Endangered Archives Programme

Congratulations to our friends and partners at the Endangered Archives Programme, who celebrate their tenth anniversary this month.

The Endangered Archives Programme aims “to contribute to the preservation of archival material that is in danger of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration world-wide. This is achieved principally through the award of grants in an annual competition. The grants provide funding to enable successful applicants to locate relevant endangered archival collections, to arrange their transfer to a suitable local archival home where possible, to create digital copies of the material and to deposit the copies with local institutions and the British Library.”

Their recent work has covered subjects ranging from the minority press in Ottoman Turkish in Bulgaria, through the archival heritage of Montserrat and the Archive of the Music Museum of Nepal, to endangered Cham manuscripts in Vietnam. Their activities at the Al-Aqsa Mosque Library in East Jerusalem, and in Mali, for example, have been courageous as well as culturally significant.

Their work and their ideals are clearly very close to the concerns of SLA and the Diasporic Literary Archives Network relating to papers of dissident authors, and “archives at risk” more generally. This is part of their policy statement: “The original archival material will not leave the country of origin except in exceptional cases when it is required to do so temporarily for specific conservation or copying purposes. Even then, this will only be permissible with the written approval from the relevant governmental authority and the material will be returned to the country of origin once the reason for its temporary removal has been fulfilled. At least two surrogate sets of all material copied are made – one to be deposited at the British Library and the other to remain in the country of origin at the designated archival partner institution to facilitate access by local researchers.”

Here’s to the next ten years of this wonderful programme!

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