Endangered archives blog

23 posts categorized "Printed texts"

07 June 2021

New online - April/May 2021

We have another four completed digitisation projects that have recently gone online. These four projects represent both the global breadth of EAP projects and the wide variety of content types:

EAP908 - Temple manuscripts from Kerala and Karantaka, India

Outside of temple and the digitisation team with manuscripts

Led by Dr Vayalkara Jayarajan, the EAP908 team digitised 283 palm leaf manuscripts located at seven different temples in the Indian states of Kerala and Karnataka. The exact sources of these manuscripts are unknown as they have been acquired from several priests and passed on from generation to generation.

Over time, the condition of these sacred and holy manuscripts has deteriorated. This project has therefore helped preserve the information on rites and rituals that these manuscripts contain.

 

EAP910 - Bound works and manuscripts from Tajikistan

Manuscript pages

Led by Dr Abdughani Mamdazimov, the EAP910 team identified and digitised pre-Soviet works from private collections in the Gissar region of Tajikistan. 

These collections are particularly focused on education, both religious and secular.

The bound works include collections of poetry and a biography of the prophet Muhammad.

EAP1024 - 19th century Haitian newspapers

Newspaper front page

This pilot project digitised 26 different newspaper titles held by the Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Frères de l’Instruction Chrétienne (BHFIC) in Port-au-Prince.

The newspapers are printed in French (with occasional words in Haitian Creole). Topics include political, economic, and diplomatic news and debates. It also includes literary publications, like short stories and poems.

 

EAP1065 - Archives of public high schools in Chile

The EAP1065 project team, led by Mr Rodrigo Sandoval, digitised administrative records from eight high schools in Chile.

Dated 1848-1918, these records include:

  • Correspondence
  • School subjects
  • Enrolment records
  • Directories
  • Punishment room books
  • Religious class books
  • Diaries
  • Exams
  • Instructions for edification

This video provides an insight into the project.

 

Follow us on Twitter to help keep an eye out for many more projects being put online in the coming weeks and months.

16 March 2021

EAP Publication translated into Arabic - مُترجَمًا إلى العربية: برنامج الأرشيفات المهددة بالاندثار يطلق أحد أهم كتبه

In 2020, EAP received a generous grant from the Barakat Trust to translate Remote Capture: Digitising Documentary Heritage in Challenging Locations into Arabic as part of outreach within the Middle East and North Africa regions. Nouran Ibrahim Abdelraouf did all the hard work of translating the book and now that it is available online via the EAP website, we thought it would be the right time to ask her a few questions that we could share on our blog.

في عام 2020، تلقى برنامج الأرشيفات المهددة بالاندثار منحة كريمة من مؤسسة بركات لترجمة كتاب لقطات نائية: رقمنة التراث الوثائقي في المواقع ذات التحديات كجزء من جهود الانتشار في منطقتي الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا. أخذت نوران إبراهيم عبد الرؤوف على عاتقها مهمة ترجمة الكتاب الصعبة، وبما أنه قد أصبح متاحًا على الإنترنت من خلال موقع برنامج الأرشيفات المهددة بالاندثار، فإننا نعتقد أنه قد حان الوقت لطرح بعض الأسئلة على المترجمة بحيث ننشر إجاباتها على مدونتنا.
 
Nouran small
 
حدثينا عن نفسك بعض الشيء: كيف بدأتِ العمل في مجال الترجمة؟
لطالما كنت شغوفة باللغات، وتحديدًا اللغة الإنجليزية. تخصصت والدتي في الأدب الإنجليزي في الجامعة، ولطالما كانت "دودة قراءة"، وأظن أنني قد ورثت عنها هذا الأمر! لذا، فقد نشأت في بيت مليء بالكتب العربية والإنجليزية وشغف عام باللغة والقراءة، وفي المدرسة، كانت مادتا اللغة العربية واللغة الإنجليزية مادتيّ المفضلتين. ثم التحقت بقسم اللغة الإنجليزية في كلية الألسن بجامعة عين شمس، وعُينت معيدة به، ثم تخصصت في الترجمة التحريرية والشفهية بين العربية والإنجليزية، وناقشت رسالة الماجستير وعنوانها ترجمة عبارات التلطُف: تحليل اجتماعي إدراكي نقدي للخطاب السياسي الأمريكي في ‘الحرب على الإرهاب’ وترجمته في الإعلام العربي المكتوب في عام 2015. بدأت العمل في مجال الترجمة التحريرية على الإنترنت بينما كنت طالبة في السنة الثالثة من الكلية، وبدأت العمل كمترجمة شفهية أثناء دراستي في دبلومة الترجمة التحريرية والشفهية.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, how did you get started in translation work?

Well, I've always been passionate about languages, especially English. My mother is an English literature major and has always been a bookworm, something which she's definitely passed on to me! So, growing up, I've always been surrounded by books in both Arabic and English and a general passion for language and reading, and in school, both English and Arabic languages were my favorite subjects. I then went on to join the English department in the Faculty of Al-Alsun (Languages), Ain Shams University, where I currently work as an assistant lecturer. Then I specialised in translation and interpreting between Arabic and English and defended my MA thesis titled "Euphemism in Translation: A Socio-cognitive Critical Analysis of the US War on Terror Discourse and its Translation in Arabic Media" in 2015. I started my career in translation work online while I was still a Junior and started interpreting work during studying for my translation and interpreting diploma.

