections. The Tigray Tourism Commission, a governmental organisation, has already compiled a list of manuscripts found in selected churches and monasteries. However, this data is neither complete nor exhaustive.

This survey will document the location of important collections and describe in detail their physical state, which is necessary before a full programme of digitisation can take place. Whilst surveying the sites, sample digitisation will enable the collaboration of Ethiopian personnel who are responsible for the state and condition of each holding. This preliminary stage will enable the preparation for a digitisation project divided in phases and stages based on degree of endangerment and scholarly value of the collections. Careful documentation of a collection has advantages for local churches and authorities assisting them to better control the content of their holdings and help to serve as a protection against the threat of theft.

Upon completion of the project, copies of the survey will be given to individual churches, the British Library, the Diocese of Mekelle, the Harriet Tubman Institute and the Tigray tourism Commission.

Project Ref: EAP359
Project Title: Plan for Valparaíso’s musical heritage digitisation (1870-1930): scores and 78rpm discs

This project aims to recapture the sound of Valparaiso from 1870 to 1930, through the digitisation and dissemination of the Margot Loyola Fund collections. This will involve the digitisation of the originals, the documentation and description of the collections, storage in acid-free containers, and free access to the institutional website.

The original material consists of 170 records: 78 rpm shellac disc ("Victrola" disc) dating from the 1920s and 1930s, containing about 400 songs. It is worth noting that the masters of these discs no longer exist due to technological changes and storage problems. The collection also has 800 scores dating from 1870 to 1930. This includes scores published in Chile between 1875 and 1930, mainly containing music of both aristocratic saloons and the saloons of the incipient Chilean middle class of that period. The collections contain folk music such as cuecas, tonadas, songs, Mexican corridos, boleros, tango as well as classical music in simplified versions and saloon music such as habaneras, mazurkas and waltzes. There is also secondary information of great interest for research, such as front-cover images and commercial adverts on back covers.

Visit the project website to listen to some sample recordings.

Project Ref: EAP365
Project Title: Preservation of Makassarese lontara’ pilot project



This pilot project aims to discover and evaluate collections of lontara’ manuscripts in the Makassarese language of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Lontara’, written on paper in either of two indigenous syllabaries, can date back to the 17th century. Although the best-preserved examples are found in European libraries and museums, there still exist numerous privately owned lontara’ in South Sulawesi, where they often have the status of heirlooms or ceremonial objects. Although some projects in previous decades have photographed lontara’, it is certain that important collections were missed, potentially in large enough numbers to justify a major project.

This project will result in a written report on the state of lontara’ collections remaining in South Sulawesi, and (where possible) in digital copies of representative samples from the collections. A survey will also be made of the Makassarese lontara’ in the microfilmed collections held at the Indonesian National Archive (ANRI), with an evaluation of the adequacy of the images. If there are indeed substantial collections of unrecorded Makassarese lontara’ extant in South Sulawesi, these collections will form the basis of a comprehensive project to (a) endeavour to protect them, and (b) digitally photograph them in situ for archiving. It is hoped that these could ultimately be included in a comprehensive annotated digital archive of Makassarese lontara’, also containing images from lontara’ in Western collections made through separately funded projects.

Lontara’ manuscripts from Makassar in South Sulawesi is a writing tradition of moderate age, with the oldest known manuscripts dating from the late 17th century. The manuscripts, written on paper in either of two indigenous syllabaries, consist largely of chronicles or histories of local kingdoms, collections of rules relating to customary law, or court diaries/daybooks. They are thus invaluable in telling us about local histories and customs from the pre-colonial and pre-industrial periods. The Makassarese tradition differs from the better-known lontara’ tradition of the Bugis people (also from South Sulawesi) which largely revolves around epic legendary tales known collectively as I La Galigo. While many of the oldest existing Makassarese manuscripts are in Western museums or libraries (mostly in the Netherlands or Germany) and can be considered ‘safe’ (though not necessarily easy to access, especially for the Makassarese people themselves), many others remain in local collections and are subject to various threats: from the humid climate, from inadequate curation, and from continued ritual use. This last point is crucial: some lontara’ are considered sacred ceremonial objects to be brought out on special occasions and handled, and in some cases exposed to smoke or sprinkled with liquid. While it is encouraging to see ceremonies like this remain part of cultural life, they are undeniably hazardous to the manuscripts.

There are certainly collections still in South Sulawesi that have not yet been microfilmed. One important collection is that of the former royal palace of Sungguminasa near Makassar, where some lontara’ are still in ritual use. Other private collections, usually in the houses of former nobility or provincial royalty, were kept secret due to a combination of superstition and distrust of officialdom during the Suharto era, but with a change in the political climate and a new generation of custodians they may now be made available for photographing. The Principal Investigator is in a good position to negotiate for this, having good connections in the region, can speak Makassarese, and is one of the few people in the world who can read the old Makassarese script as well as the more common Bugis script – some of the owners of heirloom lontara’ in South Sulawesi cannot read them and have little or no idea of their contents.

The images and associated metadata will be deposited at ANRI and the National Library in Jakarta, the regional library in Makassar, and the British Library. The general aim will be to discover whether sufficient collections of lontara’ remain, and whether permissions will be forthcoming, to justify a future major project.

Project Ref: EAP368
Project Title: Endangered images of ethnicity and religion in Western Siberia in the late 19th to early 20th centuries



This project aims to rescue glass negatives and unique paper prints depicting indigenous peoples of West Siberia in the early 20th century. These images are significant both for the international scholarly community and the identity of the indigenous people. The project will also investigate the potential and feasibility of a major project aimed at safeguarding photographic materials from the pre-industrial period depicting the ethnic and religious heritage of Uralic and Siberian peoples, as well as documenting the history of its destruction in 1930s.

After digitisation, the glass negatives will be stored in appropriate conditions; each in a separate properly marked envelope and a safe box. Digital copies will also be made of the most endangered and oldest part of the unique paper prints collection from the late 19th and early 20th century, depicting indigenous life in Siberia. Digital copies will be submitted to the British Library and to the Museum Tobol’skii istoriko-arkhitekturnyi muzei-zapovernik (Tobolsk Historical and Architectural Museum).

The collections are located in poor storage conditions in the Museum of Tobol’sk, which used to be the cultural capital of Siberia and a centre of ethnographical studies until the late 1930s. The collections document the lives of Siberian people, mostly indigenous, while their traditional way of life was not yet destroyed by Soviet modernisation. These genuine images of indigenous life are of great importance not only for the international scholarly community as an ethnohistorical documentation, but also for the indigenous peoples of Western Siberia in their ethno-religious mobilisation, including their land right claims.

Two additional collections of glass negatives with pictures of other ethnic and religious groups such as the Old Believers are located in the museums in Perm and Kirov. The pilot project will investigate the potential and feasibility of a major project aimed at safeguarding photographic materials from the preindustrial period depicting the indigenous life and religious traditions of Uralic and Siberian peoples, as well as documenting the history of its destruction in 1930s. It is a sad paradox that material documenting the persecuted religions may disappear during Russia’s religious revitalisation.

This more general aim will involve locating photographic material from the 19th and early 20th century in Western Siberian archives, museums, and other institutions, where they are held in precarious conditions or in personal collections, and where possible, catalogue and digitise them. Privately preserved photo documents are especially important in reconstructing religious life of the Urals and Siberia before the Soviet modernisation, because most of the religious institutions were destroyed along with their archives in the 1930s.

Some of the pictures which are still available represent the peculiarity of the short unique period of the religious situation before the beginning of collectivisation and ‘cultural revolution’, when indigenous people did not express much fear to manifest their indigenous religiosity. Their main opponent and former persecutor, the Orthodox Church, was the main target of the Soviet State’s atheistic policy and lost its power, while the atheistic campaign against the indigenous religions was still in its embryo. As a result people on the pictures represent satisfaction and joy while manifesting their religious heritage freely. Thus at their best these photographs epitomise significant moments in the history of the ethnic groups because they were created with the direct participation of the indigenous people themselves.

Project Ref: EAP372
Project Title: Preserving early periodicals and newspapers of Tamilnadu and Pondichery



Tamilnadu and Pondicherry occupy a prominent place on the map of print history in South Asia. Printing during the modern period proliferated to the rest of India from Tranquebar, a small coastal town south of Pondicherry in Tamilnadu. There was a big boom in printing in the 19th and the 20th century in the Tamil region. Evidence to this is the number of books, periodicals and newspapers that were published. While importance was given to the creation of publications, preservation took a back seat. A number of periodicals and newspapers primarily in Tamil and English remain locked and in deteriorated condition in several collections in Tamilnadu and Pondicherry. This project aims to preserve these endangered materials through digitisation.

Thorough investigation and subsequent inventory of imprints from the Fort St. George Gazette and bibliographic sources reveals the enormous volume of Tamil literature produced principally in the Madras Presidency and in Ceylon during the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries. The publications crossed borders for readers’ consumption and are still sitting in local and regional archives of people in remote areas. Over the last two years, the RMRL team has extended its search for early publications wider, returning results with rare items. This project will collaborate with big libraries and smaller ones in locations such Nagercoil, Madurai, etc. Collectors in these places have few resources and little expertise for preservation and conservation.

In the past ten years of interaction with eminent scholars, RMRL has developed an inventory of desired titles. The list of newspapers and periodicals culled from primary sources (gazettes and printed bibliographies) and the items sought by scholars will be collated and given to a committee of experts from various disciplines to prioritise titles that need to be preserved urgently. RMRL’s policy is not to duplicate items that have been microfilmed or digitised already. Titles are checked against world databases to ensure this.

Very few scholars have worked in the area of labour history especially in Tamilnadu even though labour leaders like Anthony Muthu have contributed immensely to the movement. Tamilnadu is one of the regions with the earliest formation of labour unions. Captain Lakshmy, a comrade of Subhash Chandra Bose in the Indian National Army and recently a Presidential candidate against Dr. Abdul Kalam, was an active participant in such unions in the Madras region. The severe lack of accessible resources is an important cause for the lacuna in research.

Caste-based literature is an important genre. Most castes have organised associations of which some are not functional anymore. First and second generation literates who received modern education were seen as enlightened intellectuals by their fellow community members waiting to be uplifted. These associations romanticised their castes, their origin and the issues they dealt with relation to society and the government, all of which is documented in their magazines. Scholars with access to caste literature will be able to understand the various factions and the growth of these communities as a whole.

Other periodicals in the regional languages relating to language, literature and arts also need preservation. RMRL has discovered holdings that are mostly incomplete in any single location.

The outcome of the project will be the preservation of rare and endangered material that will be made available in digital form and deposited with RMRL and the British Library. A copy of the digital images will also be provided to all institutions from which the originals are taken. It is estimated that 100,000 page images will be preserved under this project – approximately 28 titles of newspapers and periodicals.

Project Ref: EAP373
Project Title: Documenting, conserving and archiving the Tai Ahom manuscripts of Assam



The Ahom Manuscripts Project will digitize and document the written legacy of Northeastern India’s Ahom Kingdom by photographing and cataloguing approximately 500 Ahom manuscripts (20,000 pages), following best practices and standards for digital imaging, cataloguing, and metatagging, and archiving these materials at the British Library, the Institute for Tai Studies and Research (Moran, India), Gauhati University (Guwahati, India) and Dibrugarh University (Dibrugarh, India).

Founded in 1228, during the great exodus of Tai speakers from southern China that began hundreds of years earlier, the Ahom Kingdom represents the furthest reach of a diverse Tai culture bridging China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Burma. Usually written on Sasi (Aquillaria Agallocha) tree bark, most Ahom manuscripts date to the 17th and 18th centuries, but discuss and/or copy far older texts. They describe all aspects of traditional Ahom life, and have played an active role in maintaining community identity. Among the oldest Tai texts outside Thailand, Ahom texts have seminal cultural, historical, and linguistic value. Separated from Tai culture for centuries, the Ahom branch is essentially unique in never having embraced Buddhism. Ahom texts are free of Sanskrit- and Pali-mediated linguistic and cultural influences that infuse even the 700-year-old Sukhothai Thai inscriptions.

The manuscripts are found in a variety of settings; occasionally well cared for (but not necessarily accessible) in institutions, but more often in private collections held by individual, generally impoverished, families. The material is usually too fragile to be moved, but may be photographed in situ. Many manuscripts are gradually being damaged by Assam’s notoriously wet climate.

An equally important threat is the Ahom community’s diminishing ability to read and interpret texts. Ahom ceased to be a mother-tongue two centuries ago; traditional instruction in the texts is largely a lost tradition. While some Ahom priests can still interpret parts of some texts, most manuscript owners are ignorant of the language, and the manuscripts themselves are increasingly less prized and protected.

The digital images and metadata will be made universally available on-line through the Center for Research in Computational Linguistics, where they will be integrated with existing search tools developed under the Ahom Lexicography project.

Project Ref: EAP375
Project Title: The transition from a traditional to a modern society: recovering Argentine and Latin American history through an emblematic publishing company



The aim of this project is to preserve and make accessible the archives of the Haynes Publishing Company. The Haynes Publishing Company’s newspaper El Mundo and its other publications have been almost lost for a century. A quick overview of US libraries shows that only the Benson Latin American Collection and the Library of Congress count with some of its numbers. This is also the case of the National Library in Argentina. The Haynes Publishing Company was a landmark in Argentina and Latin America encompassing sixty years of national and Latin American history. Its newspaper and magazines reflected and shaped the events of the country and region. The collection shows history and journalism in the making including published and unpublished material that covers a span of more than sixty years. Consequently, the archive will provide a new viewpoint that will dramatically change Argentinean and Latin American histories as we know them.

After the collection’s original owner was murdered in 2005, the Archives now lie in a large building open to the public with rooms rented as offices. The material is kept in an unlocked storeroom next to the house’s central heating system in the basement. The boxes dangerously pile up with the upper ones crushed against the damp ceiling whilst the lower ones lay compressed under the pile’s weight with its contents exposed to dirt and animal faeces. Recently, a bad decision threw out two thousand boxes as trash; only one thousand boxes remain.

The achival material will be cleaned, organised and then re-housed in acid-free boxes. The Argentine Library of Congress will digitise the material that is selected. Copies will be deposited with the Argentine Library of Congress, the Fundacion Simon Rodriguez, the Metropolitan Museum and the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP383
Project Title: Preserving and cataloguing the Luis Reyes Garcia' collection of native language audios and copies of nahua documents

The principal objective of this project is to identify and organise the existing archival material in native languages at Luis Reyes García’s private collection, in order to establish its relevance for the local culture and research, which so far remains unknown.

Luis Reyes García’s personal collection comprises about twenty-five lineal meters of archival material, most of it photocopies and photographs of nahua documents. The data is related to nahua colonial institutions and traditions in Mesoamerica in general, and the Puebla-Tlaxcala region in particular. Among the data can be found theatre plays, prayers, Annals, codices, Spanish documents, cacique’s testaments, judicial trials, financial testimonies and documents related to the Nahua Cabildo.

The collection also includes a series of audio recordings on magnetic tapes that registered Indians songs, rituals, prayers, music, dances, conversations and interviews. These recordings were made in at least four native languages: nahua, otomí, totonaco and maya.

These collections of documents and audios in native languages provide some problems. Firstly, most of the written materials were photocopied from the originals that have since been lost. Secondly, the photographs need to be identified, organised and catalogued.

Due to the fact that this project is focused on classical náhuatl from the 16th century, special methodological treatment is required including palaeography, knowledge of classical nahua, knowledge of colonial history in New Spain, etc. Therefore, the specific characteristics of Luis Reyes’ collection require the intervention of several people that can identify, classify and catalogue the materials. For this, an interdisciplinary team of students and specialists will be involved.

Project Ref: EAP387
Project Title: Safeguarding Fulfulde ajami manuscripts of Nigerian Jihad poetry by Usman dan Fodio (1754-1817) and contemporaries



The aim of this project is the digitisation of 93 manuscripts of Fulfulde jihad poetry (approximately 600 pages) by various authors, which are owned by a private collector in 'Yola (Nigeria). The bulk consists of 43 poems by Usman dan Fodio and 26 poems by his daughter Nana Asma'u. The present state of the documents varies from slightly yellowed paper to pages with torn edges - ink or oil is spilled on some of them. Some of the torn documents have been locally sewn together with thread. The documents will be scanned and listed according to EAP guidelines and copies will be stored in the participating institutions.This will serve as a basis for future transliteration and translation and for exploration of the style, language, and sociocultural motivations of Fulbe jihad poetry.

In Northern Nigeria the tradition of reciting religiously inspired poetry is supported by the existence of written copies of these poems. These manuscripts are sometimes hundreds of years old and they have been handed down as precious treasures from generation to generation. The poems in this particular collection are all written in Fulfulde, the mother tongue of Usman dan Fodio, and in ajami, the Arabic alphabet adapted for African languages.

The present owner comes from a long line of Islamic teachers. He inherited a large part of his collection from his mother who in her turn inherited some of the manuscripts from her father, brothers and uncles, returning with new poems from their journeys to other Islamic centers. She has kept them in a ngafakka; a leather bag especially made for keeping the Qur'an and other important manuscripts. The manuscripts will be temporarily moved to the Adamawa State University in Mubi, where the bulk of the digitisation will be done.

The Fulfulde poetry in these manuscripts is based on Arabic poetry styles that developed in the wake of the jihad of Usman dan Fodio in the early 19th century. This jihad was directed against the pagan Hausa states of Northern Nigeria, continuing deep into present day Cameroon. The jihad began in 1804 with an attack on Gobir and ended in 1809 with the founding of the Islamic state of Sokoto. The present Sultan of Sokoto claims direct descent from this great jihadist. Religious leaders of the time such as Usman dan Fodio, his daughter Nana Asma'u, his son Muhammad Bello were prolific writers, often presenting their ideas in the form of lengthy rhyming texts, written in local languages such as Hausa, Arabic, Fulfulde, Tamacheq and always written in ajami script. The topics of the manuscripts are religious, political and historical and they provide an insight to the important Islamic reformist movements at the turn of the 18th century in West Africa in which Usman dan Fodio was pivotal.

It is not a coincidence that these documents are found in 'Yola, at the outskirts of the former Sokoto empire. In 'Yola, Fulfulde is still a dominant language and some people can still recite the poems. However, the Fulfulde ajami texts are no longer recited in the court of the Sultan of Sokoto because of a complete language shift to Hausa there.

The oldest manuscript is probably around 150 years old as it was copied personally by the great great grandfather of the present owner; the dates of others are less precise. The documents need safe storage, proper archiving and digital preservation, which will allow for further transliteration andtranslation work. This project will safeguard the collection in archives for future consultation by both the scientific and general public.

Digital copies of the documents will be deposited in the participating institutions: the Arewa Institute in Kaduna, Nigeria; the British Library in London and Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Arewa House is an archival institute in Kaduna, Nigeria and, as a centre for historical documentation and research and part of the Ahmadu Bello University, is particularly suited for the preservation of these documents.

The successful completion of this project can provide an impetus for the discovery of other such private collections of manuscripts of Fulfulde ajami literary genres. Given the interest of the Sultan of Sokoto, it will also stimulate the search of similar manuscripts in the Royal Archives in Sokoto.

Project Ref: EAP399
Project Title: Historical collections of manuscripts located at Al-Jazzar mosque library in Acre



The main goal of this project is to digitise the historical manuscript collection from the holdings of the Al-Jazzar Mosque Library (Al-Ahmadiyya), located in the city of Acre in northern Israel. Digitisation is planned primarily as a preservation activity in order to create archival digital copies of the original materials that are at risk of deterioration. The materials selected for digitisation include a collection of 50 Arabic language manuscripts, dating back to the 14th century,. These unique materials are of extreme historical importance, documenting the history and cultural heritage of Palestine. Digitisation will help to preserve these historical materials for current and future generations.

Digital archival copies of the original materials will be created as a result of this project and two sets of archival files will be created. The first set will be stored at the Al-Jazzar Mosque Library and the second set will be transferred to the British Library. The original collection will remain at the Al-Jazzar Mosque Library.

The materials selected for this project are housed at Al-Jazzar Mosque Library in Acre that at one point was considered one of the best libraries for Islamic literature in the region. The manuscript collection contains 50 Arabic language titles that span over several Islamic periods from the 14th century A.D. to the end of the Ottoman rule in Palestine at the beginning of the 20th century. Most of the manuscripts relate to aspects of the Islamic religion, but also cover Arabic literature, the Arabic language, logic, math, and Sufism and provide a unique insight into centuries of Arabic culture in Palestine.

The manuscripts pose a great preservation challenge because of their uniqueness and high value. They are tightly bound and many pages are damaged due to regular wear and tear, a lack of a comprehensive preservation programme, a lack of security and environmental factors. Digitisation of the manuscript collection has to be conducted on the premises of the Al-Jazzar Mosque Library. Because of the high historical and monetary value, the materials cannot be transported to a different location for scanning.

The Al-Jazzar Mosque Library, founded in 1804, was prized for its collection of Islamic literature. Unfortunately, the library's collection of rare manuscripts has been depleted during the periods of political unrest, and more recently through vandalism and theft. The intent of this project is to digitise the remaining manuscripts in order to create digital surrogates of this unique collection and preserve it for the future.

The digitisation project provides an opportunity to preserve these historical manuscripts and share them with a wider community of scholars and students. Most of the materials included in the collection are particularly rare as they represent the only known copies of these unique titles. In addition, the project intends to create multiple derivative copies to widen access to these rare materials to scholars, students, and the general public, and to make the collection more visible and accessible.

Project Ref: EAP401
Project Title: Safeguarding the Ethiopian Islamic heritage



It is nearly 1,500 years since Islam was introduced to Ethiopia. Ethiopia is one of the few countries where ancient civilisations developed and diverse religions were practised during the same period. The significances of identifying ancient culture and documenting indigenous knowledge gained considerable attention worldwide and particularly in developing countries. Rapid world globalisation processes and their subsequent impact on local cultures and heritages make it a necessity to mitigate these impacts.

To this end, this project intends to conduct a survey to identify the most endangered Islamic manuscripts and archival sites in functioning and abandoned mosques as well as in private holdings in North Shewa (Goze, Husiso), South Wello (Gedo Toleha, and Dodota) and Gacheni. The project will also provide basic manuscript conservation training for selected local people who are involved in handling public manuscripts and hold awareness raising meetings with elders, community leaders and individual scholars.

The chosen project sites are located directly along the old main trade route, which leads to the Red Sea Coast, and were also centres of Medieval, Adal and Yifat Sultanates. The area is one of the few traditional Islamic study centres which are still functioning. This ultimately positioned the area to be one of the richest manuscript producing centres among scholars. Currently these rare Islamic manuscripts are being threatened on two fronts, becoming a prime target for domestic and foreign smugglers and also rapidly deteriorating as a result of natural and human impact.

Project Ref: EAP402
Project Title: 'PEACH' - preserving East African co-operative heritage

This pilot project is designed primarily to identify significant endangered co-operative materials in Tanzania and investigate the potential for relocating them to a safer environment in order to prevent their loss and deterioration and to preserve the heritage.

Co-operatives have played a central role in all East African countries in both pre- and post-colonial times, yet their history and signficance has been largely overlooked by researchers. The absence of any systematic preservation of archival materials relating to co-operatives has undoubtedly played a major role in this.

Co-operatives today are undergoing a revival across the region and are playing a great role again in economic and social life. Currently there are gaps in knowledge, as the subject is data-deficient and there is little scientific research, as accessibility to materials is patchy. However there is a growing interest in co-operatives and recognition of the need for more research. Moshi University College of Co-operative and Business Studies (MUCCoBS), for example, now has over 2,500 students and is seeking full university status. Other Co-operative Colleges exist in neighbouring countries and also have growing numbers of students and staff.

Significant material has already been lost through lack of care, or knowledge of the importance in documenting a crucial stage in the history of the region’s co-operative development. The pilot project will identify records of early co-operatives in Tanzania and those related to commodities such as tea, cotton, groundnuts, as well as credit unions. It will also undertake fieldwork to identify further materials within the field and government departments and sample documents will be digitised.

This pilot project will mark a significant milestone in the collaboration between the UK and East Africa in identifying the role of the co-operative sector in East African development.

Project Ref: EAP408
Project Title: From the brink: identifying, collecting and digitising records of the Turks and Caicos Islands after the destruction of Hurricane Ike



The need for identifying archival records on the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) is urgent. The Turks and Caicos National Museum is the only cultural institution in the country with a mandate to collect and care for historical and cultural records. The TCI lack a formal national archive, which has led to the loss of irreplaceable archival materials through destruction by forces of nature and by man. The Museum's 50 linear foot archival collection represents the only known archival records on the TCI. These scattered and incomplete records are the only available evidence of TCI institutional transactions prior to 1920. This pilot project seeks to identify, document, and collect governmental and other documentary records that are currently at risk of deterioration.

The TCI were a major source of Caribbean salt production from the 1600s to the 1960s. The small collection of archives currently held by the Museum point to a rich source of documentation regarding governmental policies surrounding shipping activities and interaction with inhabitants; including slaves, prisoners, and American loyalists who immigrated to the TCI to escape persecution in the late 1700's. Many records regarding the growth of the tourist industry are held in private collections of individuals and inaccessible to researchers or the general population of TCI. The scarcity of records coupled with the lack of cultural based institutions leave the young people of these islands with little basis for identity as TCI citizens.

A survey of colonial archives conducted in 1983 inventoried 2,000 titles, representing thousands of records. The most important of these records were moved to the local library's attic, where they sustained severe damage and were eventually disposed. The remaining records were moved to various storage locations over the years. These records need to be located, identified, and made available for research and purposes of cultural identity.

During the category 5 Hurricane Ike in 2008, Grand Turk, the island on which the seat of government and the Museum rest, sustained damage to 80 - 90% of its buildings. The government office buildings were deemed uninhabitable and relocated, but the records transfer and storage has been difficult. Older records remain in the damaged buildings, including the 1960 aerial photographs from the Land and Survey Department that document a period of extensive development.

The storage building known to hold the 1983 surveyed archives was severely damaged in the storm, purchased privately, and turned into a business. The archives were not recovered from the business owner and their whereabouts are uncertain. The Museum, in contrast, remained relatively undamaged by the hurricane due to the staff's implementation of the emergency plan and the building's structural integrity.

One of the key outcomes of this project will be the identification of the surviving records from the 1983 Colonial Archives Project Report and an assessment of other at risk collections in damaged government offices. An investigation will be conducted into the last known location of the records mentioned in the report. A survey will be conducted of the governmental offices, library buildings, and other suspected locations holding archival material prior to 1980. All the information collected will be compiled into a written report, which will contain the location, extent, brief scope and content, dates of creation, and the creating entity for the identified records. As per the EAP Guidelines for Producing Surveys, the project's focus will be on documenting the context of identified records, and with the expectation that the information collected will be used as a subject of a major project. Collections of pre-1900 records will immediately be collected and entered into the Museum's database -immediately improving access and safeguarding a disappearing body of records. While the focus of this project will be on government records from pre-1900, the opportunity will not be lost to include significant documents from other eras or from privately held collections, should the occasion arise.

In addition to the principal investigator, a trained archivist will assist with the project. The archivist will be responsible for collecting pertinent information at survey meetings with government administrators. Through discussions with the principal investigator the archivist will identify records of historic value or those at risk of rapid deterioration and oversee the transfer of these materials to the museum, paying careful attention to context and original order. The archivist will recommend archival storage materials necessary for the care of transferred records, make certain that the records are properly stored, and enter the records into the Museum's database. The archivist will also support the museum's policy of providing professional development to local government agencies through seminars and onsite training. A part time staff member will be trained to handle records according to archival standards.

The outcomes from the pilot project will include a written report of the survey results and the relocation of pre-1900 documents to the Museum's storage faculty. The report will provide an estimation of the extent of records to be documented and digitised and indicate if further work is necessary. The hope for this project is to create evidence for the need of establishing a national archive and to prevent the further loss of records. The argument for a national archive is particularly timely and relevant as encouragement for governmental transparency and as a support of good governance. This pilot project will, at the very least, create a more comprehensive record of TCI history and open it to research and use by the local populations.

Project Ref: EAP427
Project Title: Identify, relocate and digitise Native Administration records (1891-1964)



This project aims to preserve Native Administration records which were generated between 1891 and 1964 by Native Authorities (traditional chiefs) in Malawi, formerly Nyasaland. The records represent a rich history of Malawi from the colonial period through the transition up to self-rule. The country was known as Nyasaland, which was a British protectorate proclaimed in 1891, then briefly changed its name to British Central African Protectorate from 1893 to 1907, before reverting back to its former name of Nyasaland. It became part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland from 1953 to 1963. After the dissolution of the Federation, the country became independent in 1964. Prior to independence, the Colonial Government introduced Native Authorities in Nyasaland as a way of involving the local people in the governance process through their own traditional institutions that were incorporated in the colonial administrative set-up. The introduction of Native Authorities meant that native chiefs became part of Government administration. As such, in the course of undertaking government business, the chiefs created, received and maintained a lot of administrative records.

Prior to British colonialism, Malawi was a predominantly oral society where everything was transacted and captured orally. The establishment of the native authorities marked an historic transition from orality to literacy where the traditional leaders were required to conduct official business in writing. The Native Administration records therefore are immensely unique and historical as they portray the interaction between the literate Western culture and oral African culture and the subsequent triumph of literacy over illiteracy in Malawi. The records are a lasting legacy of the impact of colonialism on the people of Malawi and for this reason, the Native Administrative records need to be rescued from destruction and professionally preserved in the National Archives of Malawi for wider public access.

Recently, the National Archives of Malawi conducted a snap survey in two traditional authorities (TA Mwambo and TA Chikowi) to confirm whether traditional chiefs are still keeping the records and to assess the condition of such records. The results of the survey established that there are significant volumes of vital records relating to the native administration between 1891 and 1964. These records are not replicated nor found anywhere else except in the individual native authorities country-wide and none of them have been transferred to the National Archives. The Native Administration records are regarded as personal property inherited by successive chiefs over the past century. Each traditional authority surveyed had approximately 12 cubic feet of records. Some of the records sampled during the survey include correspondences (in both vernacular and English languages), diaries, photographs, tax and court records. The survey also revealed that the records in question are very delicate and vulnerable to decay as they are kept under very poor storage conditions mostly in chiefs’ houses and courts (which sometimes leak during rainy seasons) and in some cases the records are almost destroyed by termites. The termite attacks coupled with the fragility of the records due to their old age make the records even more vulnerable to total destruction. To prevent further deterioration, and secure the documentary heritage contained in these unique and historical records, the National Archives of Malawi is therefore undertaking this project to further identify and to asses the nature and volume of native Administration records in Malawi. The project will also digitise and re-locate to the National Archives of Malawi the most endangered records from the traditional authorities.

The project targets thirty-two chiefs selected from different districts in the Northern region of Malawi. The chiefs have been selected from one region for this pilot project as the results from this region will enable the National Archives to determine the viability of undertaking a major digitisation project. It is expected that an estimated volume of 200 cubic feet of rare and irreplaceable Native Administration records will be identified and relocated to the National Archives of Malawi for digital preservation as well as physical conservation for wider public access. During the preliminary survey it was established that many traditional chiefs who own these important collections have no objection to relinquishing them. This is because they understand the knowledge value of the collections, but realise that they do not have the capacity and appropriate facilities to take care of the records. The absence of these records in the National Archives of Malawi has created a historical gap in the public archives and as part of the Malawi’s documentary heritage, the Native Administration records need to be identified, collected, organised, conserved and digitised.

In undertaking this project the National Archives of Malawi understands that the Native Administration records constitute historical manuscripts for the chiefs. The National Archives of Malawi will therefore enter into agreements with the chiefs regarding the acquisition of such records as provided for under the National Archives Act so that copyright issues are appropriately adhered to.

The outcomes of this pilot project will include the following:

  • Historical paper-based records that are currently deteriorating in chief’s courtrooms and houses will be re-located and preserved in the National Archives of Malawi;
  • Selected Native Administration records will be digitised;
  • Digital collections of Native Administration records will be available in the National Archives of Malawi and the existing historical gap in Malawi’s documentary heritage will be covered;
  • Both paper-based and digital Native Administration records will be more accessible;
  • The feasibility to digitise more Native Administration records in Malawi will be determined;
  • Digital copies of the Native Administration records will be available in the British Library.
Project Ref: EAP429
Project Title: A survey of church archives in Botswana

Botswana’s unique, interesting and long history would be incomplete without the rich documentary heritage of Churches. It goes without saying that churches played a pivotal role in the peace and stability of this Southern African country which it has enjoyed since gaining independence from Britain in 1966.

That the significance and role of churches in Botswana has evolved over time is not in dispute. What is not clear though is where their records and archives are or how they have been kept. These records have remained inaccessible and there is a danger that some may be lost. The records need to be located and a register of their whereabouts be maintained.

Researchers, scholars, policy makers, churches and their local, regional and international associate members and partners, general populace and other stakeholders stand to benefit greatly from a complete guide to Botswana church records and archives. This project would go a long way to giving the Botswana churches the opportunities and support to adequately collect, preserve and maintain their records and historical documents.

Botswana has harsh climatic conditions, with summer temperatures ranging between 30ºC - 42ºC, and during winter temperatures get as low as -3ºC. Also, being a tropical area, it is invested with many biological pests such as termites. All of this is detrimental to the long term preservation of church archives.

A considerable number of different churches in major towns and villages across the country will be covered such as the Dutch Reformed, Lutheran, Methodist, Seventh Adventist and Anglican churches, United Congregational church of Southern Africa (UCCSA), African Independent churches and Pentecostal churches. The project will seek to identify the types, formats, quantities and condition of the archives involved. The material is thought to date back to the late 19th century and to cover registers of baptisms, marriages, burials and other services, minutes and financial records, correspondence and administrative records, photographs, files on influential individuals, education and health.

The purpose of this survey of church archives and records in Botswana, which shall culminate with a compilation of a detailed report and/or inventory of the church records and archives, is to address fundamental issues such as the locations of the records and archives, who the custodians are and how the records are collected, preserved, arranged, described and made available for use.

Project Ref: EAP430
Project Title: History of Bolama, the first capital of Portuguese Guinea (1879-1941), as reflected in the Guinean National Historical Archives - major project

Portuguese sovereignty in “Portuguese Guinea” from the 16th century onwards was but a fiction, in spite of the erection of forts and the installation of artillery pieces. In 1879 Bolama was declared the first capital of Portuguese Guinea, which until then had been administered together with the Cape Verde Islands.

The Bolama collection is of high historical value, reflecting the fundamental change in Portuguese colonial rule from external administration (directed from the Cape Verde Islands) to significant Portuguese presence and the political and economic penetration of the Guinean mainland. It includes substantial amounts of detailed reports and information on daily life and local conditions as well as important political, economic and legal documents on the highest governmental level.

The collection, initially transferred from Bolama to the National Historical Archives/National Institute for Studies and Research (AHN/INEP) in 1988, was heavily damaged in the Guinea-Bissau war of 1998/1999. The previous pilot project EAP266 allowed for its partial reorganisation and the evacuation of other endangered documents from impropriate storage sites at Bolama Island and the Ministry of Justice into the renovated building of the National Historical Archives in Bissau.

EAP266 pilot project created basic prerequisites for the rescue and treatment of the endangered Bolama documents by assembling the entire collection under safer storage conditions at AHN/INEP. The entire Bolama Collection of Guinea-Bissau is now located at AHN/INEP and is composed of five major sections: the Bolama Colonial Government; the City of Bolama; the Bolama court; the Bolama Port; and the Bolama Custom Office.

Some months ago a range of documents belonging to the Bolama collection was discovered completely mixed up with other materials in the INIC collection. INIC was the first Guinean Research Institution prior to INEP and had inherited much documentation from the colonial “Portuguese Research Centre”. A first analysis of this material shows that historically very important documents have been found from the Bolama Provincial Government of Portuguese Guinea on the highest national level.

There does not exist in any other archive such an extensive collection of Bolama related documents. The particular value of this collection consists in the fact that it contains many documents of local history and the daily life of Africans and colonialists.

The major research project aims at a substantial improvement of the physical situation and the accessibility of this endangered collection in the following ways:

  • Advanced training of archival personel to international standards in digitising techniques, in historical analysis capacity and indepth knowledge on the Portuguese colonial administration system;
  • Complete digitisation of the Bolama Provincial Government section and partial digitisation of the classified documents series of Bolama City;
  • Isolation of document samples of high historical importance that are heavily damaged and strategies for its treatment;
  • Untreated Bolama court, custom office and port documents (not listed/classified): First analysis of degradation status, internal document order, cleaning and transfer into boxes for safer storing. Elaboration of document lists (groups) and research instruments in accordance with colonial Portuguese archives’ proceedings. Result: New additional parts of Bolama Collection Survey Catalogue;
  • Creation of a revised and enlarged Bolama Collection Survey Catalogue
Project Ref: EAP432
Project Title: Documenting the written heritage of East Goğğam: a rich culture in jeopardy



The main objective of this project is to document valuable monastic collections in East Goğğam and preserve selected endangered materials.

