THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Endangered archives blog

News about the projects saving vulnerable material from around the world

13 August 2018

Football in the Endangered Archives

As the English football season has just begun, I thought I would have a look to see what we have in the collections that was football related. When you have a collection of over 6.5 million images it's hard to keep track of what's actually in the archive. With the old EAP online platform, it would have been quite a frustrating experience. You would have had to search the Library’s Archives and Manuscripts catalogue first and then try to find the relevant image on our website, sometimes having to scroll through hundreds of other images first before finding the desired one. With the ability to now search directly from our website, you can easily find related images, however it does highlight the need for good quality metadata. These images are only discoverable if someone has been able to describe them properly, adding keywords and other relevant information that researchers may look for.

With this in mind, I searched for football, soccer, futbol etc., and was pleasantly surprised to find many great photographs I thought were worth sharing. Most of the images come from the Haynes Publishing Company Archive in Argentina, with others from Bulgaria, Cameroon, Guatemala, India, and Mali, truly showing the global appeal of the sport. The Argentinian ones in particular are quite spectacular and give an idea of the popularity of the game in the country! There are images of spectators crammed into stadiums, and others show fans being dangerously hoisted up the outer wall of the stadium in a desperate attempt to watch the game. As always, follow the links to see the full size versions and discover what else is in the archive.

CrowdsEAP375 - Crowds watching games in Argentina

  Crowds2

  EAP375_1_1_110-375_F00007_0110_0124_L

EAP375 - Supporters trying to get a better view

Sneaking inEAP375/1/1/110 - Sneaking in to watch Argentina play Uruguay. Argentina won 3-0. 15 August 1935

  EAP054_1_89-dvd132_069_LEAP054/1/89 - Mid-action shot. Jacques Touselle photographs. Cameroon

EAP054_1_138-dvd109_074_LEAP054/1/138. Jacques Touselle photographs. Cameroon

EAP165_1_9-165_YASNORIE_P09_027_LEAP165/1/9. Guatemala

  EAP165_1_9-165_YASNORIE_P09_002_LEAP165/1/9. Guatemala

EAP166_2_1_11-EAP166_MPP_1921-22_346_LEAP166/2/1/11 - HMS Renown football team, 1921-1922. Visit to India, Nepal and the far east of HRH the Prince of Wales

EAP449_2_22_Pt_1-EAP449_Jan-60_16129_LEAP449/2/22 - Photographic Archives of Abdourahmane Sakaly. Mali.

EAP737_4_3_1-EAP_737_Coll4_E_GP_B01_281_LEAP737/4/3/1 - Alagappa College of Physical Education football team, 1958. Karaikudi

EAP675-4-1-108EAP675/4/1 - Football team from Vlach (Romanian speaking) community in the town of Belene, North Bulgaria

UltraEAP375/1/1/110 - No description provided. Possibly an Argentinian ultra leader rallying the crowds

Posted by Rob Miles

03 August 2018

Digitisation of The Barbados Mercury Gazette

This week we have a guest blog post from Amalia Levi who is currently working on the EAP1086 project to preserve and digitise The Barbados Mercury Gazette.

In late 2017, the Barbados Department of Archives was awarded an Endangered Archives Programme grant for the digitisation of The Barbados Mercury Gazette, the first EAP grant that Barbados has received. The grant application process was the result of an international collaboration through the efforts of Barbados Archives Director Ingrid Thompson, Brock University Professor Lissa Paul; archivist Amalia S. Levi, and University of Florida Digital Scholarship Librarian Laurie Taylor.

1.WorkshopDec12k        Participants engaging with The Mercury Gazette during the collaborative workshop on December 12, 2017.

The Barbados Mercury Gazette is an important primary source that sheds light on a tumultuous period in the history of this former British colony. The volumes housed in the Archives (1783-1839) cover the years leading up to the 1816 slave revolt on the island, the first of such large-scale slave revolts in the West Indies that eventually led to the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. The grant will facilitate different kinds of research into the island’s past.

The grant has funded the purchase of equipment that after the completion of this project will remain at the Archives and will be used for other digitisation initiatives, and work by the digitisation team, consisting of project leader, Amalia S. Levi; project assistant, Lenora Williams; and Archives assistant, Jennifer Breedy.

We have organised two workshops during the planning phase of the project. In December 2017, the first workshop brought together scholars of literature and history, and practitioners in archives, libraries, and museums in a brainstorming session. The goal was to better contextualize and define the significance of The Gazette to populate its finding aid. You can read more information about the workshop here.  Through interaction and discussion, workshop participants added valuable context to The Mercury Gazette and its potential as a primary source for research on slavery. Discussions aimed to go behind colonial narratives and unpack questions of power, authority, and the silences of the archival record. Furthermore, participants explored opportunities for future research and scholarship through this grant. You can find more on these discussions here.

2.WorkshopDec12g        Participants engaging with The Mercury Gazette during the collaborative workshop on December 12, 2017.

After the equipment arrived at the Archives we organised a second workshop, which was held over two days on July 11 and July 12, 2018 and was aimed to provide digitisation training. The first day was open to archivists, librarians and professionals working in institutions on the island, and 23 people attended. The second day was dedicated to the core project team. Training was provided by two members of the University of Florida Libraries digitisation services team: Laura Perry, Digital Production Manager, and Jake Goodson, Special Formats Imaging Assistant. For the complete program, see here.

