THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Endangered archives blog

News about the projects saving vulnerable material from around the world

30 July 2019

Introducing EAP in other languages: French, Spanish and Arabic webinars

We would like to receive good, focused applications from as many parts of the world as possible. We recently put on a series of webinars to introduce the Programme and discuss how to make the best possible application, and therefore increase the likelihood of a successful project. The panel for each webinar included two previous Grant Holders who shared their experiences, talked about the challenges and gave their advice. Here are the presentations from the French, Spanish and Arabic webinars.

Please see the previous blog post 'Completing a Successful Preliminary Application' for further information in English.

Part of an illustrated manuscript from Eastern Chad
EAP472

Note that the working language for the Programme is English, and applications must be in English. Check our Guidance for more information and get in touch if you would like to discuss any aspect of the process. We look forward to receiving a rich and diverse set of applications for the next round which opens in September.


Nous aimerions recevoir des candidatures fortes et ciblées provenant d’un grand nombre de pays et de regions du monde. Nous avons récemment organisé une série de webinaires pour présenter le programme et discuter comment soumettre la meilleure candidature possible et ainsi augmenter vos chances de succès. Le panel de chaque webinaire comprenait deux anciens participants qui ont partagé leurs expériences, parlé des défis et donné leurs conseils. Voici la présentation en français:

 

Notez que l’anglais est la langue de travail du Programme et que les candidatures doivent être rédigées en anglais. Consultez le nouveau “Guidance for Applicants” (en anglais) pour plus d’informations et n’hésitez pas à nous contacter si vous souhaitez en savoir plus. Nous sommes impatients de recevoir des candidatures riches et variées pour la prochaine session qui sera en septembre prochain.


Nos gustaría recibir buenas, fuertes y concretas candidaturas provenientes de diferentes regiones del mundo. Recientemente organizamos una serie de seminarios web para presentar el programa y debatir como preparar de la mejor manera la solicitud y así aumentar la posibilidad de éxito de las propuestas. El panel de cada seminario web incluía dos antiguos participantes que compartieron sus experiencias, hablaron sobre posibles dificultades y dieron consejos. Aquí esta la presentación en lengua Española:

Tenga en cuenta que el Programa es en Ingles, y las candidaturas tienen que ser escritas en lengua Inglesa. Consulte nuestras Guia para los participantes, dónde obtendrá más información y no dude en contactarnos si desea comentar algún aspecto del proceso en concreto. Esperamos recibir candidaturas ricas y diversas para nuestra siguiente sesión que abre en Septiembre.


تقديم برنامج حفظ الأرشيف المعرض للخطر بلغات أخرى

اللغة العربية

هدفنا هو استقبال طلبات تتميز بجودة عالية من مناطق ودول متعددة حول العالم. لهذا قام أعضاء من فريق برنامجنا مؤخراً بتقديم مجموعة من ندوات الويبناربعدة  لغات. ركَز كل ويبنارعلى التعريف بالبرنامج وتناولَ كيفية كتابة طلب جيد وهذا بطبيعة الحال يزيد احتمالية إنتاج مشروع ناجح. تألفت اللجنة في كل ويبنار من خبراء قاموا سابقاً بإدارة مشاريع مع برنامجنا حيث شاركونا تجربتهم وتحدثوا بشفافية عن التحديات التي واجهتهم وقدوموا نصائحهم. إليكم العرض الذي تم تقديمه باللغة العربية

 

نود لفت انتباهكم إلى أن اللغة المعتمدة لبرنامجنا هي اللغة الإنجليزية ولهذا لا بد أن تكون جميع الطلبات المقدمة مكتوبة باللغة الإنجليزية. يمكنكم الإطلاع على "الدليل الإرشادي"  للحصول على معلومات أكثر، كما يمكنكم التواصل معنا إذا كنتم ترغبون بمناقشة أي جانب من عملية التقديم. نتطلع لاستقبال مجموعة غنية ومتنوعة من الطلبات في الجولة القادمة التي تبدأ في أيلول

 

 

 

29 July 2019

EAP Webinar: Completing a Successful Preliminary Application

The first live EAP webinar “Completing a Successful Preliminary Application” took place on 2 November 2018. Over 40 participants from around the globe took part in an online Q&A session, where EAP staff members and previous grant holders s answered questions about all aspects of the application process. The presentation and Q&As are reproduced below.