Ethiopia can be proud of her age-old manuscripts, which are to be found in the possession of approximately 20,000 churches and 8,000 monasteries, mosques and traditional schools all over the country. This large body of literature has been an object of wonder and uniqueness in its quantity, quality, and variety and also in its sustained continuity. The literary content covers not only the field it was designed for i.e. religion but also philosophy, history, social law and statecraft, culture, and last but not least, the technical sciences including Mathematics and Astronomy, Astrology, Architecture, Medicine and the Fine Arts and several allied disciplines.

However, Ethiopia’s church and monastic library collections today are often kept in very poor conditions. Priceless volumes lie on the dirty floor, or piled up one on top of another without any idea shelves. Many manuscripts are in danger of being eaten by rats or insects; others are exposed to damage from rainwater. Storage from the security point of view is also in many cases not satisfactory. Iqa bets, or storehouses, are frequently built of flimsy material, and are sometimes unlocked, or locked only with cheap locks, which can easily be broken or forced open. Some Iqa bets, because of the use of inflammable thatching, have unfortunately burnt down along with their enormous and priceless collection. Therefore, the launching of a project which helps to identify, document and preserve the most rich and endangered collections in the country is a necessity.

Project Ref: EAP433
Project Title: Digitisation of the national sound archives of the Union of Comoros

The national sound archives of the Union of Comoros consists of approximately 1,000 magnetic audio tapes, stored at the Comorian national research centre (CNDRS) in Moroni. The lack of climate control in the storeroom means that these tapes are deteriorating rapidly and a number of them already show signs of physical degradation. In addition to extremes of temperature and humidity, in 2005 there was a volcanic eruption on the island and ash deposits accumulated on the tapes causing some damage.

The collection is a unique record of Comorian cultural practice and social history; the core of the collection was constituted in the last quarter of the 20th century by the founding director of the CNDRS, Damir Ben Ali, and his successors who, recognising the very real threat of loss of oral records, implemented a project to collect as much material as possible. His team conducted interviews throughout the country on oral tradition, anthropological and historical topics, and collected recordings of cultural performances, including songs, poetry and music. Many of the recorded practices and performances have disappeared, both under the influences of what might be termed modernisation and as a result of social changes during the revolution of 1975-1978. Likewise, not only has much of the oral history has been lost as an older generation disappears and the younger generation turns to radio and television, but written primary sources that could have provided material for historiographies of the early colonial period were largely destroyed during the same revolution. A lack of academic interest in the Comoros in the colonial period (and particularly prior to the second world war) means that these oral histories constitute almost the entire corpus of extant primary material on pre- and early colonial Comorian history; they are an extremely valuable and irreplaceable source for research on cultural practice and historical change. Those recordings that have been used and analysed in the past have proved to be unique and valuable sources of data.

Equipment will be purchased to treat and digitise the tapes and store both the ensuing digital and the surviving original tape archive. Most of the equipment will be purchased or supplied by the Swiss National Sound Archives (SNSA), who will be acting as trainers and advisors to the project. Two experts from SNSA will travel to Moroni for a period of two weeks, where they will begin the digitising process. As they digitise they will be assisted by, and will train, two CNDRS sound archivists and local IT personnel.

The archive is now effectively closed to researchers and will undoubtedly remain closed until the material is digitised. Every tape will be examined, tested and the analog signal converted to digital and recorded on high resolution WAV files, according to IASA TC-04 guidelines. Those files will contain only what is extracted from a single tape or set of tapes, and they will be considered as the first generation “archive copy”.

The original archive may suffer damage during the digitisation process but every effort will be made to ensure the majority of the tapes will be preserved intact and they will subsequently be stored in a climate-controlled environment. The digital copies will be stored locally on hard disk in duplicate; one will feed the server and provide free local access to the files to scholars under the normal conditions of access to CNDRS archives while the second copy will serve as backup. A third copy will be transferred to the British Library. It is intended that the data will be accessible over the internet. Comorian bandwidth limitations currently make it unlikely that this archive will be hosted locally for international access, and it is expect that the catalogue and at least part of the online archive be hosted elsewhere. The equipment will remain with the CNDRS and will allow for the CNDRS to subsequently digitise the archives of Radio Comores at the end of the EAP project.

Visit the project's website here

Project Ref: EAP443
Project Title: Nineteenth century documents of the Sierra Leone Public Archives



The project proposes to undertake the urgent preservation, through digital technology, of the extensive nineteenth century holdings located in the Sierra Leone Public Archives. As outlined in the reports from the previous Pilot Project EAP284, the physical preservation of the documents is in serious jeopardy. At present, materials are held in three locations on the campus of Fourah Bay, with virtually no space for researchers to work or for digitisation to take place. Many documents are stacked on the floor in one room, while others have been put in acid free boxes on shelves in a high rise with no water, frequent power failures, and no air conditioning. Windows have been broken by strong winds, and not repaired. As a result, humidity is at the same level as outside the building, in the tropics, and in the dry season, the harmattan dust from the Sahara enters the windows, covering everything. While the Government of Sierra Leone is aware of the situation, there are no public resources available because of other pressing needs of reconstruction and development in the country.

The materials being targeted here include valuable documents of immense importance for research on the transatlantic slave trade and its repercussions. The original Registers of Liberated Africans who were taken off slave ships by the Royal Navy from 1808 to the 1840s document more than 85,000 individuals. In addition, there are Letterbooks which provide information on the treatment and ‘disposal’ of tens of thousands of “receptive” Africans, court records, treaties with local chiefs, and other documents that are essential materials for any research on Sierra Leone. Moreover, there is important genealogical information for many people in Sierra Leone, including birth and death registers from the 1850s. Additional materials include registers of “foreign” children resident in Freetown, dating from the 1860s onwards, and registers of slaves who had escaped from the interior to Freetown, as well as letterbooks in Arabic that relate to political and commercial relations with the interior of West Africa in the second half of the 19th century. It is estimated that 60,000-100,000 images will be taken so that all materials relating to the Liberated Africans are preserved, including Registers, Letter Books, Governors’ Reports, Birth and Death records, and Missionary reports.

The Archives will implement the Project under the direction of Albert Moore, Chief Government Archivist. Professor Lovejoy from York University and Professor Schwarz from Liverpool Hope University will make three trips to Sierra Leone to provide support, ensure that the project is running smoothly, that supplies, equipment, etc. are imported at cheapest costs, and that digitised materials are copied for deposit at the British Library, WISE and the Tubman Institute to assure redundancy. Jennifer Toews, Archivist, will also be involved, bringing her archival expertise to the project and will advise and train staff on producing an up-to-date inventory/catalogue of the archives.

The project will involve the following:

    1. Hiring and training of staff in Sierra Leone to be employed for two years on the project;
    2. Training of staff in Sierra Leone to manage an inventory of digitised materials and to produce a useable catalogue. The existing simple list of documents dates to the 1960s. The latter now bears little relationship to the current state of the archives following the emergency relocation of the material during the recent civil war. Some re-organisation of the location and shelving of materials in different rooms will be required.
    3. Acquisition of essential materials for preservation, including 2,000 acid free boxes and standard file covers.
Project Ref: EAP449
Project Title: Social history and cultural heritage of Mali: preserving the archives of professional photographers



Among the earliest professional African photographers in Mali, the negative archives of Abdourahmane Sakaly and Mamadou Cissé contain rare historical documentation of traditional life (rural, ethnic-based customs, ceremonies, and artefacts) and processes of urban development. Spanning the eras of French colonialism, political independence, and socialism, their archives record important socio-political transformations of present-day Mali and its capital, Bamako, which evolved from a small agrarian trading village into a cosmopolitan city during the twentieth century. Employed by colonial and national governments, while operating private studio enterprises, each collection houses unique archives representing African perspectives of local histories and practices, including personal and family portraiture, military activities, visits of foreign dignitaries, and images of the coup d’état that toppled the regime of the nation’s first president, Modibo Keïta. They also feature the construction of monuments, architectural structures, bridges, dams, roadways, as well as prominent Muslim and animist religious leaders, cultural ceremonies, and fluctuating trends in personal adornment, fashion, and photographic practices during the 1940s-60s.

These images are significant for the social history and cultural heritage of Mali, as well as the artistic legacy of these locally, and internationally, celebrated photographers. They are also important for scholarship on colonial and post-colonial histories in western Africa, and studies of local art, culture, and aesthetics. However, due to an unfavourable climactic environment (heat, dust, flooding) and poor storage conditions (piled in metal trunks and dirty cardboard boxes, stacked on the floor) these archives are highly vulnerable and in need of rescuing.

Over the course of twelve months, this project will clean, digitise, list, and improve the storage conditions of approximately 25,000 of the oldest and most vulnerable of the 150,000 original medium format, black-and-white negatives as a means to protect their integrity in local collections. The images will be made accessible for scholarly research and educational purposes both in Mali and around the globe via the open-source, database-driven, online digital repository application KORA managed by MATRIX at Michigan State University. Copies will be deposited with the British Library and with the Maison Africaine de la Photographie in Bamako. The latter institution developed out of the Recontres biennial of African Photography in Bamako, where it was created to serve as a local archive, school, and museum of photography.

This digitisation project should help to protect the physical integrity of the original negatives and to promote their accessibility to local and international studies, while safeguarding the archives from theft by local and foreign art dealers, collectors, and scholars who recognise the commercial value of these materials in international art markets.

This year-long project, which centres on the earliest and most endangered archives, is the initial stage of a larger collaborative project designed to digitise the vulnerable archives of historically significant professional photographers working in Mali from the 1940s-90s. Therefore, the equipment employed in this project will remain in Mali at the Maison Africaine de la Photographie for continued use in archival access and for the multi-year expansion of this digitisation archival project. Through the cooperation of the national professional photographers’ association in Bamako (GNPPM), of which Abdourahmane Sakaly was the first president and Malick Sidibé is the current president, and the Maison Africaine de la Photographie (MAP), it is hoped to develop a national foundation for photography in Mali, featuring a public library and archive, as well as workshop and exhibition space.

This major project is critical for the preservation and study of Mali’s social history, cultural heritage, and earliest visual records. Vulnerable to the harsh climatic and impoverished storage conditions, immediate action is imperative to prevent further loss of these rare documents and to ensure the viability of future studies.

Project Ref: EAP450
Project Title: Manuscripts of the Sri Lankan Malays



The Malays of Sri Lanka are a remarkable community, having preserved a spoken dialect of Malay and a rich writing tradition in that language despite living in South Asia for over three centuries. Today most fragile manuscripts that still survive are kept in private collections in poor conditions and many are discarded as their owners age and die, and the younger generation no longer reads the Arabic script in which the manuscripts are written nor understand their content or significance. There is an urgent need to document and preserve these rare collections which open a window to the social and cultural aspects of the community’s life, allow for an expansion of our definitions of the ‘Malay World’, and attest to the inter-connectedness over time of Asian Muslim societies.

The history of the ‘Malay’ community in Sri Lanka goes back to the middle of the seventeenth century, following the foundation of Dutch rule in the island in 1640. The designation ‘Malay’ has been commonly used to refer to people from the Indonesian Archipelago who were exiled to Sri Lanka by the Dutch as political exiles and convicts, sent there in various capacities to serve the Dutch, or recruited as soldiers to colonial armies, both Dutch and, at a later stage, British. Many of those designated as Malay were of Javanese or east Indonesian ancestry, and the early exiles included members of diverse local elites. Despite the distance from the Indonesian-Malay world, the Sri Lankan community maintained a flourishing literacy culture until the early twentieth century. Many of the written documents are striking in their similarities to literature produced in the Malay ‘heartlands’. However, there are also examples of works that are not known from elsewhere and represent local creativity and agendas.

The pioneering study of Malay manuscripts in Sri Lanka was conducted by Professor BA Hussainmiya in the 1970s, when he collected several dozen old manuscripts, many of them about to be discarded by families who no longer saw any value in their keeping or those abandoned when the older generation passed away without heirs. The manuscripts collected by Professor Hussainmiya are currently held by several libraries, among them the National University of Malaysia, the Sri Lankan National Archives and the library of the Universiti Brunei Darussalam. Despite their great importance these manuscripts constituted only a small portion of the total number of manuscripts possessed by members of the community and since the 1970s no further efforts have been made to document and preserve the rest.

The Malays of Sri Lanka produced a diverse range of manuscripts in the eighteenth to early twentieth centuries. These included Islamic theological treatises, poetry, biographies of the prophets, mystical writings and more. Local print media also gradually developed, including the publication of the world’s very first Malay newspaper, Alamat Langkapuri (1869-1870).

The aim of this pilot project is to survey and document surviving manuscript and print materials in the Malay language and to digitally photograph a sample of them. The findings from this pilot project help develop a major project in the future. Such a future project would strive to archive all surviving materials and to place copies in repositeries that would be available to all scholars interested in Islam, the literary, political and social dynamics of the Malay world, and patterns of circulation and transmission across the Indian Ocean.

It is important to note that although the focus of the project is on materials composed in Malay, it is highly likely that sections of manuscripts or even entire manuscripts will be written in Arabic and/or Arabu-Tamil (the Tamil language written in Arabic script). Because all three languages (Malay, Arabic and Tamil) were written using the Arabic script close attention is required in surveying and deciphering such content. There is also the possibility of discovering passages in Persian and/or local Indonesian languages like Javanese or Bugis, spoken by the ancestors of today’s Malays. These writings will offer concrete and important evidence to the Malays’ global contacts with Muslims in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and India.

The first phase of the project would involve surveying and listing the manuscripts and books in all known collections belonging to individuals and families across Sri Lanka, primarily in Colombo and Kandy, and their vicinities. A network of contacts and acquaintances has already been established from previous research trips, who are enthusiastic about the prospect of preserving the community’s heritage.

In addition to surveying and listing the materials, awareness-raising meetings will be held with community members, leaders and local scholars to explain the importance and ultimate goals of the project as well as provide information about manuscript preservation techniques.

The project will result in a written report on the state of Malay manuscripts and printed books in private collections in Sri Lanka. The report will include preliminary lists of these materials and digital copies of representative samples from the collections. The images and associated metadata will be deposited in the National Archives of Sri Lanka in Colombo, the British Library and the Australian National University.

Project Ref: EAP454
Project Title: Locating and surveying early religious and related records in Mizoram, India



This pilot project aims to locate and survey for the first time endangered and privately held ecclesiastical documents in Mizoram, India. Dating from the 1890s, the earliest missionary documents in the region capture the exceptionally rapid transition of a Mizo hill people fundamentally transformed, from an oral society following traditional animistic religious practices to an overwhelmingly Christian and literate society. This pilot project thus follows the thick webs of ecclesiastical connections in Mizoram, working outwards from a base in the source-rich southern village of Serkawn to survey, and in some cases digitise, records in this historically restricted and monsoon-ravaged frontier region of India.

Just over a century ago, Christian missionaries in Mizoram, the state at the southernmost tip of India’s easternmost frontier, were shocked at how quickly “mildew covered their books.” Cherrapunji, which today markets itself as the wettest place on the planet, was indeed only two hundred kilometers to their northwest. Meanwhile, the missionaries’ shock was recorded in writing—something alien to the non-literate Mizos amongst whom they worked. Today the mildew is still just as active in a Mizoram just as wet, and the preservation of the region's earliest written historical documents has become all the more urgent.

Hill people like the Mizos are often relegated to the footnotes of India’s history. Entire books on the history of the subcontinent have been written with scant sentences reserved for the ‘tribals’ populating India’s seven northeastern states. Only recently is scholarly attention turning to this diverse region. Until now, historians have generally produced ‘armchair histories’ of Mizoram, contentedly pulling their material from earlier works by British colonial political officers.

This pilot project would open up a new line of approach to Mizoram's history. It holds that missionary documents provide the best opportunity to reconstruct the history of once non-literate peoples like the Mizos. This project thus aims to locate and survey privately held ecclesiastical documents, in the conviction that through the location, dissemination, and then careful reading (often against the grain) of such early missionary sources, historians might begin to position Mizos as three-dimensional participants in history rather than as objects of it. The Mizos are unique among India’s peoples for the speed and extent of their Christianisation. In 1901, nearly all Mizos followed their traditional religious practices; in 1961, nearly all were Christian, and today Mizoram is India’s second most literate state. The region’s earliest written sources thus document the exceptionally rapid transition of a society uniquely and fundamentally transformed. History is lost as these sources are lost.

We know that many of these sources are privately held in Serkawn, Lunglei - a village in Mizoram’s south. Here, pioneer missionary JH Lorrain's diary is a key target. This single, bound volume is one of the rarest and richest sources of early Mizo history. In it, Lorrain confides unguarded observations on the Mizo world buzzing around him. Serkawn is also home to the Rev. Pu CL Hminga, custodian of the earliest missionaries’ stereoscopic slides. If preserved through digitisation and dissemination, these would provide scholars an unprecedented glimpse into late-nineteenth-century Mizo life. Equally precious sources are currently extant. News of this project inspired Pu Hminga to direct us up his dirt road to a Mizo centenarian's home. Having kept a daily journal in Mizo for much of his early life, this elderly diarist may have here not only an historical source of crucial import, but also a potential counter-balance to missionary sources. Such a potential lead demonstrates the type of received intelligence that this pilot project acts on, and also why initially we can have strategic methodologies but not concrete itineraries. From a Serkawn base, we work outwards, following the thick webs of interpersonal ecclesiastical connections in Mizoram, and expanding our geographic scope organically, as new leads turn up new people with new sources.

The inaccessibility of Mizoram - until only recently a Restricted Area of India - makes the dissemination of the project's report (and the results of any follow-up digitisation project) all the more important. The project would seek out both English and Mizo ‘pre-modern’ sources (1870s to 1930s) and would begin in mid-September of 2011, when Mizoram begins to dry off after the monsoon, and when village roads again become passable.

This project's main objectives will be:

  • to locate, determine the extent of, survey, and list, privately held endangered documents of significance to pre-modern Mizo history, and to develop relationships and future prospects with the owners of such material;
  • to develop and implement an organisational schema for sample documents;
  • to train two Mizo postgraduates and inspire them towards seeking out, digitising, and preserving Mizoram’s endangered documents;
  • to provide initial equipment for the preliminary digitisation of material;
  • where feasible, to list and copy small-scale collections in their entirety (e.g., Serkawn's early stereoscopic slides), particularly those vulnerable to insects, mice, neglect, or, especially, the region's humidity and monsoon;
  • to deposit copies of these small-scale collections in the Mizoram State Archive and the British Library.
  • to complete the groundwork necessary for gauging the potential of a future, major digitisation project.

Read this article written by co-applicant Kyle Jackson on the project.

Project Ref: EAP458
Project Title: Constituting a digital archive of Tamil agrarian history during the colonial period



The aim of this project is to create an archive of documents of socio-historical relevance to historians, anthropologists, sociologists and linguists. Most of the documents identified for digitisation are destined to disappear in the near future given both the very humid climate of southern India and neglected condition in which they are stored. These documents, recorded on paper, palm-leaves and copper plates, provide a rare and unique opportunity to glimpse a variety of aspects of social history of village life in the more remote parts of the Tamil region at a time when new power structures and social identities were being forged both with and against local traditional feudal systems and British colonial legislations.

The documents are scattered in the homes of Tamil villagers, especially the descendants of traditional power holders, who are unaware of the importance such documents can have for understanding social history. Though unaware of the scholarly value, the document holders are not prepared to part with their forefathers’ documents, such as depositing them in the local archives. This proposed new archive of material will open a new avenue of analysis at the level of micro-history of rural India, a field for which there is a lack of research material since the colonial Revenue Records as well as the “Village Notes” of the Settlement Surveys do not contain these types of documents. The Endangered Archives Programme has facilitated this link between the document holders and the archives through the opportunity of digitisation within their homes aiding both in their preservation and dissemination.

This major project is born out of the previous pilot project EAP 314. During the 12 month pilot project, the team carried out intensive fieldwork in small villages searching for documents relating to village judicial assemblies (panchayat). Eighty document holders were identified having collections of varying volume (from a handful up to a thousand documents) dating from the mid seventeenth century to mid twentieth century. The pilot project digitised and listed around 960 documents (3,780 photos).

In the course of the year-long search in two traditional territories (Kallar Nadu and Kongu Nadu), the villagers showed a number of different ‘old’ documents. Though documents relating to customary law were primarily being searched for, all documents handed down by the villagers’ forefathers were shown. These documents covered a wider scope of interest in not only the transformation and continuity of customary law but also land tenures and revenue collection, kinship patterns, caste relations and power structures. The documents included: genealogical charts, land transactions, religious tax collection, folk tales, loans agreements, honour struggles, temple records, marriage announcements, etc.

These endangered documents with their exceptional scholarly value are of great scope in understanding the social history of Tamil village life over a period of three centuries. Given the practical experience gained from the pilot project (the conditions of digitisation in the villages, the geographical constraints and the lengthy process of content identification) and the volume of documents available, the major project will enhance the capacity of its team both with respect to number of research staff and the duration of the project.

Approximately 10,000 documents (40,000 images) will be digitised and copies deposited with the Tamil Nadu State Archives, the Resource Centre of the French Institute of Pondicherry and the British Library. Each document holder will also receive a CD copy of their personal collection.

Visit the project website.

View a presentation (PDF format 1.7MB) on the project.

Project Ref: EAP460
Project Title: Collection and preservation of Shui manuscripts from private collections in South Guizhou



The Shui manuscripts in south Guizhou are crucial but endangered materials for studies on the indigenous Shui ethnic group and its unique culture in Southwest China. Following the establishment of a major surrogate archive of Shui manuscripts in earlier project EAP143, this project aims to complement it by selected newly-found volumes from private collections in Libo, Dushan, Duyun, Rongjiang and Liping. Comparing with those in public collections, the materials covered by this project are threatened more seriously by carelessness and smuggling, therefore demand immediate preservation. This project will enrich the digital collection of Shui manuscripts by about 200 volumes.

Shui manuscripts (spelled as lesui in the Shui language) are ritual texts for the Shui people, a native ethnic group in the South Guizhou. They are written in a hieratic graph circulating among the Shui masters, indigenous priests correlating to Shamans in many tribe societies. Although the native claim that the Shui graph is the last surviving hieroglyphics still demands reliable evidence, the earliest Shui manuscripts can be safely dated to the 16th century. It is a traditional way for Shui people to ask for supernatural consent through Shui masters before making important decisions or on crucial occasions in their lives, such as births, funerals, erecting pillars of new houses and long travels. Such a tradition is still present today. The contents of the Shui manuscripts cover knowledge on astronomy, geography, folklore, religion, ethics, philosophy, art and history. Therefore, Shui manuscripts are not only the key and irreplaceable materials to understand the unique culture of the Shui people, but also constructive for studying history, anthropology, folklore and even palaeography in general.

Presently, Shui manuscripts are mainly found in Sandu, Libo, Dushan, Duyun, Liping, Congjiang and Rongjiang in Guizhou and Hechi in Guangxi. The public archives in several counties have accumulated up to 14,000 volumes, and the sum of manuscripts in various private collections is 2,500 volumes. This project aims to preserve about 200 volumes of Shui manuscripts, currently kept by private collectors in south Guizhou and never previously accessed by researchers.

The manuscripts are written on local-made cotton paper, which is apt to perish in poor conditions of space, temperature and humidity. The manuscripts are also endangered by neglect, lack of financial support, political discrimination and recent social change. Although some scholars have tried for years to establish an archive or museum to preserve the Shui cultural heritages, very limited advance has been achieved. Raising the profile of Shui manuscripts locally had a fatal side-effect of encouraging smuggling and illegal trading, with many manuscripts disappearing.

This project will supplement the database of Shui manuscripts created by project EAP143 project. About 200 volumes will be digitised from counties other than Libo and Sandu by means of scanning or photographing.

Project Ref: EAP462
Project Title: Preservation of Kaya district colonial archives and assessment of the potential and feasibility of recovering other former district capitals' collections, Burkina Faso



This pilot project consists of two components: 1) preservation of the archive that was kept by the colonial district administration of the Cercle de Kaya and its transfer to the Centre National des Archives (CNA) in Ouagadougou; and 2) investigating the potential and feasibility of recovering archives that were kept by colonial district administrations in two other district capitals of Upper Volta (Fada N’Gourma and Ouahigouya).

A preliminary assessment of the collection kept in Kaya has already been made. It comprises a wide variety of documents related to the administration of the colonial district, many of them unique. They are of interest to a wide range of historical study fields: population, politics, economy, development, customary law. These documents provide an insight in the local intricacies of the administration, politics, economy and social life of the district.

The material in Kaya though is at risk of neglect, physical deterioration and destruction. The documents are stacked on shelves and on the floor in a shed behind the administrative buildings, exposed to dust and moisture and at the mercy of rats, termites and mildew. More recent documents continue to be piled haphazardly on top of the old colonial ones. The authorities are aware of the problems but lack the means (cupboards, boxes, human resources) to properly organise and maintain the current archives, or preserve the older ones.

The physical condition of these documents will be assessed, selected documents will be classified, relocated to the CNA and digitised. Two archivists at CNA will receive appropriate training in archival collection management and digitisation techniques.

The second component of this project will assess the potential and feasibility of recovering colonial archives in Fada N’Gourma and Ouahigouya in preparation for a future major research project. A preliminary inventory of materials will be created and the strategy for a major project will be formulated during a workshop organised in Ouagadougou.

The Centre National des Archives in Ouagadougou, the Gouvernorat and the Haut-Commissariat in Kaya have all given their support to the project. It is hoped the project may also foster a renewed interest in national and local histories.

Project Ref: EAP466
Project Title: The manuscripts of the Riyadh Mosque of Lamu, Kenya



This project will salvage the manuscript collection held at the Riyadha mosque in Lamu, Kenya. The Riyadha mosque college was founded in the late 19th century and is one of the oldest continuously functioning Islamic teaching institutions in East Africa. From its inception to the present day, the Riyadha has drawn students from all over the region. The teaching tradition of the Riyadha mosque is closely linked with similar institutions in Yemen and with its offshoots elsewhere in East Africa. It thus not only represents a local teaching tradition, but a wider Indian Ocean tradition that over time came to epitomise East African Islam. However, the exact content of this tradition during the past 100 years is less known, precisely because the manuscripts used in teaching have either deteriorated completely or been too delicate to use for research.

The collection of approximately 130 manuscripts holds several unique copies and represents Islamic education in East Africa for the past few hundred years, with the manuscripts dating from 1837 to 1920. The collection is in a state of rapid deterioration, being stored in a broken cupboard exposing the material to the harmful climatic conditions prevalent in Lamu, of humidity causing fungus and mildew. Insects have caused much damage to all the manuscripts.

During the start-up phase of the project, all the project participants will be in Lamu. Dr Shamil Jeppie, who has experience in Islamic manuscript research and conservation, and Dr Anne Bang, expert on the Islamic intellectual history of East Africa, will supervise the startup process in collaboration with Eirik Hovden (University of Bergen), Ahmad Muhsin Badawi and Aydarus Muhsin Badawi (Riyadha Muslim Academy). Aydarus and Ahmad Muhsin Badawi are descendants of the founder of the Riyadha and currently responsible for the teaching facilities of the mosque. They are both educated Islamic scholars and are also familiar with manuscript digitisation and indexing. In light of the position of the Riyadha as a traditional Islamic teaching institution, it is vital to note that Aydarus and Ahmad Muhsin Badawi have the support of their elders in the undertaking of the current project.

The photographing of the manuscripts will take place in the Riyadha library and by Riyadha staff. The digital images will be stored in sequence on external drives, and DVDs will be burnt successively as each manuscript is completed. Listing will be produced together with each manuscript, in accordance with the British Library Endangered Archives Programme guidelines. The progress of the copying will be subject to reporting every month, and measured against the work-plan produced at the outset. Copies will be deposited with the British Library and the library of the Lamu Museum.

Project Ref: EAP468
Project Title: To preserve Indian recordings on 'Odeon' label shellac discs



'Odeon' label shellac discs were issued in India during 1912-1938. The company produced over 2,000 titles of north and south Indian music. About 600 titles [1,200 songs] have survived and are with private collectors. These are endangered and need to be rescued and preserved. Songs from the discs will be digitised and audio files will be stored on hard drives in high resolution uncompressed wav format. The record labels, sleeves, catalogues and publicity material will also be scanned to obtain digital scan images. This treasure of audio and visual material will thus be preserved for posterity.

The material to be preserved represents various musical genres recorded on breakable shellac discs during 1912-38. These discs are the only surviving copies. Many forms of music recorded on them are now not played or sung. Most of the recordings represent the musical tradition of over two hundred years. Students of music, practising musicians and researchers can draw heavily from the preserved material. The textual material is also useful for students and academics studying culture, history and biographies of the artists.

Odeon label shellac discs were issued in India in two phases: during 1912-16; and during 1932-38. During the first phase, Odeon's first Indian recordings were made in late 1906 on a grand tour that took the engineers from Calcutta to Benares, then on to Lucknow, Cawnpore, Delhi, Amritsar, Lahore, Bombay and finally back to Calcutta. In all, they recorded some 700 titles, which were duly shipped back to Berlin for processing and manufacture in what was then the established worldwide pattern. Disc records manufactured and pressed in Germany were shipped back to India by 1908. Gramophone records were the only mode of public and family entertainment in that period. Because of the diversity of language and cultural taste, Odeon's engineers recorded a great deal of regional music for local consumption. In a time before film music swept regional variations away, Odeon's activities allowed Indians to listen to the music that would otherwise have been irretrievable. Very few disc records from this period have survived. Some of the famous recording artists were Mr Murad Ali, Mr Dhurandhar and Mr Walavalkar.

In the second phase, the Odeon disc manufacturing company operated during 1932-38. Its operations were mainly from Mumbai and Madras and the company produced over 2,000 titles in north and south Indian music. At this time, radio and film songs had just entered the entertainment era. Disc manufacturing and distribution activity continued until the outbreak of World War II. Because of the embargo imposed on German goods, the company had to wind up their business in India, leaving behind hundreds of titles. The musical genre recorded on these discs include drama songs, speeches, folk music, classical music, drama sets, skits and plays, vocal and instrumental music. The records are in ten and twelve inch diameter format.

Today, most of theremaining discs are with private collectors all over India. It is estimated that about 600 titles [1,200 songs] have survived. Over two hundred artists have made recordings on this label. Some of the most popular recording artists from North India of this period are: Bai Sunderabai of Poona, Bal Gandharva, Khansaheb Abdul Karim Khan, Omkarnath Thakur, Heerabai Barodekar, Kamlabai Barodekar, Sureshbabu Mane, G. M. Londhe, Bai Azambai of Kolhapur. Most of the Odeon artists were amateurs and have been forgotten in modern times. Their recordings are invaluable and need to be preserved.

As these discs are in private hands, the collections are endangered as the collections will be scrapped and destroyed, once the collector is no more. No commercial company has any interest in reissuing most of these discs on compact disc (CD) or store in digital format, since it has no commercial potential. Thus, the invaluable music on these discs is endangered and needs to be rescued.

This project will digitise the audio recordings from all the available Odeon label shellac discs. The recordings from over 600, 78 rpm shellac discs will be digitised and stored on hard drives in high resolution uncompressed file formats. Record labels and record sleeves will also be scanned to obtain digital scan images. Copies will be deposited with institutions throughout India and with the British Library. This treasure of audio and visual material will be preserved for posterity and will be a invaluable reference work and resource material for several generations.

Project Ref: EAP469
Project Title: Last traces of a destroyed community: surveying the Hungarian Jewish congregational archives

In the spring of 1941, around 825,000 Jews lived in thousands of cities, townships and villages in Hungary. Four years later the majority of the Jewish congregations no longer existed. The traumatic change can be illustrated by the drastic drop in their numbers: two-thirds of the 709 congregations in Trianon ("Smaller") Hungary disappeared without a trace. The destruction was indicated by the perishing of the community infrastructure. Hundreds of synagogues and prayer houses were demolished, and only 14 operating temples were left. Congregational archives shared the same fate: most of them were destroyed, looted and scattered during and after the Holocaust. Archives and libraries of many Jewish associations and communities being terminated had to be transferred to the pseudo-scientific Hungarian Institute for the Research of the Jewish Question set up by the government collaborating with the Nazis. Several other collections were abandoned and doomed to perish. An example is that of the Balassagyarmat orthodox community that was dumped on an empty lot in 1944 by the local authorities and left there exposed to the elements. If the archives are the collective memory of a community, then the Hungarian Jews were not only looted, disenfranchised and murdered in large numbers, but the survivors were deprived of their collective memory too, during and after the Holocaust.

After the war, some of the congregations were reorganised but only with a fraction of their original population. They also tried to recover their archives or recreate it based on bodies of documents surviving the Holocaust. Many revived congregations soon closed down because of migration and emigration.

Today there are only 30 Jewish congregations in the country. Only around 20 possess documents created before 1990. The largest, still existing body of Jewish community documents is stored, organised, inventoried and handled by the Hungarian Jewish Archives in Budapest. However, the archives of the countryside congregations are not stored under proper archival circumstances, since the communities struggle with a lack of funding and personnel. There are no inventories or finding aids describing the contents of these materials. In several places (e.g., Pécs and Szeged) the documents are poured into unsuitable storage areas, where the materials are decaying. Moreover, there are locations where there is no organised community, and the documents are kept by only a few, usually elderly, individuals. For example, in Gyöngyös, an elderly gentleman, the last observant Jew of a once vibrant community, held the key to an old prayer house where community records dating back to the late 1800s were held.

In Budapest there are also scattered archival collections outside the Hungarian Jewish Archives’ institutional reach, such as the completely unorganised repository of the small Orthodox community in Pest.

According to the scarce information that is held, the archives are likely to contain the following types of documents: documents related to the institutional operations of the congregations; Holocaust-related documents; burial records; birth registries; death registries; registries of marriages.

The date range of the collection is wide. The earliest papers date back to the late 18th century, while parts of the collections probably were created in the late 1900s.

The main objectives of the pilot project are:

  • to explore all existing Jewish congregational archives in the Hungarian countryside and in certain Budapest locations, and other repositories holding Jewish community documents;
  • to survey the material contained by these archives;
  • to create a general description for the collections;
  • to make sample copies from various bodies of documents;
  • to transfer some of the materials to the Hungarian Jewish Archives in Budapest if necessary and feasible;
  • to prepare a major research project to copy most of the collections.

The pilot project will have the following results:

  • the remaining Jewish community documents will be surveyed and inventoried;
  • a central registry of such documents will be created;
  • a general description of the collection will be authored.

It is hoped the pilot project may foster the preservation of documents of great significance regarding the history and culture of the Jews in Hungary.

Project Ref: EAP472
Project Title: A survey of the libraries of Abéché, former capital of the Sultanate of Waday (Eastern Chad)

This pilot project will survey manuscripts held in some of the libraries of Abéché, the main Saharan centre of Eastern Chad. In 1890 Abéché became the capital of the Sultanate of Waday, which had been the main political entity of the region since its foundation in 1635. After being the epicentre of resistance to French colonialism in the region for a few years, the Sultanate of Waday was defeated in 1917 and Abéché became an important administrative centre of the new administrative entity of Chad, a division of French Equatorial Africa.

The pre-colonial and colonial history of Waday is closely intertwined with that of the neighbouring Sultanates of Darfur and Masalit. Maba agriculturists and Arab nomads were the founders of the Sultanate of Waday. Other peoples who today live across the border of Chad and Sudan were ruled in pre-colonial times by tribal Sultans who periodically shifted their political allegiance. From the early 19th century through the colonial period, Abéché’s fame as an Islamic intellectual centre grew in the region, with the town scholars behind all the most significant stages in the regional development of Islam.

The majority of the manuscripts in Abéché date from the late 19th and 20th centuries and document the religious life of the Muslim scholars of the city as well as the activities of the colonial administrators. It is also very likely that manuscripts dating back to a time prior to the foundation of the city are still located in some of the private libraries of the town.

Notwithstanding its regional importance, the history of the city and of its scholars remains largely under-researched. The manuscripts include poetry, legal treatises, fatwas (answers to specific legal questions), Sufi books, biographical notes, and correspondence.

