Endangered archives blog

News about the projects saving vulnerable material from around the world

16 November 2022

New online - October 2022

This month we are highlighting the following four projects that have recently been made available to view online. 

The Historical Archive of the Institute of Charity "Hermandad De Dolores" (Fraternity of Sorrows), Santiago De Chile [EAP1289]


The Instituto de Caridad Hermandad de Dolores (Institute of Charity Fraternity of Sorrows), is the oldest institution of private charity in Chile, which has offered free medical services in the city of Santiago since the 19th century. It was founded in March 1815, by a group of patriots who were imprisoned on Juan Fernández Island during the Chilean War of Independence, among them, Juan Egaña, Manuel de Salas and Manuel Blanco Encalada. After the conflict, they returned to Santiago and fulfilled their promise to form an association aimed at helping the poorest people of the city. The archive of this institution, composed of more than 300 manuscripts, traces its history from the 19th century to the present day. In this project, 100 volumes corresponding to the first half of the 20th century (1900-1950) have been digitised. Their content helps illustrate a Chilean society still in the making, especially regarding medicine, women's participation in the public sphere and the lack of State policies related to charity and the poor.

The Manuscript Collection of Issa Iskandar al Maa’luf, Beirut [EAP1423]


This project catalogued and digitised the Isa Iskandar al Ma’luf historical Manuscript Collection, written between the 18th and the 20th centuries. Stored in a much-neglected storage condition for around 60 years, the collection, which was suffering from chemical and physical deterioration, is now located at the American University of Beirut libraries. A total of 101 manuscripts of different subjects were cleaned, preserved, rehoused in new acid free boxes, properly labelled, catalogued, and scanned. The manuscripts are essential for the study of cultural, social, and religious history of the Middle East. The collection includes recently received manuscripts dated between the 16th century and the early 20th century, which cover numerous topics, including: astronomy, literature, history, genealogy, logic, mathematics, medicine, music, religion, and others.

The Manuscripts Collection of the Great Omari Mosque Library, Palestine [EAP1285]


The library of the Great Omari Mosque is considered one of the most important and oldest national libraries and archives in Palestine. Its collection of manuscripts covers a variety of Islamic sciences, and the humanities. The collection describes important and rare manuscripts, for examples: the valuable literary (Diwan) of the poet Ibn Zuqqah Al-Ghazzi and Fatwas of the Scholar Tamrtashi Al-Ghazzi. 211 manuscripts have been digitised and cover topics such as: Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence); Hadiths of the Prophet Mohammed; Sufism; Arabic grammar and dictionaries.

The Kita Cercle Colonial Archive, Mali [EAP1085]


Kita is one of the most ancient colonial districts in Mali (1880) and played a crucial military role in the conquest of Western Mali after French colonisation. It was also one of the very first colonial railroad stations. Thus the Cercle, the main administrative authority since colonisation, collected a tremendous amount of information about the social and economic life of the region over the twentieth century. This project is a continuation of an earlier and smaller project that carried out a survey of the colonial archives (EAP820). This larger project digitised a wide range of records including those about political and military affairs; science and the arts; navigation; finance and administration; and many other subjects.

02 November 2022

EAP Cataloguer Vacancy

We are seeking to recruit a cataloguer to join the EAP team at the British Library’s St Pancras site. 

This post is until 31 December 2023 (with the hope that it will be renewed).  The purpose of the post is to support the team by cataloguing material received from the various projects. Making the material accessible for scholarly research is a key element of the Programme and you will be a valued member of EAP.

This post would be suitable to someone who has an understanding of at least one of the communities represented in EAP projects (The Caribbean, Asia, Middle East, Africa, Latin America). We actively and warmly welcome applications from candidates who feel their culture has been represented by the EAP collections. 

If you would like to apply, please visit the British Library Website. The application deadline is 16 November 2022.

