Endangered archives blog

News about the projects saving vulnerable material from around the world

2 posts from September 2016

29 September 2016

Why do you access EAP material?

Recently we were contacted by Tom McCall who was researching his family’s history. He wrote: "One relative that I have been researching was Major Anthony Gilchrist McCall OBE who joined the Indian Civil Service from 1921 until 1945, spending the majority of that time as Superintendent of the Lushai Hills District in North East India.

He published a book called Lushai Chrysalis and sent a copy to Eleanor Roosevelt, who he had heard was a critic of British Colonial administration. The letter he sent was light hearted, but he did receive a reply from Eleanor, who promised to read his book.

I discovered EAP454: Locating and surveying early religious and related records in Mizoram, India and was thrilled to find a photograph of Tony, (as he was known to the family) with his wife and a large group of locals, at his farewell in 1945. This was the first photograph that I had seen of him in India and was of immense interest to me and my family. Since then as the project has added more material, I have checked back periodically and have since found three more photographs of him.

Group photograph with a bungalow to the leftEAP454/2/9 (part 5) Pi Lalengliani collection of Chaltlang chief R. D. Leta's materials [1906-1929]

The material and history that EAP is preserving cannot be underestimated, especially for someone looking for information and photographs of family members that would otherwise have been lost or destroyed."

If you have discovered interesting stories amongst the EAP archives we would like to hear from you. It may be something connected with your family or local history. Perhaps the photographic collections have inspired you creatively in a different way. We would also like to hear from you if you have been accessing the collections for academic purposes – perhaps you have uncovered some previously unknown facts that have come to light within the pages of the digitised manuscripts.

Whatever you have found – do get in touch, we’d love to know.

01 September 2016

Call for Applications

Do you know of any collections that are currently at risk and need preserving? The Endangered Archives Programme is now accepting grant applications for the next annual funding round – the deadline for submission of preliminary applications is 4 November 2016 and full details of the application procedures and documentation are available on the EAP website. This year we will also be accepting online applications.

Room interior with a high ceiling. The walls are covered in bookshelves with a ladder to reach the upper shelves.

EAP843: Part of the Archibishopric’s Archive, Sandiago de Cuba. A pilot project undertaken in 2015 with a major project about to begin.

The Endangered Archives Programme has been running at the British Library since 2004 through funding by Arcadia, with the aim of preserving rare vulnerable archival material around the world. This aim is achieved through the award of grants to relocate the material to a safe local archival home where possible, to digitise the material, and to deposit copies with local archival partners and with the British Library. These digital collections are then available for researchers to access freely through the British Library website or by visiting the local archives. The digital collections from 165 projects are currently available online, consisting of over 5 million images and several thousand sound recordings.

This year we have started making our sound recordings available for online streaming and one of our most popular archives is the Syliphone Label.

The Programme has helped to preserve manuscripts, rare printed books, newspapers and periodicals, audio and audio-visual materials, photographs and temple murals. Since 2004 approximately 300 projects have been funded. Last year awards were given for projects based in Argentina, Bulgaria, Cuba, Ghana, India, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Malawi, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and Turks and Caicos Islands.

The following images give a sense of the type of material that went online over the past year.

Ceiling painting showing three lines of the narrative of a story.EAP692/1/1/2  Alagar kovil Kallalagar Inner Mandapa Ceiling East [17th Century]. Part of the pilot project to digitise temple murals in Tamil Nadu. The team have now started a major grant.

  Single page of a manuscript written in Tibetan.
EAP727/6/25: བླ་མའི་རྣལ་འབྱོར་བསམ་པ་ལྷུན་འགྲུབ་དང་མྱུར་འགྲུབ་མ་བཞུགས་སོ།། (bla ma'i rnal 'byor bsam pa lhun 'grub dang myur 'grub ma bzhugs so) [Mid-19th century]. Tibetan Buddhist manuscript from Amdo, PR China

Close-up of a woman picking grapes.
EAP755/1/1/86 Mendoza. Photographs taken by Annemarie Heinrich, Argentina. The team working on this project have also been awarded  a major grant.

Inside cover page of the diary, showing neat handwriting.
EAP856/1/6 Journal du Premier Ministre Rainilaiarivony (Tome III) [May 1881 - Sep 1881]. 19th century archives written by Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony (written in Malagasy.  Another project is also underway on Madagascar.

So, if you know of an archive in a region of the world were resources are limited, we really hope you will apply. If you have any questions regarding the conditions of award or the application process, do email us at [email protected]