Several factors contribute to make the manuscripts of Abéché extremely endangered: Climatic conditions of severe dryness for most of the year followed by extreme wet during the short rainy season, are coupled with poor storage conditions. Manuscripts are often simply placed on open shelves with other books, sometimes stored in cardboard boxes, wooden boxes or in traditional leather bags. The general decline of the role of Abéché in contemporary Chadian politico economic networks is also a factor: many of the intellectuals educated in the scholarly families move to the more dynamic capital N’Djamena, displacing or neglecting the family’s library collections. The region is also subject to political instability and vulnerability, with several Chadian rebel groups operating in Eastern Chad.

The project will survey several private libraries and undertake some sample digitisation of approximately 50 manuscripts.

Project Ref: EAP474
Project Title: Regional Archive at Cape Coast, Ghana: pre-colonial and colonial documents preservation project



This pilot project targets endangered archival collections in the Central administrative region of Ghana and will be undertaken in collaboration with the Central regional directorate of Ghana’s national archives - the Public Records and Archives Administration Department (PRAAD). The PRAAD building at Cape Coast holds a large body of documentary material including printed material, manuscripts, maps, drawings and photographic collections. These are held in a large room in the archive building ideally designed as a repository. However, irregular power supply, poor functioning and unsatisfactory maintenance of air conditioners as well as humidity and dust control problems have led to a deterioration in the physical conditions of the collections.

The project will focus on pre-colonial collections, particularly hand-written court proceedings and those most endangered by the unfavourable climatic conditions and passage of time. A complete inventory of endangered documents and other archival material will be undertaken. Some specific documents in need of urgent attention will be digitised, which will also be useful for exposing archival staff and research personnel to digital technology. The results of this pilot project will define and put in place the technical method for a larger project.

The Regional Archivist will be fully involved in the pilot project and the University of Cape Coast Main Library possesses what will be required to digitise any documents where necessary. The pilot project’s objectives are:

  • The assessment of the current state of conservation of archival documents at the Central Regional branch of PRAAD at Cape Coast and providing a full inventory of documents, identifying those that require the most urgent attention for better preservation through digitisation.
  • The training of staff of the archive at Cape Coast and research assistants from the University of Cape Coast’s Department of History in the digitisation of collections while at the same time enhancing their skills of preservation to meet the Endangered Archives Programme’s requirements.
  • Selection of particular documents requiring urgent attention for immediate digitisation and deposit at PRAAD, Cape Coast and the British Library.
Project Ref: EAP485
Project Title: World War II and the origins of Hausa newspapers: the early years of 'Gaskiya ta fi Kwabo'



This project will digitise and preserve the early years of the Hausa language newspaper Gaskiya ta fi Kwabo, the first newspaper entirely in Hausa, from 1939-1960. It was important for linguists not only for the shift of the Hausa language from a predominately Arabic script language to a predominately Roman script language, but also for creating the contemporary standard of Hausa, in grammar, spelling, vocabulary and style. It is also important for historians as a unique documentation of African understanding of World War II. There is only one complete surviving set of the original issues, in Arewa House Centre for Regional Documentation in Nigeria. It is now falling apart. If it is not preserved this unique record of Hausa language and African perspectives on World War II will be forever lost.

Gaskiya was the first newspaper published entirely in Hausa, the largest language in west Africa and in Nigeria. As a result of Gaskiya’s popularity, Romanised Hausa became more popular than Arabic script and began to predominate. The spelling, grammar, vocabulary and style used in Gaskiya became standard Hausa. Gaskiya was important for providing information about World War II to Nigerians. It also shows the attitudes of Africans to the war. Gaskiya shows how Nigerian experiences in the war, and Nigerians’ exposure to the outside world, helped to generate and sustain the nationalist movement.

These unique materials are in very poor condition and are in imminent danger of being entirely lost. The newspaper itself does not have a complete collection in its office and the Nigerian National Archives (Kaduna) has no copies at all from the early years of Gaskiya. The only complete collection is in Arewa House Center for Regional Documentation. These copies are poorly bound in a binding which cuts right through the text of most pages. They are physically disintegrating. They need to be unbound, digitised, and placed into protective holders as soon as possible.

Digital copies will be created of the issues of Gaskiya which had not previously been microfilmed through the Cooperative Africana Microform Project (CAMP) and will be made available online for researchers around the world through Arewa House in Nigeria, the British Library in the UK and Hirosaki University in Japan. The original copies of Gaskiya will be removed from their present, inadequate bindings and placed in archival pockets to protect them from handling.

Project Ref: EAP488
Project Title: Major project to digitise and preserve the manuscripts of Djenné, Mali

The city of Djenné has existed since the end of the 8th century. It embraced Islam from the 12th century onwards and gradually became an important centre of trade and Islamic learning, alongside its ‘twin city’ of Timbuktu, which shares many aspects of its history. As an important city of learning and commerce for over a thousand years, it has a very large deposit of Arabic manuscripts.

The previous pilot project EAP269 in 2009 discovered nearly 3,000 manuscripts in 13 family collections. However, it was often evident that only a small proportion of the collection was shown to the team. Therefore, it is still impossible to evaluate the amount of manuscripts that exists in Djenné. The overwhelming majority of the material is copied in Djenné on paper using Sudani type of Arabic script. Some manuscripts are written in local languages in Arabic script.

The majority of the manuscripts date from 1700 to 1900 although some may date from as far back as the 12th century. The condition of the documents varies enormously, although the majority are in a condition to be copied. The manuscripts held in the libraries are relatively safe, although sufficient measures need to be introduced regarding their safekeeping in acid-free boxes. However the manuscripts held privately often exhibit serious deterioration, with damage from termites and from water during the rainy season.

Both Djenné and Timbuktu have been famous for a thousand years as centres of Islamic learning. Even today Djenné boasts about 50 Koran schools where little ‘talibes’ or ‘garibous’ learn verses from the Koran by heart, under the guidance of their Koran master, a Marabout. However, Djenné in particular is also famous for another sort of learning: the Djenné Marabouts are known throughout West Africa as experts of Maraboutage. The pilot project found that more than 50% of the Djenné manuscripts dealt with ‘esoteric’ subjects. It is probable that this is a much higher percentage than the Timbuktu manuscripts, which deal in the main with more orthodox Islamic subjects.

These manuscripts will surely be of immense interest to scholars in the fields not only of religious history and anthropology but of West African history in general. In addition to the large number of esoteric manuscripts roughly half of the manuscripts of Djenné deal with many other subjects as varied as medicine, astronomy, history and poetry. There are 2286 manuscripts in the Djenné Manuscript Library, containing approximately 150,000 pages. In addition there are the 2,885 manuscripts found during the Pilot Study. Many of these manuscripts will have to be digitised in situ at the home of the manuscripts owners. There are also those in two recent private libraries, that of the Imam Korabora and the Landoure family library. A selection will have to be made because of the very large number of manuscripts available. Those chosen for digitisation would have to fulfil certain criteria of either age or distinction in subject matter, in rarity, or in physical appearance.

Concurrent with the digitisation process, courses and study days on various aspects of manuscript and library science will be held for the benefit of the manuscript owners, to raise their awareness of the value of their manuscripts. In addition the technicians digitising the manuscripts will impart their knowledge to a select group of locals during the project.

A reading room for the digitised collection will be put in place at the Djenné library, and a website to host the collection. There is a need to store the collection of manuscripts at the Djenné library in acid free boxes for their safe keeping, and at least 300 of the most important manuscripts will be stored as a result of the project.

The project features in this article in The New York Times, published in April 2012. Read articles written by the grantholder Sophie Sarin, published in The Art Newspaper and on The Arts Desk

Visit the website of the Djenné Manuscript Library

Discussion broadcast by the BBC Radio 3 programme Night Waves on 31 January 2013.

Dr Shamil Jeppie, Director of the Tombouctou Manuscripts Project; Dr Marion Wallace, Lead Curator of African Studies at the British Library; and novelist Aminatta Forna join Anne McElvoy in discussing the libraries in Timbuktu and book culture in Africa, including the work of the Endangered Archives Programme.

[MP3, 15mins 3sec, 2KB].
Reproduced here by kind permission of BBC Radio 3 Night Waves.

Project Ref: EAP498
Project Title: Recovering provincial newspapers in Peru: Lambayeque, Ayacucho, Tacna, Cajamarca and Huancavelica



The archives identified for this major project hold very valuable, unique and vulnerable material. They have been selected after the detailed pilot study (EAP294) visited some of the main archives in the country and carried out an in-depth study of the state of the newspaper collections that exist in Peru and abroad. These newspapers have important stories to tell about Peru and these provinces that would be lost if they are not digitised and staff trained to properly conserve them. In spite of the country’s long history of centralism these newspapers hold the memory of regions outside the largest cities and showcase the thriving intellectual communities they fostered.

In the case of Lambayeque, the collection is large and especially rich and diverse with nearly one hundred titles published between 1847 El Regulador to 1936 El País. These newspapers tell the story of a region that has not yet been studied. They portray the struggles to become an independent department in the middle of the nineteenth century such as El Chiclayano (1850-1852) and La Estrella del Norte (1850-1864). The papers from the end of the century such as El Comercio of Chiclayo (1890-1910), El Deber (1895), El Departamento (1899-1920), El Republicano (1886-1900) and El Liberal (1869-1886) show the growing confidence of local elites. The newspapers of the early twentieth century cover the increasing modernisation of the region and the rise of an important working class movement in titles such as El Progreso (1902-1914), El Tiempo (1895-1930) as well as El Trabajador (1931) and La Mision de los Obreros (1901) which make it possible to explore previously unstudied areas.

The collection held by the ex-INC, now Ministry of Culture, in Ayacucho has no catalogue but from previous visits they are very different from the collection of newspapers from this city held at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Those held in Lima range from El Victorioso (1825), thorough El Indígena (1833), La Alforja (1848-1849) and La Estrella Federal (1848-1851), amongst others. They are all, however from the first half of the nineteenth century while the ones in Ayacucho are mainly from the second half and the early twentieth century. Organising, cataloguing and digitising the ones identified to be endangered would make it possible for the study of Ayacucho as a region and allow for a better understanding of Peruvian history as well.

In Cajamarca the situation is again very different. Although there are not many newspapers held in that collection they are in extremely poor condition and, as in the case of Lambayeque, every time they are opened their condition deteriorates. The archive holds the only known copies of La Voz Termal (1847) and La Prensa (1850), amongst others. The ones in this collection are very different from two early twentieth century ones held at the Biblioteca Nacional and the Biblioteca Instituto Riva Aguero, La Nueva Era (1906-1909), El Regenerador (1883) and La Reacción (1882). Once again having access to these collections will make it possible to better understand the history of each region and its relationship with the centre and which each other.

The important collection at Huancavelica faces great risks. El Ideal (1932) and Magisterio (1941) can still be found complete but others such as El Obrero (1911), La Voz de Huancavelica (1918), and La Sierra (1924) have been mutilated and are in urgent need for repair. These are unique resources as in Lima only El Registro Oficial de Huancavelica (1859-1870) is kept. Preservation through digitisation would encourage scholars to focus their research on this area's history, which remains unknown.

The situation of Tacna is also unique, because of its particular history which includes the occupation by Chile between 1880 and 1929. Some volumes can be found in other libraries so the attention will be restricted to the rarest, those in greatest danger and greatest demand, such as La Situación de Tacna (1882), El Porvenir de Tacna (1887) and El Norte (1900). As well as other extremely rare ones such as El Morro de Arica (1890), El Plebiscito (1925), El Ajicito (1925) that present Peruvian opinions during the Chilean occupation.

The archives have been chosen to present a balanced view of the country, with two coastal ones (Lambayeque in the north and Tacna in the south) as well as three in Andean cities: Cajamarca in the north, Huancavelica in the centre and Ayacucho in the south. The reason for this is to present the most diverse picture of the country through these regional newspapers so that they can complement and complete the centralised vision of the country currently available.

The original newspapers will be kept in the local archives in improved conditions. Staff will be trained in paper conservation and acid free boxes and envelopes will be specifically manufactured for newspaper archiving. The training workshops will also provide staff in the archives with skills and materials to help preserve their collections in the future.

The long-term aim is to create a digital repository for all these materials and so encourage other archives to digitise and upload their collections with the support of the Archivo General de la Nación, with the ultimate aim of creating a national database of digitised newspapers. The success of this process and the capacity built in the country is expected to result in a much greater digitisation project that can initially begin with these most vulnerable newspapers.

Project Ref: EAP500
Project Title: Documentation of the pre-industrial elements in Bulgarian minorities' culture during the 20th century



This project is focused on surveying, digitising and archiving photographs from the end of the 19th and 20th centuries, providing information on pre-industrial elements in Bulgarian minorities’ culture. The research is targeted at different ethnic and religious communities including Turks, Tatars, Pomaks, Jews, Armenians, Old Believers, Aromuns, Karakachans and Vlachs. This kind of information is scantily represented and even missing from various Bulgarian archives. The reason for this is based mostly in state policy which focused for a long time solely on the Bulgarian ethnic tradition and culture, as well as in the policy of the Bulgarian state before 1989 which targeted forced assimilation of minorities. This is the reason for the gradual disappearance or even purposeful destruction of pictures and photographic collections of the different minorities in the country (particularly of the Muslim minority during the so-called “Revival process” in Bulgaria within the 1960s-1990s, when the policy of the Bulgarian state for a forced assimilation of Muslims was accompanied with the destruction of all documents – official, personal and family – testifying to their minority identity). Despite the repressive policy and purposeful destruction of archival documents related with the history and culture of the ethnic minorities in Bulgaria, such documents have been secretly kept by many, although in inappropriate circumstances and often in bad condition.

The project will undertake survey trips to different parts of the country inhabited with minority population with the aim to collect and digitise approximately 1,500 pictures. A special effort will be made to collect pictures from all ethnic and religious communities. These documents will provide information on the communities’ culture and traditions that are otherwise hardly known outside the boundaries of the region in which they live. Preliminary research has revealed that similar pictures are kept only in family and municipal collections. They are thus exposed to poor preservation conditions and are in danger of rapid destruction due to the fact that their owners are not aware of their value and importance outside their family and kinship group. In this way, these pictures are being gradually destroyed and with them important information for the communities themselves is disappearing. Thus, the project will create digital copies of thses photographs and will collect information about the possible existence of other important archival information, which can be probably discovered in regional archives, in villages, antique bookshops, archives of minorities’ organisations, community leaders, etc.

As well as collection and digitisation, the project will also survey insufficiently researched and barely known elements of the way of life, customs and rites of minorities in Bulgaria. Many of them are of research interest since they contain pre-industrial elements, kept and practiced even secretly during the Socialist governance in Bulgaria. Such groups are geographically and culturally isolated and are often excluded from mainstream Bulgarian society. These communities preserve many old elements of their own culture, which even nowadays continue to be transmitted from one generation to another. A particularly interesting example is the tradition of the Turkish community to record in photographs their funeral customs. That is why the people from this community own large photographic collections recording the funeral practices over a period of 80 years.

The project aims to create a new digital archive of the traditions and customs of the minorities’ groups in Bulgaria as well as promotion of the archive among a wider audience of researchers and other stakeholders.

Project Ref: EAP503
Project Title: Creating a digital archive of a circum-Caribbean trading entrepôt: notarial records from La Guajira



This project will digitise and make available through the internet some 100,000 notarial records from the city of Riohacha, on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, and the peninsula of La Guajira. The understudied Guajira peninsula has significance for the history of Colombia, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Atlantic World. Riohacha was founded in 1545 by Ambrosio Alfinger, an agent of the Welsers, an important German merchant family. In the XVI and XVII centuries the area’s rich pearl beds attracted English, Dutch, French and Spanish smugglers. Later La Guajira became an important cattle-producing area where large-scale ranchers created great wealth based upon slave labor. By the 18th century Riohacha had become the provincial capital. This region remained an important entrepôt for both legal and contraband trade in slaves, gold, and other commodities. The endangered records of Riohacha offer unique information on the economic and social history of the region and will contribute to scholarship on Latin American, the Atlantic world, the circum-Caribbean, slavery and borderlands studies.

The Notaria Primera (First Archive) holds materials that document the region’s rich commercial and social history. These include documents for the purchase and sale of public and private properties from both urban and rural settings; land petitions and adjudication of disputes over public and private lands; documents pertaining to the formation of merchant societies and to the commercial exchanges among Spaniards, foreigners, and indigenous Guajiros; slave sales and purchases, as well as manumission documents; wills and testaments of the most important families in the region which detail social and political alliances and the formation of wealth. The appreciation of the importance of archival collections as an important patrimony of the greater Caribbean is only now developing in Colombia, with some preservation efforts being made in Cartagena, Santa Marta and Valledupar. Other areas of Colombia, such as Riohacha, lack any archival organisation to preserve these precious, and rapidly disappearing, materials. The endangered notarial documents of Riohacha are the administrative responsibility of a public notary, but because they are public records, anyone can consult them.

The Riohacha documents are in a precarious condition. Local temperatures reach the high 90s and materials are stored on aluminium and iron shelving, which when exposed to the humidity produces an oxide that damages the documents. Humidity and fungus also threaten the integrity of the documents. An estimated 25-30% of the documents are beyond saving, but 70-75% could be digitised and, thus, preserved. Unfortunately, no Colombian agency is preserving these documents and the archive allows open access. “Old” documents have been discarded. The recent resurgence of paramilitary and government violence also threaten these documents.

Adding to the importance of these documents is the fact that Colombia still struggles with the legacy of slavery. Approximately one-fourth of the nation has African ancestry and yet their history has been largely ignored. Recently, there is a growing interest in Colombia’s multi-racial past and the Colombian Constitution requires inclusion of Afro-Colombian history in school curricula. The documents that will be rescued will enrich the national and regional narrative by capturing a multi-racial frontier society that included enslaved and free people of African descent as well as many other ethnic groups.

Copies of the records will be freely accessible through the internet on a website maintained by Vanderbilt University. Copies will also be deposited with the University of Cartagena, the archive of the Notaria Primera of Riohacha and with the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP505
Project Title: Digitising parish record collections at the major archives of the province of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil



This project aims to recover, organise, digitise and make available to researchers in Brazil and worldwide through the use of the internet, archives related to the memory of minority communities in the province of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. The population of Rio Grande do Norte is very mixed, comprising of the original Indian people, and then the later settlers of Portuguese and African people, resulting in people of mixed-race descent, called ‘mestizos’. These records can help to build a demographic history. However, lack of investment on behalf of the public institutions, but also the brutal conditions of the tropical weather and high humidity, in which most of the territory is located, have damaged centuries of church and official records dating back to the eighteenth century.

The history of this population has mostly been ignored in Brazil and Latin American history and is waiting to be written. The documents planned to be rescued represent the longest, and most uniform, serial data available for the study of the people of Rio Grande do Norte. This project will also generate information of interest to the Brazilian nation. The Center for Historical and Archeological Studies and Documentation (NEHAD) at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN) in Natal, has for the last decade been locating material throughout the region in urgent need of preservation in the entire state. However, neither UFRN nor the Arquidiocese has the financial resources to preserve the documents.

This project will bring together the local knowledge and identification of the material by the Arquiodiocese de Natal, with the technical skills to preserve the documents by experts from the NEHAD. The proposed documents for digitisation have already been identified and consist of colonial church and notarial records dating back to the mid-eighteenth century.

The archival material is currently dispersed inside the Arquidiocese de Natal. The documents are uncatalogued and piled on floors or open shelves in rooms without climate or humidity control in the main church of Natal. At least 20% of the documents are in a very advanced state of deterioration, and 50% show some degree of deterioration. Although rapidly deteriorating the records are suitable for digitisation. The humidity of the northeast area of Brazil is a major threat to the integrity of the documents, and water damage and mould is visible on the oldest documents.

In total there are approximately 40,000 folios in danger of disappearing. The value of these documents for studying the demography and the people of Rio Grande do Norte is difficult to understate. The Catholic Church mandated the baptism of the population in the seventeenth century and extended this requirement across the Catholic Americas. Baptismal records thus became the longest, and most uniform, serial data available for the history of population in the Americas, continuing through until almost the end of the nineteenth century. Once baptised, people and their descendents became eligible for the sacraments of marriage and Christian burial, thus generating additional records of their lives.

The project will involve the training of workers at the Arquidiocese de Natal, historians and archivists to create approximately 40,000 high-resolution digital images that will be stored on multiple drives and on disk, and made available via the NEHAD webpage. Copies will be deposited with the Arquivo da Arquidiocese de Natal, the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte and the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP506
Project Title: A pilot project to survey the Buea Archives and other potentially endangered archives in western Cameroon

This project has two main components.The first part will be based at the Buea Archives, South-West Region of Cameroon, and aims to survey and assess the documents held there. A training course in digital archiving techniques will be offered to the Archives personnel and a limited number of Cameroonian librarians and university students. Some of the most historically significant and/or damaged documents will be digitised. The second part of the project will be a twenty-day survey intended to locate and assess other potentially endangered archives in the North-West and South-West Regions of Cameroon. The work will be managed in Cameroon by the Project Coordinator and coapplicant Dr Pierpaolo Di Carlo.

Founded in the 1960s by British scholars (Edwin and Shirley Ardener), the Buea Archives store all of the British documents concerned with the history of today’s South-West and North-West Regions of Cameroon dating back to 1916, when most of Cameroon was still fully in pre-industrial times. Unlike the few earlier sources (German reports, travellers’ diaries), the British colonial documents cover the whole region and include maps, drawings, pictures, genealogies, etc., often dealing with little studied areas of Cameroon.

In spite of their historical relevance, the Buea Archives have not been supported by public sources. The lack of indoor humidity control systems and of funds to provide effective prevention of insect infestation have resulted in significant decay of many important historical documents in recent years. These conditions are perhaps not rare in Cameroon’s document repositories. However, the unparalleled historical value of the Buea Archives makes them a strong candidate for concerted preservation efforts.

This part of the project has been designed to assess the feasibility of - and priorities for - an extensive preservation effort at the Buea Archives and, at the same time, will provide the Archives staff with the training and equipment required to engage in archival digitisation. Activities connected to the latter goal will include an in-house four-day workshop led by an established professional in digital archiving and curation techniques. A set of surrogate copies will be bound and will remain in the Archives as reading copies so that visitors will not have to handle original documents. Digitisation and storage will be performed according to the EAP Copying Guidelines and a standard framework for descriptive and technical metadata will be designed and implemented in accordance with EAP Listing Guidelines.

In addition to the main project, there are a number of endangered archives in nearby areas, for instance, in the library of the St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary in Bambui and the Bishop’s House in several cities, such as Bamenda, Buea, and Soppo. It is planned to also visit Nkambe, Bafut, Wum, Mamfe, Kumba, and Victoria in search of other minor repositories, though this list may be adjusted as new discoveries are made. The production of a report and a map of the distribution of endangered archives will crucially inform the agenda for any future work in the area.

A significant aspect of the first part of the project involves capacity building at the Buea Archives. Since the Buea Archives are well-placed to serve as a general centre for archiving-related projects in the region, the intention is that the second part of the project will lay the groundwork through which the staff of the Buea Archives can prioritise preservation efforts, using the tools and skills provided in the context of the first subproject, to support preservation efforts beyond the Archives themselves.

The project has the support of the Buea Archivist, Mr. Primus Forgwe, and his intimate knowledge of the Archive's collections and of other archival institutions at the national level will be crucial to the successful realisation of the project. The project also has the support of the Association of Friends of Archives and Antiquities Cameroon (AFAAC), a local NGO based in Yaounde and recognised by the government.

Project Ref: EAP507
Project Title: Preservation and digitisation of the archival material in the Historical Archive of the San Marcos National University, 1551-1920



This project aims to preserve, catalogue, digitise and make available for researchers an important part of the remaining archival material held in the Historical Archive of the San Marcos National University, dating from its foundation in 1551 to the University Reform started in 1919, in order to avoid its further physical deterioration and loss. During this long period, San Marcos University was the only institution of higher education in Peru and hence its Historical Archive holds important documents on several scarcely studied aspects of Peruvian and Hispanic American history. Access to these papers will contribute to a better knowledge and comprehension of such processes as Enlightenment and the development of modern sciences in a peripheral country by fostering a renewed interest in the study of the ways in which Peru embraced modernity.

Amongst the rich collections of the archive, the target of this project is specifically the papers related to academic matters, being especially valuable sources for the history of science in Medicine from the colonial through to the independence period. The documents to be preserved and digitised contain information on curricula, professors, students and studies, including the changes experienced as the result of university reforms reflecting scientific new paradigms and ideological re-orientations.

The colonial collection includes documents on the establishment of the University (in Spanish and Latin), as well as manuscripts about the functioning of the University (royal decrees, statutes, records, inventories, and appointments). Especially important are the papers dealing with Protomedicato, the first institution of controlling medical professions in Peru and South America. Even though there are only two books preserved, they hold very important information for the history of Medicine in a time when new ways of thinking were challenging the old scholastics. On the other hand, after the War of the Pacific (between the 1880s and 1920s), the archive has documents regarding scientific activities in various disciplines and, especially, in Medicine, and theses defended by undergraduate and graduate students.

The archival material that will be digitised is held in three repositories:

    1. The Historical Archives of the University;
    2. The Museum and Historical Archive of San Fernando Medical School of the University;
    3. Special Collections Section of the Central Library of the University.

Although San Marcos University is the main university institution of Peru and one of the oldest universities in the New World, the historical documentation of the San Marcos National University has suffered from diverse problems, both natural and human, and the University has no resources for preserving, conserving, and providing access to the remaining materials for researchers. The historical archival material remains at risk of further deterioration and even loss since there is neither a proper catalogue nor trained staff.

The manuscripts and theses are housed in old colonial buildings in inappropriate rooms. The material is exposed to humidity, fungi, dust, insects, rodents, and earthquakes. One of the aims of the project will be to re-house the original material in acid-free boxes. Archival conditions should be improved as this project has the full support of the University authorities.

Another goal of the project is to train both the permanent staff and the four auxiliary members of the project in the conservation, cataloguing, and use of the technology to digitise and preserve the holdings, by specialists of the Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo Archivístico y Gestión de la Información (CIDAGI). The project includes also a series of conferences by historians of science and technology on the historical significance of the collection. In addition, the project will exhibit part of the archival materials digitised at the three locations of the project: the Historical Archive, the Museum and Archive of San Fernando Medical School, and the Central Library of the University.

Project Ref: EAP521
Project Title: Digitisation of manuscripts at the Al-aqsa Mosque Library, East Jerusalem



The main goal of this project is to preserve the historical manuscript collection housed at the Al-aqsa Mosque Library in Jerusalem. The Al-aqsa Library located at the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem serves as a primary research center for Islamic studies and as a reference library for scholars and students from Jerusalem and other Palestinian cities. The library’s rare and most valuable collection consists of approximately 2000 manuscripts. The manuscripts were acquired by the Al-aqsa Library from prominent scholars, private collections, and from libraries in Palestine that have ceased to exist. The materials selected for this project represent 119 manuscript titles in the most immediate need of preservation.

Digitisation is planned primarily as a means of preservation in order to create high-quality archival digital copies of the original source materials that are at risk of deterioration. Environmental factors, wear and tear of manuscripts due to poor storage conditions, the lack of security at the library, and the unstable political situation in Jerusalem contribute to the sense of urgency and make digitisation of these unique manuscript materials a top priority.

The materials selected for digitisation include a collection of 119 rare manuscripts that span over several Islamic periods from the 12th to the 19th century AD, constituting approximately 33000 pages. The selection includes the manuscripts from the collections of well-known Palestinian scholars, such as Fayd Allah al-‘Alami and the Shaykh Khalil al-Khalidi and from the private collection of Shaykh Muhammad al-Khalili, who died in 1734. The latter collection was acquired by Al-aqsa Mosque Library in the 1970s. Prior to that, the collection was in the possession of the descendents of the shaykh and was moved frequently from place to place, which led to its considerable physical deterioration. The manuscripts selected for digitisation cover a wide range of subjects, including theology, Quran and its interpretation, Islamic law, Arabic language and literature, astronomy, medicine and history. The collection documents the history and cultural heritage of the region and its people.

The project will address the preservation challenges at the Al-aqsa Mosque Library by creating archival quality digital copies of the manuscripts and conserving the original source materials. Two sets of archival digital master files will be created as a result of this project – one set with be deposited with the Al-aqsa Mosque Library, the other with the British Library. Item-level descriptions for each manuscript will be produced in accordance with the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme listing guidelines. In addition, the digitisation project intends to create multiple derivative copies to widen access to these rare materials to scholars, students, and the general public, and make the collection more visible and accessible. Creating derivative copies of these unique materials should further assist the library in the preservation efforts.

The digitisation project provides an opportunity to preserve these historical manuscripts and share them with a wider community of scholars and students. The selected manuscripts are particularly rare as they represent the only known copies of these unique titles. The project will help to preserve these historical materials for current and future scholars.

Project Ref: EAP524
Project Title: To survey the East India Company and Colonial archives of Jamestown, St Helena, South Atlantic



St Helena was first discovered in 1502 and English rule, under the auspices of the East India Company (EIC), was established in 1659. Although best known for its association with Napoleon, the island has a longer contribution to history in terms of colonialism, empire-building, and the slave trade and its suppression. It was a way-station between Europe, India and the East, and as such was pivotal in the creation of the British Empire. In the 18th century hundreds, and occasionally thousands, of merchant ships called there every year. From its earliest association with the EIC, St Helena employed coerced labour, but after 1807 became an important base for British slave trade suppression in the Atlantic. The island’s remoteness has, from time to time, also led to its use as a place of imprisonment: in addition to Napoleon, it has housed Boer POWs, Zulu chiefs and Middle Eastern dissidents.

The island’s archives in Jamestown hold records from its first years as an English colony. The earliest documents date from 1673 and include EIC records through to 1834. These embody correspondence with England, internal memos, land grants and legal proceedings. There is also extensive documentation relating to Napoleon’s exile, including his death certificate. After 1834 and the transition to direct Crown rule, the records follow the standard pattern of similar colonies. Much of the higher-level correspondence between the island’s Governor and the Colonial Office is replicated in the UK National Archives. However, there is a great deal of local-level material in Jamestown which was never transmitted to London: this includes official records and accounts, private correspondence, maps, land titles, legal proceedings, bill posters, local newspapers and unpublished historical research. Overall, the Jamestown archive offers a record of the history, people and daily life of the colony from the late 17th century onwards.

This provides a vital historical context for its extensive built and archaeological heritage. Many of the surviving documents have international significance and are unique to the island. They do not exist anywhere else.

The Archive is held in two repositories: a room in which bound folios are kept on shelves, and a second room in which bound and unbound documents are stored in unlabelled packaging. The content of the latter room is almost entirely unknown but preliminary research has demonstrated that at least some of this material is of significant historical value – for example St Helena’s Vice-Admiralty Court records.

The archive is at risk from catastrophic loss and long-term deterioration. It is housed on the ground floor of an historic building that is poorly equipped and maintained. Lack of temperature control places the records at risk from tropical weather, especially humidity, and from insect infestation, notably termites. The condition of the individual documents is very variable, from good to very poor, from stable to demonstrably deteriorating, and from well- to loose-bound. There are no microfilm or digital copies of any materials, and therefore all research is carried out on the original documents. Some of the most valuable items, including the early EIC records and documents relating to Napoleon, are at greatest risk. Facilities for reading documents are very poor.

This pilot project will focus on the materials dating from 1673 to 1914. This covers all of the key episodes in the island’s EIC and colonial history, ending with the Boer War and the establishment of the Atlantic telegraph. The objectives of the project are to:

  • provide equipment for the digitisation process;
  • begin the process of digitisation;
  • lay the foundations for a Major EAP grant (if feasible, and if supported by St Helena Government)
  • develop local skills such that, ideally with additional funding, the digitisation process may continue.

The pilot project will:

  • provide an audit of archive material at Jamestown;
  • establish a priority list for digitisation, based on historical value, stability, fragility, amount of use, and level of duplication elsewhere;
  • pilot digitisation processes and associated cataloguing, focusing on an early series of EIC letter books;
  • provide training for local staff.

The opening of the island’s airport (now under construction and expected to be completed in 2015) will improve access and bring in additional visitors, increasing pressure on archive resources and their potential deterioration.

The work will be carried out primarily by Dr Andrew Pearson, who has extensive experience of both archaeological and archive-based research on the island, a strong publishing record relating to St Helena’s history, and very good working relationships with key local officers and archivists. This project is fully supported by the St Helena National Trust and the Museum of St Helena, the two local organisations with a remit for the island’s cultural heritage.

Project Ref: EAP526
Project Title: Digitisation of the endangered monastic archive at May Wäyni (Tigray, Ethiopia)



The enclosed monastery of May Wäyni lies in Tigray Province. According to local tradition, its founder was the saintly monk abba Qäsala Giyorgis (late14th - early 15th century). He belonged to the ecclesiastical network of the monastery of Däbrä Libanos in Shäwa, being the companion of one of the most important Ethiopian monastic figures, echegé Yohannes Käma.

The collection consists of 91 manuscripts. A preliminary survey has shown that while many were produced during the last two hundred years, the works through which they were transmitted must have been much older. An initial examination of a selection of the manuscripts reveals that the writing styles range from good classical palaeography of the 17th century to modern styles of equally good quality. By way of comparison, there are also cases of poor modern script. Together, they provide an excellent example of how Ethiopian manuscript hands have changed over the last 400 years. The fact that many manuscripts share a remarkably similar writing style, despite differences in age, suggests the presence of a local scriptorium and scribal school.

The manuscripts contain material crucial for the study of Ethiopian and Eastern Christian monasticism, the history of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Tewahedo Church, Christian and Ethiopian Church literature, the history of the manuscript book, and Ethiopian art history in the context of Byzantine and Christian Oriental artistic traditions. Identifiable groupings are:
1. Texts relating to the history of the monastic community and its founder (mostly hagiographical).
2. Historical documents and notes in ge’ez and Arabic relating to the history of Ethiopia, 15th to 20th century.
3. Documents relating to the history of the Ethiopian Church, 15th to 20th century.
4. Oriental & Ethiopian Christian literature containing unknown & little known texts.
5. Biblical and Liturgical texts.
6. Illuminated manuscripts (miniatures, ornaments, drawings) and artistically bound volumes.

Since the old church of May Wäyni and its storage facility recently collapsed, and the construction of the new church has stopped due to lack of funds, the manuscripts are presently stored in a primitive hut, lying on the floor or on rough benches. Regularly used liturgical books reside in the altar unit in the unfinished sanctuary. Types of damage include accumulation of mould, ravages of mice, male caterpillar holes, water damage, burning, and detached and torn folios.

Regardless of whether they are old or new, the manuscript bindings display an unusually high quality. The preparation of the leather and the quality of the decorative tooling illustrate well developed skills based on a long tradition. These skills prove convincingly that May Wäyni was until quite recently a centre for manuscript production.

The collection at May Wäyni contains numerous specimens of high interest to scholars working on Ethiopian literature and ecclesiastical history. It is threatened, however, by minimal protection in a roughly built structure suffering from near collapse. To prevent further damage to the manuscripts, the monks have distributed those not used during the daily services (including the old biblical texts) among the monks and villagers. This arrangement is particularly unfortunate as it is leading to the increased dispersal of the manuscripts, many of which will find their way to the market place before their content has been recorded.

The collection of manuscripts will be cleaned and placed in improved storage conditions. Digital copies will be deposited with local and international institutions.

Project Ref: EAP529
Project Title: Digitising 19th and early 20th century Buddhist manuscripts from Dambadarjaa Monastery



Over 700 monasteries were destroyed with their treasures and libraries during the 1937-38 political purges in Mongolia and religious practices totally banned under the communist rule until the 1990 democratic reforms. The Dambadarjaa monastery, one of the first three monasteries in Mongolia and built between 1761 and 1765, fell victim to this destruction. Two old temples and two shrines are all that remains of the original 25 buildings.

Some 340 lamas were sent here in 1790 from the different aimags of Ikh Khuree (now Ulaanbaatar). In its heyday, between 1911-1921, there were around 1,500 lamas in the monastery. In the 1920-1930s, the number of lamas in the monastery sharply decreased until there were only 150 lamas left by the time of the 1937/8 purges. As a result of the political repression in 1937, the monastery was closed down and many temples within the monastery complex and also in the aimags outside were destroyed. A huge white building for a holiday resort was built in 1940-41 on the foundation platform of the main Tsogchin temple, which was destroyed.

In 1939, the monastery and all its remaining buildings were transformed into a hospital for Japanese prisoners of war, with a Japanese doctor who tended to the Japanese prisoners. The current small library building was used as pharmacy or drug store. Later, the monastery was used as a tuberculosis hospital from 1946-47 while between 1987 and 1997 it was used as an old people’s care home.