لاحظت أنكِ أكثر تركيزًا على ترجمة المواد المتصلة بالثقافة والتراث، هل هذا صحيح؟ ما الذي دعاكِ للتركيز على ذلك؟
نعم، أظن أن ذلك صحيح إلى حد كبير. هناك حس بالتحقق والإنجاز يأتي من وساطتك بين الثقافات المختلفة. أنا مصرية، ولبلدي تراث هائل يتألف من طبقات عدة من الثقافات المختلفة. دائمًا ما أشعر بالفخر عند معرفة المزيد عن تراثي المصري، وتقديمي لجوانب منه لبقية العالم عن طريق الترجمة. ينطبق الأمر ذاته على كل المواد الثقافية المختلفة الأخرى التي يربطني بها العمل من خلال الترجمة سواء التحريرية أو الشفهية. ودائمًا ما تتسم هذه المواد بالتحديات، لأن الخصوصية الثقافية جزء لا يتجزأ منها، وفي الوقت ذاته يمثل إدخالها في سياق اللغة المترجم إليها تحديًا كبيرًا، ولذلك يحتاج هذا النوع من العمل إلى الكثير من البحث والشغف، وقدر كبير من الصبر والمثابرة في سبيل الوصول إلى ترجمة ملائمة. ولكن على الرغم من تلك الصعوبات والتحديات، فإن العملية كلها تمثل تجربة مجزية للغاية عند إنجاز الأمر بالتوصل إلى ترجمة مناسبة. أعمل في مجالات وموضوعات مختلفة أيضًا، ولكن تظل الثقافة والتراث من ضمن الموضوعات المفضلة بالنسبة لي قراءةً وعملًا.
 

Am I right in thinking you like to focus on translating material related to culture and heritage? What made you decide to focus on this?

I think this is somehow true. There is a sense of accomplishment that comes from being the mediator between different cultures. Being an Egyptian myself, I come from a country that is just layer over layer over layer of different cultures and a huge heritage. I take pride in knowing more about my Egyptian heritage and helping with presenting parts of it to the rest of the world. This applies to all other different cultural materials that I've worked on through translating or interpreting. Such materials are almost always challenging, since culture specificity is inherent to their nature, meanwhile it is something that is usually very challenging to contextualise in the target language. This is why this kind of work needs lots of research and passion, not to mention a great deal of patience and persistence to reach a suitable rendition. Having said that, it is a particularly rewarding experience when you eventually get it right. I do work on different subjects as well, but topics of culture and heritage are definitely among my favorite subjects to both read and work on.

 

ما الذي خطر ببالك فور دعوتك لترجمة لقطات نائية؟
تحمست كثيرًا لدعوتي للتعاون مع أحد برامج المكتبة البريطانية، ولأول وهلة بدا الكتاب شيقًا ومليئًا بالتحديات. عندما تحدثت مع صديقة تعمل في مجال التراث، أخبرتني أن هناك الكثير من الجهات والأفراد الذين سيكونون مهتمين بمنح برنامج الأرشيفات المهددة بالاندثار في مصر، ومن ثم سيهمهم وجود ترجمة عربية لكتاب لقطات نائية، بما أنه يمثل دليلًا عمليًا على كيفية البدء في مشروعات رقمنة التراث والحصول على إحدى منح البرنامج. أعتقد أن الأمر ذاته ينطبق على سائر البلدان التي تتحدث بالعربية؛ فهذه المنطقة من العالم تمتلك طيفًا واسعًا من الثقافات والتراث، وفي غالب الأمر تحتاج إلى المزيد من الموارد لتوثيقه، لذا تحمست للغاية لأن أبدأ العمل في الترجمة العربية للقطات نائية، لأنه سيكون أحد الموارد التي ستيسر هذا الأمر.

What were your immediate thoughts when you were invited to collaborate on Remote Capture?

I was really intrigued to be collaborating with one of the British Library's programmes, and I thought the nature of the book itself was quite challenging. When I spoke to a friend working in the field, she told me that there were many entities and individuals in Egypt who would be particularly interested in the grants offered by EAP, and consequently in an Arabic translation of Remote Capture, since it serves as a practical manual on how to get started with a heritage digitisation project and how to get an EAP grant. I think the same applies to other Arabic-speaking countries; it's an area of the world that has various cultures and heritages and is probably in need for more resources to be able to document them, so I was very enthusiastic about starting to work on the Arabic translation of Remote Capture that would somehow facilitate this.

ما هو الجانب الذي استمتعتِ بالعمل عليه في الكتاب؟
أفضل الحديث عن اللحظات الممتعة والتي أشعرتني بالتحقق فيما يتصل بعملي على لقطات نائية. استمتعت بعدة لحظات من هذا النوع عند مواجهتي للتعبيرات التخصصية الصعبة؛ أحيانًا ما كنت أجد صعوبة حتى في فهم التعبير أو الكلمة باللغة الإنجليزية أصلًا، ومن ثم في الترجمة. لم يكن الأمر سهلًا دائمًا، ولكن بكل تأكيد كان مجزيًا عند خروج الترجمة إلى النور. كما سعدت بالحصول على منتج نهائي بعد العمل الشاق الذي استمر لفترة ليست بالقصيرة نظرًا لحجم المشروع، وبعد العمل مع المصمم والدخول في العديد من النقاشات بشأن المنتج النهائي وما يجب أن يبدو عليه. كما كانت لحظة إطلاق الكتاب مترجمًا على الإنترنت وإرسالي للرابط ذي الصلة إلى أسرتي وأصدقائي لحظة سعيدة بالنسبة لي، فقد جعلت كل الأرق والتوتر بشأن اللحاق بموعد التسليم كأن لم يكنا! كما أنه يجب أن أذكر أنني أستمتع الآن بالإجابة عن أسئلة هذه المقابلة!