Woman standing behind two boys sitting at a table reading something
EAP755/1/1/110/3 "Woman helping two kids study for the article La vida de las mujeres, Vosotras magazine"


05 October 2022

New online - September 2022

We have another four projects that recently went online to highlight this month. Two projects from India, and one each from Cuba and Columbia:

Preservation and Digitisation of Manuscripts Belonging to 16th to 20th Century of Central Kerala [EAP1320]

The project team has digitised 84 documents, made up of a total of 77 palm leaves documents and seven old books. The palm leaves belong to the period 1600 to 1910 AD. Notable outcomes are the recovery and digitisation of assumingly ‘lost’ ancient works like ‘Lagnaprakarana’ of renowned ancient scholars and a Palm leaf manuscript text of Rgveda. The records cover the topics of Astronomy related mathematics, Ayurveda, Upanayana, Astrology, Commentaries, amongst others. The sources of these collections are mainly from two families with renowned tradition of knowledge in ancient Kerala. One is the Irinjadapilly Mana the ancestral home of Sangamagrama Madhava, the legendary Mathematician of the 14th century. The other is Kunnathur Padinjaredath Mana, known for their knowledge in Vasthu Sastra and Tantra.

You can view the records here.

EAP1320 team (1)

Creating a digital archive of ecclesiastical records in the original seven Villas of Cuba [EAP955]

This project digitised records owned by the Bishopric of Santa Clara in Cuba, and held at three separate locations: the Catedral de Santa Clara, the Iglesia de San Juan, and the Iglesia of La Caridad. Records include baptism, death, and burial registers. 

You can view the records here.


Digitisation of Documentary Heritage of the Colombian Caribbean in the Maritime Port of Cartagena de Indias [EAP1212]

This project digitised notarial documents from 1853-1900 corresponding to the First Notary Office of Cartagena, and notarial documents from 1859-1861 corresponding to the Notary Public of the Municipality of El Carmen de Bolívar. Such documents are found in the Historical Archive of Cartagena de Indias, an administrative unit of the Historical Museum of the same city. The digitised material accounts for the social history of both the city of Cartagena de Indias and the Municipality of El Carmen de Bolívar. It addresses aspects related to economic life (including: trade, formation of commercial companies, purchase-sale of possessions and rural and urban properties, production and marketing of tobacco, public administrative contracts, mortgages), as well as characteristics of social, public and private life (civil marriages, successions of post-mortuary assets, appraisals, wills), both in rural and urban areas.

You can view the records here.


Songs of the Old Madmen: Recovering Baul Songs from the Note-Books of 19th and 20th Century Bengali Saint-Composers [EAP1247]

This project digitised records from six different Baul collections in West Bengal, India. The songs of the Bauls (literally “mad”, intoxicated by divine love) are composed by gurus or spiritual teachers, and performed by itinerant folk musicians. They are performed among low-caste communities in India and Bangladesh, where they are recognized as intangible cultural heritage. An encyclopedia of beliefs and practices, Baul songs discuss ideas on cosmogony, health, sexuality, meditation and everyday life.

The collections provide important primary sources for the study of the Baul tradition of Bengal, showing how the songs are passed down across the generations and transmitted from older gurus to contemporary singers/practitioners. They provide information about the continuity and change in the repertoire of Baul songs, while also offering a window to understand the intimate and devotional relationship between gurus and disciples of this tradition.

The records include handwritten notebooks of Baul songs, three albums of correspondence between guru and disciple, historical documents, and numerous photographs of Baul performers and their families which have been found within the pages of the notebooks.

You can view the records here.


30 September 2022

EAP video

EAP recently commissioned a short film, in the hope that it would raise the profile of the Programme and highlight the importance of making digitised content freely available to everyone. The video is now available on the Library’s YouTube channel and we hope you enjoying watching it.

EAP would like to thank the British Library Collections Trust for generously supporting the making of the film.

06 September 2022

New online - August 2022

We have another four projects that recently went online to highlight this month, including two from Peru:

Manuscripts and Documents at the Biblioteca Generale di Terra Santa: the second step [EAP1142]

This major digitisation project led by Professor Ewa Balicka-Witakowska, followed on from a previous project to digitise manuscripts in the collection of the Biblioteca Generale (BG) at St Saviour Monastery in Old Jerusalem.

The EAP1142 team digitised more than 100,000 pages of manuscripts and documents that date back as far as the 14th century and as recently as the 20th century.

Illustration of a baby on blanket surrounded by a man, a woman, a cow, a donkey, and four angels
Inside cover of Regulation of the Fratri minori, late 19th century [EAP1142/1/1/50]


The Ancash Community Archive Digitisation (ACAD) Project, Peru [EAP1325]

Led by Dr Frank Michel Meddens, this pilot project produced a survey of archival material within two communities near the village of Pamparomás, in Peru. In discussions with members of the town council of Pamparomás, three communities with early Spanish colonial foundation settlement (AD 1532-1615) and possible surviving archives were selected for this survey: Chaclancayo, Cosma and Jimbe. Though the latter was considered too remote to investigate in the time available to project members during the 2022 fieldwork season.