Today, what remains of the monastery is subject to structural aging and is in a critical condition since no repair works have been initiated since the 1930s. Since 1998 a small group of lamas and some Buddhist believers have been struggling to preserve what is left about the old mighty monastery. Now, despite desperate conditions, a daily chanting takes place from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm with a few lamas. Readings of requested texts are performed for individuals until 1.00 pm.

Lately, rapid un-controlled migration (from rural areas to Ulaanbaatar) settlements engulfing the monastery pose a serious threat to the very existence of Dambadarjaa as new settlers are growingly interested in acquiring land strips even at the expense of dismantling parts, if not the whole, of the monastery remains.

Now, one of the small surviving and structurally fragile temples holds around 1,500 Buddhist manuscripts and ritual items to be used in religious service for the public. All these manuscripts are subject to mice, great temperature fluctuations and fire. The old temple is in a structurally poor condition and in danger of collapse. The monastery truly lacks funding for repair works, maintenance and upgrading preservation conditions in the fragile library. Wrapped in silk and cloth fabrics in a traditional way of preserving Buddhist manuscripts, the material is stacked on shelves in very poor preservation conditions, with no environmental control systems in place.

The targeted manuscripts are of enormous interest to scholars, historians, Buddhist monks, researchers and the public for they have long been inaccessible to many except a few Dambadarjaa lamas. The manuscripts are considered rare and unique since they have survived the communist suppression against religion and deal with such subjects as traditional Mongolian and Tibetan medicine, astronomy, astrology, poetry, and history.

The project’s main aim is to help save and preserve approximately 200 of the most old and fragile Buddhist manuscripts dating from 1860-1920s through digitisation. Once digitised, the collection will become available to a wide range of readers including the general public, students and researchers, as a digital library of the collection will be created. The original manuscripts will be stored in fire-proof and acid-free containers/boxes in order to save them from being exposed to negative preservation conditions now present in the old library building as well as from excessive daily services and mishandling. Training courses and seminars will be held to further preserve and improve all manuscripts held in the monastery. Media promotional activities will be carried out to raise public awareness of the historically important manuscripts.

Digitised master copies of the collection will be stored at the Dambadarjaa monastery and the Monsound and Vision Foundation, and copies will be deposited with the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP531
Project Title: Preserving the endangered manuscripts of the Cham people in Vietnam



Historically and culturally, the Cham are probably the most important minority group in Vietnam. Descendants of the Champa kingdom that lasted from the 2nd to the 17th century AD, the Cham are the largest group of Hindu and Muslim people living in Vietnam. These people possess a rich culture that can still be appreciated today through architecture, arts, festivals and literature. Although the Champa kingdom was eliminated by the Viet in 1720, Cham people managed to stay together in large communities where their traditions and culture are well preserved. There are about 146,000 Cham living in Vietnam today, with the largest community located in Ninh Thuan (57,000), a province in central Vietnam. Other important Cham communities are located in Binh Thuan, Phu Yen, An Giang, Tay Ninh, and Ho Chi Minh City. The majority of Cham people living in central Vietnam practise Hinduism while those located in the Mekong Delta are Muslim.

The Cham’s writing system is mainly based on Sanskrit, with the majority of Cham manuscripts still in existence written in the akhar thrar script. Writings were previously inscribed on palm-leaves, but in more recent times they are recorded on paper. Cham manuscripts contain rich information about Cham customs, religious practice, literature and daily activities of Cham people. Many are records of officials and families in the communities. Manuscripts still in existence are mainly from 50 to 150 years old.

Cham manuscripts unfortunately have not been well preserved. Some have been collected by local governmental institutions and many more still exist in Cham communities. In recent years, the Center for Cham Studies and the Cham Language Studies Committee Library in Ninh Thuan have collected some manuscripts. However, due to poor preservation conditions and the extremely unfavourable climate of the area, manuscripts kept in these two centres are quickly deteriorating. In many cases, writings are recorded on cement-bag paper – as its name suggests, this paper is made from pieces cut out of cement packages used in building construction and does not last very long.

Cham manuscripts privately held by families in the communities are also disappearing. Many manuscripts are simply ruined over time by the hot and humid climate. Most young Cham people today are not able to read Cham scripts and thus pay little attention to the preservation of manuscripts in their families. Furthermore, some Cham people believe that it is bad luck to keep ‘deserted books’ (Akhar bhaw) in the home and hence, books not cared for or read frequently will eventually be discarded in rivers.

Manuscripts of the Muslim Cham in the Mekong Delta, specifically in the two provinces of An Giang and Tay Ninh, have not yet been surveyed.

Information regarding the Cham manuscripts currently held at the two archives in Ninh Thuan is sketchy, as they have not yet been catalogued. Information on the manuscripts held at the Cham Art Museum in Danang is not publicly available. The number of manuscripts available in the communities can be estimated in the thousands.

The first step to preserve the Cham manuscripts is to conduct a field survey in Vietnam. This project aims to achieve the three following goals:

First, to assess the specific holdings and preservation conditions of Cham manuscripts held at the Center for Cham Studies and the Cham Language Studies Committee Library in Ninh Thuan, and possibly at the Cham Art Museum in Danang.

Second, to survey the availability and preservation conditions of Cham manuscripts existing in six Cham communities located in the provinces of Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Phu Yen, Ho Chi Minh City, Tay Ninh and An Giang.

Third, to work with local scholars and government officials on a plan to digitise Cham manuscripts in Vietnam, including those held at the two archives in Ninh Thuan and the museum in Danang.

A written report and digital samples of Cham manuscripts will be submitted as the results from this project.

Project Ref: EAP532
Project Title: Recovering the endangered archives of the Benue Valley, central Nigeria



This project will rescue two groups of records in the Otukpo-Makurdi axis of the Lower Benue region of Central Nigeria: the Methodist Mission’s ecclesiastical records in Otukpo; and the transcribed oral and written records in the private collection of the late renowned scholar of Central Nigeria, CC Jacobs. The Jacobs collection is housed in Benue State University in Makurdi, about an hour’s drive from Otukpo.

The documents held in these collections include personal and institutional letters, correspondence, reports, commentaries and polemical pamphlets, disciplinary proceedings, liturgical and other ecclesiastical documents, memos, employee files, diaries, transcripts of oral and folkloric traditions, ethnographic and private photographs, and transcripts of oral performances.

Between 1977 and 2003, CC Jacobs spent much time and resources in gathering primary data and archival records on the micro-ethnic nationalities of the Central Nigeria region, whose histories are largely neglected by scholars. The ethnic communities, cultures, and religious traditions of the Central Nigerian area are poorly understood by scholars because of an emphasis on the Muslim emirate regions of colonial Northern Nigeria and because many of the peoples and societies of the region did not evolve strong, centralised political traditions and thrived instead in a multiplicity of compact ethno-linguistic units. The CC Jacobs collection has the potential to fill this gap and to support new research into the peoples, economic and agricultural systems, cultures, and migrations of peoples in this region of Nigeria.

The CC Jacobs collection is significant in several respects. Apart from being the largest individual archival collections on the Central Nigerian region and its peoples, it is also the most systematised and detailed. Copies of some of the files that are currently missing from the National Archives, Kaduna, which deal with the customs and cultures of the largely non-Muslim communities of Central Nigeria, can be found in Professor Jacobs’ collection. In addition, during the late 1970s and 1980s, Jacobs worked closely with Professor Elizabeth Isichei and Dr. Peter John Yearwood, among others, on several ethnographic surveys, which greatly altered existing perspectives on the pre-colonial history of the peoples of Central Nigeria and the greater Benue-Plateau region. Some of these reports have survived exclusively in Professor Jacobs’ collection. Thirdly, Professor Jacobs’ collection contains enormous primary data on the origins, early migrations and settlement patterns, as well as dimensions of inter-group relations of most ethnic nationalities in Central Nigeria in general and the Benue Valley in particular. In light of claims and counter-claims by some groups in conflict zones within Central Nigeria, the information in such data will support new historical and anthropological explorations into the pre-colonial dynamics of coexistence, interactions, and cleavage formation. As ethno-religious conflicts continue to erupt in the region, research into the complex histories and cultures of the area needs to be empirically grounded in materials that have not yet been mined.

Central Nigeria was a major centre of the Atlantic slave trade. The importance of Central Nigeria in the Atlantic slave trade is well documented in European and African travel accounts, in the oral and written narratives of communities, and in the records of nineteenth and early twentieth century Christian missionaries. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, agents of the newly constituted Sokoto Caliphate repeatedly raided non-Muslim communities on the northern and southern banks of the Benue and the Niger rivers. Many captives were sold to European and Brazilian slave merchants for transfer to Atlantic destinations. Other captives were transported north to lubricate the Caliphate’s slave-worked agricultural plantations and its socio-political system of tribute and patronage.

As a result of this complex history, Central Nigeria is awash with oral and written anti-Caliphate and anti-slavery narratives, which are captured by the records and documents of ecclesiastical institutions, and by private correspondences and transcribed oral traditions in missionary reports and commentaries like those in the Methodist Mission in Otukpo. The collections contain individual and institutional narratives on late nineteenth and early twentieth century anti-slavery efforts of Christian groups to combat the relics of slavery and convert people to Christianity. They also contain commentaries on colonisation and colonial society in Idomaland that are unencumbered by the strictures of the colonial bureaucracy and the norms of official colonial communication. Missionary records are invaluable materials for reconstructing colonial histories beyond the formulaic renderings of standard colonial archives.

When the Methodist records were consulted in 2001 and 2002, they consisted simply of thousands of documents strewn on dusty floors. Exposed and uncared for, many of the documents were already damaged beyond salvation. The rest were brittle and covered in dust, termites, and spider webs. With no funds to preserve them, the records had been neglected and abandoned.

The CC Jacobs collection in Makurdi is a bequest to the Benue State University from the late scholar and curator’s estate. The documents, including photographs, were stuffed randomly in several big bags and in ripped files, and were put in dusty storage rooms with other items at high temperatures.

The first phase of the project is training. The two project co-directors, with the help of local archivists and technical audio/visual specialists, will conduct a 4-day training seminar on archival digital restoration and preservation for local ICT personnel, archivists, and graduate students who will do the digitisation and cataloguing.

The project will create a digital archive of all the salvageable documents in these two collections, saving them on multiple devices that will be stored in multiple locations in Nigeria, the United States, and the British Library. Approximately 100,000 digital images of documents will be created and catalogued. The digital materials will be stored on CDs, hard drives, and on a small dedicated server in Vanderbilt University. Master copies of the digitised documents will be housed at Benue State University and at the Methodist Mission in Otukpo.

Project Ref: EAP535
Project Title: Northern Nigeria: Precolonial documents preservation scheme - major project



This project targets materials held in the National Archives Kaduna (NAK), which was established as the major repository for Northern Nigeria in 1957. The targeted materials include Arabic and Hausa manuscripts from the nineteenth century, and early colonial reports. The latter are comprised of the Secretariat Northern Provinces, provincial files, records from Divisional and District offices, court records, maps, and photographs, and date from 1897 to 1920. The Arabic and Hausa language materials include local chronicles, private correspondence, legal documents, and religious literature, most of which is uncatalogued and ranges in date from the late 18th century to 1903.

The early colonial records have been used extensively by students and scholars and are now in very poor condition. The Arabic and Hausa material has not been so heavily used but natural factors such as pests, mould and humidity have led to the crumbling of some of documents and left the remainder in a vulnerable condition. Storage facilities are very poor, without environmental protection and often in rooms without electricity. Many documents are on the floor and many have been misplaced, lost or even stolen. One component of this proposal therefore it to conduct an inventory to determine exactly what is present.

These materials are of high importance as they document the social, economic and political history of the Sokoto Caliphate (the largest 19th century Islamic empire in West Africa) as well as the early years of British colonial rule in Northern Nigeria, when many features of Caliphate economy and society were researched by colonial officials. They detail colonial policy formation and demonstrate the extent to which officials understood Islam, slavery and unfree labour and how they were trying to shape colonial Northern Nigeria through reform of Caliphate institutions. Finally, the documents are of value to historians of Africa in general, because such resources deal with labour, culture, intellectual history and inter-group relations in the African pre-colonial era. Such documentation is relatively scarce.

The Director of the National Archives of Nigeria, and also serving as the archivist overseeing the National Archives Kaduna, Mr AO Umar, will serve as consultant in this project. He has given this project his full support and will be responsible for advising other team members on the principles of data preservation and ensuring that digitised documents are of high standard and worthy of deposition. He will also be invaluable in helping to resolve any issues that may arise, such as resources and prioritisation.

By the end of the project an updated NAK catalogue related to the targeted materials will have been produced. Materials will be preserved in accordance with the British Library standards and copies these items will be deposited with the National Archives Kaduna and the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP536
Project Title: Safeguarding Gambia, Casamance and Guinea-Bissau's oral histories: the Oral History Archive at Fajara, The Gambia

This project will digitise the cassette recordings and their transcriptions located at the Oral History and Antiquities Division of the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) in Fajara, The Gambia. The collection consists of more than 6,000 audio recordings of interviews with elders from Gambia, the Casamance region of Senegal, and Guinea-Bissau. The majority of the recordings were collected during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, many of them by Dr Bakary Sidibe.

The material at the NCAC relates to the empire of Kaabu, a powerful federated kingdom that governed the regions of Gambia, southern Senegal (Casamance) and northern Guinea-Bissau from the late 13th to the mid 19th centuries. Material covered include relations with neighbouring Fuuta Jalon in present-day Guinea-Conakry (18th-19th centuries); the origins of Kaabu in the 13th century, and the federation’s subsequent social structure; the relationship between various ethnic groups in the region dating back at least to the 18th and 19th centuries. The recordings were made between the 1960s and 1980s, but as history in Africa is an oral genre, they certainly relate strongly to pre-industrial societies in this part of Africa.

These recordings covering Gambian, Senegalese and Bissau-Guinean history mean that the collection is one of the most extensive in the West African sub-region. The collection could serve as a research centre for the University of The Gambia. If better preserved and publicised, it would certainly attract a greater number of scholars to undertake research in The Gambia, and could help in revitalising interest in pre-colonial Western African interest in the global academy.

Moreover, it should be noted that the importance of the collection is accentuated by its breadth. The fact that the NCAC contains material relating to the whole sub-region and not just The Gambia makes its holdings of great historical value. Moreover, the importance of this region in early Atlantic history means that this transcends even the sub-region and relates to the whole global historical process of the last several centuries. Adding to the importance of this collection is the sad loss of the oral history archive in Guinea-Bissau during the civil war there in 1998; this archive, painstakingly collected from across the whole country over a period of decades and held at the Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisa (INEP) in Bissau was destroyed when INEP became the barracks for one of the two major factions in the war.

A large number of the transcriptions were consulted during an earlier period of research at the NCAC in 2011. An example indicates the richness of what is held there: one of the oral traditions referred to a group of soldiers in Kaabu known as the Sula nyantios, who were called “monkeys”. This may explain why one of the 16th century chroniclers of the region, Almada, referred to a troop of monkeys fighting alongside people in Gambia. This type of material can help to elucidate chronologies and offer an African perspective on the European sources often used to construct pre-colonial African history.

The staff at Fajara work under difficult conditions. The tapes and transcriptions are kept in a small airless room with no air-conditioning to help preserve the holdings from deterioration which the humidity of the wet season in this part of Africa makes extremely intense. Many of the paper transcriptions are beginning to deteriorate and the room itself is not sufficiently large to allow for adequate and consistent indexing and storage of either the transcriptions or of the cassettes.

The Institution as a whole now depends on unpredictable tourists’ visits to the National Museum, which it also runs, but the income from this is highly irregular. Meanwhile, changes in technology make accessibility to oral documents ever more difficult, with the majority of documents on reel to reel, VHS, and tape-cassettes. It is proving increasingly hard to find the equipment needed to access the outdated reel-to-reel tapes.

The collection needs an urgent remedy as some of the tapes and papers have developed conservation problems such as rust, vinegar syndrome, fading, scratches. The specific aims are to digitise the most threatened collections and facilitate the setting up of a back-up; to transfer the audio tapes (including reel–to–reel) and to digitally store them; to scan such transcriptions of the tapes as exist so that they are preserved; to train the staff how to digitise, document, and catalogue; and to improve the storage conditions of the collections.

Project Ref: EAP540
Project Title: Shrines of Accra: Witchcraft trial records at Nai, Korle and Sakumo We, Accra, Ghana

This project will preserve and digitise vulnerable documents held at Korle We (the shrine to the Goddess of the Lagoon), Nai We (the shrine to the Goddess of the Sea) and Sakumo Tsoshishi (the shrine to the God of War) - the three paramount religious shrines in Accra, Ghana. Most of the activities at these places of worship are conducted orally, but there are a significant number of records and visual materials held in the offices of the shrine complexes, including photos, paintings, legal documents, correspondence, and most importantly, ledgers containing the transcripts of witchcraft trials.

The shrines of Korle, Nai and Sakumo are courts of first appeal in the case of spiritual malfeasance, and as such they hear hundreds of cases every year. These cases cannot be forwarded to the Ghanaian courts because there are no provisions within the Ghanaian legal code to deal with the spiritual dimensions of these disputes. The method of judging the trials has been maintained for hundreds of years, but the only remaining documents are held at the shrines. The followers of the gods at these shrines use these documents as references in legal cases, and they have pledged their support in helping to preserve them. However, the shrines operate on limited budgets and lack the expertise to preserve their own archival materials.

The documents at the three paramount shrines contain information that does not exist anywhere else in the city, and that are rare in West Africa. They are the only indigenous documentary accounts of the practices of Ga religion held anywhere. None of this material has been archived before. Unfortunately, the documents are currently being held in the bedrooms or offices of the shrines, on piles or on shelves. The trial records are written in pen in notebooks of dubious integrity. These materials are vulnerable because they are open to access by all members of the shrine and to some members of the public, and as such are constantly moving around. Their storage locations make them vulnerable to neglect, water damage, insects and fire.

This project will digitise all the documentary and visual material. The original materials will be left at the shrines, while digital copies on portable hard drives will be given to each shrine, to the Ghana National Archives, and to the British Library. The shrine leaders are willing to participate in the archiving of the material and will encourage some of their shrine members to participate as a way of learning the techniques of archival preservation. Each shrine will nominate two of its members for training in archival preservation during the project duration. The project has also been approved by the Public Records and Archives Administration Department (PRAAD) of Ghana, who has agreed to catalogue and store digital copies of the originals at their location in Accra, and make them fully and costlessly accessible to scholars.

Project Ref: EAP541
Project Title: Digitisation and preservation of historical archives in the Public Records and Archives Administration (PRAAD) in Tamale, Northern Ghana



This project builds on the earlier initial pilot project EAP256. During that 9-month project, the team carried out an intensive assessment of PRAAD’s collection in Tamale comprising rare historical records on the British colonial administration of Northern Ghana.

The materials targeted for digitisation in this project date back to pre-colonial and colonial periods in the history of northern Ghana. They contain information about British colonial administration of the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast, indigenous slavery, history and culture of northern Ghana. These materials are extraordinary national and global treasures, not only in terms of preserving the history and culture of northern Ghana, but also in terms of their potential impact on historical scholarship, legal matters, and public policy. Examples include chieftancy disputes, land tenure, and colonial legacy. Except for the other PRAAD branches in Accra and Kumasi, there are no similar archives in Ghana housing materials of this historical, cultural, and political importance. The Tamale branch houses collections from three regions of northern Ghana: the northern, upper east, and upper west regions. Despite the mission of the archives to preserve the heritage of the northern portion of the nation for posterity, the bulk of the collections are in dire need of rescue and preservation.

Located 400 miles north of the Atlantic coast in West Africa, Tamale was founded in early 1907 by the British as an administrative centre for the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast. Given the region’s role as a gateway to the northern regions, British District Commissioners were stationed there, reporting to the governor in Accra on colonial and administrative matters. PRAAD’s holdings in Tamale now include these reports, recording colonial disputes, administrative tasks, boundary discussions, court proceedings, land tenure, chieftancy affairs, as well as correspondences with the missionary church in the Northern Territories. The archives also contain historical manuscripts on diverse subjects, including slavery and the history and culture of northern Ghana.

These records are typically maintained in acid-free boxes in humidity-controlled rooms. However, frequent electrical failures and fragile technical conditions make these systems inadequate for conserving these materials. Thus, the tropical climate is causing a significant number of records to deteriorate at alarming rates. The historical records regarding chieftancy and native affairs are particularly deteriorated, some fragile and broken beyond repair.

During the pilot project, the team found that the condition of the colonial records and the historical manuscripts has become sufficiently vulnerable that they should no longer be consulted in their current form; rather, they should be digitised for preservation. Over 45% of the documents examined are extremely fragile. Unless digital copies are made to preserve these materials, the surviving records will be completely destroyed within less than a decade.

At the end of the proposed project, it is estimated that from 100,000 to 120,000 digital images will be produced so that all the endangered materials relating to the British colonial administration of the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast are rescued and preserved, including administrative correspondences of the Chief Commissioners of the Northern Territories, District Commissioners records, colonial maps, towns layouts, and the Historical Accounts of the local culture and traditions. The digital materials will benefit anyone having an interest in the history and culture of Northern Ghana. More broadly, for scholars interested in British colonial rule in Africa, colonial boundaries and disputes, or methods of native administration, the convergence of these subjects as captured in the PRAAD historical records will be a treasure trove.

The project will be undertaken in collaboration with the PRAAD regional branch in Tamale. Once digitised, the collection will be deposited with the British Library and PRAAD in Tamale with on-line access. The host institution, Northern Illinois University, will also serve as a repository and will provide access in an educational and research environment.

The Principal Investigator will work with the Regional Directorate of PRAAD to provide the project personnel with advice on digitisation guidelines, digital imaging procedures, and metadata standards. PRAAD staff will be trained in the techniques of digitisation and preservation within the guidelines of the Endangered Archives Programme. The project will enhance their capacity for a sustainable and effective technological experience and increase their knowledge about digitisation in a collaborative environment. At the end of the project, all equipment procured will remain with PRAAD in Tamale to aid subsequent digitisation and preservation of the historical records.

Project Ref: EAP542
Project Title: Cameroon Photo Press Archives. Protection, conservation, access

The Cameroon Press Photo Archives (CPPA) were founded in Buea in January 1955 by the British colonial administration and were operational until Anglophone West Cameroon unified with the Francophone Republic of Cameroun under President Ahmadou Ahidjo, to form the United Republic of Cameroon in 1972. The photographers working with the government were responsible for covering the President’s and Prime Minister’s agendas as well as any official events of public interest. Thus, the photographic material held by the CPPA grants a unique view of Cameroon’s history for a time period which was, and still is, crucial for its political and social formation. The proposed project will not only secure the material for future research but also raise the awareness of the government and the Cameroonian public for this invaluable visual heritage.

The premises of the CPPA are located in an old and badly maintained colonial building in Buea Town. The negatives are packed in paper envelopes and stored in wooden boxes. All the material is kept in wooden cupboards. The climatic conditions in this part of the country are extreme with regard to rainfall and humidity.

This project has three main components: the first part consists of the digitisation of part of the photographic holdings of the CPPA in Buea. 3,500 groundsheets will be scanned as well as a selection of about 15,000 negatives from a total of about 85,000 negatives, according to pre-defined criteria such as the state of decay of the negative and the relevance and quality of the contact print. Additional attention will be given to some basic conservational measures in that the groundsheets will be re-arranged in new labelled acid free sleeves.

The second part aims at raising the awareness of archivists and young researchers from universities in Cameroon and Switzerland to the challenges and opportunities that work and research in, and with, photographic material can entail as well as in capacity building measures for this group of persons both on a practical and a theoretical level.

The third component consists in negotiating between the Ministry of Communication (responsible for the CPPA) and the Ministry of Culture (in charge of the National Archives branch in Buea) for the relocation of the photographic material to the adjacent Buea National Archives. This move from the CPPA to the National Archives would improve the protection of the vulnerable material and facilitate the access of researchers to the visual records.

Training workshops in digitisation techniques will be held and two work stations will be set up in the premises of the CPPA. Workflow descriptions with regard to the digitisation process, the selection of negatives for scanning, listing and database entries as well as conservation measures to be carried out, will be established and explained to the group working in the CPPA. Mr Mbwaye Emmanuel, the person responsible for the establishment of the CPPA in 1955, although in his eighties, is still very much committed to the Photo Archive and will serve as an invaluable resource person when it comes to the identification of the photographs where written information is lacking.

Project Ref: EAP548
Project Title: The narrative and ritual texts, narrative paintings and other performance related material belonging to the Buchen of Pin Valley, India



This project will survey and eventually document the complete holdings of narrative and ritual texts, narrative paintings and other performance related material belonging to the Buchen of Pin Valley, India.

The Buchen are performers of specialist rituals, travelling actors and disciples of the 14th/15th century ‘crazy saint’ Thangtong Gyalpo. They reside in the culturally Tibetan Pin Valley in Spiti, North India. Buchen households possess individual ‘archives’: collections of written story texts, texts of exorcism/healing rituals, thangkas and other ritual paraphernalia. There has never been a systematic survey of this material, and to date, little research.

Buchen texts and thangkas are seriously endangered. Much appears to have already disappeared. Some of the material has been sold, some worn out by heavy use, others damaged by poor storage: changing Himalayan weather patterns are causing significant problems to mud houses in Spiti.

Buchen are most known for an elaborate exorcism called the Ceremony of Breaking the Stone, once performed by related groups across western Tibet. It seems that these groups have ceased performing. Buchen also enact dramatisations of popular folk-tales, performances related to the Tibetan Opera. These Buddhist morality plays illustrate principles of karma and ideas of impermanence, though often lightened with comedy: Buchen spread the teachings of the Buddha through entertainment. This role links them to a wider Tibetan tradition of lay religious performers called lama manipa, who retell the life stories of Tibetan saints whilst pointing out key scenes on narrative painted cloth scrolls (thangkas). This tradition is probably extinct in Tibet though still exists in Bhutan. It is echoed in Buchen performances where the head Buchen narrates the main scenes of the forthcoming play whilst pointing at thangka illustrations.

The Tibetan Opera is performed by professional groups in the major centres of Tibet and the exile community, but the peripheral regional forms of this theatrical tradition that were once performed all over the Tibetan world are under-researched. An archive of Buchen texts and thangkas could offer substantial material to future researchers. There are a dozen or so stories that are performed as plays by the Buchen. There are also other stories which are narrated rather than enacted.

The Buchen archives have never been dated but the material is probably in the range of 60 to 150 years old. The older handwritten texts may be hand-copied versions of significantly older documents. The textual tradition is neither dated nor researched and its physical condition varies substantially.

The project will produce a report of a survey of all the active and dormant Buchen households in the Pin Valley in Spiti. Household by household, it will detail their complete holdings of narrative and ritual texts (pecha) and narrative paintings (thangkas). It will also detail their other performance related materials, including masks, costumes, statues, printing blocks, ritual objects and musical instruments. Some digital sample copies will also be produced.

Project Ref: EAP550
Project Title: Preservation of Yao manuscripts from South Yunnan: text, image and religion



Shortly before World War II, ritual manuscripts of Yao people living in the mountains in Southwest China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, were briefly documented by several scholars, but then there was a long silence until the early 1970s when scholars “re-discovered” these manuscripts. Scholarship on Yao manuscripts remains rudimentary. Some manuscripts found their way to various collections in Germany, the Netherlands and possibly Japan. Although Yao is a large ethnic group with a population of 2.6 million and geographically distributing in Guangxi, Hunan, Guizhou and Yunnan, there is not a single public collection of Yao manuscripts reported in China. It is impossible to even estimate the quantity of surviving Yao manuscripts.

In previous fieldwork in preserving Yi manuscripts in South Yunnan, a collection of Yao manuscripts was accessed. After checking the physical situation of manuscripts and visiting selected original owners, it is believed that this is an exciting find which will benefit remarkably the study on the social and religious history of Southwest China and mainland Southeast Asia.

Yao manuscripts mainly contain texts used in religious activities on various occasions, including funeral, annual festivals and special rituals for questing fortunes and expelling evils. Yao manuscripts record texts on various subjects but in a relatively standard poetic format, or in few cases, the genre of drama. The texts are read or sang normally by the indigenous priests, termed as shigong in Chinese, accompanied by a couple of female singers in some cases. Since they cover the local knowledge on history, literature, astrology, geography, agriculture and many other subjects, these texts are regarded as the encyclopaedia of Yao people. Yao does not have its own writing, manuscripts thus are written in its spoken language by homophonic Chinese characters or coined characters. It seems that shigong shaman is a family profession succeeding in the patrilineal lineage, therefore Yao manuscripts are preserved in individual families as sort of “secret knowledge” and traditionally it is prohibited to show manuscripts to strangers. Yao manuscripts can be accessed in numbers only when the social changes drive shigong shaman to a marginal status and manuscripts are no longer as cherished. Yao manuscripts are very unique writings which are significant for understanding Yao people, their religion and culture in general.

The extent of the Yao manuscripts is not clear. Previous ethnographic surveys have indicated the existence of Yao manuscripts but no scholar has ever tried to estimate the entire scale. The findings for this project come from Jinping, Lvchun, Yuanyang, Wenshan and Malipo villages along the border betweenYunnan and Vietnam. Their number totals more than 400 volumes so far. In fact, their existence has never been mentioned before. A more thorough survey might reveal more.

The age of most Yao manuscripts is suggested by indirect evidence. Without date marks, Yao manuscripts are dated by their contents, linguistic and material evidence. All manuscripts are written on local-made cotton paper in very bad quality and were used as a daily object by shigong shaman, without any preservation consideration. The average life cycle of a manuscript is less than 50 years. A shigong shaman produces a new copy of manuscript succeeded from his ancestors when needed, and the old one might be burn or buried. So many survival manuscripts are 19th and 20th century copies of texts which could be dated back to the 18th century or earlier.

The Yao manuscripts are endangered in many aspects. Firstly, the quality of the original material and their preservation conditions limit the numbers of Yao manuscripts to the minimum. Secondly, the modernisation process in China after the 1980s also brought dramatic changes to the Yao societies. Most seriously, shigong shaman were marginalised and the indigenous religious activities mostly abandoned. Yao manuscripts were viewed as useless and destroyed at an astonishing speed. Thirdly, smuggling and illegal trading brought further threats.

The project will digitise up to 200 volumes of Yao manuscripts and will establish the first database on this category in China. In order to preserve the original copies of Yao manuscripts in better condition and permanently, matching funds will be sought to relocate these manuscripts to the Archives of the Office of Minority Classics in Kunming. The digital collections will be deposited with the Yunnan Provincial Administrative Office of Minorities Classics in Kunming, Sun Yat-sen University, and the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP556
Project Title: Book heritage of Ural Old Believers



In the second half of the 17th century, Patriarch Nikon reformed church ceremonies and text books. The purpose of the reform was the convergence of Russian, Greek, Belorussian and Ukrainian cultures. In reality it led to a rupture with the Old Russian traditions and Russian society was split into two camps: supporters of reforms – "niconiane" and its opponents – Old Believers. Old Believers were the largest oppositional movement until 1905. They were cruelly persecuted by the state and official Orthodox church and suffered from Stalin’s repressions. But in spite of all the persecutions, Old Believers not only preserved Russian culture, but also developed it, adapting to new living conditions.

The Russian traditional writing kept by Old Believers was formed over many centuries, based on the Byzantine books that had appeared in Russia with Christianity. Russian scribes added to Byzantine book tradition their unique style of compositions and a range of thematic collections, created on a basis of both canonical, and apocryphal Christian books. During the dispute with official Orthodox church and in the religious trend, Old Believers had reinterpreted many compositions of early Christian writers. As a result a huge layer of original literature was created.

From the end of the 17th century the Ural region of Russia became a place of residence of Old Believers who had fled from the persecutions of the authorities in the central areas of the country. From 1974 to 2002 a group of workers from the Department of History (Ural State University) organised archaeographical expeditions to settlements from the Volga region to Western Siberia.

During these expeditions, 6,000 treasures of traditional writing were collected, dating from the 15th to the 20th centuries. The material includes didactic collections and prayer books, original polemics and eschatological compositions of Old Believers, samples of late Russian annals, monuments of historical-demographic and natural-scientific character, manuscript scores which have reflected the original old Russian ways of recording musical texts.

Apart from the monuments of literature, the collection includes archival documents: materials of local Old Believer councils, correspondence of outstanding figures of the Old Believer movement of the 20th century, and photographs of the late 19th to early 20th centuries.

The collection is now housed in the Laboratory of Studies in Archaeography of the Institute for Humanities and Art (Ural Federal University). However, there are no funds for the preservation and restoration of this collection of book treasures. The books, dating back 500 years, arrived at the archive of the Laboratory from the existing environment in very poor condition: polluted, damaged by fungus, with paper collapsing from oxidation. 90% of the collection needs conservation and restoration measures. Due to the absence of funding many treasures of writing of great cultural and scientific value could be lost. There is increased acidity and dryness of paper and many of the books are suffering from a process of cementation and crumbling colours of miniatures. A steady and almost irreversible process of collection destruction is taking place. Researchers’ access to this collection has had to be considerably limited.

This project aims to rescue the most valuable books collected by the Ural Archaeographical expedition. Acid-free cardboard boxes will be purchased to store approximately 4,000 items, and the most valuable and interesting books will be digitised (approximately 20,000 pages) and made available on a website. A seminar to publicise the results of the project will be held, for other holders of old books in the Ural region.

Project Ref: EAP563
Project Title: Preserving the Hume family collection and making it accessible on the web



This project aims to digitise documents of the Hume Family Collection and make them available on the web. The project will need to clean, stabilise and organise the materials, before digitising and uploading to the Web. This collection is significant for the study of the pre-industrialisation process and the first steps of industrialisation in Argentina during the early 20th century. It also represents a very valuable source for local business history.

The material is primarily from the early 20th century. Since the second half of the 19th century, Argentina was a regular exporter of raw materials such as wool, wheat, corn, and later, meat to the international market. Simultaneously and in order to transport the products to the port city of Buenos Aires, trains were a crucial means of transportation. Through British investments the railroad network expanded and became one of the promoters of both economic and social development. The expansion of industry began a little later but unquestionably related with agro activities. This slow growth quickened during the First World War with the country needing to replace industrial goods - so the construction of factories and the enlargement of railroads accelerated in the first decades of the century.

The Hume family arrived in Argentina in the late 19th century and founded the engineering firm ‘Hume Brothers’ in 1880. The company continued until the 1970s. Its main work consisted in planning and building thousands of kilometers of roads – extremely necessary in this context- and also industrial infrastructure. The firm managed similar enterprises in Uruguay, Chile and Brazil around the same period. They usually installed themselves with their families in camps during the works and lived together with the workers.

The material is very special and unique. The glass plates and the photographs illustrate the works and the workers in quarries, bridges, etc. Through them it is possible to observe the transformation of the natural landscape, the traditional way of living and work practices through modernisation. The texts that complement the images include drawings, handmade sketches, budgets of railroads, train stations, warehouses, factories and relevant buildings. The collection will enlighten historical, economical and sociological aspects of this transition from an agro export economy into an industrial one.

The collection consists of approximately 1,500 glass plate stereographs (of which about 1,000 will be digitised), approximately 10,000 documents and three letter books of about 2,500 pages. The glass plate stereographs show emulsion dried, unglued and lifted; vanishing images; and scratches. Some images have been affected by mould. The letter books are in a vulnerable state, with the paper brittle with fading ink.

The Hume Family Collection is currently kept in a room at the University with poor climate conditions. New air conditioning equipment will be purchased from other sources and acid-free envelopes and boxes will be purchased to improve the storage conditions of the original material.

A digital copy of all the material will be kept at the Universidad de San Andrés and a copy deposited with the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP566
Project Title: Endangered Urdu periodicals: preservation and access for vulnerable scholarly resources



This project will be based at the Mushfiq Khwaja Library and Research Centre in Karachi, Pakistan. A minimum of sixty carefully selected titles will be preserved and made accessible. At the end of the project, scholars will have available a significant archive of the most important Urdu periodicals.