What aspect of the book did you enjoy working on?

I would rather speak about enjoyable and fulfilling moments related to my work on Remote Capture. I had many of these whenever there was a particularly challenging, technical term that I struggled to first understand, and second translate. It wasn't always easy, but was definitely rewarding when it eventually materialised. I also enjoyed having a final product after such hard work that went on for quite some time given the volume of the project, and after working with the graphic designer and having so many discussions on how the final product should look like. Also, the moment when the translation finally went online and I could share its link with my family and friends was a big one for me; it just makes all the sleepless nights and anxiety over making the deadline worthwhile. I also have to mention that I am enjoying answering the questions of this interview!

هل واجهتك أية تحديات؟ إذا كانت الإجابة بنعم، فماذا كانت هذه التحديات؟
لقد واجهتني تحديات مهنية وشخصية. بالنسبة للتحديات المهنية، فقد تضمنت ترجمة مواد شديدة التخصص من الإنجليزية إلى العربية. كان الفصل المتعلق بطرز الكاميرات وإعداداتها تحديدًا شديد الصعوبة. كان علي أن أقرأ مطولًا بشأن الكاميرات وإعداداتها وكيفية عملها حتى أتأكد من أنني أعبر عن المعلومة بصورة صحيحة. كما تحتم علي اتخاذ عدة قرارات فيما يتعلق باختيار اللغة المستخدمة للتعبير عن الكلمات الأكثر تخصصًا، هل أحتفظ باللغة الإنجليزية كما هي لأنها الأكثر استخدامًا في هذا المجال؟ أم أستخدم اللغة العربية والتي قد لا يكون التعبير فيها مطروقًا بنفس القدر؟ استغرق هذا الأمر مني وقتًا وتفكيرًا من أجل الوصول إلى حل وسط لا أضحي فيه بالمعنى المقصود في النص الأصلي، ولا بمدى مقبوليته في النص المترجم. وعندما أشير إلى "الكلمات التخصصية"، فإنني أقصد الأجزاء المتعلقة بالمعدات الحديثة وأيضًا بمجال توثيق التراث. هناك ندرة في الموارد العربية، على الأقل على الإنترنت، التي تتناول كلا الموضوعين، ولذا كان علي أقضي وقتًا طويلًا في عملية البحث قبل التوصل إلى بضعة موارد ساعدتني على إنجاز الأمر. أما بالنسبة للتحديات الشخصية، فهي تتعلق بشكل رئيسي بإدارة الوقت. خلال الفصل الدراسي الماضي، كنت أدرس 6 مواد في برنامج التأهيل للدكتوراه، وكان لمعظم هذه المواد 3 اختبارات منذ بداية الفصل الدراسي وحتى نهايته، بالإضافة إلى الفروض الأسبوعية وتدريس 3 مواد مختلفة. لذا كان علي الموازنة بين العديد من الأشياء خلال فترة العمل على لقطات نائية، وأنا للأسف لا أتقن عملية إدارة الوقت على الإطلاق، ولكن العبرة بالخواتيم! شعرت بالإنجاز والتحقق عندما رأيت كل العمل الشاق في الكتاب متجسدًا في صورته النهائية على موقع البرنامج.

Were there any challenges, if so, what were they?

Well, there were both technical and personal challenges. As for the technical challenges, they involved the translation of highly technical and specialised terms from English into Arabic. The chapter on cameras and their settings was a particularly difficult one. I had to go on reading and reading and reading on cameras, their settings and how they work, to make sure I am conveying the correct information. I also had to make a lot of decisions in regards to whether to use the more technical terms in English (more in use) or Arabic (less in use). This took some time and thinking to reach a successful compromise that wouldn't sacrifice either the intended meaning in the original text or its acceptability in the translated text. When I say: "technical terms", I am referring to both the parts that have to do with modern equipment as well as with the field of documenting heritage. There is a scarcity in Arabic resources, online at least, that discuss both subjects, and so I had to spend a long time researching before reaching a few resources that were helpful. As for the personal challenges, they mainly had to do with time management. This past semester I was studying 6 PhD subjects with three exams in each throughout the term, not to mention the weekly assignments, in addition to teaching 3 different classes. So I had many things to juggle throughout the project's time, and I am definitely not the best at time management, but I guess all's well that ends well! It was very rewarding to see all the hard work manifested in the book in its final form online.

أنت أيضًا تدرسين مواد الترجمة التحريرية والشفهية بصفتك مدرسًا مساعدًا بجامعة عين شمس. لابد من أنكِ شديدة الانشغال. ما الذي تفعلينه للاسترخاء؟
الاسترخاء.. كم أفتقده! بشكل عام، أحب القراءة ومشاهدة الأفلام والمسلسلات والسفر (على الرغم من أنني لم أسافر منذ أكثر من عام في ظل الظروف الحالية)، وأكتب من وقت لآخر. عندما يتوفر لدي الوقت والمواد اللازمة، أحب أن أمارس بعض الأعمال الفنية مثل الموازييك والديكوباج. كما أحب أشغال الإبرة مثل الكروشيه وتعلمت التطريز مؤخرًا. بشكل عام، تساعدك الأعمال اليدوية على الاسترخاء، وهي الشكل المفضل للتأمل بالنسبة لي، وأتمنى لو كان لدي المزيد من الوقت لممارستها بشكل أكبر. أيضًا، في العام الماضي، انشقت الأرض فجأة عن قطة سوداء قررت أن تسكن في شرفتنا، وعلى الرغم من جميع محاولاتنا لطردها، أصرت على البقاء، فلم نجد خيارًا أمامنا سوى أن نحبها ونتبناها! سرعان ما اكتشفنا حملها، وفي أغسطس الماضي ولدت 6 قطط، بقي 3 منهم معنا، لذا فنحن الآن نعتني بالأم والأب وأبنائهم الثلاثة. الوقت الذي أقضيه معهم هو من أوقاتي المفضلة في اليوم كله!

