Endangered archives blog

News about the projects saving vulnerable material from around the world

3 posts from April 2011

21 April 2011

The Easter Story

Many EAP projects are copying material from religious collections or records that cover religious or spiritual themes and stories. Some of these have been highlighted in previous posts, as we accession material or as projects finish. Because tomorrow is Easter Friday, I thought I would look at some of these projects and the wonderful Christian manuscripts and materials they're copying. There are more than a few to choose from. With difficulty, I have limited myself to three.

EAP040: Securing of the medieval and early modern archival material of Brasov/Kronstadt and the Burzenland Region

One of our very early projects, EAP040 copied records held in the Honterus parish building of Brazov, in Central Romania. This material dates back to the 14th century. The project copied ecclesiastical records and records that touch on life in the parish encompassing topics such as education and marriage, local traditions and music. The original records are now kept in the Lutheran parish house. Details are available on their webpages: http://www.honterus-archiv.ro/

EAP040 lutheran records 

EAP099: Collecting and preserving the records of the Evangelican Lutheran Church of Tanzania in Moshi, Tanzania

Another of our earlier projects, EAP099 targeted records relating to the first missionaries sent by the Leipzig Mission from Germany to the Kilimanjaro region, between the late 1890s and 1930. The project team copied correspondence, mission station diaries, church registers (baptisms, marriages and funerals), parish council minutes, files on education and cash books, and some photographs. The work of this project has carried on and valuable material continues to be identified and preserved.

EAP099 Kid_N.N._1.1_9 

EAP336: Preserving the lay bet andemta: the Ethiopian intellectual legacy on the verge of extinction

A more recent project, EAP336 is copying manuscripts containing biblical and patristic commentaries. Below are some illustrations from a late 16th or early 17th century Gospel text, showing scenes from the Easter story.


EAP336_ML005_078 cropped 


14 April 2011

March Accessions Part Two

As promised, here are the details of the other four projects which submitted material to the EAP in March:

EAP298 Preserving endangered ethnographic audiovisual materials of expressive culture in Peru

This project builds on the work and achievements of the EAP022 project conducted by the Institute of Ethnomusicology at the Catholic University of Peru. That project digitised audiovisual material  documenting Peruvian ritual dance, music and drama from the provinces of Cajamarca, Ancash and Junin; this follow up project will digitise material from the provinces of Ayacucho, Arequipa and Puno, located to the south of Lima, and culturally and linguistically distinct from the Northern provinces.


EAP357 Identifying endangered monastic collections in the Saharti and Enderta regions of Tigray, Ethiopia

Project EAP357 is undertaking a survey of monastic libraries in the Saharti and Enderta regions of Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. More information can be found in our January Accessions blog.

EAP365 Preservation of Makassarese Lontara' pilot project

This pilot project aims to discover and evaluate collections of Lontara' manuscripts in the Makassarese language of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Written in two syllabaries, with the oldest extant manuscripts dating back to the 17th century, Lontara' manuscripts consist largely of chronicles or histories of local kingdoms, collections of rules relating to customary law, and court diaries and daybooks. The project will digitise a selection of the materials surveyed, and will investigate the feasibility of conducting a large scale digitisation project.

 Email 11 Jan 2011 tif 365_dgtiro1_002

EAP399 Historical collections of manuscripts located at the al-Jazzar mosque library in Acre

The al-Jazzar Mosque library (al-Ahmadiyya) in the city of Acre in northern Israel is home to a large collection of unique Arabic language manuscripts. Dating back to the 14th century, the surviving manuscripts are tightly bound and have been damaged through constant use, the lack of a comprehensive preservation programme, and inhospitable environmental conditions.

The project digitised 54 manuscripts, creating 17,965 image files which will be made accessible to researchers at the al-Jazzar Mosque library and the British Library.



06 April 2011

March Accessions Part One

March was an extremely busy month for the EAP, as we received material from eight different projects.

EAP254 Preservation of the historical literary heritage of Tigray, Ethiopia: the library of Romanat Qeddus Mika'el

This project aims to digitise the library holdings of the Romanat Qeddus Mika'el Dabre Mehet Church in Enderta. The library posesses around 70 codices and manuscripts of high quality, many of them containing illuminations and marginalia. The collection stands as an indigenous and integral local documentary archive in a region of crucial importance to Ethiopian history.


EAP248 Preserving more Marathi manuscripts and making them accessible - major project

Marathi is a New Indo-Aryan language with inscriptional evidence extending back to A.D. 1012, and a literature dated to the 13th century. Marathi manuscripts are predominantly found in the Indian state of Maharashtra, in many cases in private collections which cannot offer a suitable level of archival care, meaning that these valuable materials are under threat from inhospitable environmental conditions, and unavailable to researchers.

The EAP248 project is creating digital and microfilm surrogates of 510 catalogued manuscripts at the library of Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute in Pune, and 359 manuscripts from the Prajna Pathshala collection of Wai, which has been donated to the Marathi Manuscript Centre.

EAP256 Preservation of endangered historical records in the Public Records and Archives Administration (PRAAD) in Tamale, Northern Ghana

This pilot project will conduct a survey of the endangered archival materials within the PRAAD's regional branch in Tamale, Northern Ghana. These materials are threatened due to inadequate facilities for conservation, overuse and deterioration from humidity and other hazards of the tropical climate. Some of the documents most urgently in need of preservation will be digitised, in order to preserve their content and also as a mechanism for training the Archive's staff.


 EAP284 Before the war, after the war: preserving history in Sierra Leone

This pilot project aims to relocate, survey and list the endangered collections of the Sierra Leone Archives, and to digitise a selection of the Liberated African Letter Books. These registers record slave ships captured by navy patrols, and list those men, women and children released at the Vice-Admiralty Court at Freetown.

Here is an example entry from a Liberated African Register, November 1816 to February 1819, Nos 9759 - 11905. This entry gives the following information: Number, Name, Sex, Stature, and a brief description of identifying physical marks:


Description reads "Scar on left knee a[nd] on back of right shoulder tattoed [sic] on right shoulder".

The remaining projects will be discussed in next week's blog entry.