The principal rationale for this proposal is that Urdu periodicals have enormous significance for the understanding of Urdu culture and the creation of new knowledge about colonial India. Urdu language was the dominant language of interchange in India through most of the nineteenth century. Since printing in India was cheap, anyone with an opinion might and often did publish a statement of their views. Often such publications were of limited editions, frequently a few hundred copies, and were not collected by many libraries. Yet these publications provide us today with a broad spectrum of writings by colonial Indians on all the major and many minor issues that stirred them in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Such writings are invaluable to historians of social, cultural, literary, and intellectual change; to those interested in the development of South Asian languages and the ways these languages were used expressively during the last century; for pedagogical purposes in advanced language courses; and to other scholars. Unfortunately, political disenfranchisement of Urdu culture in much of South Asia and the high acid paper used to produce the periodicals have made this literature highly vulnerable. It is rare to find complete runs of even the most important Urdu periodicals in South Asian libraries. And, even when located, the paper is often very brittle. Further, many of the periodicals are not in the British colonial archives as the number of periodical subscriptions was severely limited, especially those in the languages of the subcontinent. Some periodicals have already completely vanished.

A panel of eminent Urdu scholars in the social sciences and humanities, and librarians has already selected thirty of the most important Urdu periodical titles not yet available as preservation microfilm. Selection panelists will continue to use bibliographies, library catalogues, and the contents of the South Asia Union Catalogue in addition to direct consultation of the periodicals as the prioritised list of Urdu periodicals is expanded. The range of publication dates included under this project will be determined based on legal opinion regarding preservation under the relevant copyright laws of Pakistan and India. Only periodical issues which are in the public domain will be presented for consultation via the internet.

This project will preserve selected titles by creating high-resolution digital page images of the periodicals, starting with the collections available at the Mushfiq Khwaja Library. Project staff will receive advanced training in use of the digitisation equipment at the very beginning of the project. Image capture will continue at other South Asian collections as necessary, to assemble as complete runs as possible. Digitisation will be undertaken following EAP guidelines.

Cataloguing and indexing of the periodicals will be done under funding from other current projects of the Digital South Asia Library, the South Asia Microform Project, and the South Asia Union Catalogue. Access to the preserved Urdu periodicals will be provided through digital images deposited with the British Library. Digital images and catalogue data will also be accessible on the Digital South Asia Library website and the Hathi Trust Digital Library. Participating libraries in South Asia will be able to receive digital copies of periodicals at no cost.

Project Ref: EAP568
Project Title: From indigenous subjects to indigenous citizens: digitising state-society relations in the State Archive of Oaxaca

This project is intended to save, secure, and digitise the colonial and post-Independence documents of the Archivo del Poder Ejectivo del Estado de Oaxaca (AGPEEO). In order to do this, the project will train Mexican archivists in methods of preservation, cataloguing, digitising and disseminating endangered archives; provide equipment for a large-scale digitisation project; move documents into acid free boxes for their safety; and disseminate information about the project to other state and ecclesiastical archivists.

This digitisation project is designed to save and secure over 300,000 pages of endangered documents detailing state-society relations in Oaxaca during the colonial period and the nineteenth century. These documents, which look at the complex cultural, political, and economic negotiations between all tiers of society, are of fundamental use to historians, anthropologists, and linguists concerned with discovering the continuities and disjunctures in indigenous life during the shift from colonial to post-colonial world. The records reveal how isolated Spanish administrators exploited, engaged with, and often had to give in to indigenous lords, peasants, and traders; they provide a rare insight into changing patterns of governance and racial relations in New Spain. Nineteenth and early twentieth century records attest to the state’s manifolds attempts to “modernise” and reshape state-indigenous relations. Finally, legal disputes over land tenure, which comprise nearly 100,000 pages, are of great use to historians attempting to understand the process of nineteenth-century disentailment and privatisation.

At present the documents are stored in the AGPEEO in an old, converted convent. Around 70,000 colonial pages are catalogued, stored in boxes, and shelved. Most of the other documents are bound in bundles and are in rough piles. There is no climate control, and they face damage by termites, ants, mould, dust, occasional floods and rodents. Despite the rather dire situation of the archive, there is no physical reason why the documents cannot be digitised. Furthermore, with recent political changes, more professional state administrators are keen to secure the archive.

This major research project will be implemented by Dr Benjamin Smith and the head archivist of the State Archive, Anel Jarquín Méndez. Dr Smith has worked in the archive for ten years, while Anel Jarquín Méndez has been attempting to order and save the collection for over twenty. The director of the archive strongly supports the project and brought the perilous state of the collections to Smith’s attention.

The outcomes of the project will be threefold. First, digital copies of approximately 303,800 pages in the archive will be produced. These will be stored on external hard drives and a server in the AGPEEO. Digital copies on external drives will be sent to the British Library and Michigan State University. Second, 233,000 of these 303,800 pages, which have yet to be properly stored, will be catalogued and stored in acid-free boxes. Third, an international conference about the project will be convened and a small pamphlet produced in both Spanish and English.

Project Ref: EAP569
Project Title: Safeguarding Nzema history: documents on Nzema land in Ghanaian national and local archives



The aim of this project is to identify and collect information on relevant documents about Nzema culture and history. These documents regard the land management system and local power structure that has been in place in Ghana since pre-colonial times and that still plays a fundamental role in Nzema society today.

The archives selected to be surveyed and the most vulnerable sections digitised are:

  • the Public Records and Archive Administration Department (PRAAD) in Secondi-Takoradi (Western Ghana Region);
  • the Western Nzema Traditional Council Archive in Beyin (Jomoro District, Western Region);
  • the Eastern Nzema Traditional Council Archive in Atuabo (Ellembele District, Eastern Region).

The collections of interest to this project form a heterogeneous corpus of data, scattered across the three archives, and include records regarding land rights and borders during pre-colonial times (hand-written documents, maps and diaries); records regarding forms of traditional power (lists of chiefs, chiefdoms and transmission acts); and acts from oral proceedings that document disputes on local land rights. These documents are a corpus of great importance for the study of Nzema culture and history, as they track traditional power forms and testify the history of traditional chiefdoms. They embody both tangible and intangible aspects of cultural heritage, and are of high significance for the study of traditional forms of power among the Nzema.

The collections require a preliminary survey aimed at identify and gathering better information upon the conditions and the extent of the records withheld. The aim is also to digitise part of the material that is currently most at risk (approximately 1,000 documents) in order to ensure its safety.

In particular, the most ancient and vulnerable collections stored at the two Traditional Councils, in Beyin and Atuabo need to be safeguarded. They are kept in rooms with high levels of humidity and highly variable temperature levels, they have not been catalogued, and the medium is deteriorating very badly. The collections need to be described, the documents need to be cleaned and stored separately, and subsequently digitised to grant their preservation.

The outcomes of this pilot project will be a full survey report on the collections of interest at the PRAAD of Sekondi-Takoradi and at the Traditional Council’s archives of Beyin and Atuabo (Western and Eastern Nzema Traditional Areas). Training will be provided on preservation, digitization and digital records management. One day of training will be held at the PRAAD Regional Archive in Sekondi-Takoradi and two days of training at the Fort Apollonia Museum (also open to PRAAD staff). Sets of the collections that are most at risk at the Traditional Councils’ Archives will be digitised. Digitisation will be done in situ, while the collections held at the PRAAD Regional Archive in Sekondi-Takoradi will be the object of a preliminary survey first. The groundwork will also be laid for a future major project.

ICAR (The Central Institute for Archives of the Italian Ministry of Culture) will act as advisor to the project and DIGILAB, the “Multimedia Archive for Humanities of the University of Rome, Sapienza” is providing training on digitisation and on the use of an open source software, compliant with the use of archival description standards

The project aims at being both an occasion to safeguard and make available documents that are important to the Nzema community, and to allow the staff of the Fort Apollonia Museum to learn how to handle preservation through digitisation and digital record management. This pilot project will result in a significant contribution to the newly created museum, supporting the Museum’s mission of raising awareness over the issue of heritage preservation within the Nzema community.

Project Ref: EAP570
Project Title: Digital documentation of Dongkala, Chizing, Pagar and Phajoding temple archives



The kingdom of Bhutan is known today as the last bastion of the Himalayan Buddhist civilisation. Its temples and monastic libraries are seen as untouched repositories of the religious and cultural wealth which has been lost or seriously damaged in other parts of the Tibetan Buddhist world. With a long history and undisturbed continuity, Bhutan’s far flung temples and monastic archives represent a literary trove which is still largely unharmed and unexplored. They embody the philosophical and religious underpinnings of a traditional cultural ethos, which is fast disappearing under the pressure of modernisation and globalisation. Sadly, the remote temple archives today face unprecedented neglect and disinterest as more and more Bhutanese leave their rural homes to start life in urban areas and are preoccupied with pursuits of modern facilities. The temples of Dongkala, Chizhing, Dodedra and Phojoding have significant manuscript collections dating from the 16th century and later, covering a wide range of subjects from canonical writings to local biographical and ritual literature.

The hill top temple of Dongkala was first founded by two very interesting figures: Drubwang Rinchen Chodor and his disciple Terton Tsering Dorji, who were leading religious figures of their time in western Bhutan. While the former was a great meditation master who was well versed in both Kagyu and Nyingma meditation systems, the latter was one of the very few Bhutanese treasure discoverers. He rediscovered a highly advanced cycle of meditation teachings during his trip to Tibet. Very little was known about them until the project team came across an old autobiography of Terton Tshering Dorji in Dongkala temple during preliminary work. This autobiography may date from as early the 16th century as do many other books in the temple archive. The archive also holds a version of rNying ma rgyud ‘bum manuscript, which is said to be quite different from other Bhutanese redactions. The temple was severely damaged by earthquake in September 2011.

Chizhing Samtencholing was founded by the Sakya master Lodoe Rabyang in the 16th century, although little is known about the founder and his life. The temple houses a rich collection of books including a set of manuscript kanjur and works of the great Sakya scholars in xylographic print. The establishment presents a very unique case for the study of religious history in Bhutan as it was the main Sakya centre in Bhutan, which retained its Sakya affiliation even after the takeover of Bhutan by the Drukpa Kagyu school. The temple is now under the Central Monastic Body following the Drukpa Kagyu school and has seen acts of religious conversion and contestation even in recent years with the formal ban on the worship of a Sakya deity considered malicious by the Central Monastic Body in Bhutan.

Phajoding started in the 13th century as a hermitage of Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo, who brought the Drukpa Kagyu tradition to Bhutan. However, it saw its heyday in the medieval period of Bhutan’s history when the great scholar and 9th Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot, Shakya Rinchen and many other Chief Abbots of Bhutan retired to this monastic hermitage. Its main temple complex was built around 1755 by the 13th Desi ruler Sherab Wangchuk and Shakya Rinchen. Many monastic buildings were added in the later centuries and its library has also incrementally grown to be a rich collection of over 1,000 volumes including manuscripts and block prints. It was here that writings of the absolutist Tibetan philosopher Shakya Chokden were printed after they were banned in Tibet.

Dodedra, literally the ‘cliff of scriptures’, was established in 1779 by the 13th Chief Abbot Yonten Thaye (1724-84) and became also the seat of the 18th and 27th Chief Abbots of Bhutan. Its collection contains over 200 volumes of rare and interesting books including manuscripts of many local writings by Yonten Thaye, Shakya Rinchen, Sherab Gyaltshen and Jigme Norbu. It is believed that the collection contains unique short works by Yonten Thaye composed in the local vernacular although this is yet to be confirmed. The collection also contains manuscripts of the texts attributed to the 16th century Tibetan treasure discoverer Tshewang Gyalpo.

The books in these places are housed in the temple halls, generally wrapped in cloth and sometimes bound with a rope and stacked on the shelves of the temples. They remain vulnerable to damage and even possible destruction. For instance, the earthquake on 19 September 2011 has affected 339 temple in western Bhutan including those mentioned here, and destroyed 17 beyond repair. Similarly, a temple in Bumthang, which was built in the 8th century, and Pagar temple from the 18th century were reduced to ashes in the past year by accidental fire, probably from an electric short circuit. Despite the spiritual, academic and artistic significance of these collections to the local communities, scholars and wider audience, they remain in precarious conditions.

Making digital copies has proven to be the most effective and economical method of preservation. Such digital reproduction is also recognised as the best method to make the resources speedily available to the wider scholarly world, which otherwise would have no access to the collections due to their remote location and the restricted entry to Bhutan imposed on foreigners. Thus, the project plans to reproduce the entire manuscript collections in the four monastic centres in digital copies. Consent has already been obtained from the relevant authorities and the experience, equipments and staff from previous projects will be used. The outcome of the project will be at least 200,000 tiff images of the books with accompanying listings. A set of all the images will be deposited with the National Library and Archives of Bhutan, the Central Monastic Body under which the monasteries operate, and the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP571
Project Title: Digital preservation of newspapers of the first half of the twentieth century in Nicaragua



This project aims to digitise a collection of Nicaraguan newspapers dating from the first half of the twentieth century and held in the collections of the Institute of History of Nicaragua and Central America. Digitisation will ensure the preservation of newspapers that are part of the documentary heritage of the country. The condition of the collections is critical and there is a great risk of losing the newspapers if no action is taken.

The project aims to digitise approximately 26,000 pages, of the following newspapers:
El Comercio 1903-1916 and 1918-1919
La Noticia 1916-1917 and 1937-1940
El Diario Nicaragüense 1910-1916
La Tribuna 1917-1925 and 1928
La Prensa 1936-1940
El Liberal 1935-1936

This collection of newspapers represents a primary source for research and analysis of turbulent periods in the national and regional history of Nicaragua. They contain details of the conflicts and political debates, as well as cultural and economic transformations as a result of liberal reforms in Central America. Precious information about the agroexport model (coffee production) and the nation state building process are also to be found. These newspapers are unique sources to study the US military intervention, and the dispute with Great Britain over the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast.

The collection covers decisive periods in the history of Nicaragua, including the US military intervention (1909-1933) and its impact on the formation of a strong political and economic elite, which constituted the modern national state. It also documents the struggle led by Augusto C. Sandino (1926-1934) and the emergence of the Somoza dictatorship (1934-1940). Due to the destruction of archives and other historical documents because of natural disasters (Managua’s earthquake in 1972) this collection stands as a unique source for studying the first half of the twentieth century in Nicaragua.

The collection is located on wooden shelves. Most are bound and have varying degrees of deterioration. The main damage is deterioration of pages due to physical handling, general deterioration due to the acidity of the paper, insect attacks and moths, poor storage conditions, water damage, moisture and dust. Only those newspapers in a suitable condition will be selected for digitisation. In the rainy season of May to October, it is difficult to control the humidity which increases to 70%, resulting in mould growth.

As a result of this project, the original newspapers will be guaranteed through digital and online copies. Digital copies will be sent to national institutions that have information centres: Institute of History of Nicaragua and Central University Library, Central Bank of Nicaragua, Central Library of the UCA, and La Prensa. A copy will be sent to the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP584
Project Title: Preserving memory II - documentation and digitisation of palm leaf manuscripts from Kerala, India



Kerala is home to a vast and rich collection of manuscripts spread across public and private repositories. Written in languages such as Malayalam, Sanskrit, and Arabic, these manuscripts are spread all over the region in state-sponsored repositories and archives, private, religious and educational institutions as well as family collections.

Kerala has a unique contribution to the fields of intellectual thought from early times. There is a rich tradition of literature surviving in Kerala on areas pertaining to philosophical insights, scientific systems, artistic traditions and architectural techniques. The scientific traditions range from mathematics, astronomy, metallurgy, diverse medicinal systems, agricultural practices of farming and cultivation, trade and commerce, statecraft and government, the martial arts of combat and warfare. The artistic traditions cover texts and commentaries on performing arts like music and dance, and ornamental or decorative crafts like carving and painting, pottery and metalwork. There are several texts from Kerala on theory and practice of construction including those on building and architecture. Innovative progress in mathematics (which later came to be known as the Kerala School of Mathematics) flourished in Kerala during the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries, as well as in astronomy through the computation of planetary latitudes.

It is also hoped to unearth some vital documents relating to Kerala‘s trade route. For the last two millenia, Kerala had the unique advantage of coming into contact with several cultures including Greeks, Arabs, Jews, Romans - and later the Portuguese, the French and the English - and other merchants and mariners from across the world through an active trade link across the seas. This interaction through the centuries resulted in great cross-fertilisation of ideas and knowledge, transforming the cultural scenario of the land. The peaceful co-existence of religions such as Hindu, Muslim and Christian is a special feature of Kerala culture. There are several documents on Syrian, Jewish and Arab history, religion and culture that lie with churches, mosques and other such places. There are texts in Latin and Greek, comprising trade documents written like handbooks or manuals based on facts and rationale, and there are also texts containing fiction and legends pertaining to Kerala‘s interaction with other cultures.

This knowledge heritage will collectively combine to create a knowledge resource that is highly pertinent to the study and exploration of Kerala’s history and culture. A major portion of the manuscripts in the repositories are old and dust-ridden, and mostly in a state of neglect, tucked away in cupboards or tied up in gunny bags. Most of the manuscripts are around 300 - 400 years old. However, some of them are very rare and important, and are around 600 - 700 years old.

The manuscripts kept in private repositories are dusty, brittle and are under the daily threat of damage due to lack of knowledge for preservation. Until recently, consigning manuscripts into the sea or river on auspicious days was considered the best practice to preserve them, for avoiding the sin of witnessing their decay. There were also age-old gender-discriminatory practices such as a ban on women touching manuscripts. The knowledge-bearers who deciphered, interpreted and used these documents are also dwindling today.

Before these manuscripts vanish due to neglect and lack of facilities for proper storage, they need to be digitised, to disseminate the knowledge. The project will identify, document, digitise and create a digital archival repository of 200,000 pages of palm leaf manuscripts from five districts in Northern Kerala, India. The archive of digital material generated through the project will be housed at FOLKLAND: International Centre for Folklore and Culture in Kerala. A copy will be deposited with the British Library and repository owners will receive a digital copy of their own material.

Project Ref: EAP592
Project Title: The music of Burma on record

This project will safeguard the earliest but endangered recorded musical traditions of Burma, and in turn, offer an open access avenue through which the global community may enjoy and study those musical traditions.

The target materials, 78rpm records, date from those first produced by local Burmese recording companies in the early 1920s to the end of the 1950s. The recordings capture performances of centuries-old court, classical, dramatic, vocal, and folk music as traditions gave way to the “internationalising” of style and tuning towards solidification in the 1960s. With the earliest recordings pre-dating the stylistic changes that follow and the re-tuning of instruments to “international” standards during the 1960s, these recordings are significant as our only existing aural documentation of pre-industrial music in Burma. Further, there are no existing recording collections of any substantial size held outside of Burma. The project has identified 82 unique local companies that developed within Burma resulting from developmental training of local Burmese engineers and producers. Since few of these local companies still exist and production runs were extremely small, these are the most endangered of the target materials. Approximately 6,000 recordings will be digitised.

The urgency of the project is high due to a combination of difficult circumstances. Access to libraries and archives in Burma is extremely restricted and it is confirmed that the National Archives holds no significant amount of historical audio recordings and that the radio archive has been irrevocably damaged, first by decades of neglect, then abandonment when the capital was moved from Yangon to Naypyidaw, and finally from exposure during the Cyclone Nargis event of 2008. Therefore, this project relies wholly on recordings held among identified private collectors and stored in their private homes, in unprofessional conditions and vulnerable to long-term damage and decay.

Copies of the digital collection will be deposited with the Gitameit Music Center and Library in Yangon, the University of Washington, Southeast Asia Digital Library, and the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP593
Project Title: Lekil Kuxlejal: archiving Tenejapa's indigenous heritage



Mexico's indigenous population has often been considered to be a people without a history but clearly such peoples do have histories. Tenejapa, like many communities, has documents dating back several centuries. Chiapas is one of Mexico's least developed States - generally contact with mainstream Mexican culture has been slight and social and technical change very gradual.

The Zapatista revolution in 1994 did more to alter the community's outlook than any previous changes: its after effects brought Tenejapa into the global ecumene. The community changed from one whose distinctive religious and political structures were still intact - an agrarian backwater predominantly consisting of face to face relations - to a community that was beginning to fully experience the developments of the wider world. It brought to the attention of the Mexican Government various social ills (some of which were addressed) but it also literally opened up Tenejapa - good roads were finally constructed enabling the inhabitants from remote areas to get out more easily but also the state to penetrate more fully.

The late 1990s marked the moment that the community became self-conscious about its practices. Its socio-cultural traditions, rather than being taken for granted and embodied unthinkingly, began to be seen as aspects of their life that should be cherished, preserved and propagated. For Tenejapans had and still have a unique culture which may soon disappear completely and which is of significance not only to anthropologists and researchers in other disciplines, but also to other outsiders and the locals themselves.

Some endangered materials have been amassed through time and are a part of, and represent this vanishing culture. They consist of documents from the 20th century, some from the late 19th century (S Drucker: personal communication) and photographs, negatives, colour slides and audio tapes. The materials are currently stored in desks in the Casa de la Cultura, located in the Town Hall. Under these conditions, the materials are vulnerable to humidity, dust and general deterioration. They could be at risk in the event of any future political unrest.

The project will create an inventory of the collection, aiming to identify material worthy of digitisation in a future major project. The material will be re-housed in acid-free storage boxes and a small prioritised section will be digitised.

Project Ref: EAP596
Project Title: Safeguarding Anguilla's heritage: a survey of the endangered records of Anguilla



No archival work has been undertaken in Anguilla to date. Many historically significant records which have survived neglect and disasters are scattered around the island where they remain at risk of loss, decay and further neglect.

Although inhabited by Europeans since the early 17th century, until a few decades ago Anguilla was a poor and undeveloped sub-territory in the British West Indies, ruled by Antigua and St Kitts. For centuries, the island relied on a subsistence economy and remittances from abroad for survival. The impoverishment of the island meant that it was largely abandoned by the colonial authorities in both Antigua (the head of government of the Colony of the Leeward Islands for many years) and London. There was little public administration until the Peacekeeping Committee assumed the island’s administration at the time of the 1967 Revolution. The first Legislature to make laws for Anguilla was not started until 1976, although the first court for the trial of felonies sat in 1825 and applied St Kitts-made laws. During this time the island was to some degree connected by trade and family connections with the surrounding Leeward Islands, but remained an isolated and unique place.

A number of records have survived from the early period, including records from Anguilla’s mainly self-appointed executive council, government records such as the Register of births, deaths and marriages, the Registry of Deeds (c.1820-), records of the Court of King’s Bench, and vital records from a number of churches on the island. These records are currently housed in very poor conditions where they remain at risk of loss and further decay. Other contemporary documents doubtless exist, relating to the unique socio-economic conditions that prevailed in the small landholding and subsistence society of pre-industrial Anguilla.

No national or cultural institution has assumed formal responsibility for archives in Anguilla. Very little archival work has been undertaken to date, and only on a voluntary and non-professional basis. Most notably, the Anguilla Archaeological & Historical Society (AAHS), although lacking in resources, has intervened on an ad hoc basis in order to prevent the destruction of historical records wherever possible.

No national survey of historical documents has yet been undertaken in Anguilla. Consequently, the full extent and historical significance of Anguilla’s documentary heritage remains largely unknown. Many irreplaceable archival materials have already been destroyed as a result of natural forces – including hurricanes – and human neglect. Urgent action is required if the remaining historical resources are to survive for future generations of Anguillians and the broader research community interested in the history of the Leeward Islands.

The proposed survey will focus on the identification and relocation to safe storage of historical records created by government and private entities. While it remains uncertain how many pre-1900 records have survived, it is anticipated that more recent records will also be captured in the project, including records relating to the boat building and salt industries, early records of Radio Anguilla, and varied records relating to the Revolution of 1967.

The AAHS is aware of a number of locations which harbour archival records, including a central ‘archives’ room in which a number of bound manuscripts and archival documents have been amassed over the years, and a number of filing cabinets in government offices which contain unique documents relating to the Anguilla Revolution of 1967 and the British invasion of 1969. Other unidentified and unprotected records are known to linger in various government and private offices and locales. It is intended that the proposed project will conduct a systematic survey of government offices and the central library facility, and will further identify additional locations where records are held, by means of personal contacts and interviews with local historians and interested individuals known to the AAHS Board members.

A trained contract archivist will execute the project by collecting information gathered during meetings with government officials and other stakeholders, paying particular attention to the records’ context, original order and physical condition. The archival materials identified in the project will be relocated to a secure storage room in the Government’s Courts Building, which has been made available for this purpose to the AAHS. A group of records will be digitised from the earliest surviving records, including the Register of births, deaths and marriages. In addition to preserving these documents via a surrogate record, this will also serve as a trial of equipment and techniques for a larger digitisation project and will leave a legacy of equipment and local skills on Anguilla, which presently do not exist.

Urgent action is required to systematically identify, relocate and properly box the archival records of Anguilla and prepare the process of digitising significant records for wider dissemination.

Project Ref: EAP602
Project Title: Preservation of the audio recording collection in the Sherif Harar City Museum, Ethiopia

This project aims to preserve for posterity the collection of audio recordings held by Abdulahi Ali Sherif in Harar, Ethiopia. The collection of more than 60 reel tapes and more than 300 cassette tapes was amassed over the last 30 years and includes documentation of the musical and ritual traditions of Harar in all their diversity of form, context and language. Most of the material was recorded during the notorious rule of the Socialist Derg regime that imposed restrictions of cultural expression. The collection represents the only known regional collection of audio recordings from that historical period. The recordings include unique documents of local religious practices and of the female sacred and secular traditional repertoires, in addition to a vast repertoire of songs of the traditional young male associations that do not exist anymore and whose sonic memory is on the verge of being lost to the community.

The collection therefore represents an irreplaceable resource both for the use of the local community (and its diaspora) and for scholarly research. Furthermore, these musical legacies represent documentation of important aspects of the changing culture of this pre- industrial urban community over the dramatic historical changes of the last few decades. Harar, 2006 UNESCO World Heritage Site, is considered a treasured enclave of a thriving Islamic culture that has been cultivated for centuries by the Harari people. Amidst political and social turmoil of the twentieth century, this community struggled to not only survive, but also avoid unmitigated displacement and continue to prosper in their traditional homeland.

Although rich in content, this collection of musical heritage is not without complications. Many of the reel tapes are damaged and corrupted. Moreover, there is a constantly decreasing quality in the original recordings (often due to improper storage), and many tapes are broken or twisted. This audio collection is currently kept in the Sherif Harar City Museum, developed from the collection of its first curator, Mr. Abdulahi Ali Sherif who has painstakingly acquired objects related to the culture of the region. The Harari National Regional State contacted UNESCO to transform the former Sherif Private Museum, which was located in Mr. Sherif’s family home, into the Sherif Harar City Museum. In recognition of his lifetime dedication to the safeguarding of Harar’s cultural heritage, the Harari National Regional State provided the Ras Tefari House as the new venue for the collection since 2007. The UNESCO/Norwegian Funds-in-Trust project contributed to the renovation of the Ras Tefari House, cataloguing of the collection, purchase of equipment, exhibition design and training of museum staff. The regional government also received financial and technical assistance from the embassies of France, Sudan and the USA. However, the focus of this international recognition and support to date has been the collection of manuscripts and artefacts in the museum, not the preservation of the tape collection.

The project will start by bringing to Ethiopia all the equipment needed for the audio digitisation. This will include a professional cassette tape player and a refurbished reel to reel tape player, professional-grade laptop-based sound capturing workstation, and enterprise-class storage. During the first trip to Harar, the Principal Investigator will train Abdulahi Ali Sherif and at least one of his assistants on usage and maintenance of the equipment, explaining and demonstrating the workflow to carry out digitisation of the tapes, backup procedures, collection and organisation of metadata. The training sessions will be also attended by Prof Ahmed Zekaria, advisor at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies Museum in Addis Ababa, who will supervise the digitisation work while the PI is in the UK. It is estimated that more than 500 hours will have to be captured. Considering the technical and sometimes unpredictable difficulties of this work, the PI will return to Harar after about six months, to make sure that the work is proceeding according to the agreed high standard. A third trip will be made towards the end of the project, to finalise the work and collect the copy of the digital collection for the British Library.

All the tapes and their cases will be cleaned and stored in acid-free boxes. The digital sound collection will be freely available for public access at the Sherif Harar City Museum in a dedicated multimedia consultation room.

This collection will significantly encourage and help research in the field of ethnomusicology on all aspects of Harari musical traditions. In addition, the religious ritual documentation will provide reference for research in religious and historical studies. Finally, all parts of the collection will enrich any research on the local languages spoken in the city of Harar and its surroundings.

Project Ref: EAP607
Project Title: Identify, relocate and digitise Native Administration records (1891-1964) - major project



This project aims to preserve Native Administration records which were generated between 1891 and 1964 by Native Authorities (traditional chiefs) in Malawi, formerly Nyasaland. The records represent a rich history of Malawi from the colonial period through the transition up to self-rule. At first the country was known as Nyasaland which was a British protectorate proclaimed in 1891, then briefly changed to British Central African Protectorate from 1893 to 1907, before reverting to its former name of Nyasaland. It became part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland from 1953 to 1963. After dissolution of the Federation, the country became independent in 1964. Prior to independence, the Colonial Government introduced Native Authorities in Nyasaland as a way of involving the local people in the governance process through their own traditional institutions that were incorporated in the colonial administrative set-up. The introduction of Native Authorities meant that native chiefs became part of Government administration. As such, in the course of undertaking government business, the chiefs created, received, and maintained a lot of administrative records.

Prior to British colonialism, Malawi was a predominantly oral society where everything was transacted and captured orally. The establishment of Native Authorities marked an historic transition as traditional leaders were required to conduct and capture official business on paper. The Native Administration records are therefore immensely unique and historical as they portray the interaction between the literate Western culture and oral African culture and the subsequent triumph of literacy over illiteracy in Malawi. The records are a lasting legacy of the impact of colonialism on the people of Malawi and for this reason, the Native Administrative records need to be rescued from destruction and professionally preserved in the National Archives of Malawi for wider public access.

From July to September 2011, the National Archives of Malawi carried out a pilot project EAP427 where records rooms in 32 traditional authorities in the northern region of Malawi were inspected to confirm whether traditional chiefs are still keeping the records and to assess the condition of such records. The results of the survey established that there are significant volumes of vital records relating to the native administration between 1891 and 1964. These records are not replicated nor found anywhere else except in the individual native authorities country-wide and none of them have been transferred to the National Archives. The Native Administration records are regarded as personal property inherited by successive chiefs over the past century. Some of the records sampled during the survey include correspondence (in both vernacular and English languages), diaries, photographs, tax, and court records. The survey also revealed that the records in question are very delicate and vulnerable to decay as they are kept under very poor storage conditions mostly in chiefs’ houses and courts (which sometimes leak during rainy seasons) and in some cases the records are almost destroyed by termites. The termite attacks coupled with the fragility of the records due to their old age make the records even more vulnerable to total destruction. To prevent further deterioration, and to secure the documentary heritage contained in these unique and historical records, the National Archives of Malawi is undertaking this major project to further identify and asses the nature and volume of Native Administration records in Malawi. The project will digitise and re-locate the most endangered records from the Native Authorities to the National Archives of Malawi.

The project targets 60 chiefs from 27 districts in Malawi. It is expected that an estimated volume of 80 cubic feet of rare and irreplaceable Native Administration records will be identified and relocated to the National Archives of Malawi for digital and physical preservation for wider public access. Approximately 20,000 records will be digitised. During the preliminary survey it was established that many traditional chiefs who own these important collections have no objection to relinquishing them. This is because they understand the knowledge value of the collections, but realise that they do not have the capacity and appropriate facilities to take care of the records. The absence of these records in the National Archives of Malawi has created an historical gap in the public archives and, as part of Malawi’s documentary heritage, the Native Administration records need to be identified, collected, organised, conserved and digitised.

Once these records are organised and digitised the National Archives will undertake awareness programmes to enable the public to know the existence of these digitised records.

Project Ref: EAP608
Project Title: Guinea's Syliphone archives - II

This project continues from project EAP327, which had to be abruptly terminated in 2009 due to civil unrest in Guinea. Following official advice from the Australian, UK and USA governments for their citizens to leave the country, the Principal Investigator regrettably had to leave the project unfinished. In 2010 Guinea held a series of multi-party elections which inaugurated the nation’s first civilian government. Since the elections of 2010 the country has been stable, the former President lives in exile, and the military are largely confined to their barracks. Democracy has been embraced in Guinea, after 52 years of military rule.

In 1958 Guinea gained independence and the newly elected government sought ways to revitalise the nation after a long period of colonial rule. In order to instil a sense of nationhood and to reinvigorate the indigenous arts the government introduced the concept of “authenticité”, a cultural policy whereby artists were encouraged to "look to the past" for inspiration and to incorporate themes and styles from local traditions into their new works. The authenticité programme saw the creation of a vast network of state-funded regional arts troupes, which represented the nation’s towns, districts and regions. Over 50 regional and national orchestras formed a major part of these troupes, and together with groups such as Les Ballets Africains they toured the world and travelled extensively within Africa. The concept of authenticité was thus spread to other African nations, such as Mali, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Zaïre, many of whom adopted authenticité as their official cultural policy.

In Guinea, authenticité provided the basis for the development of new styles of popular African music in the 1960s. A key method of the music’s distribution was via Guinea's Syliphone recording label. A state-funded enterprise, Syliphone was the first state-funded African recording label of the postcolonial era, releasing some 728 songs which featured Guinea's modern orchestras, folkloric troupes, and solo artists. Production of Syliphone recordings continued until 1984, with the death of President Sékou Touré. In 1985 an attempted coup in Conakry saw the building which housed the Syliphone catalogue destroyed.

In 2008, project EAP187 enabled the successful restoration of the Syliphone catalogue of vinyl recordings, now housed in Guinea’s national library. The archive was officially launched in Guinea’s National Museum complex in September 2008 as part of Guinea’s 50th year of independence celebrations.

Guinea’s Voix de la Révolution studio recorded the bulk of Guinean music in the era of the 1st Republic (1958-1984). Many of the original studio recordings date to the early 1960s and exist only on reel-to-reel format. These tapes are deteriorating rapidly but Guinea’s sound archives have neither the resources nor the hardware for transferring the music to digital format. The Guinean government granted permission to copy the reel-to-reels, a rare privilege, although there were far more reels than had been envisaged. This project will digitise the remaining approximate 450 reels which had not been digitised previously.

In an era of globalisation, the authenticité movement via the Syliphone catalogue represented a significant chapter in African history, when a new nation asserted its voice and placed the indigenous arts at the forefront of its cultural identity. This project will bring to light the true scope of the authenticité policy, a cultural policy which captured Africa's imagination and led to an extraordinary era of creativity in Guinea and in Africa. A complete archive of Syliphone recordings would serve as a showcase for the nation's rich cultural heritage.

Project Ref: EAP609
Project Title: Digitising Malay writing in Sri Lanka



This project aims to create a digital archive of Malay writing (including manuscripts, printed books, letters, other documents) held in private collections in Sri Lanka. Written for the most part in Arabic script (but also in the Roman, Tamil and Sinhala scripts) by descendants of exiles, convicts, and soldiers from the Indonesian archipelago and the Malay Peninsula between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, these rare and fragile documents attest to social and cultural aspects of the community’s life, allow for an expansion of our definitions of the ‘Malay World,’ and provide insight into local forms of Islam. There is urgent need to document and preserve such collections, endangered not only by tropical weather and the ravages of time, but also by their owners’ lack of knowledge in archival preservation and a contemporary ignorance regarding the manuscripts’ content and significance.

The Malays of Sri Lanka are a remarkable community, having preserved a spoken dialect of Malay and a rich writing tradition in that language despite living in South Asia for over three centuries. Today most fragile manuscripts that still survive are kept in private collections in poor conditions and many are discarded as their owners age and die, and the younger generation no longer reads the Arabic script in which the manuscripts are written nor understands their content or significance.

The history of the ‘Malay’ community in Sri Lanka goes back to the middle of the seventeenth century, following the foundation of Dutch rule in the island in 1640. The designation ‘Malay’ has been commonly used to refer to people from the Indonesian Archipelago who were exiled to Sri Lanka by the Dutch as political exiles and convicts, or recruited as soldiers to colonial armies, both Dutch and at a later stage, British. Many of those designated as Malay were of Javanese or east Indonesian ancestry, and the early exiles included members of diverse local elites. Despite the distance from the Indonesian-Malay world the Sri Lankan community maintained a flourishing literary culture, with works that closely resemble those produced in the Malay “heartlands” as well as local creations.

This project follows up on the earlier pilot project EAP 450 aimed at surveying the condition of Malay manuscripts and printed books in Sri Lanka and assessing the potential and feasibility of digitising these collections. As a result of that pilot project it is believed that Malay materials in Sri Lanka do indeed justify a major digitisation project and that there is a willingness, even enthusiasm, amongst community members for such a project to materialise. There is no way to calculate precisely the number of manuscripts or books that survive. Beyond the question of quantity it is clear that these sources tell a story about a fascinating history and culture, and in that sense each is valuable and deserving of preservation.

