Endangered archives blog

News about the projects saving vulnerable material from around the world

04 August 2022

New online - July 2022

This month we are highlighting four pilot projects that have recently been made available online, from Indonesia, Kenya, Russia, and Tunisia.

Early Cyrillic books and manuscripts of old believers communities in Kostroma, Russia [EAP990]

Led by Dr Ilya Nagradov, this project (awarded in 2018) digitised a total of 174 books and manuscripts located at traditional residing places of old believers in the Kostroma region of Russia.

Old Believers are Eastern Orthodox Christians who follow a form of Christianity that pre-dates the reforms of Patriarch Nixon, who aimed to unite the practices of the Russian and Greek Orthodox churches in the mid 17th century.

A man with a camera digitising a document, and a woman standing
The EAP990 project team digitising

Family Manuscript Libraries on the island of Jerba [EAP993]

This pilot project, led by Dr Paul Love, digitised manuscripts and documents located at the private residence of the El Bessi family. The manuscripts originally belonged to the endowed collection of the al-Bāsī mosque in Waligh, Jerba (Tunisia), which operated from the 18th to the early-20th century.

The texts in the El Bessi library deal with a variety of religious topics including law and theology, as well as biography and poetry. Alongside religious texts, however, the collection holds several works on rhetoric and language as well as the sciences. While many of the manuscripts were written by Sunni-Muslim authors from the Hanafi and Maliki schools of Islam, others were authored by the minority Ibadi-Muslim community on the island. Ibadis are neither Sunni nor Shi’i Muslims and most of their texts today remain in private collections like this one. Having been protected for centuries by Ibadis, collections like this one and many others on the island of Jerba are in danger of being lost forever.

Almost all items are in Arabic, although Turkish appears occasionally as a language of commentary or marginal notes.

This pilot project led to a follow on major project, which has digitised a further seven Arabic library collections in Jerba, Tunisia; the results of which will hopefully go online later this year. But in the meantime, the EAP993 project has produced nearly 100,000 digital images to keep you busy until then.


Endangered manuscripts digitised in Kampar, Riau Province, Indonesia [EAP1020]

This pilot project, led by Mr Fiqru Mafar, produced a survey of manuscripts located in the Kampar region of Indonesia.

The team also digitised manuscripts at 11 different locations.

The dates of the manuscripts range from the 17th century to the 21st century. The oldest manuscript can be dated back to 1668.

Two images side-by-side. The front cover of al Quran and a gold stamp with Arabic imprint
The front cover of al Quran, EAP1020/5/1 (left); A stamp, EAP1020/2/3 (right)

County Council of Nairobi Minute Books digitised at McMillan Memorial Library, Nairobi, Kenya [EAP1357]

Led by Ms Angela Wachuka, the EAP1357 team, including digitisation coordinator Maureen Mumbua, digitised minute book volumes for the County Council of Nairobi, Kenya from 1920s-1950s.

This collection, located at the McMillan Memorial Libary, provides unique visual documentation of Kenya’s politics, history and culture during the colonial era, by capturing the City Council’s meeting notes concerning parliamentary matters,  historical events and daily life in this significant period. 

Front cover of a minute book
Municipal Council of Nairobi Minutes of Proceedings of The Council and of the Several Committees Thereof for the Month of May, 1940 (EAP1357/1/1)

03 August 2022

EAP Regional Hub Event at Jadavpur University, 14 September 2022

In 2021, the British Library launched a project to establish a network of institutional hubs as a framework for local training and outreach work. We are very happy to announce that the School of Cultural Texts and Records, Jadavpur University, Kolkata has been chosen as the EAP Regional Hub for South Asia. The SCTR has been associated with eight EAP projects. As a Regional Hub, it will carry out activities through a series of workshops in collaboration with the British Library. 

Workshop on 14 September 2022 

The first workshop will take place on Wednesday 14 September 2022. We welcome individuals, institutions and organisations in South Asia who are interested in applying for EAP grants and understanding the nature of a digitisation project workflow. We especially encourage first-time applicants to attend this workshop. All applicants are requested to write a paragraph or two about why they wish to participate. 

The workshop will be held in hybrid mode, i.e. in-person at Jadavpur University and online. The workshop will feature instructional videos by British Library staff, which will give an overview of caring for items before and during digitisation as well as imaging equipment and standards. In-person speakers will include past EAP grant holders from the School who will share their experience and expertise and provide practical instruction on various aspects of digitisation. 

Please note that while participation in the workshop is free, no financial support can be provided for travel, board and lodging. 

RSVP and any queries: eaphub.sctr@gmail.com 

Last date for enrolment: 22 August 2022 

Image 8

Digitisation for the project EAP1247 "Songs of the Old Madmen: Recovering Baul Songs from the Note-Books of 19th and 20th Century Bengali Saint-Composers", where SCTR, Jadavpur University acted as the Archival Partner.

01 August 2022

Job Opportunity

The British Library's International Team is seeking an International Engagement Manager to work with partners across the world and lead on setting up international hubs for EAP.

You would be working across both the International Office and the Endangered Archives Programme with a focus on skills and knowledge exchange. You would administer the already established International Library Leaders Programme, as well as setting up the Endangered Archives Programme Regional Network Hubs. These hubs would involve creating partnerships with institutions in various geographic regions and working with them to deliver a series of training sessions and workshops.

The closing date is 16 August 2022 and if this sounds interesting, do look at the job description on the British Library website.