Endangered archives blog

News about the projects saving vulnerable material from around the world

6 posts from July 2012

31 July 2012

June Accessions

Last month the EAP received digital images from Cameroon, digitised shellac discs and music scores from the Margot Loyola Fund collection in Chile, and digitised manuscripts from Djenne, Mali.

EAP054 Archiving a Cameroonian photographic studio


The EAP054 project digitised the collection of studio photographer Jacques Touselle, nearly 20,000 photographs taken over the past 30 years. Group and individual portrait photographs, identity cards and passport shots, and photographs of celebrations and festivities will enable research into changing fashions, aesthetics and social customs. The collection and its catalogue will be utilised and enhanced through an AHRC funded studentship in Photographic cultures in Mbouda, Cameroon, jointly run by the ISCA, Pitt Rivers Museum, and the British Library.



EAP359 Plan for Valparaiso's musical heritage digitisation (1870-1930): scores and 78rpm discs

The Margot Loyola Fund safeguards scores, player-piano rolls, acoustic records, magnetic tape and optical media which document Chilean musical traditions and the growth of the music publishing industry in Valparaiso during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


You can hear some sample sound recordings on the project website. The collections include folk music such as cuecas, tonadas, Mexican corridos, boleros and tango, as well as classical music in simplified form, and saloon music like habaneras, mazurkas and the waltz.



EAP488 Major project to digitise and preserve the manuscripts of Djenne, Mali

In 2009 the EAP funded a pilot project which surveyed 13 privately held collections of Arabic manuscripts in Djenne, Mali. The survey report and sample images can be viewed on the EAP269 project page. Informed by the survey results, the EAP488 major project is currently digitising manuscripts from those collections, alongside materials held at the Djenne Manuscript Library.

Photo 5
Instructions for the fabrication of a talisman to endow the bearer with intelligence. Djennepo family collection, Djenne Manuscript Library

In addition to digitisation, short courses and study days about information science and conservation are being held for manuscript owners and local heritage workers.

19 July 2012

Gypsy/Roma archives in Bulgaria

Digital copies of photographs, theatre play scripts and posters, songs and newspapers are among the newly catalogued Collections relating to Gypsy/Roma archives in Bulgaria, now available on the EAP webpages. These records were copied by EAP067 Preservation of Gypsy/Roma historical and cultural heritage in Bulgaria from private individual and family collections. Additional surrogate copies have been deposited with the Studii Romani Archive at the Ethnographic Institute and Museum of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, along with some of the original items.

The 10 Collections feature photographs from everyday life including special events such as weddings and New Year celebrations; photographs of important political meetings and speeches; photographs of musicians; copies of plays and theatre posters; songs; and newspapers written for a gypsy audience. These represent a rich resource of primary material relating to Gypsy/Roma in Sofia during the 20th century.

To give an idea of the scope of the material, here are three images, each taken from a different Collection. The first image belongs to EAP067/3 Emilia Ormandzhieva and Zlatko Mladenov Collection of Gypsy Folklore Material. It is the first page of a folksong (EAP067/3/1 Folklore songs, c 1970s). Unusually, this song was written down so that it could be passed to future generations. The original song was composed during the 1940s as  away of celebrating the future and "new life" that Gypsies expected under socialist rule.


The next image comes from EAP067/2 Zhivkov Family Collection. The Zhivkov family originates from the Gypsy group called Musikanti ('Musician' in Bulgarian). Members of the Zhivkov family have been army musicians, others have participated in various circus groups. As you might expect, the Collection contains many images of musicians and musical situations, showing costumes and instruments.

EAP067/2/1/6 Gypsy musicians at Manifestation, c 1940

The third image is of Gypsy women selling flowers. This is taken from EAP067/9 Romani Bah Collection of material from the 'Fakultet' Gypsy Quarter. It is possible the women are helping to celebrate International Women's Day, March 8.



12 July 2012

The endangered archives of the Haynes Publishing Company, Argentina

Today's post has been written by Celina Tuozzo, the principal investigator for EAP375 The transition from a traditional to a modern society: recovering Argentinean and Latin Americian history through an emblematic publishing company.

The EAP helped us save part of the pre-modern material of the Archive of the Haynes Publishing Company -- a model of its kind in Argentina and Latin America since 1904. Under the military dictatorship of the late 1960s, the enterprise was abruptly closed, its machinery and furniture suddenly auctioned, its emblematic building torn down and its documents disappeared. The Archive is a survivor composed of multiple materials such as illustrations, photographs, photographic negatives, film, manuscripts, and published documents. Five different Series were identified, the major one being the Themed Subject Files full of exciting materials such as original articles, poems, and stories by top Latin American writers such as Jorge Luis Borges and Cecilia de Meireles, unknown scenes and portraits of Eva Perón, plus written documents and photographs of the Nazis in Argentina, among other discoveries.