EAP webinars in Arabic, Spanish and French took place in June and July 2019. These presentations can be found on the blog posted on 30 July.

Q&A Session

  1. Do endangered archives of film (i.e. motion-picture) reels qualify under EAP? These are 20th-century artefacts, and some even from second half of 20th century, but under threat of destruction and spoilage.

You should consider copyright issues - this can be quite complicated for film. Do also consider Documenting Global Voices, another Arcadia project and note the dates of their competition. You must also think how unique the material is and whether there are copies elsewhere.

  1. How small is a small digitisation project to be considered for a Pilot project? (e.g. we want to digitise about 10,000 lyrics = 10,000 tiff files. is that too big to be considered as a pilot project?!)

It depends on time and budget. This seems a rather large amount of material, but could fit within the Pilot project budget depending on circumstances. Pilots are generally given for projects that last under a year and cost less than £15,000 - if you think you would need more time or money, apply for a Major grant. You may also apply for a Major grant with a smaller budget.

  1. We are working with archaeological records, some of which are unpublished surveys of sites. The publication of this raises some questions, most significantly, the possibility of leading potential looters to unsecured sites. While we’d like all the material to be open, but is there a way keep these records private?"

All EAP material must be made available online - I recommend you contact the other Arcadia funded project based in Oxford – EAMENA – as they focus on archaeology.

  1. What is the policy/EAP recommendations for copyright of orphan works? Are there any concerns especially for non-commercial source material?

The grant holder needs to do the research into copyright of the physical material. We ask for Creative Commons, Non-Commercial licences for all material. For orphan works, the grant of permission form should be signed by the person who owns the material.

  1. If you’re an independent researcher what type of experience are you looking for in regards to applying?

It is possible to do a project as an independent researcher – the experience that would help towards a successful project are digitisation experience, preferably in the field, as well as project management, language ability, understanding of the material, and good budgeting skills. There are, however, several disadvantages – working with a respected partner organisation can benefit the project by providing an institutional framework for project support and administration.

  1. I am keen for technical assistance to help preserve and digitise my very large collection on the Holy Land

Do have a look at Remote Capture (https://www.openbookpublishers.com/product/747). It is free to download from Open Book Publishers. I would also suggest that you do not attempt to digitise the whole amount, rather focus on one aspect. You can also budget for training within the grant application. I'd add that the pilot project stage offers the opportunity to trial your digitisation method, perhaps making adjustments/improvements during the major grant stage. During my [Andrew Pearson's] St Helena pilot project, I digitised a relatively small volume of material, but rather I trialled the photography on a variety of document types, to see what worked well with my camera set-up, and what didn't.

  1. What if some of the documents are considered sensitive material by the authorities in the country where the archive is located (in this case Egypt) - for example maps? Could these be exempt from being put online?

You would need to get the appropriate permissions. If these are state archives, then you would need governmental permissions. We only fund material that can go online.

  1. Having located endangered material in private collections across a region, can one independently initiate and carry out a project without recourse to a team at an institution? (Provided all the material is indeed deposited at a relevant local institution, in addition to BL, once it is digitised?)

Please refer to question #6. In addition, you really would need to have significant experience in digitisation and metadata to be able to handle the workload by yourself.

  1. If an independent researcher is partnering with the country archive or museum, whose experience do you detail in the application?

The independent researcher’s experience is what the panel will be assessing.

  1. Do you pay for travel costs of person teaching how to digitise and can you confirm if the equipment stays with the local archive?

Yes, we will pay those costs, as long as they have been detailed in the application and approved by the panel. The equipment does remain in the country for further use.

  1. Could you please confirm if archival material on microfilm (dating from the late 1800s to 1900s) qualify?

Digitising microfilm is quite complicated (the BL outsources this) so look at the feasibility and the uniqueness of the content on the microfilm.