You also lecture on translation and interpreting studies at Ain Shams University. You must be incredibly busy, what do you do to relax and unwind?

Ah, the good old unwinding! I haven't done much of it lately. But generally speaking, I like reading, watching movies and series, travelling (though I haven't travelled in over a year now with all what's going on) and I write occasionally. When I have the time and materials, I like to do mosaic work and decoupage. I also love crocheting and I've just learned how to embroider. Generally, handcrafts help you unwind and relax, and they are my favorite form of meditation, I wish I had more time on my hands to do more of them. Also, last year, a tortoiseshell cat appeared mysteriously on our porch, DEMANDING to be fed as well as loved, we adopted her and soon enough she got pregnant and in August gave birth to 6 kittens, 3 of which are still with us, so we now care for the mum and dad as well as their three baby boys. Being around them is definitely one of my favorite pastimes!

ما هو مشروعك المقبل؟
من المفترض أن أبدأ العمل على ترجمة العدد الجديد من راوي: مجلة التراث المصري قريبًا. لا يمكنني الكشف عن موضوع العدد بعد، ولكنني متأكدة أنه سيكون عددًا شيقًا وثريًا كسابقه. كما آمل أن أركز بشكل أكبر على رسالة الدكتوراه وأن أحرز بعض التقدم فيها.

What is your next project?

I am supposed to start working on the translation of the new issue of Rawi Magazine, Egypt's Heritage Review soon. I can't disclose its subject quite yet, but I am sure it will be as interesting and enriching as the previous issue. I am also hoping to focus more on my PhD and to get some work done on my dissertation.

هل هناك من تودين توجيه الشكر إليه فيما يتعلق بعملك على لقطات نائية؟
لابد وأن أشكر والدتي إيناس يحيى لطفي التي أدين لها بكل شيء، والتي لطالما ساندتني بالتشجيع والدعم، خاصة عندما اقترب موعد التسليم وازداد توتري (كالعادة!). كما أود أن أتوجه بالشكر لأصدقائي على دعمهم اللامتناهي ومناقشاتنا التي ساعدتني على تخطي بعض الجوانب الصعبة في الترجمة. وبالطبع لابد وأن أذكر المهندس رجائي عبد الله الذي اضطلع بمهمة تصميم النسخة العربية من لقطات نائية. أسعدني العمل معه ولابد أن أشكره على مرونته وعلى صبره قبل كل شيء، على الرغم من كل التعديلات والتغييرات التي طلبتها منه. أخيرًا، أود أن أشكر جودي باتروورذ، وهي إحدى المحررين الرئيسيين للقطات نائية وحلقة الوصل بيني وبين برنامج الأرشيفات المهددة بالاندثار على دعمها الدائم ومرونتها في التعامل. كان العمل معها هو أحد أكثر الجوانب إشراقًا من المشروع بالنسبة لي.

Is there someone you would like to acknowledge or thank in relation to your work on Remote Capture?

I would definitely like to acknowledge my mother, Enas Yehia Lotfy, to whom I owe everything, and who has always been there with encouragement and support, especially whenever I was freaking out about the deadline! I would also like to thank my friends for their incessant support as well our discussions that definitely helped me with several challenging aspects of the translation. I can't forget to mention Ragaee Abdallah, who did all the hard work of Remote Capture's Arabic version graphics. It's been very pleasant to work with him, and I have to thank him for his flexibility and most of all for his patience in spite of all the changes and edits I kept asking him to make. Finally, I would like to thank Jody Butterworth, who is one of Remote Capture's editors and my point of contact with EAP for her constant support and flexibility. Working with her is definitely one of the highlights of the project for me.

                                                                                                                       

EAP is extremely grateful to the Barakat Trust for supporting the idea of an Arabic version of Remote Capture and to Nouran Ibrahim Abdelraouf for doing such a wonderful job of translating it.

26 May 2020

New projects online - May 2020

May has been another busy month for new EAP projects going online. Here we showcase the first four now freely available, which cover a wide range of topics and regions.

EAP810 - Siddha Medicine Manuscripts, Tamil Nadu, India

Siddha refers to the traditional medical system of Tamil Nadu, India. Although recognised by the government of India, siddha medicine has not been systematically studied, partly due to the difficulty of access to its texts, mostly in form of manuscripts, kept in libraries or held by practitioners. This project makes these vital sources of traditional medicine available for research.

A bound palm leaf manuscript
A bound palm leaf manuscript, EAP810/6/1

These palm leaf manuscripts cover a large range of subjects, including general siddha medicine and medical specialities such as acupressure, baby and mother care, eye diseases or toxicology (snake and scorpion bites; food and medicine intoxication), and socio-cultural topics rooted in the siddha tradition such as mantra, philosophy, alchemy, spirituality, and astrology.