The morning session of Day 1 included introductions and presentations about the grant, the importance of The Mercury Gazette and an overview of the digitisation process and metadata creation. The afternoon session was dedicated to hands-on training. Participants had the chance to hear and learn about every step of the digitisation, including setting up the equipment, lighting, imaging, and quality control. The first day training was provided in the Archives’ events room to accommodate attendees. During the second day the equipment was set up in the room that has been specifically allocated for digitisation, which is secure and where natural light is controlled, and training was provided there. You can see more pictures and read information about both days.

3.July12e        University of Florida team Laura Perry and Jake Goodson provide digitization training to workshop participants on July 11 and July 12, 2018.

As Barbados Archives Director Ingrid Thompson noted in her introductory remarks, the grant has been “a learning experience in terms of the details required and the process itself. When you look at how the whole program is structured, it’s not only the application process, but the process of finding the personnel and expertise required. Because for me it’s not only important to receive the grant, but also the outcome and the results. We hope that this experience will allow us to apply for more grants in the future.” Thompson also commented on the teamwork required to make the application possible: “Lissa was the one who passionately advocated for the newspaper’s scholarly importance. Lissa was introduced to me by Amalia, with whom I was already in contact through her work with the Jewish archives on the island.” Ingrid Thompson also invited scholars to initiate discussions in order to prioritize material for digitisation or processing.

In her remarks, Project Leader Amalia S. Levi noted the potential of the digitisation of The Mercury Gazette to foster and facilitate new forms of scholarship on the history of Barbados and of the enslaved. She discussed how archival practices end up locking marginalised populations out of the archives and create gaps and silences in the historical record, and ways to mitigate that. She concluded her presentation with examples of initiatives, particularly digital humanities projects with spatial and network components, that can provide novel ways to locate marginalised voices in The Mercury and bring them to light.

4.July12b        University of Florida team Laura Perry and Jake Goodson provide digitization training to workshop participants on July 11 and July 12, 2018.

After the training workshop, Project Assistant Lenora Williams discussed her excitement to be part of this process as a junior heritage professional and shared her thoughts: “As the Project Assistant, I will be one of the main persons involved in the day to day digitising. After the first week of digitising after the workshop I can say all the demonstrations by Laura Perry and Jake Goodson have prepared me to fulfill my role in the project. They were able to give me an understanding of each step in the process and the general objectives of each.  I found it very helpful to be able to access professionals in the industry who have the experience working with several types of materials. Most importantly the hands-on training inspired me to approach my duties with a confidence that reading a manual may not be able to cover. So as I continue to learn more about the contents of this resource I am digitising, conservation methods and the new software I am being exposed to, I will always be grateful to those who provided this opportunity and those who made the workshop the success that it was.”

As the project gets under way, we will share more about the process itself, as well as the information gleamed through the pages of the Barbados Mercury Gazette through regular blog posts and conference presentations.

5.July11g        University of Florida team Laura Perry and Jake Goodson provide digitization training to workshop participants on July 11 and July 12, 2018.

14 June 2018

A Football Team from Lesotho

I cannot say that I am much of a football fan. When the World Cup takes place I find my favourite television programmes postponed. Also, my local London pub, which is usually a haven for a quiet evening out with family and friends, is taken over by crowds of supporters watching a match in the corner of the bar and shouting words of encouragement to their much-loved teams.

So, with an initial heavy heart, I started searching the EAP website for material connected to soccer that would be appropriate for a blog post. As always, I got swept away with the archives and for the first time, I feel I may have found my own team to support. I came across a file of correspondence concerning Mabeoana Football Club that was digitised as part of the Matsieng Royal Archives in Lesotho (EAP279). Some of the letters are written in Sotho and so I am unable to read them, but others are in English and they have given me a wonderful impression.

Lesotho_South_Africa_Locator 

Map indicating locations of Lesotho and South Africa (Wikimedia Commons CC BY SA 3.0)

The Club was founded in 1932 but the letters that have been digitised date from 1952-1954. I am assuming the Mabeoana team were made up of talented non-professionals, as indicated by this wonderful letter from the Club Secretary asking for Mr S.C. Pholo to be released from his driving duties so that he could take part in the Sir Sturuk Cup Finals.

EAP279_1_2_37_5

It looks as if the Daamboos Choir had been booked to entertain the spectators during this important match but were unable to perform and had to return their fee. What I desperately wanted to know was whether Mabeoana won the Finals but sadly there is nothing within the archive to indicate whether they became the champions.

EAP279_1_2_37_4

There seem to be a mixture of official matches and friendly games. I love this letter to an unknown team again from the Secretary, saying they wish to have a ‘Hot’ Match – I do hope the challenge was taken up and that it was a close and exciting game, certainly the results for 1954 imply that Mabeoana were a talented group of players and at the top of their game.

EAP279_1_2_37

1954 results

1954 match results

Sadly, having warmed to this team, a quick search on the internet told me that in 2011 they were relegated from the Lesotho Premier League, and I have been unable to find out anything further about them. So, if there is anyone reading this blog who can tell me more about Mabeoana F.C. – I would love to hear from you. 

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Update: 24 Jul 2018

Thanks to one of our blog readers and the power of Twitter we were provided with some further information about this team. The team still play in Matsieng and are currently in the second division in Lesotho. Mabeoana is the name given to the people from Matsieng. The custodian of the team is the Principle Chief of Matsieng, who is currently Seeiso Bereng Seeiso. 

We wish them luck for the next season and hope to get news of their promotion in the not too distant future!