  1. Do EAP grants cover the undertaking of an oral history project that is focused on gathering and recording new material?

We do not pay for interviewing as the main part of a project. We have digitised oral histories that are on a format that is at risk, such as cylinders and tapes.

  1. Does a photographic archive deriving from film reels (especially damaged or partially spoiled ones) qualify for deposit in digital form? i.e. Does it have to be full reels/films for digitisation or parts/excerpts are admissible?

We have not had experience with this to date. If you are applying, you would need to detail the percentage of recoverable material in the application.

  1. When does "pre-modern" period end?

This doesn’t have a single global answer! It will vary with the history and context of different regions. There are two good rules of thumb: the year of independence for countries that were formerly colonies; material that is out of copyright. However, as in the case of photographs, the format can be considered modern but the images refer to a pre-modern period. If you have an questions, please contact the EAP team with information about the collection that you have in mind.

  1. Is a music collection produced in the 20th century qualify, if it’s endangered?

If it is unique and on a problematic format. Think of the other criteria when applying. I suggest that you have a look at the Indian recording labels and Syliphone archive that we have funded.

  1. Do you have suggestions for other funds which might work with endangered 20th century materials?

Yes, a new programme is being set up at UCLA also funded by Arcadia. It is called Documenting Global Voices

  1. At the preliminary stage, what kind of evidence of permissions from collection owners/curators should be included? There is a box for that on the application, but what precisely should appear there?

I would say that submitting formal documentation would only be required at the detailed application stage, but in the preliminary application we want applicants to be aware that the material will go online and it is their responsibility to seek the appropriate permissions.

  1. Is making materials available to scholars the same as making them available to the public? Some archives depend on search fees for funding.

The goal of the EAP is to save endangered archival material and make them open available for research. This focus means that some projects, while otherwise excellent, may not be a good fit for the programme. The British Library will make the outputs of projects openly available for research by scholars and others. This is a key requirement. It does not, however, mean that the local archive cannot provide a priced service that includes access to the content or is driven by its metadata. Such services exist in many domains.

  1. On the project team: Should we be concerned if the largest part of our budget turns out to be salaries for a team (in my case, around 10 people, for example)?

For the EAP project based on Nevis, which used two local staff, that salaries formed the largest single element of the grant. In the past, the Panel have asked applicants to re-budget if they felt that the costs were prohibitive. Also, you should note that if the archive is housed at the host institution, we expect some contribution in-kind. Often this means the salaries of existing permanent staff employed by the host institution.

  1. It says in the application instructions that you do not allow costs for conservation. What if you have documents that require conservation before digitisation?

We cover preservation (archival boxing, Melinex sleeves, dehumidifiers, etc.) to prevent further deterioration, but sadly not conservation. I think if the material needs work of this sort, I suggest you look for other funding before applying to EAP.

  1. When you say that detailed cataloguing should not be part of the project, does this also include database recording for the documents?

You must submit metadata as part of your project outputs. There is a template of the spreadsheet that we use available on the website. The level of description depends on the type of material being digitised, for example, with manuscripts we would expect a description at volume level (file level) and not at page level, but for photographs we would expect a description for each photograph (item level). We plan on introducing webinars for current grant holders regarding cataloguing standards.

  1. Could you please elucidate what differentiates an Area from a Major grant in terms of the amount of material that needs to be digitised? (Reference to paper-based archival material)

There is a considerable range of the amount of material that is digitised in Major grants. We have seen successful Major grants that have produced a few tens of thousands up through nearly a million. In recent years, the average amount of content is about 60K images per project year with 50% of projects delivering between 20K and 120K images per project year (ie, a 2-year project might deliver between 40K and 240K images). The variation partly due to the difficult of local conditions, access, and nature of materials. For example, good quality bound ledgers can be processed quickly and efficiently. Crumbling damaged manuscripts must be handled with great care. That being said, we would expect an Area grant to produce material roughly in proportion to a Major grant, and perhaps derive some economies of scale. So perhaps 60-360K images per project year would be likely.