A palm leaf manuscript page with Tamil writing
அகத்தியர் கர்ம சூத்திரம் [Akattiyar Karma Cūttiram], EAP810/6/1/image 8

EAP 931 - Indigenous Memories of Land Privatisation in Mexico

The privatization of indigenous lands—the reparto de tierras—is an epochal but poorly understood process in Mexican history. It is largely trapped in narratives of liberal nation‐building or postcolonial despoilment. Yet how did indigenous people actually experience/navigate the reparto? Was it ethnocide, or ethnogenesis? As the one complete surviving record of a state-wide Mexican reparto, the hijuelas promise historians valuable insights into a major agrarian/economic transformation and a deeper understanding of changes in indigenous notions of property, agricultural practice, ethnic rule, and identity.

The Libros de Hijuelas (“deed books” or “bequest books” in English) consist of 196 leather-bound volumes containing 75,000 documents dating from 1719‐1929, with additional copies of earlier, 16th‐ or 17th‐century documents. All the documents pertain to, or are precursors of, a centrally important historical process: the dissolution and privatisation of indigenous corporate property under 19th‐century liberal governments, in this case in the western state of Michoacán, Mexico.

These books contain:

  • Legal acts
  • Cadastral surveys
  • Village censuses
  • Hand‐tinted maps
  • Letters

Many of the letters are written by indigenous michoacanos of Purépecha (Tarascan), Nahua, Mazahua, Matzatlinca, or Otomí descent.

EAP931 team in the digitisation room
The EAP931 project team

The hijuelas collection is unique in that it presents the pre‐history and a complete account of the privatisation process across a whole state, the collection as a whole being organized according to the 16 political districts into which Michoacán was divided.

EAP938 - Diplomatic archives of Merina Kingdom, Madagascar

This project digitised the diplomatic archives of the Merina Kingdom, which dominated Madagascar during the 19th century. These documents (1861-1897) which have been part of the UNESCO Memory of the World Register since 2009 illustrate the encounter between the precolonial kingdom of Madagascar, the abolitionist and religious policies of the United Kingdom and the French territorial ambitions in the Indian Ocean.

Both quantitatively and qualitatively, these documents are a rare and perfect example of the diplomacy of a non-Western State in the nineteenth century. These documents reveal the influence the kingdom tried to obtain among different Western governments and show the connection of the Merina kingdom of Madagascar with the rest of the world, prior to the advent of colonialism.

The availability will surely herald new insights on the pre-colonial period and the construction of the colonial state.

A folder of diplomatic correspondence between European individuals and the Malagasy government, and a treaty between Madagascar and the United States of America
Correspondence between European Individuals and the Malagasy government, EAP938/1/90 (left); Treaty between Madagascar and the United States, EAP938/1/7 (right)

EAP1114 - East African Islamic texts from the library of Maalim Muhammad Idris

Maalim Muhammad IdrisThis project digitised the library of the late Zanzibari scholar Maalim Muhammad Idris (d.2012) - 123 Islamic texts dating from the late nineteenth century to the 1940s.

This collection is invaluable because it contains printed material dating from the period of transition from manuscript to print in the Arabic/Islamic tradition. Its known provenance and diverse nature gives insight into the Islamic history of East Africa.

The materials range from locally printed pamphlets to books printed in Cairo, from basic instruction to legal manuals, many with handwritten commentary by East Africa's leading scholars, as well as early locally printed Arabic-Swahili translations. The collection is a "snapshot" of an intellectual tradition in transition and a cross-section of the nascent networks of print in Islamic Africa.

A colourful page from the Qur'an
The Qur'an, EAP1114/1/13/image 8

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 endangeredarchives@bl.uk

05 May 2016

New collections online - April 2016

In April six collections were made available through the EAP website and BL Sounds. The variety of subjects, locations, and types of record really highlight the broad range of projects that the Endangered Archives Programme is involved in.

EAP190: Digitising archival material pertaining to 'Young India' label gramophone records

1427 recordings can be listened to on BL Sounds

Related record label ephemera, including catalogues and advertisements

Close up of a record label for Young india Young India record and sleeve

The project digitised gramophone records, disc labels, record catalogues and publicity material from ‘The National Gramophone Record Manufacturing Company Ltd. Bombay’, which issued records under the ‘Young India’ label between 1935-1955. The company produced over 10,000 titles on 78-rpm, 10 inch diameter shellac discs with two songs per disc. The recordings of film, popular, classical and folk music, as well as educational material were issued mainly from amateur or up-and-coming artists. They feature music from different regions of India, sung in many different languages. The recordings have never been reissued on audio tape or CD and are therefore now available for many people to listen to for the first time. We have already received some great feedback about this collection, including one person who recalled his music teacher many years ago telling the students about Young India and how he used to be a tabla player for the label and regular D V Paluskar accompanist. He was delighted to find that he could now hear the actual music that his teacher talked about all those years ago. Hopefully, with this collection now available for anyone to listen to worldwide, many more people will discover or rediscover the recordings from the Young India label.

EAP468: To preserve Indian recordings on 'Odeon' label shellac discs

1404 recordings can be listened to on BL Sounds

Related record label ephemera, including catalogues and advertisements

Advert for Odeon, showing a woman picking a lotus from a pond.Odeon record label advert

This project digitised shellac discs, record labels and associated ephemera from the Odeon record label. Odeon label shellac discs were issued in India between 1912-1938. The company produced over 2,000 titles of north and south Indian music. About 600 titles [1,200 songs] have survived and are with private collectors

Odeon label shellac discs were issued in India in two phases: during 1912-16; and during 1932-38. During the first phase, Odeon's first Indian recordings were made in late 1906 on a grand tour that took the engineers from Calcutta to Benares, then on to Lucknow, Cawnpore, Delhi, Amritsar, Lahore, Bombay and finally back to Calcutta. In all, they recorded some 700 titles, which were duly shipped back to Berlin for processing and manufacture in what was then the established worldwide pattern. Disc records manufactured and pressed in Germany were shipped back to India by 1908. Gramophone records were the only mode of public and family entertainment in that period. Because of the diversity of language and cultural taste, Odeon's engineers recorded a great deal of regional music for local consumption. In a time before film music swept regional variations away, Odeon's activities allowed Indians to listen to the music that would otherwise have been irretrievable. Very few disc records from this period have survived.

