Preservation of rare periodical publications in Mongolia (EAP010)

Aims and objectives

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.

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Outcomes

During this project 59 Mongolian newspaper titles were converted into digital format. The newspapers selected for the project were published during the transition period of 1990-1995 and document the political changes in Mongolia after the fall of Communism. The project resulted in scanning 39,029 pages in several formats, including A4, A3, and large A2 newspaper format, of 6,189 issues.

The original print publications that were scanned for the project remain in the holdings of the library at the Press Institute of Mongolia. Because of the availability of the online collection and PDF versions of the newspapers, the use of the original print materials should be reduced.

The records copied by this project have been catalogued as:

 

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