Endangered archives blog

News about the projects saving vulnerable material from around the world

2 posts from February 2012

22 February 2012

Highlighting Church Records from Tanzania

Today's post was written by Professor Doctor Adam Jones, the project holder for EAP099 Collecting and preserving the records of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania in Moshi, Tanzania. This project successfully copied correspondence, mission station diaries, church registers, parish council minutes, files on education, cash books and photographs.

A grant from the Endangered Archives Programme in 2006-2007 enabled two of my students to bring together and digitise 20,000 pages of the records held by the Northern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania in its offices in Moshi. The records derived from the work of the Leipzig Mission between the 1890s and 1930s.

This project went so well that although the grant had run out, I persuaded two more students to go to Moshi at their own expense in 2007, another two in 2008 and two more in 2010. We have now digitised a total of 31,000 pages covering everything up to the early 1940s. Next week two more students will fly to Moshi and continue the work of their predecessors.

EAP099 Mac_1925_B7 B_1

Most of the material is in German; some is in Swahili or - for the years when German missionaries were expelled and Americans took over - in English. As an example of what may be found, let us take the minutes of parish elders' meetings in the village of Mamba from 1919 to 1926. In 62 handwritten pages we find no less than:

6 meetings discussing issues relating to female circumcision

4 on paying bridewealth

2 on virginity tests

2 on rape

3 on 'immoral' behaviour

2 on widowhood (and the custom of re-marrying into the lineage of the deceased)

2 on mental illness

2 on sacrifice

2 on dancing

8 on sorcery

3 on competition between several men for one bride

10 on adultery.

Thus church records provide information on more than what one might expect. They are an invaluable source for social history at a grassroots level.

Adam Jones, University of Leipzig

07 February 2012

EAP132 Catalogue Online

Recordings of North Indian Classical Music digitised as part of the EAP132 projecthave been catalogued and can now be searched through the Library's Search Our Catalogue Archives and Manuscripts (SOCAM) pages.

Led by a team from Jadavpur University, the project digitised material from the University and from a number of private collections. The recordings consist of Hindustani and a small number of Carnatic performances: vocal performances of Alap, Dhrupad, Dhammar, Khayal, Thumri, Dadra (and cognate forms) and Ghazal; and instrumental performances upon the sitar, sarod, veena, sarengi, santoor, harmonium, violin, esraj, tabla and pakhawaj. Overall the project digitised 2,700 tracks by 254 performers, resulting in over 1,000 hours of music.

The project team - with the help of performers, experts and collection owners - were able to record detailed information about most of the tracks. Where possible each track description notes the performer and accompaniment, their respective Gharanas, and the raga, rhythm (taal) and composition (bandish) of the track. Authority files were created for each performer, and these were linked to relevant tracks, making it possible to use one search to view all the material associated with an artist across multiple collections.

Using the Advanced Search function in the catalogue allows you to make the most of this detailed metadata. For example, the following search...

EAP132 search 3

... returns 9 results for artists of the Gwailor Gharana playing in raga Kafi and Kafi Kanada.

The material is now available for access via the British Library reading rooms. If you would like more information or to leave feedback, please email us at [email protected]. You can also log into SOCAM and add your own descriptions to tracks with the tag feature.