10 April 2013
My name is Paul Young and I am the new EAP Cataloguer. I was very excited about starting work for the EAP, as I would get to deal with such fascinating collections from around the world.
I was however a little unsure about what to expect, what exactly the post would entail and whether I would have to brush up on my language skills. Now that I have been in post for just over a month I thought I would share with you what I have been up to. Giving you a brief outline of the processes which I go through to make the collections available and updating you on the new collections now online.
Once a project is completed the project holder will send copies of the digital images, usually on an external hard drive, along with a descriptive list which has been completed using the EAP template. The project holders are asked to provide the lists in English so there is no language barrier to overcome. Once they have been received the descriptive lists are prepared to be made available on the British Library's ‘Integrated Archival and Manuscript Search’ (IAMS). I work with the IAMS migration team, converting the lists so that they match the standards set by the British Library. After this has been achieved I will also add the lists to the EAP website.
At the same time I will be getting the images ready, this involves copying them over to the EAP servers and then checking them against the descriptive list ensuring all images are present. EAP asks the projects to provide the images in TIFF format, as this is an archival friendly format which will help ensure the long term preservation of the collection. These generally create large image sizes of around 30-40 megabytes, which are unsuitable for display on the EAP website. Therefore JPEG versions of a much smaller size are created for use on the website.
Once both of these processes are complete the collection is then ready to go online. So far I have uploaded five collections with over 20,000 images onto the EAP website. These collections include EAP485, images of the Nigerian newspaper Gaskiya ta fi Kwabo; the first newspaper entirely written in the Hausa language. It played an important part in providing information about World War II to Nigerians.
EAP500, a collection of photographs from the 20th century showing minority groups in Bulgaria. These include images which survived the ‘Revival Process’, the forceful assimilation of Muslims in Bulgaria which lasted from 1985-1989 and included the destruction of documents.
EAP432, a collection of monastic records from East Goğğam in Ethiopia
The final two collections are EAP474, pre-colonial and colonial documents from the Regional Archive at Cape Coast, Ghana and EAP524, a survey of the East India Company and Colonial archives of Jamestown, St Helena.
The Endangered Archives Programme has been without a cataloguer since September so there are plenty of collections waiting to be made available online. We hope to share many more collections with you in the near future.