During the pilot project approximately 45-50 Malay manuscripts, books, letters and notes were documented. The most significant collection belonged to Thalif Iyne and Jayarine Sukanti, herself a great granddaughter of Baba Ounus Saldin, the important Malay 19th century literary figure and founder of the first Malay newspaper worldwide. This collection includes the only illuminated Sri Lankan Malay manuscript seen to date - an interlinear Arab-Malay copy of the 18th century Maulud Nabi Sharaf-al-Anam; another maulud book with a note indicating it was written in 1865 within the context of the Malay Rifle Regiment; two more maulud texts, one dedicated to Muhideen, the widely venerated Muslim ‘saint’ Abdulkadir Jilani; a printed booklet in romanised Malay containing the local poem Dendang Sayang Pantun Seylon; a compendium of prayers in Malay and Arabic; a 1914 collection of personal notes by M.M Saldin; an 1893 collection of Arabic poems with English translation; a tiny booklet of Arabic incantations carried by Jayarine Thalip’s grandfather in his wallet; and a printed Malay book from 1935 Singapore that offers gender-related advice.

The project will result in the creation of a digital archive freely available to all. Copies will be accessible via the National Archives of Sri Lanka, the British Library and the library at the Australian National University.

Project Ref: EAP613
Project Title: Digital preservation and cataloguing of early printed Armenian maps, periodicals and newspapers, and making them accessible online



The National Library of Armenia (NLA) is the largest repository of printed Armenian materials in the world. The first Armenian printed book 'Urbatagirk’ (Venice 1512), the first printed periodical 'Azdarar' (Madras 1794), the first printed Bible in Armenian (Amsterdam, 1666) and the first printed map 'Hamatarats Ashkharhatsuyts' (Amsterdam 1695) are the treasures preserved in the NLA. However, the storage conditions of NLA’s collections are poor. The fluctuation of temperature, level of humidity in the stacks during the autumn and spring seasons and the pollution level remain uncontrolled. All the collections are very fragile, suffering from paper deterioration and fungus lesion, and the physical condition of the collections is rapidly deteriorating. There is no heating facility in the book stacks, so during winter the temperature could drop below zero.

After the first Armenian printed newspaper ‘Azdarar’ was printed in Madras in 1794, different cities of the world with Armenian colonies published periodicals during the 18th-early 20th centuries. The largest collection of Armenian periodicals is in the NLA (more than 600 titles, most of which are unique). These collections need urgent digitisation, otherwise many issues will be lost. Most of them are single copies which had a very difficult life, traveling with their owners from city to city, later being donated to the NLA and then during the Soviet regime being locked in the closed stacks without care and normal preservation conditions.

The maps collection of the NLA also needs urgent digitisation, as the destruction process has started and many can be lost. Digitised copies will allow the library staff to make available the surrogates to researchers and focus on the care and conservation of the originals. The collection includes 11,868 maps and atlases. 782 maps are of immense value for researchers, are in bad condition and need urgent digitisation. These include the first Armenian printed map ‘Ashkharhatsoyts’ (Two Hemispheres) Amsterdam, 1695, ‘Map of the Old and the New Worlds’ (Venice, 1751), ‘Map of Armenia’ (Venice, 1778), ‘Map of images’ (Venice, 1849), ‘Pocket Atlas’ (Venice, 1901) and many more. Particularly significant are the early printed maps of the Caucasus by Russian cartographers.

After the establishment of the communist regime in Armenia (1920) a huge number of Armenian periodicals, published during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Russia, Europe, Armenia, Iran and Ottoman Turkey were placed in restricted ‘Top Secret’ archives. The reason for this was to restrict access to publications that could contain unfavourable information on the communist party leaders, political parties of the Diaspora and clergy or individuals undesirable in the eyes of the regime. Since 1991 and the Independence of Armenia this material previously labeled ‘Top Secret’ is now open to all users. Periodicals and maps are a vital and unique source of information for the study of the history of the Armenian Diaspora, their literature, culture, institutions, church life, and politics.

The project will digitise the Armenian periodicals and maps, adding metadata and mounting the collections online. Collections will be linked with the relevant bibliographic records from the Armenian Union Catalogue and training sessions provided for the NLA staff.

Project Ref: EAP617
Project Title: Preservation of rare medical records at Albert Cook Library, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University

This project aims to preserve the fragile hand-written medical records held at the Albert Cook Medical Library in Uganda, dating from 1897. The Albert Cook Library is located at the College of Health Sciences, adjacent to the Mulago National Referral and Teaching Hospital. The Library was established by Dr Albert Cook in 1924. Later, when the College of Medicine was established in 1946, the Library started serving higher medical education.

The Library houses a rare collection donated by Sir Albert Cook (also known as the ‘The Father of modern medicine in Uganda’), a Church Missionary Society doctor who arrived in Uganda in 1897 and founded Mengo Hospital. Sir Albert Cook subsequently donated his collection to the then Medical Library, which in 1965 was named after him, hence its official name, the Albert Cook Medical Library.

Over the decades, the Albert Cook Library has opened its collection to Ugandan health workers as well as researchers, both at local and international levels. The rare collection serves as a source of information about the rich history of modern medicine in Uganda. This information supports learning, teaching, research and ultimately, health outcomes in Uganda and beyond.

Today, the donation forms the Albert Cook Medical Archives, comprising a rich collection of his personal library, the Mengo Hospital original hand-written patient records dating from 1897, Church Missionary Society documents, early textbooks and dictionaries of medicine, pamphlets, reports and photographs.

This project will focus on the preservation of 300 volumes of hand-written medical notes, dating from the 1890s. The ink has faded while the originally white-coloured paper has become brittle and brown. It tears very easily and the records are becoming more and more difficult to read (some of the records were written in pencil).

The Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council has given their approval for these records to be digitised. For reasons of confidentiality, the copies deposited with the British Library and made available online will have patients’ names redacted.

These records will be used by researchers throughout the world to generate further research that holds promise for further improved health outcomes in Uganda and other countries. The content will thus be preserved for posterity.

Project Ref: EAP618
Project Title: Unique ethnographic photograph archive at risk, Sofia, Bulgaria



This project will digitise 5,564 photographs and negatives of ethnographic and historical objects, reflecting pre-industrial Bulgarian history and culture. The scholarly Archive of the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum, Bulgarian Academy of sciences is the oldest storage of data of Bulgarian pre-industrial and early modern traditional culture. The rich and unique Ethnographic Archive consists of several collections with heterogeneous materials: written documents (mainly fieldwork recordings, but also manuscripts, books, printed materials, maps, and periodicals), photographs, sound recordings - rich audio and visual collections.

Thanks to the earlier project EAP103, a significant part of the photographic documentation has already been preserved through digitisation. That project was focused on one particular part of this Archive – the old photographs, negatives and glass plates. In total 3,865 glass plates, 1,911 old photographs and 4,684 negatives were digitised as a result of EAP103.

This project will continue digitising the collections, particularly focusing on three important parts of the Ethnographic Archive:

  • After completing EAP103, the Institute received as a donation an additional private collection of 739 photographs and negatives, kept in very poor storage conditions and in need of urgent preservation. These photographs illustrate elements of traditional spiritual culture: ritual masks, rituals breads, agricultural and horticultural activities, calendar customs, a completed collection of folk costumes and traditional architecture.
  • Digitisation of the content of the "Old Albums", which includes portrait photographs created in the first established photo studios in 1906-7 (the famous Studio of Karastoyanovi), and earlier (for example, by a private photographer in 1886). Most of them are with descriptions on the back which provide some important details. Some of the albums carry the metal sign of the Bulgarian royal family. They were given to the Museum by the members of the royal family by the beginning of the twentieth century.
  • Digitisation of 4,639 old negatives, dated according to the date of their creation from 1905 up to the 1940s.

Project Ref: EAP619
Project Title: Pilot project to locate and digitise endangered single-copy pencil drawn Thakbast/mouza maps in selected Bangladeshi districts



During this pilot project a survey will be conducted to investigate the survival of so-called Thakbast maps in 20 Collectorate Records Rooms of selected districts in Bangladesh. The team will gather and list information only concerning habitation sketch maps of groups of villages (mouzas), which were pencil drawn by hand during the 1840s and 1850s in the former East Bengal (present day Bangladesh). In one District (Rajshahi) the team will undertake trial digitisation of the maps.

The number of historians studying agricultural Bangladesh is very limited. One of the reasons is the unavailability or poor condition of vital source material. The Collectorate Record Rooms in Bangladeshi districts do however still preserve some of this archival material that provides essential information to scholars interested in the village history of Bangladesh. The materials are often in a very poor state due to climatic conditions, lack of space, interest and/or due to sheer carelessness. In addition poor, outdated or no cataloguing systems are maintained. However, previous research indicates that some vital but endangered material still survives in these district records rooms. Maps that were generated during the early Thakbast Survey (1842-1860) constitute one part of such material.

The Revenue Survey of 1846-1878 was preceded by a thakbast or demarcation survey in which the mouza (‘village’) gained legal status and became a basic survey unit. Officers were employed to demarcate on the ground the actual boundaries of ‘villages’ and estates before the revenue surveyor took to the field. For the purpose a rough map was compiled called the thak muzmilli. The vast majority of thak (boundary pillar) maps drawn before 1852 were eye sketches not intended to provide more than rough guidance to revenue surveyors. These were drawn by pencil whereas later maps were topographical and coloured. It is the hand-drawn Thakbast sketch pencil maps drawn during the 1840s and 1850s that have become rare and are not easily available now. These maps were prepared by an Indian Ameen accompanied by the British Settlement Officer and demarcated the mouza (village or group of villages, or lowest administrative unit) boundaries. In these maps the name of the mouza, area, type of soil, cropping pattern, number of population (religion wise), number of houses and cattle, location of roads, ponds, rivers, mosques, temples, hats, bazaar, indigo factories, big trees, etc. is indicated. In the corner, these maps also contain some map comments. These maps therefore provide first-hand information of rural Bangladesh during the early period of British colonisation in the inlands of East Bengal.

Thakbast Revenue and Cadastral Survey records are the earliest surviving documents of any kind of most villages in Bengal. Eminent senior scholars of colonial Bengal (including Bihar, Assam and Orissa) repeatedly refer to the importance of such maps in their work. In present-day Bangladesh however, little is known regarding their number, availability, physical condition and location.

These maps are part of a visual history of mapping in Bangladesh that also is part of a mapping of changing colonial rural East Bengal. They give historians an idea of shifting communal, economic, natural and socio-cultural factors in Bangladeshi villages. Apart from historians, other social scientists (in particular anthropologists and geographers), policy makers, archivists and even artists will support the preservation of these maps. Lastly, the region is neglected by scholars, and it is anticipated that locating, copying and listing these priceless maps will greatly stimulate researchers who are interested in agrarian history, to focus on Bangladesh.

The outcome from this project will be a survey report that not only lists these maps but also informs about the contexts and background of these early settlement maps that still survive in Records Rooms in Bangladesh. In Rajshahi district, trial digitisation and listing will be undertaken. This will all serve as a starting point to develop a future major research project proposal on ‘Mapping early rural East Bengal’ using the information obtained during this pilot project.

Project Ref: EAP626
Project Title: Tracking the past - the preservation of the railway archives of Sierra Leone



Work will be carried out to safeguard the surviving archival record of the Sierra Leone Railway. The Sierra Leone Government Railway was built in 1893 and changed the nature of society, enabling the transport of passengers and goods between the interior and the Freetown Colony and port. At independence in 1961 the railway was well equipped and was a significant employer until its closure in 1975. 1991–2002 was a period of bloody civil war in Sierra Leone and much of the infrastructure and academic memory was lost - the vital significance of the railway in developing the country faded from national memory. This material is representative of the history and development of the country and is of outstanding significance to the rebuilding of the country’s social and cultural foundations.

In 2005, shortly after the end of ten years of bloody civil war, the Sierra Leone government opened its National Railway Museum in Cline Town, a suburb of the capital Freetown, based around a collection of British built locomotives, carriages and wagons which had survived in the former railway workshops.

A number of documents and images have been found since the opening of the museum, and a significant amount of archival material was found inside some of the vehicles at the time when the museum was developed. The material consists of documents, tickets, photographs, postcards, stamps, files, notebooks, wagon labels and operating manuals.

This material is currently dispersed amongst the staff of the National Museum in Freetown City Centre, the archivist at the University of Sierra Leone, and the National Railway Museum of Sierra Leone, where material is piled in the corner of a showcase. The papers, particularly those in the two national museums, are not properly stored and there is no proper provision for their care or access. They are currently kept in heaps in unsuitably hot and humid conditions and are vulnerable to damage from movement, light exposure and dust. They are un-catalogued, with the exception of a small number of tickets and wagon labels, so inaccessible to visitors or researchers, and vulnerable to loss or theft.

There are few people left in the country who remember the railway in operation and therefore it is essential that the archives are located, preserved and catalogued as quickly as possible whilst there are people who can explain the meaning of unidentified items and give the material context. The development of a railway archive will give meaning to the rolling stock collection and will help the Nation to re-discover and understand a large part of its history.

The National Railway Museum in York has worked in partnership with the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum since its opening in 2005 in the presence of President Kabbah and Andrew Scott, then Director of the UK NRM. To date support has been practical: curatorial support; the provision of information held in the UK in the Crown Agents Archive and the local archives of the Leeds-based railway manufacturing industry; and the recovery in the UK of a small number of documents and photographs, which are currently held for safe keeping at the National Railway Museum, York. As the archives are not catalogued or accessible, further historical research, and development of interpretation at the Sierra Leone museum is severely limited.

This project will encompass the development of an archives store in a secure area of the National Railway Museum of Sierra Leone and convert the current open ‘office’ area of the main museum hall into a reading and research room. Archive and image collections scattered across Freetown and elsewhere will be gathered together, condition checked, and catalogued. Digital copies will be made of all material and the originals will be placed in archival quality packaging in the new archives store. Training in digitisation and cataloguing will be provided to enable the work to continue into the future as new material is discovered.

Project Ref: EAP627
Project Title: Digitising endangered seventeenth to nineteenth century secular and ecclesiastical sources in São João do Carirí e João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brazil

This project will digitise the oldest historical documents in the state of Paraíba in Brazil. The documents come from the semi-arid hinterlands and the coastal capital city of João Pessoa, and date from the mid-seventeenth to late nineteenth centuries.

The ability to study the history of African and Indian descendants in Paraíba depends on these documents, yet they are dangerously close to disappearing. The ecclesiastical sources provide evidence on the lives and origins of enslaved Africans, marriage practices, miscegenation, and extensions of kinship through god-parentage. The land grants and official documents are fundamental to understanding how the Brazilian territory ceased to be land and became property in the initial centuries of colonisation. These documents provide a wide source base for historical study, reflecting the participation of several sectors of the population in colonial and imperial Brazil.

The ecclesiastical documents are precariously stacked upon each other in a small wooden cabinet held together by a bungee cord, in a room with no climate control, with the oldest books wrapped only in plastic grocery bags for protection. The oldest books are faded and suffer from insect damage. The oldest of the secular documents are no longer made available to researchers. The ink has eaten through the pages, water and insect damage have left holes, and the pages are extremely thin and fragile.

The ecclesiastical records date from 1752 to 1931 and the secular records date from 1660 to 1888 – the year in which slavery in Brazil became illegal. The records are triply threatened: they have been abandoned by the state, which does not invest in their preservation; they are condemned to loss by well-intentioned but un-trained staff, and; while on the coast they are left to heat, humidity and mould, in the hinterlands they are left to heat, dust, and insects. These documents are in urgent need of digitising and safeguarding.

The project will be jointly carried out with faculty and graduate students from the Department of History of Vanderbilt University, the Núcleo de Estudos e Pesquisas Afrobrasileiros e Indígenas (NEABI) of the Universidade Federal da Paraíba (UFPB), and the Núcleo de Documentação e Informação Histórica Regional (NDIHR) of the UFPB.

Training, promoting the project, and sharing research generated from the digitised documents are also key activities within this project. Historians and professionals in arquivologia – or the study, maintenance, creation, and development of archives, as it is known in Portuguese – will work in key leadership positions of the project, sharing their knowledge and skills with students and archive professionals. At the beginning of the project, professors, archive staff, and graduate students from partner institutions and local archives will participate in a three-day orientation, including workshops on palaeography, digitisation, and conservation of historical documents. At the close of the project, professors and graduate students from Vanderbilt and the UFPB will take part in mini-conferences describing and promoting research in João Pessoa.

Students and archivists will receive basic training in document preservation and archival organisation. At the end of the project, in addition to creating a digital archive of the oldest documents from the state of Paraíba, the project team will leave each archive with copies of the digitised documents, a basic catalogue of the digitised archival holdings (currently lacking in two locations), and documents organised in acid-free folders and boxes. Further, students will create meta-data and transcriptions for key collections, taking advantage of handwritten transcriptions found in archives when available.

A digital archive will be created containing the oldest and most endangered records of the state of Paraíba in Brazil. The archive will contain approximately 100,000 images and their corresponding listing metadata. These images will be redundantly stored in external hard drives and network servers at Vanderbilt University. Each of the following institutions will receive at least three complete copies of the archive: the Núcleo de Estudos e Pesquisas Afrobrasileiros e Indígenas (NEABI) da Universidade Federal da Paraíba (UFPB) in João Pessoa, Paríba, Brazil; the Núcleo de Documentação e Informação Histórica Regional (NDIHR) da UFPB also in João Pessoa, and; the Jean and Alexander Heard Library, at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. In addition, the project will provide the following institutions with copies of their respective digitised documents: the Paróquia de Nossa Senhora dos Milagres do São João do Carirí in São João de Carirí, Paraíba; the Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Paraibano (IHGP) in João Pessoa, and; the Arquivo Histórico Waldemar Bispo Duarte, also in João Pessoa. A complete copy of the archive in the form of two external hard drives will also be sent for archival storage at the British Library. The complete archive will be made available for researchers worldwide on the Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies (ESSSS) digital archive, currently found at www.vanderbilt.edu/esss.

In addition to the creation of a digital archive of documents from Paraíba, this project will have also generated a group of skilled students, professors, librarians, and archivists who possess both the experience and equipment necessary to be leaders in the digitisation of historical documents in the Brazilian Northeast.

Project Ref: EAP630
Project Title: Manuscripts from Kokand Khanate (1710-1876) court library from the museum sources of Kokand and Fergana valley and private collections



This pilot project will investigate collections of manuscripts originally held in the palace library of the Khanate of Kokand (1710-1876). After the establishment of the Turkestan governorship by the Russian Empire in 1876, many manuscripts of the Kokand court library were taken away to Russian collections or to small collections in the Fergana Valley. This project will identify the collections, prepare the groundwork for a future major project and digitise approximately 50 of the most valuable and vulnerable manuscripts.

The project is based on previous research fieldwork in Fergana Valley in 2004, 2008, and 2011 and will survey manuscripts of the region, especially from the collection of the Kokand literary museum, other museums of the Fergana Valley, and private collections. The Kokand literary museum has about 14,000 exhibits, of which more than 1,500 are hand-written books dating back to the 15th century in Arabic, Persian and Turkic (chaghatay) languages. In addition, the museum has more than two thousand printed books. The oldest manuscript in the museum is the work copied in 1434 of 'Abdallakh ibn' Abd al- Rahman Husayni – the commentary on khadis «Me‘radj al-a‘mal». The manuscripts cover subjects such as poetry, musicology, astronomy, geography, medicine, logic, Sufism, the Muslim right and the Arab grammar, and also comments on the Koran and khadis.

The Khanate of Kokand was founded in 1710 and was abolished after the Russian conquest on 19 February 1876. The Khanate was one of three main khanates of Central Asia: Khivan (1804–1920) and Bukhara (1747–1920). The Khanate of Kokand disappeared 50 years earlier than the other khanates, in 1867. Its heritage, including manuscripts from the palace library, was therefore more vulnerable to destruction and loss after the establishment of Russian Turkestan. A large number of the manuscripts of the Kokand court library were taken away to Russian collections or scattered in different small collections of the FerganaValley.

The storage and environmental conditions of these manuscripts are far from standard and are detrimental to their long term preservation.

During the project a survey will be undertaken in the following places and the most valuable and endangered manuscripts will be digitised:

    Kokand Literary Museum
    Fergana Museum of Natural Geography and History
    Museum of Art in the town of Margilan (Fergana valley)
    Andijan Museum of Natural Geography and History
    Private collections from the town of Kokand

Project Ref: EAP636
Project Title: Creating a digital archive of Indian Christian manuscripts



Portuguese rule in Goa bequeathed a vibrant Catholic community and a rich legacy of Christian texts in Indian vernacular languages. These texts remain scattered: in state or church archives or in private family collections, or worse, they are forgotten or lost in catalogued collections, remaining invisible to scholars and those interested in the history of Christianity in India. This accounts in part for the relative scholarly neglect of this religious tradition in India. In addition, this heritage of texts, dating back to the late sixteenth century, is in grave danger of being lost altogether due to uncertain archival conditions and poor preservation. The goal of this project is therefore two-pronged: firstly, to identify and locate Christian manuscripts in the Konkan region of Marāṭhi and Kōṅkaṇī in state, church, private institutional and family collections, and secondly to start digitising some Indian Christian texts.

The core of this project will be a textual tradition centred in what used to be the troublesome border province of Salcete in the old conquests in Goa, where the Jesuit order made a concerted effort to accommodate local cultural and literary traditions in Marāṭhi and Kōṅkaṇī. Collecting various versions of Christian manuscripts is imperative to gain a better understanding of the process of conversion to Catholicism in early modern India. While hitherto undocumented manuscripts are still to be found, previous independent efforts to locate and catalogue these manuscripts are an important basis for the project, such as those by Fr. Ivo Coelho documenting important primary and secondary sources for the history of Indian Christianity. The project will focus primarily on private, family and church collections.

Project Ref: EAP638
Project Title: Rewriting Argentine and Latin American history. Salvaging the Haynes publishing company archive



The aim of the project is to save the Haynes Publishing Company Archive, that started to be digitised with the previous project EAP375. This is a unique source and the company’s archive has only now become publicly accessible.

The specific outcome of the project is to digitise approximately 25,000 documents of the original pre-modern material. The pre-modern material is held in approximately 30,000 folders and envelopes contained in more than 1,000 boxes. The National Library of Congress in Buenos Aires will be undertaking the digitisation and the digital copies will be given to the British Library, the Library of Congress, and the Museo Metropolitano (owner of the original material). At present, the Haynes Company Archive is temporarily kept in a private university, the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, where it was relocated when the Museo Metropolitano closed in January 2012. The final fate and location of the Haynes Company Archive is unknown as the Museo Metropolitano closed and has not yet found a new location.

The project team will organise and clean the material, and identify, date and research the contents of the envelopes and folders. The documents selected for digitisation will be sent to the National Library of Congress and the metadata will be recorded in spreadsheets.

The 30,000 envelopes and folders contained in the archive are of high academic significance. The folders are compact units of information that contain the most significant articles published by the company and other main newspapers on a specific subject. As they offer an extended press recollection of the events registered by the main newspapers they become an inevitable and comparative source for the researchers. The envelopes contain marvels such as photographs, painted illustrations, memoirs, statistics data, personal letters, negatives, and even films. This archive will change Argentinean and Latin American histories.

Project Ref: EAP640
Project Title: Digitising the documentary patrimony of Colombia's Caribbean coast: the ecclesiastical documents of the Department of Córdoba



This project will digitise historic and endangered ecclesiastical documents located in the Parish of Santa Cruz de Lorica in the war-torn Colombian Department of Córdoba. This region forms a bridge between the province of Cartagena and the Andean regions of Colombia and was home to historic indigenous communities, Spanish towns, and communities of escaped slaves. The ecclesiastical records from these churches date from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries and are in danger of being lost forever due to endemic violence, neglect, hot and humid climate, and fungi, among other threats.

Spaniards invaded Córdoba in the sixteenth century, establishing towns and indigenous missions in an area that served as the breadbasket for Cartagena de Indias. African slaves from Cartagena escaped to form large maroon communities in the vast hinterland of Córdoba, which was still home to unconquered indigenous groups. Despite its significance, the region remains marginalised in Colombian and Latin America historiography. These endangered ecclesiastical documents provide unique information on racial demography, social and kin networks, and economic conditions of the region and will contribute to scholarship on Latin America, the Atlantic world, the circum-Caribbean, slavery and borderlands studies.

As in many rural churches, little attention is paid to the storage of these documents. Centuries old leather bound books are jammed into wooden bookshelves, in rooms lacking climate control. The ink has eaten through some pages, water and insect damage has left holes, and the documents are extremely fragile. An estimated 25-30% of the documents are beyond saving, but 70-75% could be digitised and preserved. Unfortunately, no Colombian institution is preserving these documents and if we do not preserve what remains, much more will be lost.

Córdoba remains one of the poorest, most violent areas in Colombia. Neither ecclesiastical nor governmental authorities have attempted to preserve local archives and the danger for the documents has become acute. Not only are these documents affected by centuries of high temperatures (average 38 ° C), humidity, the effects of fungi and the inadequate preservation by an institutional staff lacking training in archival management, but they are at the crossroads of an unfolding war. Ecclesiastical archives hold little local importance and the custodian of the parochial archive in Cienaga de Oro reported that older registers were “constantly thrown away”.

The ecclesiastical records targeted pertain to some of the oldest and most ethnically diverse areas of Colombia. Ayapel and the indigenous settlement of Tolú Viejo were settled in 1534 and 1535 respectively, and Jesuit missionaries established the indigenous settlement of Cereté in the early eighteenth century. The remaining towns were established as part of the Bourbon reforms of the mid-eighteenth century to help provision Cartagena de Indias, South America’s only legal and largest slave entrêpot. Córdoba’s new towns were located to the south of Cartagena but connected to it via the Sinú River, which also connected the towns to the Atrato River and the Pacific. African slaves from Cartagena escaped to form large maroon communities in the vast hinterland of Córdoba, adding to its historical significance. The records to be digitised include baptismal, marriage, burial, and confirmation records, religious brotherhood records, ecclesiastical administrative records and correspondence.

The already-trained team of students from the University of Cartagena, under the direction of Dr.José Polo Acuña, and his assistants, Mabel Vergel and Diana Carmona, will follow previous practice from earlier project EAP503 in digitally photographing these endangered records. Using digital cameras mounted on lightweight tripods and ancillary equipment purchased for the EAP503 grant, students will make short-term trips to the various locales and remain there to digitise materials in the local churches.

In total, the project will preserve approximately 66,800 images. The team will also create corresponding listing metadata for the images, meeting British Library standards. These images will be redundantly stored in external memory drives, DVDs, and mirrored network servers at Vanderbilt University. Copies of all materials will also be deposited at the British Library, the University of Cartagena, and in the collaborating churches in Córdoba.

Colombia is still struggling with the legacy of slavery. Approximately one-fourth of the nation has African ancestry and yet their history has been largely ignored. Recently, there is a growing interest in Colombia’s multi-racial past and the Colombian Constitution requires inclusion of Afro-Colombian history in school curricula. The documents planned to rescue will enrich the national and regional narrative by capturing a multi-racial frontier society that included enslaved and free people of African descent as well as many other ethnic groups.

Project Ref: EAP643
Project Title: Shantipur and its neighbourhood: Text and images of early modern Bengal in public and private collections

This pilot project aims to document available non-copyrighted and endangered literature from private collections and public institutions in the district of Nadia. Shantipur, the old cultural hub in pre-colonial Bengal, will be in the centre and the project will survey collections of books, manuscripts, photographs and other images with historical importance. A list will be prepared and all published documents will be cross-checked with other holdings for rarity - only the unique items will be planned to be digitised in a future major digitisation project.

Nadia district has had a long history of urban settlements since the 11th century: Nabadwip was the capital of the Sena dynasty during the 11th and 12th century, and also the birthplace of Shri Chaitanyadeva, founder of the Vaishnav religion. Shantipur has a long medieval cultural history. Krishnanagar too, was a small Hindu kingdom under the Nababs of Murshidabad from the 17th century until the early regime of the East India Company. All three settlements were once places of traditional Indian learning and the history of several tols (local small school run by an individual) are well known in the region - primarily places for Sanskrit learning and teaching. Although almost all tols disappeared with the advent of European education from the mid-19th century, the history of those institutions are still available in a few private collections. The sources of history writing of the region have not been documented up until now.

The books, serials and images are important sources for studying the pre-modern period in Bengal and understanding South Asian historiography. All of these collections, either private or public, are endangered. The heat and humidity of South Asia are transforming these old printed books to paper pulp and without immediate attention they will disappear forever. White ants are destroying the books and make handling the material an almost impossible task for most of the collections.

The project team will index books and cross-check their availability in the OCLC public access catalogue, British Library Cataloguing data, rare book collection of the National Library of Calcutta, and in the CSSSC archive database. If a title cannot be located on any of the databases then the document will be marked for future digitisation.

The expectation from this project is to detail printed books on Vaishnavism, biographies and family histories of Vaishnavaite leaders, the colonial history of the Btahmo movement in the region, printed literature on caste and identity, Bengali literature in general, printed literature and manuscripts on local handloom and the migration pattern of local weavers, which is a tradition and history of ancient times.

The outcome from the project therefore will be a list of printed materials, checked for uniqueness against available databases; a list of photographs and paintings relating to the history of the locality and Bengal; and a list of manuscripts not already digitised by the National Manuscript Mission of India. This will form the basis of a future major digitisation project.

Project Ref: EAP644
Project Title: The Fouad Debbas Collection: assessment and digitisation of a precious private collection. Photographs from Maison Bonfils (1867-1910s), Beirut, Lebanon



The aim of this project is to clean, list, index, catalogue and digitise a collection of 3,000 photographs produced in the Middle East by the Maison Bonfils, from 1867 to the 1910s.

The 3,000 items consist of albumen prints gathered in albums and portfolios, glass plates, stereos, cabinet cards and cartes de visite. They are part of the general Fouad Debbas Collection, which contains more than 40,000 photographs. The objective is to undertake a survey, and increase access to and visibility of this most valuable and endangered collection.

The Fouad Debbas Bonfils collection is the most extensive, varied and richest photographic collection produced in the Levant at the end of the Ottoman period. It is in fact one of the very few photographic collections produced in Beirut from the late Ottoman period which are still preserved.

Established in 1867 in Beirut, the Bonfils house set out the first photographic studio in Beirut and established photography as a business. As such Mr Bonfils, his wife Lydie, (apparently the first woman photographer of the whole area at that time) and children, all succeeded in capturing a region of immense physical beauty (the landscape photos of Beirut and Baalbeck), of varied ethnic composition (various portraits), and of rapid socio-economic change, at a crucial moment of the region’s history. The Bonfils Debbas collection is clearly an invaluable document registering the history of a region at a crucial crossroads in the wake of great historical upheaval which was about to sweep the region and bring about the Modern Middle East as we know it.

The Fouad Debbas Collection contains approximately 3,000 items signed by Bonfils between the 1867 studio creation and the 1910s when Lydie Bonfils worked in the family’s Beirut studio for some time after her son abandoned the trade in the early 1900s. This Bonfils collection gathered 62 albums including the 7 famous “Mansell Albums” (approx.1966 photographs); 24 portfolios with approximately 720 photographs from Bonfils; 90 stereoscopic views; a hundred glass plates; 32 cabinet cards and “cartes de visite”. While Fouad Debbas was passionate about research and identifying, for example, a chronology for stamps and signatures by Bonfils, he was not very concerned with preservation and some of this valuable material is now endangered.

The Fouad Debbas Bonfils collection faces many risks. Disassociation of the collection is an emergency situation, and the Bonfils sample is a very representative case. After Fouad Debbas passed away in 2001, the two remaining brothers took over ownership of the collection. The entire collection is housed in a commercial building, with no institutional guarantees for the future, but an adequate storage room has been dedicated to safely host the Collection, fitting international requirements in terms of preventive conservation.

The lack of a database facilitates neither the manager of the collection nor scholars to find a photograph among the 40,000 items. Although the Fouad Debbas Collection is often asked for loans in international exhibitions, finding the right images is a real challenge, since no proper inventory or database exists. Digital preservation standards and directives concerning manipulation as well as the verification of information contained in captions (title, techniques) should be conducted. The creation of a proper database will facilitate preservation and access to the collection. Where necessary, some documents will be rehoused.

Lebanon, and the region at large, lacks any serious governmental structures and institutions capable of protecting and preserving the region’s cultural heritage. Only Bonfils and other photographers’ witnesses remain, where property developers replace traditional workshops and activities of our region. Moreover, the Damocles sword of a new armed conflict haunting Lebanon and the instability of the region, with the current war in Syria in particular, are so many risks that threaten the Lebanese and Middle Eastern heritage.

In this context, the Fouad Debbas Collection would at least remain “alive”, at least as a digital copy in a Lebanese university and in the British Library. We believe that the efforts of one man to gather the memory of this region should not be lost forever.
Project Ref: EAP650
Project Title: Grima in Caloto Viejo: archiving Afro-Colombian history



This pilot project has two main components. The first will inventory the historical, notarial and judicial collections held in Caloto, Colombia in preparation for a major research project to relocate this material within Colombia and make it widely available via digital archives. The perilous condition of the materials calls for an immediate assessment to identify the most valuable and deteriorated materials for an initial sample digitisation. The second element of the project will locate and digitise privately owned manuscripts of grima, a dynamic martial art using the machete, lance, or unarmed body that was developed by enslaved Africans and their descendants.

First founded in 1543, Caloto Viejo (Old Caloto) was the administrative capital of a wide region northeast of Popayán that included Native American groups, European settlers, their enslaved Africans, and maroon communities formed by escaped slaves. By the 1940s this rural region had not yet experienced industrialisation, yet many of Caloto Viejo’s towns had become autonomous districts. Now only the head of a small municipality, Caloto still houses the pre-modern documents of Caloto Viejo.

This project will inventory the endangered collections held in Caloto’s alcaldía (town hall) and notary and digitise the most valuable and deteriorated documents. The alcaldía’s judicial and historical collections have not yet been surveyed, but go back at least to the mid nineteenth century. The judicial documents are in a storage room managed by legal clerks who have little appreciation for early hand written materials and regularly dispose of them to create space for modern documents. The 344 boxes of the historical collection are in a separate room. In 2006, 3,000 documents were inventoried and placed in acid-free boxes on shelves. The bulk of the collection though remains piled on the floor and in danger of mould. Exacerbating the impact of a hot and humid climate, the room’s door and windows is just a grating, exposing the documents to water damage during rains. The alcaldía staff store kitchen supplies and instruments on top of the documents, leaving them in serious danger of attracting vermin. Guerrilla soldiers controlling the territory across the Palo River, just a few blocks away, make frequent bombing attacks on Caloto. Since the alcaldía and adjacent police station are primary targets for guerrilla attacks, these documents are in grave danger of immediate destruction. The notarial collection is in a more secure location from guerilla attacks, but contains eighteenth century documents, including documents on the Páez Indians, that are in danger of deterioration due to a lack of climate or humidity control.

All the material from the historical collection and all of the pre-modern material from the judicial and notarial collection will be placed in acid-free boxes and placed on shelves to slow its deterioration. A record will be produced for each document inventoried and will be combined into a searchable digital catalogue for the collection. Documents assessed to be of highest priority will be digitised based on the historical value for researchers and on the level of physical deterioration.

The second part of the project will focus on digitising a rare and valuable body of cartillas de malicia held in private collections by masters of the numerous distinct styles of grima. Completely overlooked by scholars, these hand written and illustrated books have been passed from master to disciple for generations to ensure the undiluted transmission of each lineage’s history and pedagogy. Representing a unique documentary heritage as perhaps the only genre written/illustrated by poor blacks since the era of slavery, cartillas record techniques, experiences of past grima experts, religious beliefs, and cultural practices from the perspective of the poor, whose unique history scholars are otherwise left to try and glean from the writings of elites.

Caloto Viejo’s grima experts formed the famous macheteros de la muerte, feared shock troops in the numerous nineteenth-century military conflicts. Afro-Colombians exercised their military expertise to ensure the end of slavery and to make political claims on citizenship in the 1850s and 60s. In elite sources these black soldiers are mere pawns, but cartillas illustrate such conflicts from a popular perspective. Later grima experts led black resistance struggles against the plantations that destroyed black pastoralism, land tenancy, and communal land systems in the 1890s and 1910s. Yet during a conflict with Peru in the 1930s, the government reformed a battalion of macheteros from Puerto Tejada, who heroically overcome the more modern firearms of Peru, but are totally absent from elite narratives of the conflict. In the wake of their success, many whites and mestizos began joining grima academies in the 1930s and 40s, while grima remained an important Afro-Colombian resource for conflict resolution, economic income, and political participation. Political oppression during the civil unrest called La Violencia ultimately ended most academies around the late 1940s.