In the second phase, the Odeon disc manufacturing company operated during 1932-38. Its operations were mainly from Mumbai and Madras and the company produced over 2,000 titles in north and south Indian music. At this time, radio and film songs had just entered the entertainment era. Disc manufacturing and distribution activity continued until the outbreak of World War II. Because of the embargo imposed on German goods, the company had to wind up their business in India, leaving behind hundreds of titles. The musical genre recorded on these discs include drama songs, speeches, folk music, classical music, drama sets, skits and plays, vocal and instrumental music.

EAP462: Preservation of Kaya district colonial archives and assessment of the potential and feasibility of recovering other former district capitals' collections, Burkina Faso

Close up of a telegramEAP462/1/1/6 - Telegrams

This project digitised a wide variety of documents related to the administration of the Cercle de Kaya colonial district. They are of interest to a wide range of historical study fields: population, politics, economy, development, customary law. These documents provide an insight into the local intricacies of the administration, politics, economy and social life of the district.

The material in Kaya though was at risk of neglect, physical deterioration and destruction. The documents were stacked on shelves and on the floor in a shed behind the administrative buildings, exposed to dust and moisture and at the mercy of rats, termites and mildew. More recent documents continued to be piled haphazardly on top of the old colonial ones. These colonial archives that for decades had been piled up in a shed in the former colonial district capital, Kaya, were packed up and transported to the Centre National des Archives (CNA) in Ouagadougou. At the CNA, the documents were thoroughly dusted and subsequently sorted, selected and subjected to an initial analysis. The documents were sorted into 4,200 files, with an average of 20 documents per file. Of these, about 40% were from the period 1919-1960 and eligible for digitisation.

Unfortunately, very little metadata was provided with this collection so file descriptions and titles are very limited. If you would like to volunteer your time to making this collection a more usable resource, please get in touch with us.

EAP650: Grima in Caloto Viejo: archiving Afro-Colombian history

Cover of a file

This project made an inventory of the historical, notarial and judicial collections held in Caloto’s alcaldía (town hall), Colombia, and digitised a sample of the most valuable and damaged documents.

First founded in 1543, Caloto Viejo (Old Caloto) was the administrative capital of a wide region northeast of Popayán that included Native American groups, European settlers, their enslaved Africans, and maroon communities formed by escaped slaves. By the 1940s this rural region had not yet experienced industrialisation, yet many of Caloto Viejo’s towns had become autonomous districts. Now only the head of a small municipality, Caloto still houses the pre-modern documents of Caloto Viejo.

Caloto Viejo’s documents are crucial for Afro-Colombian history. Caloto and adjacent regions of the Cauca constituted the nineteenth century heartland of slavery, with Julio Arboleda’s massive Japio estate in Caloto the towering symbol of landholding power. The archives of Caloto are important for tracing the wider history of elites, native Americans, and Africans, and essential for salvaging the local history of important Afro-Colombian towns such as Puerto Tejada or the scholarly unknown maroon community of Caricacé with unique linguistic traditions, whose documentary history exists only in the endangered collections of Caloto.

EAP688: Digitisation of the Deed books in Saint Vincent for the slavery era, 1763-1838

  Page showing immaculate handwritingEAP688/1/1/72 - Deed book 1822-1823

This project digitised surviving Deed books for Saint Vincent from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

The Eastern Caribbean Court House, St Vincent, holds numerous historic manuscript documents connected with the colonial administration of the island. The earliest records date from 1763, when Saint Vincent was ceded to Britain at the end of the Seven Years’ War, until 1838, the date when Apprenticeship for slaves ended in the British Caribbean and slave emancipation was fully implemented in accordance with the Emancipation Act of 1834.

The Deed books include important material for researchers. After 1763, Saint Vincent was drawn into the orbit of slavery in the British Empire. Its sugar plantation sector expanded rapidly after that date and the island became (along with other Windward Islands such as Dominica, Grenada and Tobago) a new, expanding frontier for British slavery. The Deed books, compiled in the offices of the island’s Colonial Secretary and the Registrar, proved a comprehensive record of all land and property transactions carried out during the seventy-five years when slave plantations were the main type of investment and employment on the island. The Deed books are large bound volumes that are available for every year in the period from 1763 to 1838. The land and property details recorded in these records provide the names of investors, along with their occupation and residence, and precise financial details, either in sterling or in the island’s currency. The information on investors includes whites and free blacks, men and women, and absentee residents (in other West Indian Islands or in Britain) as well as those living in Saint Vincent. The financial information is wide-ranging. Credit transactions are included. Mortgages, annuities, loans and bonds are all specified, with the names of the parties involved. The Deed books contain much material on slave sales between individuals connected with Saint Vincent and they also have information on slave manumissions. Where sugar plantations are identified in these records, the numbers, and sometimes the valuations, of slaves are given. This is particularly useful for researchers for the period from 1763 to 1815 because it was not until after the end of the Napoleonic Wars that slave registration was commonly carried out throughout the British Caribbean.