EAP375 foto 1.jpg

It was very difficult to decide what to copy. Among the selected digitised files, it is worth mentioning, the original documents of the "Infamous Decade", that is, Argentina from 1930 to 1943. This material constitutes a welcomed addition in a period that is being re-written thanks to the study of new primary sources.

EAP375 100_0628

The more than 26000 folders and envelopes that composed the Archive plus the digitised 25000 frames will change Argentine and Latin American history as we know it. It is safe to assert that, at last, the Haynes Publishing Company Archive is contemplating the chance to come back from the dead alive. It is an EAP miracle, not doubt.

EAP375 100_1078

10 July 2012

Dongjing musical scores feature on Music in the British Library

Today I have the pleasure of featuring as guest blogger on the new Music in the British Library blog. My post discusses dongjing music scores (and other records including video and audio recitals of performances and interviews) received as part of two EAP projects:

EAP012 Salvage and preservation of dongjing archives in Yunan, China: transcript, score, ritual and performance

EAP209 Survey on surviving donging archives in Jianshui, Tonghai and Mengzi

The new Music in the British Library blog will be featuring news about the Music Collections here at the Library as well as announcements of events, activities and music-related projects. Well worth a look.


06 July 2012

June Accessions

The year is half over and it is time to tell everyone about our June Accessions. We received some really interesting material last month from four different projects working in Chile, Indonesia, Argentina and Mali. Here are the details:

EAP359 Plan for Valparaíso's musical heritage digitisation (1870-1930): scores and 78rpm discs

This project copied printed musical scores and 78rpm discs from the Margot Loyola Collection. The surrogate digital material includes folk music and will provide researchers with a unique insight into the social history of Valparaiso, Chile, during the late 1800s and early 1900s. In addition to their musical content the scores and discs display advertising and some quite fabulous art work.

EAP359 adoracion1

EAP365 Preservation of Makassarese lontara' pilot project

This pilot project set out to discover and evaluate the existence of private collections of lontara' manuscripts in the Makassarese language of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. The results of their field work will be shown in a Survey Report. Alongside this, the project team took digital images from six manuscripts belonging to three Collections. The image below is from a manuscript concerned with the Islamic calendar.


EAP375 The transition from a traditional to a modern society: recovering Argentinean and Latin American history through an emblematic publishing company

The digital surrogates received from EAP375 are the result of a 12 month project to digitise part of the archives from a major newspaper company in Argentina, the Haynes Publishing Company. I will post more information on this, with images, next week when the principal investigator, Celina Tuzzo, will be our guest blogger.

EAP488 Major project to digitise and preserve the manuscripts of Djenné, Mali

We received the first submission of material from this major project. The project is copying manuscripts belonging to private collections housed in the Manuscript Library of Djenné or private family libraries. These Arabic manuscripts include important Islamic texts and other volumes covering a range of topics including themes of the occult and local history.

EAP488 Photo 4


02 July 2012

Highlighting Pre-colonial Documents from Northern Nigeria

Last month we announced the availability of records digitally copied by EAP087 Northern Nigeria: precolonial documents preservation scheme. Today's blog post has been written by Mohammed Bashir Salau, the principal investigator for EAP087.

In 2007, a group of researchers led by Mohammed Bashir Salau digitised materials related to the history of Kano at the Kano State History and Culture Bureau while carrying out the EAP087 pilot project in Northern Nigeria. Some of the copied materials were written in Arabic while others were written in English. The Arabic materials, consisting 166 files, include official letters written to the emir of Kano, a number of letters from the emir of Kano to other high ranking Sokoto Caliphate/Northern Nigerian leaders, letters written to Kano emirate judges, and letters from Kano judges to their counterparts elsewhere in Sokoto Caliphate/Northern Nigeria. These materials deal mainly with the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and they deal with diverse themes including: inheritance, marriage, land disupte,the nineteenth century jihad, trade disputes, divorce, theft, murder, and enslavement.

The English materials, consisting over 1000 files, include colonial assessment and reassessment reports as well as other official correspondences exchanged between colonial administrators in Northern Nigeria during the early twentieth century. These materials contain rich information about such issues as taxation, agriculture, labor, slavery, and social organization in colonial Kano. Also, some of them contain detailed information about the pre-colonial history of various districts in Kano.

Overall, the materials on Kano copied as part of the EAP087 pilot project are valuable not only because they provide unique and valuable historical evidence regarding such topics mentioned above, but also because they highlight oral traditions, eye witness accounts, African viewpoints, Muslim viewpoints,
European viewpoints, Christian viewpoints, and elite viewpoints on key events that unfolded in pre-colonial and early colonial Kano.

EAP087 image one

EAP087 image two

EAP087 image three