Preservation of the unique heritage: manuscripts and books in private collections of Old Believers of Transbaikalia (EAP1106)

Aims and objectives

The aim of the project is to search, describe and assess the preservation status of the unique archives in private and church collections in Transbailkalia which eventually are to be digitised. The project includes negotiations with contemporary owners concerning the issues of digitising and free access for research purposes and a survey, which covers the status of the literary monuments, the history and tradition.  The most fragile literary monuments are going to be digitised within the pilot project and the copies will be sent to the EAP Office.

By the end of the project we will prepare a report containing the monitoring data on Old Believers' non-state collections of printed and hand-written books and documents in 5 localities of the Old Believers in Buryatia and  Ulan-Ude. We expect to find at least 10 private and church collections the content of which will be presented  in a catalogue. We will collect the Grant of Permission forms from the owners of the collections for the materials to be digitized under the Pilot project and the material to be digitized under a consecutive EAP major project. We will assess the number collections the owners of which are ready to transfer them to state repositories in the areas of residence of the Old Believers under the supervision of the Archival Partner. Some of the materials of these collections (not less than 75), differing in chronology, the way of replication and creation time will be digitised.

Thus, the pilot project will reveal the current state of the Old Believers archives in Buryatia, identify literary monuments requiring immediate rescue measures. The pilot project will provide an opportunity to determine the potential for further implementation of a larger regional project to protect and preserve the written heritage of a unique ethno-confessional group, as well as create wider access to its content.