EAP749: The narrative and ritual texts, narrative paintings and other performance related material belonging to the Buchen of Pin Valley, India

The head of a metal sculpture. The eyes have been painted on.EAP749/2/3/9 - Statue: Kunda (Wylie sku 'dra)

The Buchen are performers of specialist rituals, travelling actors, healers and exorcists, and disciples of the 14th/15th century Tibetan ‘crazy saint’ Tangtong Gyalpo. They reside in the culturally Tibetan Pin Valley in North India and are most famous for performing an elaborate exorcism ritual called the ‘Ceremony of Breaking the Stone’.

Buchen enact dramatisations of popular folk-tales, Buddhist morality plays which illustrate principles of karma and ideas of impermanence and are frequently enlivened with comedy. Buchen spread the teachings of Buddha through entertainment. These performances are related to the Tibetan Opera and to a tradition of lay religious performers called lama manipa, who retell the life stories of Tibetan saints whilst pointing out key scenes on narrative painted cloth scrolls (thangkas) with a metal pointer. Buchen theatrical performances contain a similar manipa-like introduction.

This project digitised or took images of a variety of texts, paintings and objects associated with these traditions, including images of masks, clothing, instruments and objects used in performances; thangkas; handwritten decorated and unbound Tibetan books (pecha).

Painting of the diety Green Tara, depictions of daily life can be seen around the central figure.EAP749/3/2/1 - Drowa Zangmo Thankga

Contemporary photograph of a Buchen in full costume.EAP749/3/4/1 - Meme Buchen in full costume

 

23 September 2015

5 million images online

In February, the Endangered Archives Programme celebrated its tenth anniversary and the various press releases and newspaper articles all quoted that we had 4 million images online. It is hard to believe that today we reached the milestone of 5 million images.

I thought I would use this opportunity to reflect on some of the projects that have gone online since the beginning of the year – doing a ‘round the world’ selection.

One of the first projects to be made available this year was EAP164, which consisted of people's memoirs and diaries from rural societies along the Ukrainian Steppe. As well as paper archives, there is a wonderful selection of photographs giving a real sense of community, as this picnic illustrates.

  Late 19th century photograph of a party having a picnic in a wooded area.EAP164/1/2/3 Album of photos of representatives of a family - Perovskyh [1891-1990]

From the Africa collections, we put EAP286 online, a project from Ethiopia that digitised both Muslim and Christian manuscripts. A substantial part of the collection consists of Asmat prayers,  and this is an example of part of a 19th century scroll.

  Illuminated Ethiopic prayer scroll.

EAP286/1/1/38 Asmat Prayers [19th century]

To show the variety of the collection, this is the first page of an incomplete Taḫmīs al-Fayyūmī on the "Poem of the Mantle" by al-Būṣīrī.

  Page in Arabic script.

EAP286/1/1/489 Uncomplete Taḫmīs al-Fayyūmī on the "Poem of the Mantle" by al-Būṣīrī, The Unwān
al-šarīf ("The Token of the Noble") on the birth of the Prophet [18th century]

EAP566 is an example of one of the Asian projects that went online, a very impressive collection of 18th and 19th century Urdu periodicals. The articles cover an incredibly broad range of subject matter and the accompanying illustrations are a joy to browse through, as can be seen from these pages from Nairang-i khiyal.

  Drawing of a sari wearing deity standing on a lotus leaf.

EAP566/1/4/10/1 Nairang-i_khiyal (Volume and Issue not known) [1932]

  Advertisement for slipper shoes.

EAP566/1/4/10/1 Nairang-i_khiyal (Volume and Issue not known) [1932]

My final continent from the EAP worldwide whistle-stop tour, of course, is the Americas and one important project that went online was EAP563 – the archives of the engineering firm ‘Hume Brothers’ which was set up in Argentina in 1880. The company's main work consisted of planning and building thousands of kilometers of roads, not only in Argentina but also throughout Uruguay, Chile and Brazil. It is a project that contains a mixture of texts, drawings and photographs.

This is a photograph of the construction of a lift bridge over the Riachuelo in Buenos Aires.

  Photograph showing the construction of a bridge.

EAP563/1/5/4/3 Construction of a lift bridge over the Riachuelo in Buenos. Aires. It belonged to Ferrocarril Sud ( F.C.S.) [Early 20th century]

And this example is a stereoscopic view of the San Roque Dam in Argentina.

  Stereograph images of a dam.

EAP563/1/5/5/1252 San Roque Dam (Argentina). [c 1945]

But of course I must not leave out the two projects that went online this month and got us to 5 million images. The first was EAP753, a pilot project that carried out an inventory and sample digitisation of parish documents in the area of Belém do Pará, Brazil.

Page from the archive.

EAP753/1/1/4 Cairary Baptisms, n 4 [1895-1901]

and EAP541, which digitised the historical archives in the Public Records and Archives Administration (PRAAD) in Tamale, Northern Ghana. I rather liked the fact that we have records about latrines - this has to be a first for EAP!

  Typewritten page.EAP541/1/1/88: Salaga-Site for septic Tank Laterines [1952-73]

26 February 2015

New online collections – February 2015 – Part 2

This blog features the final three new projects available online this month. These are EAP164, EAP566 and EAP684.

EAP164 digitised collections which document pre-industrial society on the Ukrainian Steppe. During the last 10 years the Zaporizhzhia Learned Society of Ya. Novytskyi (attached to Zaporizhzhia National University) has been working on the discovery of documents representing the different ethnic and religious social groups that existed on the Steppe. These include former Zaporozhian Cossacks, Bulgarians, Albanians, Greeks, Armenians and Germans. EAP164 digitised the material which the society discovered on its various surveys.