  1. Is it typically in the range of a pilot project to create a project website that serves the local community (in the local language, mobile-first, designed to be accessible with patchy internet connections)?

Typically not for a pilot project. In cases that it is considered particularly important, a modest contribution could be made toward it. We look to the local archival partner to do much of this though.

  1. Is any training support offered to applicants as a part of this grant?

Look at our website to see if there has been a recent project near to where your proposal is based. The EAP office may be able to put you in touch with someone with local experience which may be useful. We also plan on having future webinars covering various topics. The handbook Remote Capture is also a good resource.

  1. Is EAP giving any legal support against illicit traffic of archival materials? Is there any guidance?

This is not within the scope of EAP. Our ethos is that the material stays in the country of origin and that is why the digitisation is done in situ.

  1. On the preliminary application under ‘Project People and Organisations’, if applying through a host institution, there is no space to describe the experience and past achievements of the principal applicant or team? How do you gauge if the principal investigators have the experience to carry out the project? Is it okay for the principal applicant to complete Q10c and Q10d even if applying through the applicants host institution?

This is dealt with in more depth at the detailed application stage. In the preliminary application, if you are employed by the Host Institution, you only have to answer Question 9.

  1. I thought to apply for a pilot project for: getting permissions from three archives I am in touch with; evaluating the volume and character (hand-written/lithographs/etc.) of the manuscripts applicable for the major project; locating more archives - public and private - that I know are there; putting up the team of technicians and scholars to work for a major project. Does that make sense? Should I include portable scanner to digitise sample texts?

This is a classic Pilot project. Since you mentioned you are looking at manuscripts, a portable scanner would not be appropriate, you would need a camera and portable tripod. Look at the Digital Appendices for Remote Capture, which suggests model types.

  1. Is there any limitation as to the country of main applicant?

No, the important thing is where the material is located.

  1. What is the required form of indicating consent / permission from foreign partners? A written and signed letter of consent in their language and then a translation? Will you honour informal translations or does it have to be a legally binding translation?

As part of the detailed application, we have Grant of Permission forms thatyou are welcome to translate when showing them to foreign partners, but the English version would need to be signed and returned to the EAP office.

  1. What type of organisations/archival partners do not qualify as local institutions? For example: does a local non-profit with a collection of relevant material qualify?

It must be a non-commercial institution, it sounds as if the organisation you have in mind would qualify.

  1. I am interested about how to discern what kind of project for which to apply. We have a website partially constructed. We are a local archive in Serowe, but our internet access is tenuous. We would probably need help make the archival material available from Serowe.

Please refer to Question 23.

  1. Thank you for your helpful advice.... Unfortunately I don't think my archive is eligible for the EAP. Does the British library have a service or a contact I can approach for advice on rehoming a modern archive?

Feel free to contact Jody.butterworth@bl.uk, also take a look at the Documenting Global Voices programme.

  1. Can we email individual panellists? We are working in Antigua and would love to talk to Andy.

I'm sure Andy would be glad to provide help. Please email endangeredarchives@bl.uk and we'll pass your request on to him.

  1. Among the accepted applications, is there a typical ratio - are the grants equally distributed among pilot, major and area, or is there a typical distribution in the rate of success?

This is the first time we are offering the area grant. The distribution varies year to year. To date we have had 220 major projects and 130 pilot projects.

  1. I have a question relating specifically to a collection of amateur films (travelogues and documentaries). This is the only surviving collection in the country of origin, so it will be quite valuable to researchers because it will dispel myths about pre-industrial filmmaking in this country. The owner transferred the rights to a team of filmmakers before passing away, but they do not have a way to properly store and digitise them. My question, more specifically, is whether I can submit an application to rescue these films, even though I don’t reside in the country of origin? I should add that this country doesn’t have the institutional framework or infrastructure to pursue this. The team has tried to find a way forward unsuccessfully, but I am able to bring this to fruition from Canada.

We have had several projects where the applicant is outside the country of origin, but it would be important for at least one of the rights owners to be a co-applicant. If you are invited to the detailed application, you would be strongly advised to include the grant of permission forms signed by all of the team members (copyright owners).