These manuscripts are in utmost peril. Living academy graduates are predominantly in their eighties and nineties, and since cartillas are burned after the death of their owners if they do not have disciples, this entire genre of documents will vanish without a trace. In past research trips to Colombia, more than twenty living masters have been encountered and all but two have agreed to participate in this project through viewing and digitising their manuscripts, dating from the 1850s to the 1940s. This project aims to locate more private collections in the hope of saving this rare archival genre, dating back to at least the 1830s.

Caloto Viejo’s documents are crucial for Afro-Colombian history. Caloto and adjacent regions of the Cauca constituted the nineteenth century heartland slavery, with Julio Arboleda’s massive Japio estate in Caloto the towering symbol of landholding power. However, in 1850 local Afro-Colombians turned machetes and whips against slave-owners, and in 1851 defeated the Conservative army headquartered at Arboleda’s estate during the ensuing civil war, thus ensuring the abolition of slavery through force of arms. The unique genre of cartillas written by poor blacks who played crucial but unrecognised roles in the abolition and military struggles of Colombia will greatly enrich national histories. The archives of Caloto are important for tracing the wider history of elites, Indians, and blacks, and essential for salvaging the local history of important Afro-Colombian towns such as Puerto Tejada or the scholarly unknown maroon community of Caricacé with unique linguistic traditions, whose documentary history exists only in the endangered collections of Caloto.

All of the digital images will be deposited in the Centro Virtual Jorge Isaac digital collection of the University of Valle, the nearest major university, to be made freely accessible for researchers in Colombia. A second set of the images will be sent to the British Library. The project will result in a staff of twenty-five trained archivists to carry out the digitisation of all the archival material during a future major grant. The project will also locate a suitable archival home in Colombia where the material can be both properly preserved and made available to researchers.

Project Ref: EAP656
Project Title: History in progress Uganda, Part 1: the Ham Mukasa archive



This project will digitise, catalogue, and make publically available, the photographic collection and accompanying written documents of the late Ham Mukasa (1868-1956). As a leading political and intellectual figure within, and ethnographer of, turn-of the century Buganda, Mukasa’s collection makes an invaluable contribution to understanding this crucial period in Uganda’s history. The collection includes over 2000 photographs and several thousand pages of related personal notes, letters and diaries.

Ham Mukasa (b ca. 1870) lived as a page in the court of King Muteesa I of Buganda, where in 1875 photography was introduced by the explorer Henry Morten Stanley when making a portrait of the King and his Chiefs. Mukasa certainly was in touch with people making photographs by the 1890s. Initial surveys of his collection suggest that he was particularly active as a documentalist, asking or commissioning people to document activities he was involved in, in the period 1900-1920, although this practice seems to have continued right up to his death, in 1956. Given that Mukasa was most active during the period of British penetration into this region – as a page in the court of King Muteesa I (1837-1884), a key figure in the court of King Daudi Chwa II (1856-1884), and as secretary to Buganda’s Prime Minister Apolo Kagwa – his images offer valuable clues on the early history of colonialism in Uganda and make an invaluable contribution to the fields of African history, anthropology and African visual studies/art history.

All of the materials are already in a very fragile state, as a result of the combined effects of Uganda’s unfavourable climate (hot and humid), and the poor storage conditions in which the collections are already held. In addition, large parts of the collection (especially some of the written materials) show further signs of termite- and water-damage.

The collection is currently spread over three family and foundation sites, all in and around the Ugandan capital, Kampala. Once the scanning, and related tagging of the files, has been completed, copies will be deposited with the Ham Mukasa Foundation, with Makerere University (which is the oldest, and most prestigious, university in East Africa), with Mukono University (an institution with which the Mukasa family has ongoing ties), and with the British Library.

This project will also form a template for the future digitisation of other early photographic archives for Uganda. The importance of trying to save these private archives stems from the fact that Uganda’s national official visual archives were largely destroyed, or else fell into a state of terminal decay, during the period of state collapse in the country which followed Idi Amin’s rise to power, in 1971. Photographs held in private collections today represent the majority of the remaining visual record of the country, especially for the early colonial period. However, the negative effects of Uganda’s hot tropic climate, combined with a lack of knowledge about issues of preservation amongst private owners means that today, many of these private archives are themselves also in a fragile state, and in some instances are on the brink of becoming unviewable. Yet if this body of visual evidence is lost, it will erase a significant body of evidence relating to Uganda’s pre-industrial past, and to this period in the European colonisation of Africa.

Project Ref: EAP657
Project Title: Saving the original lifetime archive of the well-known Ukrainian poet, artist and thinker, T.H. Shevchenko



The aim of this project is to digitise and preserve the collection of archival materials related to Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko (9 March 1814–10 March 1861) – the famous Ukrainian writer and painter, whose literary heritage is regarded to be the foundation of modern Ukrainian literature, as well as Ukrainian language. His archival collection has remained scattered until recently, and valuable nineteenth century documents have been kept in deteriorating conditions. This project will digitise approximately 60,000 pages and make them available to scholars and the public worldwide.

Most of T.H. Shevchenko's archival documents have a lot of physical damage. Due to a lack of proper preservation conditions during WWI and WWII, the paper has become brittle and decrepit. Some documents had been kept in private collections, whilst others remained in the special security section of the National Art Museum, which resulted in significant damage of archival documents as the underground premises did not have appropriate storage facilities. Further deterioration may make it impossible to preserve the valuable content of T.H. Shevchenko's documents.

The materials to be digitised reflect different lifetime periods of Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko. None of the documents have previously been copied or digitised as this archival material had been held in different private collections of Shevchenko’s friends and relatives from all over Ukraine until just 10 years ago. The collections had then been brought together, arranged in chronological order and subject, evaluated by experts and made available to history researchers, museum curators, filmmakers producing documentaries and students.

The collection includes original archival documents about the professional and private life of Taras Shevchenko, and documents describing the period of the lifetime of Shevchenko, more than 50% of which he wrote.

The collection of scanned documents will be made available online on the National Taras Shevchenko Museum website, and copies will also be deposited with the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP660
Project Title: Nur-i-Afshan archives: Perspectives on the inter-religious history of Punjab from 1873-1944



Throughout millennia, religion has played a major role in South Asian history. The nineteenth century, the cusp of the pre-industrial and modern South Asia, was a major turning point in South Asian history. A burgeoning of religious fervour and revivalism marks this period. The coming of Christian missionaries in droves, and their complex interrelation with the colonial administration, further complicated the religious milieu, which had already witnessed tensions between the Muslims and Hindus. Within this environment, the place of the Punjab was rather peculiar. Nineteenth century Punjab was marked with a series of religious revivalist movements in Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism, and this was the only northern province where Christian missionaries also made a huge imprint. Therefore, an understanding of the interplay between these religious communities, their revivalist and proselytising movements, and their impact on society and politics is essential to developing a more in-depth and nuanced assessment of the general historical narrative of South Asia and of the Punjab in particular.

There is already a dearth of primary source material on pre-industrial India, and especially the Punjab. Archives are scattered, often inaccessible, and usually in very poor condition. Within this context, primary source materials on Christians and Christian missionaries, beyond the official mission archives, are even fewer. In this, the importance of Nur-i-Afshan, a periodical published by the Presbyterian Mission in the Punjab, in Urdu, from 1877 to 1966, is one of the very few primary sources which hails from local Indian sources. In addition to being a religious publication, Nur-i-Afshan is also significant since it forms part of a large and growing corpus of Urdu periodical publishing in the nineteenth century. In nineteenth century northern India, Urdu was the dominant language of discourse, and due to cheap printing, almost anyone who had an opinion or idea printed something in Urdu. Therefore, such Urdu publications give the researcher an invaluable insight into the thinking, concerns, and ideas of nineteenth century Indians (especially non-official Indians), and enable a better understanding of the social, political and religious forces at play at this critical turning point. Furthermore, the study of such periodicals is of interest to scholars engaged in linguistics and language development, since the nineteenth century was the key age in the development of the Urdu language, and the styles of prose, grammar, and diction used in this publication are important research materials. The role of a missionary society in taking up a local vernacular for discourse at that time makes the importance of Nur-i-Afshan even greater and its study more significant.

Sometimes published weekly, and other times bi-monthly, Nur-i-Afshan, was a multifaceted news magazine and carried local and international news summaries, government postings, commodity prices, and advertisements, but also opinion articles, essays, proverbs, and poems. The gazette’s acceptance of unsolicited articles and editorial commitment to present contrasting perspectives fostered an early form of ‘information commons’ that was different in style and format to the Urdu and English newspapers that developed during this same period. The variety of contributors also adds to its archival importance as it is not only the domain of professional journalists and academics, but a collection of writings from the broad public. In Nur-i-Afshan’s hand-written Urdu typeset one encounters a multitude of voices discussing an array of social, political, and religious topics that demonstrate continuity with the past and, in later editions, the encounter with the modern. The editorial structure also presents an interesting anomaly. The editorial staff, as noted by their names, included representatives from the majority Muslim community as well as from minority sects, such as the Ahmadiya and Indian Christians.

Unfortunately, the extant editions of Nur-i-Afshan are in a precarious state. Printed on highly acidic paper, because it was cheap, this brittle paper is fast deteriorating and is already past its usual survival date. Having combed regional and national libraries, it is clear that Forman Christian College’s Ewing Library holds the only available copies of the periodical. These survived only due to the care of a Librarian and would otherwise have been discarded along with many other historical publications which are quickly disappearing due to the lack of care, vision, and infrastructure for their preservation and dissemination. About twenty years of material have already been lost (from 1944 to 1966) and many of the remaining pages have been damaged by moisture or insects. Approximately 21,361 pages will be scanned and made freely accessible online.

Project Ref: EAP673
Project Title: Preservation and access for rare early Kannada books



This project is based at the Roja Muthiah Research Library in Chennai, India and will be executed with at least two libraries in Mysore. A minimum of 1,650 carefully selected titles will be preserved and made accessible. At the end of the project, a significant archive of the most important early Kannada publications produced between the early nineteenth century and 1924 will be available to scholars.

Early Kannada books have enormous significance for the understanding of south Indian culture and the creation of new knowledge about colonial India. Kannada is an important Dravidian language and has been used in south India since the early modern period. Since printing in India was cheap, anyone with an opinion might and often did publish a statement of their views. Often such publications were of limited editions -- frequently, a few hundred copies -- and were not collected by many libraries. Yet these publications provide us today with a broad spectrum of writings by colonial Indians on all the major and many minor issues that stirred them in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Such writings are invaluable to historians of social, cultural, literary, and intellectual change; to those interested in the development of South Asian languages and the ways these languages were used expressively during the last century; for pedagogical purposes in advanced language courses; and to other scholars. Unfortunately, the high acid paper used to produce the books has made this literature highly vulnerable. It is often difficult to find even the most important early imprints in South Asian libraries. And, when one does locate them, the paper is often very brittle. Further, many of the Kannada books are not in the British colonial archives. The India Office Library and the British Museum both were selective in their contemporaneous acquisitions of Kannada imprints. It is no exaggeration to say that many of the Kannada books are as rare and endangered as manuscripts. Some books have already completely vanished.

The highly selective National Bibliography of Indian Literature, 1901-1953 (NBIL) will be used as the primary guide to selection. A panel of eminent Kannada scholars in the social sciences and humanities, and librarians will select an additional 1,000 Kannada books not listed in NBIL or available as preservation microfilm for further preservation, as funds permit. Selection panelists will use bibliographies, library catalogues, and the contents of the South Asia Union Catalogue as they expand their prioritised list of Kannada books. The range of publication dates included under this project will be determined based on legal opinion regarding preservation under the relevant copyright laws of India. Only books which are in the public domain will be digitised and made available online.

This project will preserve selected titles by creating high-resolution digital page images of the books available at libraries in Karnataka and elsewhere in south India. It is estimated that approximately 145,000 digital images will be created. Access to the preserved Kannada books will be provided through digital images deposited with the British Library. Further, digital images and catalogue data will be accessible on the Digital South Asia Library Web site and possibly the HathiTrust Digital Library, of which the University of Chicago is a founding member. The digital copies will also be deposited with the Roja Muthiah Research Library. Participating libraries in India will be able to elect to receive digital copies of books at no cost.

Project Ref: EAP675
Project Title: Documentation of the pre-industrial elements in Bulgarian minorities' culture during the 20th century - phase II



This project is focused on the analysis, digitisation and archiving of 20th century photographs, providing information on pre-industrial elements in Bulgarian minorities’ culture. The study is targeted at different ethnic and religious communities, such as Turks, Tatars, Pomaks, Jews, Armenians, Old Believers, Aromanians, Karakachans, and Vlachs. The project carries on the work completed during the earlier pilot project EAP500, which only focused on a few Pomaks, Turkish, Karakachan and Tatar collections. This project will increase the scope of the work to include other minorities. The research with people in other regions show many differences in traditional culture, such as differences between Shi`à and Sunni traditional marriages and circumcisions; regional differences between Shià communities in Southern and Northern Bulgaria; decorated bridal faces in Pomak villages in Goce Delchev and Teteven regions. This major project will be mainly focused on less studied and closed ethnic and religious communities living in small villages outside research focus until now (such as Aliyan group in Targovishte and Haskovo regions, Russian Old Believers in Silistra and Varna regions).

Observations on the currently available documents in different Bulgarian archives reveal that this kind of information is scantily represented or missing. The reason for this is rooted mostly in the mono-centred state policy, focused for a long period solely on the Bulgarian ethnic tradition and culture, as well as in the policy of the Bulgarian state before 1989 aimed at forced assimilation of minorities. This is the reason for the gradual disappearance or even purposeful destruction of pictures and photographic collections of the different minorities in the country, particularly of the Muslim minority during the so called “Revival process” in Bulgaria in the 1960s-1980s, when the policy of the Bulgarian state for a forced assimilation of the Muslims was accompanied with the destruction of all documents – official, personal and family – that are testament to their minority identity. The research undertaken so far shows that despite the repressive policy and purposeful destruction of archival documents, such documents had often been hidden and saved, although in inappropriate circumstances and often in bad condition.

The project team will undertake survey trips to different parts of the country inhabited with compact minority populations with the aim of collecting and digitising approximately 5,000 photographs. A special effort will be made to collect photographs from different ethnic and religious communities. These documents will provide information on the communities’ culture and traditions that are otherwise hardly known outside the boundaries of the region in which they live. These photographs are gradually being destroyed and with them important information for the communities themselves is disappearing. Thus, the project will create digital copies of pictures, with the permission of their owners.

The geographic and cultural isolation of the groups, which are still hardly influenced by modern life, means they are often excluded from Bulgarian society. These communities preserve many old elements of their own culture, which even nowadays continue to be transmitted from one generation to another.

The digital copies of the photographs will be deposited in the archive of the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum, and the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP676
Project Title: Survey of Buddhist Sanskrit manuscripts in the possession of Vajrayana Viharas and Newar Buddhist families in Lalitpur in the Kathmandu valley, Nepal



Due to the significance of the Buddhist Sanskrit manuscripts of Nepal as the only original sources of Mahayana Buddhism, Buddhist scholars and monks around the world have collected and studied them. All efforts to date have been focused on researching institutional holdings. However, the prevailing manuscript culture led individual Buddhists to store and preserve them in Viharas (Buddhist monasteries) and individual Buddhist families. No official information is available on such holdings and no attempts have been made to preserve these manuscripts. Consequently, the manuscripts are gradually decaying and being destroyed. This project will survey Viharas and individual collections, and detail information about their manuscripts. Important and vulnerable texts will be digitised and preserved for future use.

In the city of Lalitpur it is believed that manuscript holdings constitute from 2,000 to 3,000 texts of varied themes such as diverse ritual texts, Vrata Vidhana, philosophical treatises such as Sutras and commentaries, eulogies, and so on. The collectors hold these texts for religious not academic purposes - by worshipping the texts in a shrine room, merit will be accumulated. Through being kept in shrine rooms for long periods without their chests being opened or through Puja being continuously performed on them, a considerable number of manuscripts have already been destroyed. The tradition of studying Sanskrit manuscripts has already died out. Therefore this priceless heritage must be saved, made accessible, and studied.

It is anticipated that there is the possibility of finding texts such as sutras or commentary that are not available in public archives. A Buddhist community called the Dhakhwas and Tuladhars who had traded with Tibet, procured Sanskrit manuscripts in Tibet and also on their return to Nepal. Thus private collections contain manuscripts written locally and also those produced in Tibet.

The number and subjects of these handwritten texts in private collections vary considerably. These texts were written in medieval times, when Buddhist scholarship was highly developed in Nepal, and were passed down through the generations.

As part of the preliminary research, many owners have agreed that this is necessary work and will cooperate with the project’s preservation efforts. Individual owners have given permission for the project team to examine their collections, document them and, if necessary, to digitise them. If digitised, the owners will be given a CD containing the digital copies of their manuscripts. Copies of all the digital manuscripts will be deposited with the Lotus Research Center in Lalitpur and with the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP683
Project Title: Rāmamālā Library manuscript project



This project will bring together an international team of scholars to create an inventory of approximately 6,000 Sanskrit, Bengali, and Prakrit palm-leaf and paper manuscripts held at the Rāmamālā Library in Comilla, Bangladesh. From this collection of unique materials, approximately 100-150 rare and vulnerable manuscripts will be rehoused and digitised. Scholars and students, both foreign and local, will index manuscript title, genres, size and condition, thus facilitating future assessments of the collection’s value and sustainability. Digital images of the selected items will be made freely available online to bring attention to the collection and laying the groundwork in training and infrastructure for a future major preservation and digitisation project.

The collection dates from approximately 1500-1900 AD. Established in 1935 by Maheśacandra Bhaṭṭācārya and currently run by the Mahesh Charitable Trust, the collection was meant to promote education and preserve Bengali culture. It was also intended as a resource for preserving and promoting Hinduism within a dominant Muslim environment on the eve of British colonialism. Much of the library is thus dedicated to Sanskrit scientific and legal literature. Yet it also contains unique texts in a variety of other Sanskrit genres and includes many regional works in Bengali (eg, a rare version of the Mahābhārata), together with some works in Prakrit. Consequently, it preserves a snapshot of the literary and religious culture of the region in pre-colonial and colonial times, encompassing not just Hindu works but also works related to a distinctive, regional variety of Islam (Satyapīr).

The collection has been physically displaced twice. First during the upheavals in 1947 when India and Pakistan were partitioned, and then again in 1971 when Bangladesh broke away from Pakistan. Early attempts to itemise, catalogue, and identify manuscripts have been largely lost; all that remains by means of a catalogue is a general overview of the collection and archives of a few handwritten notes. The manuscripts themselves suffer from physical neglect and dilapidation. They are housed in rooms with glassless windows and leaky roofs, exposed to the elements, and open to vermin and potential theft. The current librarian who looks after the collection is elderly and in poor health. It is urgent to begin initial steps to help preserve this valuable collection and disseminate knowledge about its contents and to help protect it against the ravages of South Asian climate.

Since Bangladeshi independence, there have been limited efforts to ameliorate the disarray of manuscripts, including some microfilming in the 1980s, and classification of the manuscripts’ general categories. Despite the promise of these preliminary efforts, the full scope of the collection remains unknown.

Training of local students and scholars will be done through workshops held at the Rāmamālā Library, and will focus on technical aspects and skills of gathering and recording primary material, such as digitisation, source data collection, and preservation. This training will be geared towards this pilot project but will also facilitate the future continuation and expansion of digital projects at this site. Thus, for instance, through the workshops, scholars and students from the surrounding region will learn basic techniques of professional digitisation of manuscripts using high-quality camera equipment as well as how to process the data with institutional-level workflow software. They would also be trained on basic source data collection to render useable, descriptive details from manuscripts (palaeography, content, physical description) and to convert this information into data files using xml. Training initiatives will thus help to establish a sustainable knowledge-base for regional scholars.

This pilot project will establish a foundational inventory that will serve as the basis for assessing its value and setting up more extensive projects. 100-150 rare and at-risk manuscripts will be digitised and made available online.

Project Ref: EAP684
Project Title: Inventory of the National Archives of Burundi



This pilot project will survey the National Archives of Burundi to provide information on the documents that are actually endangered. This inventory of the vulnerable and valuable documents will then inform the design of a major digitisation project of the documents in order to ensure their preservation. Archival training will be provided to staff at the National Archives who are responsible for the management of the records.

The Library and Archives contain valuable historical and administrative collections which focus on the lives of Burundians and administrative organisations dating back to 1850. The documents are important for researchers, students and historians.

The physical condition of the documents varies from very poor to fair, with many documents in ruins and endangered. There is concern within the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture about the state of decomposition of the documents and the subsequent loss of irreplaceable or valuable documents.

There will be a particular emphasis on archives that contain:

    Documents on chieftancies and succession;
    Judicial procedures and judgments;
    Border disputes and resolutions;
    Systems of traditional marriage records;
    Documentation of estate and litigation;
    Official speeches;
    Correspondence of national and international importance (official communications between Burundi and Germany, between Burundi and Belgium, and diplomatic contacts with other countries);
    Administrative Records covering the colonial period.

The documents mentioned above are in danger because their storage conditions are very poor: excess moisture, stacked in piles, lack of ventilation, no light and no staff trained in records management.

This pilot project has several very important aims: a process of staff training will be initiated, in the areas of archival management and on digitisation and dissemination as a means of preserving collections. The current state of preservation will be assessed and the most vulnerable and important documents identified and an inventory complied. Some limited digitisation will be undertaken and an organisational plan developed to prepare for a major future digitisation project.

Project Ref: EAP687
Project Title: Digitisation of manuscripts held by the Tibetan Yungdrung Bön Library of Menri Monastery, Dolanji, India

Continuing from the earlier pilot project EAP296, this project will digitise 62,854 pages of manuscripts and 479 hand-made initiation cards relating to Bön, the little-known pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet, held by the Yungdrung Library of Menri Monastery in Dolanji (a remote, difficult to reach village in the Himalayan foothills of India). These unique materials were rescued from centuries-old Bön monasteries in Tibet before they were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution (1966-69), and Menri Monastery in North India now holds the largest collection of such materials in the world. They are essential to support the efforts of Bön monks and nuns to preserve their unique culture as well as the efforts of scholars elsewhere to understand not only the Bön religion but also the distinctive aspects of Tibetan Buddhism and the early cultural and intellectual history of Tibet and Central Asia.

A wide range of subject matter is covered by these manuscripts, including metaphysics, dialectics, logic, history, grammar, poetry, rules of monastic discipline, astronomy/astrology, medicine, divination, mantras, guidance in recognising the stages of inner progress, as well as numerous biographies of prominent teachers (most hagiographical in nature, but some with a degree of historical accuracy), musical scores, and practical instruction manuals for the creation and consecration of paintings, sculptures, mandalas, ritual offerings, reliquaries, amulets, and talismans.

The largest portion, however, are ritual texts, providing cycles of prayers devoted to various deities in their many manifestations, detailed descriptions of procedures conducive to spiritual experience (sādhanā), visualisations of symbolic self-dismemberment of the body and ego (chöd), as well as assorted religious ceremonies, particularly those focusing on the intermediate state (bardo) between death and rebirth and the transference of consciousness (phowa). The Bönpo take great pride in the fact that they have more - and more elaborate - rituals than do any of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism. These texts contain detailed instructions for a panoply of rituals ranging from simple blessings that can be executed by a single monk in a few minutes to extremely elaborate multi-media ceremonies involving hundreds of participants and taking several weeks to perform.

The physical condition of the manuscripts varies considerably, from immaculate, intact volumes to tattered shards of individual pages. Those in ‘fair’ condition are generally somewhat worn from use and age, whilst ‘poor’ manuscripts have suffered significant damage from water, insects, rodents, extreme age, heavy use, or have been badly stained by spills from butter lamps or butter tea. Fortunately, in many cases it is largely the margins that have been most severely damaged, and the text remains legible. In others, however, considerable portions of the leaves are missing or substantial amounts of text have been rendered illegible.

H. H. Menri Trizin, the 33rd Abbot of Menri Monastery, expressed great interest in preserving and, especially, digitising the manuscripts and is fully supportive of this project. He is particularly eager to spread knowledge about his religion in the West where he feels that Bön has been unfairly overshadowed by popular and scholarly interest in Tibetan Buddhism. Some small beginnings in the publication of Bön texts have been made in Europe and America (as well as in China and Japan), but these have barely scratched the surface of the wealth of texts that exist. Where Bön manuscripts are held elsewhere in the world, the focus has been on collecting and making accessible the canonical scriptures (the Tengyur commentaries as well as the primary source Kanjur) - but little else. Such collections have not produced copies or catalogues of the non-canonical commentaries and other primary sources of a strictly religious nature nor of the enormous amount of additional Bön literature relating to virtually every field of human endeavour that is to be found in Menri Monastery.

Digital copies will be deposited in at least three locations: the Yungdrung Library itself; the Library of Tibetan Works & Archives in Dharamsala, India, (the premier library of primary sources for Tibetan studies in South Asia); and the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP688
Project Title: Digitisation of the Deed books in Saint Vincent for the slavery era, 1763-1838



This project will digitise the surviving Deed books for Saint Vincent from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This important source material was sampled in the earlier pilot project EAP345: “A survey of the endangered archives of Saint Vincent, West Indies, during the slavery era”. The period is here defined as the years from 1763, when Saint Vincent was ceded to Britain at the end of the Seven Years’ War, until 1838, the date when Apprenticeship for slaves ended in the British Caribbean and slave emancipation was fully implemented in accordance with the Emancipation Act of 1834. The pilot project revealed that the most important manuscript records for the slavery era that survive in a continuous run for Saint Vincent are the Deed books.

The Deed books include important material for researchers. After 1763, Saint Vincent was drawn into the orbit of slavery in the British Empire. Its sugar plantation sector expanded rapidly after that date and the island became (along with other Windward Islands such as Dominica, Grenada and Tobago) a new, expanding frontier for British slavery. The Deed books, compiled in the offices of the island’s Colonial Secretary and the Registrar, proved a comprehensive record of all land and property transactions carried out during the seventy-five years when slave plantations were the main type of investment and employment on the island. The Deed books are large bound volumes that are available for every year in the period from 1763 to 1838. Such a continuous series of these records is only replicated sporadically for other islands that were once British possessions in the Caribbean. The land and property details recorded in these records provide the names of investors, along with their occupation and residence, and precise financial details, either in sterling or in the island’s currency. The information on investors includes whites and free blacks, men and women, and absentee residents (in other West Indian Islands or in Britain) as well as those living in Saint Vincent. The financial information is wide-ranging. Credit transactions are included. Mortgages, annuities, loans and bonds are all specified, with the names of the parties involved. The Deed books contain much material on slave sales between individuals connected with Saint Vincent and they also have information on slave manumissions. Where sugar plantations are identified in these records, the numbers, and sometimes the valuations, of slaves are given. This is particularly useful for researchers for the period from 1763 to 1815 because it was not until after the end of the Napoleonic Wars that slave registration was commonly carried out throughout the British Caribbean.

The material contained in the Deed books is essential for understanding the social structure and economy of Saint Vincent during the slavery era. The Deed books have been kept until recently at the Eastern Caribbean Court House in Kingstown, which has cramped and unsuitable conditions for serious historical research. Following the recommendations of the earlier pilot project, the Deed books have now been transferred to the National Archive of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and housed in a properly equipped and modern archive. Digitisation of these records would conserve them for future use and would make them widely available to historians of the Caribbean. A comprehensive study of these records would allow for a detailed analysis of the total investment in land and property in Saint Vincent during the period when its economy was dominated by sugar plantations operated by slaves. An analysis of the records would reveal the spatial distribution of properties in Saint Vincent; the degree of concentration in ownership; the levels of financial commitment; the different ways of supplying capital (mortgages, bonds, annuities and so on); the value of slave sales; the extent of manumission; and the supply of bills of exchange (and the parties to those transactions).

The extent of the original material comprises around sixty volumes of Deed books, each containing approximately 500 folios. The entire run of these records will be digitised and copies deposited with the National Archive of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP689
Project Title: Constituting a digital archive of Tamil agrarian history (1650-1950) - phase II



This major project aims to digitise vulnerable documents which are of unique socio-historical relevance to historians, anthropologists, sociologists and linguists. The project will pursue the digitisation of collections located and negotiated during the earlier EAP458 fieldwork as well as others located during future fieldwork. The total digital archive, which will combine the results of EAP314 and EAP458 and the outcome of this major project, will be of considerable importance to shed new light on social life in rural Tamil Nadu from a micro-historical perspective at a time when new power structures and social identities were being forged both with and against local traditional feudal systems and the British colonial administration.

The corpus of documents has never been exploited by academics as they are scattered around Tamil Nadu in the homes of villagers and in temples. It has taken a substantial amount of time merely to locate them and then often considerable effort to reassure, negotiate and convince their owners of the importance of their documents, and obtain their agreement to proceed with digitisation. The scope of this archive will open a new avenue of analysis at the level of micro-history of rural India, a field for which there is a lack of research material as the colonial Revenue Records as well as the “Village Notes” of the Settlement Surveys do not contain similar material.

Most of the documents identified for digitisation are destined to disappear in the near future given both the very humid climate of southern India and the neglected condition in which they are handled and stored. These documents, recorded on paper, palm-leaves, and copper plates provide a rare and unique opportunity to glimpse a variety of aspects of social history of village life in the more remote parts of the Tamil region at a time when new power structures and social identities were being forged both with and against local traditional feudal systems and British colonial legislations.

One of the specificities of this project is that the documents are scattered in local temples as well as the homes of Tamil villagers, especially the descendants of traditional power holders, who are unaware of the importance such documents can have for understanding the social history of this region. Though unaware of the scholarly value, the document holders are not prepared to part with these documents, by depositing them in the local archives. By creating this digital archive the project will safeguard a window into their past both for themselves and researchers.

During the earlier project EAP458, 22 collections had been located and negotiated with the document holders but not digitised. These 22 collections contain approximately 25,000 documents on palm-leaf, paper as well as numerous copperplates that have not been reported to the Archaeological Survey of India. Information had also been provided on other collections.

The documents to be digitised cover a wide scope of interest regarding conflict and local judicial assemblies, land tenures and revenue collection, kinship patterns, caste relations and power structures. The documents include: petitions and judgements both from non-state judicial assemblies (caste panchayats) and district and magistrate courts from the colonial period, land leases, land sales, loans, tax, village leases, East India Company records, genealogical charts, ritual tax collection, ritual guidelines for conducting pujas and building temples, literature, black magic, and folk medicine.

This project will be able to include a much larger number of copperplate documents than previously, as well as some palm-leaf collections stored in terrible conditions in a temple. The geographical area is also expanded as a number of collections from the Pudukottai district will be digitised.

These vulnerable documents with their exceptional scholarly value are of great scope in understanding the social history of Tamil village life over a period of three centuries. Copies will be deposited with the Tamil Nadu State Archives in Chennai, the French Institute of Pondicherry, and the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP690
Project Title: Project to digitise and preserve the manuscripts of Djenné and surrounding villages

Djenné has already benefited from the support of EAP for a Pilot Project EAP269 in 2009 and in 2011 Major Project EAP488. As a result, the town’s library has grown manifold since the local population has continued bringing their endangered manuscripts for safe keeping during the course of the two projects. However, the majority of the Djenné manuscripts remain in a precarious situation. In addition, there are rich collections of manuscripts in the surrounding villages which will be included in this new major project.

It has been estimated that Djenné holds more than 10,000 ancient manuscripts. This is a very conservative estimate and the project can only hope to touch a fraction of these endangered documents. Nevertheless, the project is aiming to digitise in excess of 150,000 pages of the manuscripts of Djenné and surrounding villages.

These manuscripts will be digitised in situ at the Djenné Manuscript Library. The preservation copy of the images copied will be stored on hard drives at the Djenné Manuscript Library. An access copy will be available for the use of researchers in a reading room which has already been put in place. A copy will also be stored at the Archives Nationales in Bamako and at the British Library.

The manuscripts of Djenné have not received nearly so much attention as those in Timbuktu. Djenné shares the same history as Timbuktu as an important centre of learning and trade, and the same tradition of copying manuscripts, with the interesting difference only being that a larger proportion of esoteric manuscripts have been found in Djenné, with many that relate to traditional medicine, a subject of much interest.

The oldest dated manuscript currently in the Djenné Manuscript Library is from 1394, although there are supposedly older manuscripts in the town which have not yet been entrusted to the library. The majority of the manuscripts date from between approximately 1700 to 1900.

A new menace is now threatening the manuscripts of Mali: the destruction of many manuscripts in Timbuktu by the recent Jihadist occupiers. Further attacks may possibly occur. Publicity surrounding the Malian manuscripts of Timbuktu has created a commercial climate in which the manuscript owners may be persuaded to sell. The manuscripts held in the Djenné Manuscript Library are relatively safe from environmental hazards such as termites and water damage, which still threaten the manuscripts remaining in the collectors’ houses. The workshops will foster a climate in which the manuscript owners will hand over their manuscripts for safekeeping.

Today, as a direct result of the EAP projects, the Djenné Manuscript Library holds 4,032 Manuscripts entrusted to the library’s safe keeping by 65 Djenné families. Every week new manuscripts arrive, but even so, the archivists are aware that this is still only a small proportion of the wealth of manuscripts that are still kept in Djenné and the outlying villages. The largest number by far still remains endangered by being stored in an unsatisfactory manner in the family homes where they are threatened by termites and water as well as prospectors.

In addition to carrying on the work as previously, this project will also reach out to the neighbouring villages up to 60km around Djenné. This will involve weekly visits by one of the archivists in the company of a person who is known in the particular village. Sessions of information under the auspices of the Village Chief will be held and consequently visits to individual families to view their collections. In this manner it is hoped that many of the families will be persuaded to relocate their collections to the Djenné Manuscript Library.

Finally but importantly the attacks on the tombs of saints and manuscripts in the Ahmed Baba Institute in Timbuktu by the recent Jihadist occupiers of the town has thrown into relief most graphically the urgency of the preservation of these Malian manuscripts by digitisation in particular. Through the EAP488 project it can now be claimed that Djenné is more advanced in this important field of work than her more famous ‘twin sister’ Timbuktu. These manuscripts will contain as yet undiscovered clues to the social, economic and religious history of West Africa. The Arabic manuscripts of Mali have been changing the perception of sub Saharan West Africa as an area without a written past in recent years. These manuscripts belong to the cultural heritage of the world and it is a duty to attempt to preserve them.

Project Ref: EAP691
Project Title: Rare manuscripts of great Buddhist thinkers of Laos: digitisation, translation and relocation at the 'Buddhist Archive of Luang Prabang'



This project aims at the identification, digitisation, and safe storage of important palm-leaf manuscripts, ancient leporello manuscripts written on mulberry paper, and related documents from the personal collections of several great Buddhist abbots of Luang Prabang in Laos.

These collections have almost miraculously survived civil war, war and revolution. Their owners and collectors have passed away during the last 25 years. The manuscripts are now in immediate danger of being dispersed. The manuscripts present valuable insight into the diverse intellectual interests of leading Theravada thinkers of the 20th century in one of the least known Buddhist cultures in the world.

Notwithstanding its rich culture, deeply influenced by Theravada Buddhism, Laos is still one of the least researched countries of Southeast Asia. During the second half of the 20th century, significant parts of the country’s cultural heritage have been destroyed, or seriously damaged, due to foreign interventions, civil war, and revolution. As a great surprise to international researchers, Buddhist monks of Luang Prabang, the ancient Royal capital, managed to preserve important parts of Lao heritage.

Between 1996 and 2006, a huge and unique corpus of historical photographs was discovered in the abodes (kuti) of leading abbots in twelve monasteries in two consecutive EAP projects, EAP177 and EAP326. With the help of EAP, the Buddhist Archive of Photography has been established. In addition, thousands of monographs, journals, and official documents were found in eight larger monasteries and are currently being inventoried and analysed by a team of Lao and German researchers at the University in Hamburg.

A most striking discovery of the last years has been a collection of 340 ancient palm-leaf manuscripts and 85 leporello manuscripts in the kuti of Pha Khamchan Virachitto (1920–2007) who was an outstanding monk of Laos in the second half of the twentieth century. Pha Khamchan’s personal collection was left undocumented by the Lao National Library's "Preservation of Lao Manuscripts Programme" in the 1990s, as it did not form part of the monastery’s library, but remained restricted to the exclusive use of the late abbot himself.