The digitised images that are now online include personal memoirs, diaries and letters as well as official records and photographs.

EAP 164_0Did1EAP164/1/15/2: Archives of Ljax. Book 2 – Image 1

EAP566 digitised Urdu periodicals from India and Pakistan. These periodicals have enormous significance for the understanding of Urdu culture and history of colonial India. Urdu was the dominant language of interchange in India throughout most of the nineteenth century. Since printing in India was cheap, anyone with an opinion might and often did publish a statement of their views. Often such publications were of limited editions, frequently a few hundred copies, and were not collected by many libraries. Yet these publications provide us today with a broad spectrum of writings by colonial Indians on all major and many minor issues of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Such writings are invaluable to historians of social, cultural, literary, and intellectual change.

The project carefully selected some of the most important Urdu periodicals which were in danger of being lost forever. These periodicals were successfully digitised and are now available to view online.

EAP566_Maulvi_January_1940_v30_no6_002EAP566/1/1/10/6: Maulvi (Volume 30, Issue 6) [1940] – Image 2

The final project this month is EAP684; this surveyed the collections of the National Archives of Burundi to provide information on the documents which are in a fragile physical condition. A small sample of material was digitised and this is now available to view online.

EAP684_AJ22 (1)EAP684/1/4/1: Agriculture, Fishing, fish farming [1949-1950] – Image 1

Check back next month to see what else has been added!

You can also keep up to date with any new collections by joining our Facebook group.

18 February 2015

Stories they tell: clues from endangered archives

Documents, manuscripts, photographs and sound recordings that capture much of the world’s memory are preserved in vulnerable collections around the globe. If they perish, part of history is irrevocably lost. In the past, efforts to preserve these collections and make them available for scholarly interpretation often meant removing them to the safety of western libraries. Though well intentioned, these actions frequently had unintended consequences. Preserved and available to scholars, the materials became inaccessible to the communities whose history they captured. This had a twofold effect: it impaired the communities’ ability to write their own history and at the same time, by detaching documents from original context, led to the loss of an important layer of historical information.

A courtyard of a monastery with monks digitising outside.
EAP039 Buddhist manuscripts from the library of the remote Gangtey monastery in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan © Dr Karma Phuntsho

The Endangered Archives Programme uses digitisation to preserve records and to make them freely accessible to all, without removing original materials from their custodians. Whenever possible the projects help the keepers to secure the survival of the original documents. Because the materials are often too fragile to be handled on a regular basis, the digital surrogates frequently provide the only point of access not only for scholars worldwide, but also for local readers. By making digital records available to all, the programme ensures that the history they capture is open to wide audiences, multiple perspectives and diverse interpretations.

Inside someones home, the walls are med from reeds. Three men smile and look very happy. Two of them stand by a metal trunk.
EAP334 Locating and digitising manuscripts in Wolof Ajami script, written by members of the Muridiyya Sufi order founded in Senegal in 1883 © Dr Fallou Ngom

The “From Dust to Digital” volume, which marks the 10th anniversary of the Endangered Archives Programme, showcases the historical importance and research potential of the digitised collections. The open access online version of the book is designed to ensure that not only the primary sources, but also the research they have inspired, are freely available to all. The book brings together 19 articles from the 244 projects that the programme has supported since its inception. We asked the authors to focus on the digitised collections, but gave them complete freedom in choosing specific questions they wanted to explore. The intention was to ensure that the volume illustrates a wide range of research that the EAP collections make possible.

Front cover of the book From Dust to Digital

The chapters discuss inscriptions in Libya; manuscripts in India, Ethiopia, Kenya and Mali; archival records in Bulgaria, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Nigeria, Senegal, Palestine; photographic collections in Argentina, India, Russia and Cameroon; and sound recordings from Guinea, Iran and the Russian Federation. The articles tackle the fundamental problems of transcribing and translating – sometimes for the very first time – languages that have nearly fallen silent. They investigate historical transmission of texts and explore the processes underlying collection formation. They bring to light unknown events and cast new light on historical phenomena. They provide vivid insights into local and even personal histories. 

Three men look directly at the camera, they stand next to three large piles of Ethiopian manuscripts.
EAP526 The priests of May Wäyni monastery with their manuscripts, Ethiopia © Professor Michael Gervers

Many of the contributions stress the importance of the original context for our understanding of the materials. The physical location of inscriptions within a landscape; the ceremonies preceding a reading of a manuscript; the place that a manuscript or a photograph holds within a larger collection, are all important for our interpretation of these documents. Without them we can only see a part of the story.

Most of the sources discussed here were not previously subjects of scholarly attention. We hope that this publication will open new debates and inspire scholars to explore the archives preserved by the Endangered Archives Programme. We also hope that open access to both the primary sources and to the articles in the “From Dust to Digital” volume will encourage future authors to make their research freely available to all.

  The Chief Executive of the British Library, with Ambassador of the Lao Embassy and the third Secretary.Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, with Ambassador of the Lao Embassy, H.E. Mr. Sayakane Sisouvong and the 3rd Secretary, Mr Moungkhoun Chansavath at the book launch held at the Library on the 17th February 2015.


Piles of the book 'From Dust to Digital' with two people browsing through one of the copies.
Gabriela Ramos and Evelyne Mesclier browsing through the publication.

Dr Maja Kominko

Cultural Grants Manager at Arcadia and the editor for the publication “From Dust to Digital”

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