  1. In the country of origin there is no institutional framework that can administer the type of collection that needs to be rescued/digitised (all options have been exhausted). Can it be administered from a different country, and then share the digitized archives with the country of origin?

Please refer to question 35.

19 June 2019

New collections online - June 2019

Over the past few months we have made six new projects available to view online through our website. These new collections demonstrate the diverse variety of archives the EAP digitises, and includes eighteenth-century Brazilian royal orders, artwork and photography by Lalit Mohan Sen, colonial archives, Coptic manuscripts and prayer scrolls, war photography, and historic newspapers.

EAP627 - Digitising endangered seventeenth to nineteenth century secular and ecclesiastical sources in São João do Carirí e João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brazil

Open page of a fragile manuscript with parts of the page corroded awayEAP627/1/1/1 - Book 1: Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths (1752-1808) / Livro 1 Batizados, casamengtos e óbitos anos de 1752 a 1808

The aim of EAP627 was to digitise the oldest historical documents in the state of Paraíba, Brazil (located in the semi-arid hinterlands and on the humid coastline). The project team successfully digitised 266 historical documents, ranging from 1660 to 1931 and their digitisation resulted in c. 83,000 TIFF images being created. It includes the entire collection of ecclesiastical documents at Paróquia de Nossa Senhora dos Milagres do São João do Cariri (comprised of 54 volumes produced between 1752 and 1931). During digitisation, the team uncovered the original, signed Constitution of Paraíba of 1891 – the first constitution of this state after Brazil was declared a republic in 1889. To the best of their knowledge and research, the project team believes this is the only existing copy of the document. The digital preservation of these documents have already contributed to shifting the historical narrative of the state’s back lands, and will ensure the ongoing possibility of study in the history of Paraíba’s Afro-Brazilian, indigenous, and mestiço populations.

EAP781 - Santipur and its neighbourhood: text and image production history from early modern Bengal through public and private collections

Drawing of a woman wearing a sariEAP781/1/7/1 - Photographs and artwork by Lalitmohan Sen

This was a continuation of EAP643, an earlier pilot project. The project team were able to digitise almost all the records discovered in the pilot. The collection includes 1265 manuscripts from Santipur Bangiya Puran Parishad, 78 bound volumes from Santipur Municipality, and 510 images of Lalit Mohan Sen’s artwork and photography.  Some of Sen’s work can be seen in this previous EAP blog post.

EAP820 - Documenting Slavery and Emancipation in Kita, Western Mali

Single page with the upper left corner torn and missingEAP820/1/1/3/1 - Compte-rendu d’une tournée de recensement dans le Birgo 1899 (Report of a census tour)

Kita is an important site in the history of rural slave emancipation in Western Mali (occurring at the turn of the twentieth century). It hosted the highest number of ‘Liberty villages’ (17 in total) following the French conquest (Western Mali was the first region of today’s Mali to be colonised by the French from the 1890s). Liberty villages hosted the slaves of the defeated enemies of the French army. The project team captured this specific history of slavery and emancipation in Kita through digitised reports, correspondence and court registers held in the Cercle archives of Kita. The collection is extensive, ancient and rare in its content, and is of great scholarly significance.

EAP823 - Digitisation and preservation of the manuscript collection at the Monastery of St Saviour in Old Jerusalem

Page of an illustrated manuscript with Arabic writingEAP823/1/2/25 - Risālat al-ḣajj min Al-Ḣasan al-Baṡrī - Trakt on the pilgrimage and its benefits by Ḣasan al-Baṡrī

