Endangered archives blog

News about the projects saving vulnerable material from around the world

27 January 2010

Popular market books from Bengali

This week I have started to work through the images we received as part of the project: Archiving 'popular market' Bengali books.

The project produced digital copies of 2,980 books, covering such diverse subjects as "religion, folk culture, local history, popular literature, pornography and erotica,...fashion and cookery, instruction on traditional rural pursuits such as agriculture and animal farming...instruction on reparing machinery and appliances, citizen's rights, the law, government procedure, public hygiene and social reform." Quite a range!

The project copied books held by the School of Cultural Texts and Records at Jadavpur University, and from several private collections. Digitising these privately held texts in particular will hugely improve access to this valuable social and cultural resource. This is a significant outcome for the EAP as one of our core aims is to facilitate access to items which would normally not be made available to the public. The majority of our projects are copying material held by private indivuduals or non-government institutions.

As I work through the collections I will post about interesting titles or publication types that I come across, hopefully selecting a book or theme of the week and showing you some of the wonderful, colourful covers and page illustrations. There is a lot to choose from! One of the first books that caught my eye was an edition of ghost stories, published by the Rajendra Library and titled 'agnidrshti'. Here is the cover page:


Here's the contents page:


And here's the graphically illustrated start of a story:




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