The EAP1325 team also digitised a small sample of documents.

Two pictures: Three men and a woman in front of a waterfall. And a shot of a colourful village with a mountain backdrop


Traditional Mongolian Script Newspapers at Sukhbaatar District Library (1928-1935) [EAP1391]

This digitisation project followed on from a previous project to digitise Mongolian newspapers written in traditional Mongolian script. Led by Mr Bayasgalan Bayanbat at the Monsound and Vision Foundation, this latest project digitised the following newspaper titles:

The previous project, also led by Bayasgalan, digitised the following newspapers:

The editions concern a wide range of topics, including politics, economy, science, education, international affairs and home affairs.

It is noteworthy that while the traditional Mongolian script title remains consistent in each edition of the newspaper, the Cyrillic script and Latin script variants of the title differ across the collection. This is a sign of the Sovietisation of Mongolia during the 1930s and 40s, including an alteration to the Mongolian language, with the traditional Mongolian script replaced with Cyrillic.

Part of a newspaper page
Ardyn Undesnii Erkh (28 December 1935), EAP1391/1/2/232


19th-century documents from the Peruvian asylum el Manicomio del Cercado [EAP1402]

In another Peruvian project, Ms Irène Favier led a major project that digitised a collection of damaged 19th century medical documents from the Cercado asylum. The documents span from 1859-1920 and include:

3 women digitising a large volume
The EAP1402 project team



25 August 2022

The Marvels of the Manaki Brothers

EAP1470 has started with a bang - an exhibition at the State Archives of the Republic of North Macedonia to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the birth of Milton Manaki. Milton, along with his brother, are known as the first cinematographers in the Balkans. Photographers who left a lasting legacy with their work not only within the Balkans but also further afield. This significant photographic archive will be digitised as part of EAP1470.

The exhibition was officially opened by Minister Bisera Kostadinovska-Stojčevska on 21 August 2022, and is part of the international Cinematographers film festival “Manaki Brothers”, which is traditionally held in Bitola and is supported by the Ministry of Culture.

The display consists of 18 panels that reveal the most significant segments of Milton's work and life, and glass cases containing his photographic equipment, including his Camera 300. Original documents are also on show, as well as a digital exhibition that thematically and chronologically deals with his photographic work.

It is clear from the pictures sent by Goce Stojanovski, Head of the Bitola Department at the State Archive and project lead for EAP1470, the opening was a huge success and we are looking forward to making the Manaki Brothers' photographs available online - it is obvious there are some gems amongst the archive.

People viewing the exhibits and panels


24 August 2022

Webinars for Applicants – Round 18

We are pleased to announce the dates of the Webinars for Applicants to Round 18. The call goes out on 19th September and we encourage anyone interested in submitting an application to attend the webinar which will give a broad overview of the requirements of the Programme and things to take into consideration for this latest round.

We will hold two identical webinars, in the morning and afternoon to accommodate different time zones:

Wednesday, 21st September 2022 at 11.00 to 12.00 BST and 15.00 to 16.00 BST

During the webinars, we will discuss the EAP Round 18 application process and we will answer any questions. Please send any questions you might have in advance to [email protected].

Please register for your webinar of choice at the following links.

11.00 to 12.00 BST: Morning: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_oOXGYCJZSTW-NxTOwMIhtQ

15.00 to 16.00 BST: Afternoon: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kfg89TC-R2GiNK1fHgXIPA

We look forward to seeing you!


08 August 2022

West African Manuscripts Crowdsourcing Project Fellowship: Call now open

We are delighted to be partnering with Chevening to offer a professional development fellowship.

The Chevening Fellow will develop a community crowdsourcing project to improve the discoverability of approximately 10,000 digitised West African manuscripts within the EAP collections. We are keen to ensure these manuscripts are assigned titles in Arabic script, making them more accessible to local researchers.

The fellowship will be based with the EAP team and offers the chance to spend 12 months 'behind-the-scenes' at the British Library. It is open to anyone based in Mali, Niger, Nigeria or Senegal.

For more information please visit the Chevening website.

The closing date is 1 November 2022.