Page of a manuscript written in GreekEAP823/1/3/1 - Šarakan

The objective of this project was to digitise and make widely available the manuscripts at the Franciscan monastery of St Saviour in the Old City of Jerusalem. The collection dates from the 12th to the 20th century, and is written in seventeen languages: Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Classical Ethiopic, Coptic (Bohairic & Sahidic), English, French, Old German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Samaritan, Spanish, Syriac and Turkish. The digitised material is remarkably diverse and is a valuable resource for scholars interested in Christian, Islamic and Jewish traditions, as well as to linguists and philologists, art historians, and musicologists. The texts contain theological and philosophical treatises, biblical and liturgical books, dictionaries, profane and religious poetry, collections of sermons, pilgrim accounts, and also cooking recipes and magic prayers. Among the books are also rare items, for instance texts written in Armenian and Arabic scripts but in Turkish language, and the fragments of Byzantine manuscripts used for the flyleaves in bindings. A special group is made up by large size liturgical books with musical notations, produced for monastic choirs, as well as precious volumes lavishly decorated and illuminated with miniatures, initials and aniconic ornamentation. Research material of particular value consists of a variety of book covers (leather, textile, metal, decorative cardboards etc.) representing diverse binding methods.

Narrow Ethiopic manuscript with illustrationEAP823/1/1/11 - Prayer scroll

EAP894 - Endangered photographic collections about the participation of pre-industrial Bulgaria in three wars in the beginning of the 20th century

Photograph of womenEAP894/1/24 - Single and group photographs of Rada Bozhinova (Box 24)

Photograph of an interior, possibly a dining roomEAP894/1/15 - Scenes from urban and rural life (Box 15)

The EAP894 project team digitised two collections of photographs (and other records) from the pre-industrial development era of Bulgaria, covering the period 1880-1930. Colonel Petar Darvingov, the Chief of Staff of the Bulgarian Army and a commander of the occupation corps in Moravia (now the Czech Republic and Serbia) created the first collection. He captured moments of military action in the Balkans and Central Europe across three wars: the Balkan War, the Second Balkan War, and World War I. Within the collection are a large volume of photos from different fronts – positional photos of infantry and artillery units, fighting marches, frontline parades and prayers, aviation and motorized units, moments from tactical exercises, building of trenches, laying of roads and telephone wires, views of settlements, etc. Preserved are also the portraits, both group and individual, of the entire command staff of the Bulgarian army during the wars. The photographs record not only the military life at the front, but also at the rear – the camps and bivouacs, clothing, supplies, military equipment and everyday life of the Bulgarian soldier. Many of the backs of the photos have explanatory notes about specific events and characters. They include initiations, names and occasionally short biographical data on individual persons etc. The collection also includes military business cards with author´s notes, operational sketches of battlefields, sketches of the Bulgarian headquarters where the Serbian and Bulgarian troops were positioned during the Balkan Wars, stories of warfare during World War I, and sketches of military sites.

The second collection contains photos, cartoons and caricatures created by the renowned artist and photographer Aleksandar Bozhinov. He was one of the first significant cartoonists of the 20th century and a war correspondent. He documented military positions and the social life in the Balkan villages and towns in the time of war – daily life, work, calendar and festive rituals. The sketches and caricatures in the collection are both the originals and those published in albums and newspapers from the early 20th century. Copies of the Bulgarian comic newspaper (authored by Aleksandar Bozhinov) are also preserved in this collection.

EAP1086 - Preserving and digitising the historic newspaper, The Barbados Mercury Gazette

Front page of the Barbados Mercury dated Saturday, April 5, 1783EAP1086/1/1/1/1 - The Barbados Mercury. 5 April 1783

This project digitised the Barbados Mercury and Bridgetown Gazette, a newspaper printed in Barbados from 1783 to 1839. The Gazette was printed biweekly and each issue was four pages long. It is the most complete set of the Gazette and the only copies known to exist. The newspaper is crucial for understanding Barbados’ 18th and 19th century history, particularly because these were formative years for the island. The newspaper sheds light on the everyday life of a slaveholding society; Bussa’s 1816 rebellion; and the events that led to the abolition of the slavery on the island (1834). Digitisation of the newspaper offers the opportunity to unearth an untold history of the enslaved people of the island and their resistance in the early nineteenth century. EAP1086 was a collaborative effort between a team of practitioners and scholars, based both in Barbados and abroad. At the end of the project around 2,331 issues were digitised with around 9,000 digital images in total.

 

Written by Alyssa Ali, EAP Apprentice