Whereas the manuscripts kept in monastic libraries usually contain Buddhist canonical and non-canonical texts (almost 90 percent), the Pha Khamchan manuscript collection reflects the abbot’s diverse intellectual interests ranging from history, medicine, astrology and divination to inter-religious dialogue and various aspects of Sangha organisation and policies. For the study of Buddhism in Laos, these collections are of the highest significance, as they reflect the organisation of traditional knowledge and political involvement of the Sangha, as well as the intellectual and spiritual interests of their religious leaders.

Based on a preliminary survey of the Pha Khamchan’s private collection of manuscripts we may conclude that the bulk of the manuscripts date from the first half of the 20th century. Some manuscripts have been copied by Pha Khamchan himself or have been commissioned at the occasion of the Venerable Abbot’s anniversaries; these manuscripts date from the second half the 20th century. However, there are a dozen manuscripts – both palm-leaf and mulberry paper manuscripts – which were written in the 19th century. The oldest extant manuscript in the Pha Khamchan collection is dated AD 1791. It is an ancient Buddhist prayer manuscript called Kammavāca, used for the ordination ceremonies of monks and novices.

In addition to the Pha Khamchan collection, recent investigations have shown that at least two further collections of senior monks have survived, namely those of Pha Kham Fan Silasangvaro (Vat Suvannakhili) and Pha Bunchankaeo Phothichitto (Vat Xiang Muan Vajiramangalaram). Based on experience in the previous EAP projects focusing on historical photographs, it is suspected that a systematic survey of all 34 monasteries in the city of Luang Prabang will lead to the discovery of even more personal collections of leading senior monks. There is a chance to capture and preserve, in a critical moment, the intellectual heritage of a large number of Buddhist thinkers. Access to these unique collections of documents will provide opportunities to a new generation of Lao intellectual monks and to international researchers to deepen their studies of Lao Buddhism and history.

Many manuscripts are in a vulnerable physical condition. Individual collections are in great danger of being dispersed and biological damage due to termites and mould is increasing. Other dangers of neglect, theft and mishandling are growing day by day.

It is at this point that the provincial Sangha has decided to transfer the libraries of major monasteries and personal collections of monks (the latter being the focus of this project), to a central place. The monks have invited this team to accompany the transfer with a project of digitisation and a programme of training for young local scholars. The Sala Thammavihan of Vat Souvannakhili, which since 2006 houses the Buddhist Archive of Photography, will become the central space of the Buddhist Archive of Luang Prabang.

Local staff will carry out the work, trained by the project, to ensure the long-term preservation of these manuscripts, as well as access to them for scholars inside and outside the Buddhist Sangha. It is estimated that approximately 2,000 manuscripts will be digitised, 30,000 to 40,000 folios. Copies will be deposited with the National Library of Laos in Vientiane, the local Buddhist Archive in Luang Prabang, the British Library, and the University of Hamburg.

Project Ref: EAP692
Project Title: Documentation of endangered temple art of Tamil Nadu



Tamil Nadu has a long and rich history of painting which is unique to this state to a certain extent, with paintings on cloth, leather, ceramics and other mediums. Murals and ceramic art that survived the vicissitudes of time represent the past history of different dynasties. Tamil Nadu temples have murals representing historical epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharatha.

These exquisite temple murals belong to various dynasties such as the Pallava (2nd to 9th century), the Chola (9th to 13th century), the Nayak (16th to 18th century) and the Maratha (17th to 19th century). In addition to the temple art a few palaces such as Ramalinga Vilas at Ramanathapuram and the Padmanabhapuram in Kanyakumari district have murals.

Many of these art works, dating from the 2nd to 19th century, have been wiped out wholly or partially through such things as vandalism, south Indian weather condition, by burning camphor as part of the ritual practice. No conscious preservation efforts have been undertaken, putting this temple art in a vulnerable situation. The rich cultural heritage of the temple art is deteriorating on a daily basis. These murals will shed light on the art history, heritage and the nature of the society and its function if is protected. They are exquisite and facing extinction.

In recent times, sand-blasting in temples has become a regular practice, damaging sculptures, paintings and inscriptions. In the Varadarajaswamy temple at Kanchipuram, a Nayaka period mandapam with pillars filled with carvings of dancers, musicians, floral motifs and inscriptions was pulled down and haphazardly rebuilt, and hundreds of the Vijayanagara period murals are in ruins. In the name of renovation, murals at the Tiruvellarai temple, depicting episodes from the ‘Ramayana,' are no longer there. Paintings of the Nayak period, which portrayed the life of the Vaishnavite saint, Nammazhwar, at the temple in Tirukkurugur, near Adichanallur, Tirunelveli are now vanished.

The above examples clearly show the danger of vandalism for this valuable temple art. This pilot project is important for an area where little work has been done to date. Digitising these murals at the earliest opportunity will enable art historians and others to carry out research and for the general public to relish their heritage.

The IFP has wide experience of documenting south Indian temples and their murals since 1956 and its archives are useful for individuals to carry out research, temple and government authorities to rebuild temples, and serves as a resource centre to document statues now stolen. A proper and systematic digital documentation and preserving them is needed to serve as a reserve.

This pilot project will digitise exquisite murals in vulnerable condition, in four temples and one rock art site: Madurai Meenakshi temple; Kallalagar temple, Alagarkovil; Siva temple Tittakudi; Vishnu temple, Adiyamankottai; and Jain cave of Tirumalai. A detailed database will be prepared with descriptions for the documented images. The project will also compile a detailed list of other temples where such murals are available, with their conditions and the permissions needed to do the digitisation. This will be used as the framework for a future major project. This work will pave the way for future generations to understand historically important temple art and provide opportunities for research.

Project Ref: EAP693
Project Title: Preservation of Solomon Islands analog recordings

The collections of analogue media at the Solomon Islands Archives and National Museum are in urgent need of preservation. This project will digitise and list 200 tapes from the Museum, many of which are in languages with few remaining speakers. These are unique recordings that reflect the diversity of languages and cultural groups that make up the Solomon Islands. In Honiara, local staff will be trained and then involved in prioritising the tapes and assigning metadata. The tapes will be digitised in Australia by the Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures.

There are some 74 languages in the Solomon Islands, and there are few records of most of them. Tapes in the target collections include field recordings in local languages and recordings of customary knowledge. The recordings date from the 1970s and so capture snapshots of language at that time, many recorded with people who have since passed away, making them priceless records of aspects of national heritage that are not otherwise available. These unique recordings reflect the diversity of languages and cultural groups that make up the Solomon Islands. As analogue tapes in Honiara they are unplayable, but as a result of their digitisation and description in this project they will become a base for future research.

These tapes are unique and have not been played for some time due to the lack of playback machines. They are in danger of becoming unplayable due to the tropical climate of Honiara and the lack of consistent climate control. Without this project the tapes are certain to become unusable.

The tapes were made by personnel of various Solomon Island agencies and visiting international researchers, and are in a range of local languages. Once available to listen to, it will be possible for the Museum and Archives to enrich the description of the collection, allowing speakers or their descendants to hear these recordings of themselves or their families for the first time.

Digital copies will be deposited with the Solomon Islands National Museum, PARADISEC, and the British Library. The original tapes will be returned to Honiara.

Project Ref: EAP696
Project Title: Minority press in Ottoman Turkish in Bulgaria

Despite their undisputed historical value and uniqueness, Ottoman Turkish language periodicals, published in post-Ottoman Bulgaria (1878-1943) are currently almost impossible to access by both researchers and the general public. Years of neglect, chronic financial difficulties, and insufficient library staff training have already resulted in the loss of a great number of titles and issues. This project aims at relocating existing periodicals which are endangered due to being kept in inadequate repository conditions and efforts will be made to recover periodicals that are represented in catalogues but are otherwise unavailable.

The Ottoman Turkish press in Bulgaria in the 1878-1943 period was a unique phenomenon within the post Ottoman Balkans. Not only for the significant number of newspapers and magazines published, but also because some of them continued to be printed in Arabic script years after 1928 when Turkey went with the Harf Inkılabı and adopted its variant of the Latin alphabet. There was a literal publishing explosion in the ten years following 1878 in which there were more Ottoman Turkish newspapers in circulation than during all the previous years of the 19th century combined. The newly founded Bulgarian state was in fact a multi-ethnic country with a significant minority population – a predominantly Turkish speaking one. The official Bulgarian authorities recognised this as evidenced by the Bulgarian State Gazette which was printed in both Ottoman Turkish and Bulgarian for the first two years of its run. Yet surprisingly these issues are extremely hard to come by and are not digitised. These newspapers are an invaluable source for understanding the transitions and obstacles for modernisation for the minority populations in the Balkans.

The majority of these periodicals were a private enterprise with their owners and columnists predominantly of Turkish origin. Yet some ethnic Bulgarian publishers sought wider readership by including pages written in Ottoman Turkish (e.g. “Arda”). Opponents of Kemalist policies in Turkey often went into voluntary or forced exile and some began to print their own newspapers in Bulgaria. A number of publications had a serious impact within Turkey and were even banned there (e.g. “Koca Balkan”). Over time, the language of the periodicals evolved significantly as new and modern words were entering directly from Bulgarian, making it especially unique. In the 1930s a new phenomenon took place – certain periodicals started using Latin script. At first they were quite cautious so the new script articles coexisted on the same page as those in Arabic script.

The exact number of periodicals published in the Ottoman Turkish language in Bulgaria is undetermined. It is unknown how many have survived to this day, nor is there a designated catalogue. Newspapers are an intrinsically perishable medium, but because of further neglect many issues have already been irretrievably lost. In addition to this, periodicals in Ottoman Turkish are often described and catalogued incorrectly and often only based on circumstantial data.

According to the general catalogue of the Bulgarian National Library, which has the highest number of this type of preserved periodical, there are 51 separate titles. Not established as a stand-alone collection, many were sent to remote repositories where archival storage conditions are far from being up to modern standards. An important part of both Bulgarian and Turkish minority heritage, as well as an extremely unique media, is on the verge of being lost. Most of the periodicals were printed not in the capital, but in areas with a significant Turkish speaking population. We can ascertain that in the repositories of the regional libraries, newspapers such as these exist.

The primary goal of the pilot project is making the first step in identification of all the available titles and their issues in the larger libraries in Bulgaria. Periodicals in the holdings of the Bulgarian National Library that are currently in remote repositories in unsuitable storage conditions will be relocated to the central building. Periodicals in the poorest physical condition, especially these from regional libraries, will be copied and originals will be made inaccessible for researchers to prevent their loss. A separate preliminary catalogue will be prepared. The capacity for digitisation both in equipment and training of the staff in the smaller local libraries will be determined with the aim of executing a future full scale project for digitisation, preservation, and formation of a uniform digital collection with access to researchers worldwide.

Project Ref: EAP698
Project Title: Digitisation of the endangered Cham manuscripts in Vietnam



An important cultural group within Vietnam, the Cham once had their own kingdom called Champa, which lasted from the 7th century to 1832. There are about 162,000 Cham people living in Vietnam today, concentrated in Central Vietnam and the Mekong Delta region. The Cham people possess a fascinating history and unique culture within Southeast Asia, still appreciated today through their ancient temples, ritual practices and daily customs. The most notable evidence of Cham civilisation is their writing system, which has been used for centuries. Their manuscripts contain rich information on Chamic civilisation and written records of Chamic languages. There are large gaps in Cham linguistics and history due to the fact that Cham manuscripts are not easily accessible to scholars. Digitising Cham manuscripts will not only preserve the manuscripts but also make them much more accessible to scholars worldwide.

Through the earlier pilot project EAP531 it was discovered that there are up to 3,000 Cham manuscripts, including palm-leaf and paper, still available in the Cham communities in Central Vietnam. These manuscripts are currently in very poor physical condition and will continue to deteriorate in the tropical climate of Vietnam.

This project will digitise approximately 400 selected manuscripts in Cham communities in Central Vietnam. The selected manuscripts will be those that are the oldest and unique in their content. The project will also assist manuscript holders in preserving their manuscripts by providing them with acid-free archival boxes and basic preservation knowledge. A 3-day workshop will be conducted on preservation and digitisation for local archivists. In addition, the project will help raise awareness of the value of Cham manuscripts and their endangered conditions among the Cham, local archivists, and Chamic Studies scholars.

Digitisation will be undertaken within the villages by two mobile teams, led by Mr Thap Lien Truong, a Cham scholar based at the Centre for Cham Cultural Studies in Ninh Thuan. A third team will be based in Ho Chi Minh City to process the digitised manuscripts, led by Dr Thanh Phan, vice-director of the Centre for Vietnamese and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Humanities and Social Sciences in Ho Chi Minh City – both are Cham themselves and leading scholars of Cham manuscripts.

The manuscripts will remain with their owners as many manuscripts are religious material currently in use and cannot be removed from the communities. Digital copies will be deposited with the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and with the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP699
Project Title: Safeguarding of the intangible Romani heritage in the Republic of Moldova threatened by the volatilisation of the individual unexplored collections



The Republic of Moldova is a former Soviet Union country in transition to democracy and a market economy. Moldova is inhabited with many ethnic minority communities such as Ukrainians, Russian Old Believers, Gagauzi, Bulgarians, Jews, Roma, and others. The Roma are most neglected in academia, museum and archival work, and there is an absence of local historiographical sources and ethnographic research undertaken in the field.

During the Soviet period, Moldova was considered a country where the majority of Roma lived, and where they settled from other republics. The Roma community in Moldova had lived under typical conditions of a pre-industrial period and to a large part still live this way. During the Soviet Union period, the government had made attempts to modernise their lives: their nomadic way of life was prohibited, and compulsory education and obligatory employment were introduced. Some Roma representatives have dedicated their life to the development of their people, there were writers, painters, artists, and others, who strived for modernisation and emancipation of their communities.

Over the past few years, researchers from the "Roma Ethnology" working group, in the Ethnic Minorities Department of the Institute of Cultural Heritage, undertook a series of field trips to Roma, locating 11 ethnographic Romani groups in Moldova, each with its specific pre-modern culture. The best known of these are: Layesh (ex-nomads Roma group), Lautari (Roma musicians), Lingurari (Roma spoon makers), Chokanary (Roma blacksmiths), Churary (Roma sieve makers), Curteni (Roma servants to local nobles courts in past). During these field research trips among the Roma community from Moldova the researchers became aware of the existence of valuable materials, kept in a state of neglect.

Most of these sources (photographs, documents, manuscripts) are kept in family archives. They are endangered for a variety of reasons: when the owners of personal archives die, their descendants are not interested in preserving them, and there is little funding within the country for collecting and archiving them. These archives are gradually disappearing.

The core mission of this pilot project will be focused on locating, organising and digitising Romani heritage in Moldova: photographic materials, manuscripts, periodicals, posters, various certificates of participation in socio-cultural events, individual employment contracts.

The project will discover collections of the Romani archive material, connected with the community and cultural activity of the Roma in the Republic of Moldova from the 1940s and earlier. Where possible, they will be relocated to the archive of the Institute of Cultural Heritage of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, and the National Archives of the Republic of Moldova. Material from the family archives of well-known Roma personalities from the past will be collected, but also materials from ordinary Roma families.

It is expected to find manuscripts of family history or memoirs and Romani written artistic literature, photographs, old descriptions of customs, old songs, Romani legends and oral histories, posters, different kinds of administrative documents of central and local authorities, towns and village chronicles regarding Roma public policies, individual employment contracts from the pre-industrial period, and certificates of participation in socio-cultural events.

If efforts are not made to save these materials, the Roma community in Moldova is likely to lose this unique ethnographic heritage. Digital copies of the material will be deposited with the National Archives of the Republic of Moldova and the British Library - this will make it possible for academics from the field of Romani studies and for scholars interested in Southeast European studies to access them and will also be very important for the empowerment of Roma communities. As a result a unique archival collection on the Roma community in Moldova will come into being.

Project Ref: EAP700
Project Title: Preservation of the manuscripts of the Jaffna Bishop's House (1850-1930)



This pilot project aims to undertake a survey of the manuscripts of the Bishop’s House in Jaffna, Sri Lanka and sort them out depending on the type of the manuscripts, their language and content. The rare and vulnerable ones will be prioritised for digitisation, approximately 7,000 pages. Most of the manuscripts are written in French, others in Tamil and a few in English. They consist of personal memoirs, chronicles, account books, correspondence, and newspaper clippings ranging from 1850 to the 1930s. These manuscripts bear testimony to the historical, social and cultural history of the people of Jaffna and of Christian missions in Sri Lanka.

These manuscripts are becoming more and more vulnerable to human and natural disasters and merit urgent digitisation for posterity. Jaffna, in the northern part Sri Lanka, inhabited by the Tamil ethnic minority since the independence of Sri Lanka (1948) has been subject to serious ethnic, cultural and political conflicts. One of the most tragic events was the burning of the Jaffna Public library along with its 97,000 volumes of books and manuscripts on 1 June 1981. The Jaffna public library was considered one of the biggest in Asia.

This collection of manuscripts has escaped the bombings and shelling of past decades. They have been stored in wooden cupboards in a reinforced room of the Bishop’s House adjoining the Cathedral, in a strategically sensitive district of the Jaffna City. They are, however, highly vulnerable due to their age and their current condition of poor storage, insect infestations, occasional human mishandling, humidity and other natural and environmental disasters. Some of them are in such a fragile state that they are unable to be handled.

The bulk of the handwritten documents amounts to approximately 40,000 pages written in French, Tamil and English. These manuscripts and documents are part of the collections of the Catholic mission in Sri Lanka and cover a wider geographical area including the Jaffna peninsula, Mannar, Puttalam and the Vanni regions. The majority of the manuscripts are in French. This makes the collection a rare and unique heritage and should shed new insights on the contribution of the French missions in this region. They contain a variety of information about the Diocese and the parish and the parishioners. They cover two periods: the second half of the 19th century with the commencement of the Missions; and the period before, during, and after the First World War, a period that is also of great historical importance because of its implications in the colonies. They pertain to two broad domains of the history of Christianity and Christian missions in Sri Lanka, and also the cultural history of ethnic minorities in general and with special reference to the Tamils.

Most of the documents describe events related to the religious and cultural contexts of the northern part of Sri Lanka under the British rule. However, they are not religious texts but testimonies of daily life and difficulties and local administration. The registers contain notes and reports about family affairs, village urban management, organisation of educational networks, relations between Hindu and Catholic neighbourhoods, etc. The correspondence contains letters and notes between Priests and Bishops, and Bishops and their superior order in Colombo and in France. They deal with Hindu manners and customs, and relations between Catholics and Muslims. The documents will shed more insight on how the Catholic Church carried out the proselytisation in this region known for its strong attachment to Hinduism and how they organised their administration and governance of the profane life around the Parish.

The digital preservation of these manuscripts will be a valuable and essential resource to many different user communities looking for a wider insight on the social history of the northern part of Sri Lanka under British rule.

Project Ref: EAP703
Project Title: Digitising endangered manuscript sources: the notary books of Bahia, Brazil, 1664-1889

The project´s goal is to digitise a collection of manuscript documents deposited at the Arquivo Público do Estado da Bahia (Bahia State Archives-BSA): the 841 volumes of the Notary Records Books produced between 1664 and 1889, this last date being the year the Republic was proclaimed, and one year after the abolition of slavery in Brazil. The result will be approximately 450,000 images, which will be deposited at the BSA, the Federal University of Bahia, and the British Library, and will be made available online.

Until 1763, Bahia was the seat of the Portuguese colonial government in the Americas and a major sugar plantation economy based on African enslaved labour. Brazil was the largest importer of Africans, close to five million of the 11 million that were disembarked in the Americas. Bahia received 33% of the Brazilian trade and 14.5% of the total. Being an administrative and economic centre, and until the late eighteenth century the most important port of trade in the South Atlantic, the production of documents in Bahia was intense. In Brazil, BSA is considered to be second in importance only to the National Archives in Rio de Janeiro.

Despite its importance, the BSA occupies an inadequate (though charming) eighteenth-century building, too small for its growing collection, problematic in terms of climate control, located on a humid terrain, its roof made of colonial tiles easily pulled by strong winds and rain, among other structural problems. In the last two years electricity has been available only in a few rooms because of a general electric failure and risk of fire. The consultation room was moved to a small space where few researchers are allowed simultaneously, and until recently had to depend on natural light to read documents. After months of reports in the press, and pressure from researchers around the world, the state government has recently allocated money to fix the electrical system, a work in progress. This situation, coupled with the action of time, fungus, insects, and a very humid climate, has resulted in the deterioration, and often the destruction, of numerous documents. The project will target the Notary Books series for digitisation.

These documents represent perhaps the most dependable source for the study of the social and economic history of colonial and post-colonial Bahia up until the end of the 19th century. Here, researchers can read, amongst others, bills of sale (for plantations, land, houses, ships, slaves, etc), wills and testaments, inheritance partition, power of attorney letters, marriage, dowry, labour and business contracts, children’s legitimisation papers, and slave manumission papers. These are fundamental sources for the study of a major plantation society, the slave trade, slavery, the passage from slave to free labour, property transmission in rural and urban settings, planters and merchant’s marriage strategies, mercantile networks in the South Atlantic, biographies, among other themes. Research along these lines by Brazilian and foreign scholars have proven the richness of this source for the study of Bahia´s history and its connections with the Atlantic world, slavery and the slave trade in particular. Bahia was responsible for approximately 15% of the transatlantic slave trade to the Americas, a figure only surpassed by Rio de Janeiro.

The conditions of the Notary Books vary from readable, poorly readable, almost illegible, and illegible. Some are irrecoverable but many can still be restored and need to be saved in digital form before further deterioration or be destroyed by any unfortunate natural or human caused accident.

The project is based at the Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (School of Philosophy and Humanities) of the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), and will be carried out by the “Slavery and the Invention of Freedom Research Group”. During the project the team will organise seminars with scholars and graduate students who have used, or are using, the Notary Books, at which time the project will be exposed to the media in order to sensitise society and government about the need to preserve historical documents.

Project Ref: EAP704
Project Title: The Melvin Seiden Award: Digitisation of the monastic archives of Marawe Krestos and Däbrä Abbay (Shire region, Tigray Province, Ethiopia)



The aim of this project is to secure and digitise the manuscript collections of two monasteries located in the remote parts of Shire district (Tigray Province, Ethiopia): Marawe Krestos and Däbrä Abbay. Together, the two collections consist of 106 manuscripts.

Marawe Krestos: The monastery is situated at the top of a mountain in the Zehrem area of Shire. Sixty monks are currently attached to the institution. It was founded in the 13th century and became particularly important as a religious centre in the 14th-15th centuries. The place is little known and seldom visited even by Ethiopians due to the difficulty of access. The recording of its collection, consisting of 61 manuscripts most of which are very old and rare, has long been desired by international scholarship.

Däbrä Abbay (Enda Abunä Samuel): The monastery lies in the Sämbäla district in southern Shire, on the rim of the Täkkäze river gorge. The monastic community consists of 80 monks and 20 nuns, as well as some 30 priests and deacons. The monastery is a centre of ecclesiastical education, specialising in liturgical chant. It is surrounded by the huts of approximately 300 students. Some 20 hermits are dependent upon the monastery. The monastery was founded in AD 1347 by Samuel of Weldebba and remains under the administration of the monastic centre in Weldebba. Another important monastic figure associated with the monastery was Samuel Zä-Qwäyäsa, who flourished at the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries. The relatively small number of manuscripts, approximately 45, kept in the central store, is what remains of the large collection which, together with the main church, was destroyed by the Italians in 1934. The church was rebuilt by the emperor Haile Sellase, who also donated to it some liturgical books copied in the royal scriptorium in Addis Ababa. It is important to preserve this small collection which is still in regular use by the monastic community and its students. The oldest books will be replaced by printed copies and placed in boxes.

The manuscripts in both collections contain material crucial for the study of Ethiopian and Eastern Christian monasticism and the history of Ethiopia, particularly for the northern regions which presently belong to Eritrea and for that reason are inaccessible to researchers. They also document the history of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Church and bring to light the new and little known works of Christian and Ethiopian Church literature. Moreover, the collected material will enrich our knowledge about the history of the manuscript book and Ethiopian art history in the context of Christian Oriental and Byzantine artistic traditions. Identifiable groupings are:

    Texts relating to the history of the monastic communities and their founders (mostly hagiographical);
    Historical documents and notes in Ge’ez, Amharic, Coptic and Arabic relating to the history of Ethiopia, 15th to 20th c.;
    Documents relating to the history of the Ethiopian Church, 15th to 20th c.;
    Oriental & Ethiopian Christian literature containing unknown & little known texts;
    Biblical texts, some apocryphal;
    Liturgical texts;
    Manuscripts decorated with miniatures, ornaments, drawings and artistically bound volumes.

At both sites, the manuscripts are presently stored in primitive stone huts with thatched roofs, lying on the floor or on rough, unstable shelving. The books regularly used in the liturgy are kept in the mänbärä tabot (altar unit) and around it on the floor. It is not unusual for fuel to be stored in jerry cans in the same space. Types of damage recorded are mould, mice damage, male caterpillar holes, burns, detached and torn folios, and broken covers.

All possible measures to protect the manuscripts will be applied under the supervision of a conservator. Digitisation will be carried out in the presence of the ecclesiastics responsible for the manuscripts and the conservator will instruct them on how to care and store the books in the best possible way.

Another important aim of the project is to spread knowledge about manuscript preservation among Ethiopian clergy and convince them of the importance and value of digitisation. Some 95% of Ethiopian manuscripts are to be found in the collections of churches and monasteries. Every successfully accomplished project carried out in a friendly atmosphere opens the door for scholars to gain access to the next valuable collection, thus giving Ethiopian manuscripts “a second chance”.

Copies will be deposited with the Monasteries of Marawe Krestos and Däbrä Abbay; the Ethiopian Liturgical Library (Addis Ababa); the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa University; the British Library; and the University of Toronto Scarborough.

The Melvin Seiden Award has been awarded to preserve these outstanding collections of medieval manuscripts, a field of particular interest to the donor.

Project Ref: EAP714
Project Title: Safeguarding the country's ecclesiastical archives: survey of Church archives in Malawi



This project seeks to assess the extent and storage conditions of the country’s early Church records dating between 1861 and 1964, and partially digitise the most vulnerable of these records located in different mission stations in Malawi. The ultimate goal of the project is to make the Church archives more secure and accessible to a wider public.

Malawi, formerly Nyasaland, was a predominantly oral society and the argument by many commentators that writing was unknown in pre-colonial Sub-Saharan Africa, is also true for Malawi because no written records were generated until the arrival of the British missionaries in the early 1860s. Between 1861 and 1891 before the establishment of the Colonial Administration, different Churches were established in Malawi and influenced people in many ways.

The missionaries’ goal was to convert the natives to Christianity through the teachings of the Holy Bible by establishing as many mission stations as possible in order to reach out to as many natives as possible. In order to achieve this goal, the missionaries had first of all to learn and master the local languages for better communication with their would-be flocks. Having mastered the languages, the missionaries then translated the Biblical scriptures into the local languages. For instance, missionaries of the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa, having established their first mission station in July 1861, devoted themselves to mastering the predominant local language, such that by mid-1862 they were able to reduce the language to writing, translating the Lord’s Prayer and some Scripture passages. The natives who had converted to Christianity heard and were taught from the Scripture passages of the Holy Bible in their own languages.

Through establishment of the village schools, the Free Church of Scotland (1875) and the Established Church of Scotland (1876) missionaries were able to carry out mass-literacy campaigns. Such campaigns were aimed at teaching the predominantly illiterate people how to read and write so that, in turn, they could promote the spread of Christianity. The Dutch Reformed Church Mission, which was established in Malawi in 1889, had to adopt a policy of ‘no ability to read no Church membership’, in order to promote literacy among the natives who had come under the Mission’s influence. Other foreign church missions and indigenous churches were established between 1891 and 1964 when Malawi gained its political independence and they equally played an important role in the social-economic development of the country.

The Churches generated important records in the form of accounts, correspondence, day books, deacon’s diaries, manuscripts, maps, minutes, minute books, miscellaneous, nominal rolls (communicants rolls, baptismal rolls and catechumens rolls), photographs, registers (birth, death, expelled members and village schools), reports and statistics. These records are unique in that they are the earliest written documents in the country and they illuminate Malawi’s pre-colonial past more than any other records. Additionally, they complement the country’s official records, thereby sealing most of the gaps in the country’s recorded pre-independence history.

The date-range of the records targeted for this project is 1861-1964. This period is historic as it is regarded as a century of Malawi’s civilization when the missionaries first ‘governed’ the country for thirty years before the Colonial Administration took over in 1891. During the colonial period, the Church continued to play an important role in the colonial administration. For instance, they continued to provide education services up to 1929 when the colonial administration took over this responsibility and a member from the Church sat on the Legislative Council from 1907 up to 1961. From the 1950s involvement of indigenous Malawians in government and administration was minimal and only at lower levels.

After independence, indigenous Malawians took over leadership of various Churches and inherited the records that had been generated by their foreign predecessors. Due to the poor storage conditions prevailing in many mission centres in Malawi coupled with a lack of skills for proper management of the records, most of this precious documentary heritage has been damaged and lost. Moreover, a bulk of these endangered ecclesiastical archives is inaccessible to the general public owing to the absence of a catalogue or guide to the material.

This project will survey archival collections in various Church missions in the northern, central and southern regions, from the period 1861-1964. The most vulnerable and important records will be digitised as a preservation measure.

Project Ref: EAP722
Project Title: Safeguarding Nzema history. Towards an archive of Chieftaincy in south-west Ghana

This project will continue the earlier pilot project EAP569. Its aim is to safeguard, list and digitise the archival heritage currently in possession of the seven Ghanaian Paramountcies composing the Nzema Maanle Council: Western Nzema, Eastern Nzema, Lower Axim, Upper Axim, Gwira, Ajomoro, and Nsein.

The series of interest to this project form a heterogeneous corpus of data, scattered across the seven archives, and include records regarding land rights and borders during pre-colonial times (hand-written documents, maps and diaries); records regarding traditional rule in the area (lists of chiefs, chiefdoms and transmission acts);acts from oral proceedings documenting disputes, chieftaincy matters and local land rights.

These documents are a corpus of great importance for the study of Nzema culture and history, as they track traditional rule forms and give an unprecedented insight on the history of local chiefdoms. They shed light on how traditional rule and land management have evolved in South-West Ghana over the last century, spanning from the colonial era to the process that led the Country to obtain independence in 1957. In this perspective, the importance of EAP722 lies in the fact that the documents that will be digitised and made available for research purposes have never been accessible to scholars before; they represent a new source of information for the history of the western coastal area of Ghana.

Apart from the Western and Eastern Nzema Archives, that were the focus of EAP569 and are now safe, all the archives involved in this project are threatened by a variety of factors including environmental (moisture, highly variable temperatures, floods, fires, chemical and biological infections, rodents, insects); lack of preservation practices (no list available, documents mixed up, inadequate use of archival files and boxes); lack of dedicated personnel; and dispersion of the records throughout the territory (multiple repositories).

The project will carry out surveys to assess the consistency, physical conditions and logical structure of the collections. Basic preservation measures (including cleaning and re-packing) will be undertaken for the records and a finding list will be produced in order to make the information available for consultation. The oldest and most fragile documents will be digitised to ensure the durability of the information through digital and easy-to-access media.

The Fort Apollonia Museum staff will be supported in managing project activities by the Italian Ethnological Mission to Ghana (Sapienza – University of Rome), in the person of the Director, Professor Pino Schirripa. Being an interdisciplinary research project dating back to 1954, IEMG played an important role in the establishment of the Museum in 2010. IEMG researchers are currently carrying out anthropological and historical researches in the area based on a participatory approach.

The team will be increased for intensive fieldwork in the seven archives. The researchers who took part in the pilot project will continue working for this major project, granting continuous support to the new researchers, and additional training will take place. The Western Region House of Chiefs will facilitate relations with the Traditional Councils; PRAAD will send one of its Archivists to take part in the project; and the Information Studies Department (University of Ghana) will provide advanced students and PhD candidates as junior researchers to be employed by the Museum.

At the end of the project, the physical records, accurately sorted and clean, will be packed in new archival containers and relocated in safe repositories. Digital copies will be stored on hard drives for safe keeping and consultation, and deposited with the Eastern Nzema Traditional Council Archive, Fort Apollonia Museum, Sapienza University of Rome, and the British Library. The materials deposited with the Fort Apollonia Museum will be made accessible through a digital platform that is currently being developed by Sapienza, conceived as the means to make the documents available to local communities and researchers upon request.

Project Ref: EAP726
Project Title: Preserving Peruvian newspapers for a regional approach: key 19th-20th century press in Arequipa



Catholic gazettes were edited and published in several Peruvian towns and their contributors expressed opinions on national or regional ethical affairs, political and social decisions, and polemical religious issues. Considered as an effective instrument in influencing public opinion, the Catholic press was an important voice in the political debate within a society that was in a continuous process of modernisation and secularisation throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

“El Deber” was one of the most conservative newspapers in Peru throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and likely the most influential and long-lasting Catholic gazette ever issued in any province. This newspaper provides key information regarding the conservative political view for seven decades (1890-1962) and was an important voice in the national and regional debate. Edited in Arequipa, this daily supplied considerable information on local economic issues, political interests, ethical concerns and religious affairs.

Its contributors also provide local viewpoints on national and regional political decisions on a daily basis. Furthermore, Arequipa was the most important city in which “Catholic action” (social initiatives according to the Catholic Church’s doctrine) was intensively promoted among entrepreneurs, businessmen, employees and workers. An intense local political debate on such religious issues as mandatory civil marriage, legalization of divorce, secularization of education, religious intolerance, and the confiscation of ecclesiastical assets was discussed therein.

In addition, it provided portraits of daily life in the city and the surrounding towns. All issues included advertisements, the classified ad sections, extra and special supplements which can be studied from different perspectives. Historians can find valuable information on political, social, cultural, genealogical, intellectual and religious history. It is important to note that no other daily newspaper from Arequipa during this time period has ever been microfilmed, digitised or otherwise preserved.

This project aims to gather and digitally store the entire edition of this major conservative paper, which is in peril of extinction. As with most newspapers from this period, “El Deber’s” paper is highly acidic, brittle and fragile and much of the original print is beginning to fade. It can only be handled with upmost care.

No single library houses the entire collection, but it is available in two important archives: the Municipal Archive of Arequipa and the San Jeronimo Seminary. The Municipal repository allows public access to its material and this has resulted in deterioration from use. The San Jeronimo collection is better conserved since access to the material is allowed only through special permission. This restriction has resulted in a more complete collection in much better condition. No attempts have been made to preserve any of the collection in any film or digital.

The two collections have been made available to the project and with proper ordering and manipulation it will be possible to preserve the entire run of the newspaper, using both collections. Approximately 115,200 pages will be digitised and the digital collection will be deposited with the Seminary of San Jeronimo, the Municipal Library of Arequipa, the Universidad Católica San Pablo and the British Library.

Project Ref: EAP727
Project Title: Preservation of Tibetan Ngakpa manuscripts in Amdo region (Qinghai and Gansu Provinces, PRC)



Amdo is a region located in the northeastern area of the Tibetan Plateau. Due to its geographical features of high mountain ranges and vast grasslands, fragmented and scattered institutions of local power have been the prevalent forms of the ruling agency, until its formal inclusion in the administrative system of People’s Republic of China in 1958.

In this socio-historical context, Ngakpa have been playing a leading role in the religious life of Amdo Tibetan communities, embodying a sort of independent channel of transmission, alternative to monastic practice. Ngakpa are extremely knowledgeable bearers of the non-monastic tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon religions. They mainly act as ritual masters for a number of different purposes and have a high level of expertise in Tibetan meditation practices, medicine, astronomy and traditional knowledge as a whole.

Despite the recent popularity of Ngakpa teachings in the Western world, their survival in the original context is threatened by the increasing marginalisation of their social role and the lack of potential students in the young generation, captivated by new opportunities offered by the Chinese fast-growing economy.

The preservation of Ngakpa’s textual heritage is a factor of primary importance for ensuring the perpetuation of this ancient laic tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. This project will be exclusively concerned with the preservation of the most endangered manuscripts of one specific group of Ngakpa in the Amdo region, those belonging to the Nyingmapa tradition, the most ancient school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Last year, a pilot survey was carried out by the local archival partner and it emerged that between 70 and 100 pecha (the traditional format of Tibetan books, made of long paper pages compressed between two wooden boards and bounded together with a string) of different lengths, privately-owned by thirty Ngakpa, are in very poor physical condition and are situated in precarious locations, exposed to the damages of humidity, rats, use and age.

The manuscripts date from between the early 19th and the end of