May 22, 2022

The British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) Releases Four New Digital Collections Online; Featuring Archives From India, Romania, Moldova, and Indonesia

From the EAP Blog:

This month’s round-up of newly available collections features archives from India, Romania, Moldova, and Indonesia.

Digitisation of the Kováts Napfényműterem photographic archive (Odorheiu Secuiesc, Romania) (EAP1130)

This project digitised photographs from the Kovats Photographic Museum and Studio in Romania. The vast majority of the photos represent the work of several generations of photographers from the Kovats family. A small part of the photographic archive consists of images created by collaborators of the Kovats studio, and of donations of photographic materials from the local population of Odorheiul Secuiesc.

Over 5000 photographs can be viewed here.

Preserving the History of Indian Cinema through Digitising Early Urdu Film Magazines (EAP1262)

This project aimed to preserve the rich record of cinema history in India through digitising Urdu film magazines and periodicals from the early twentieth century. Shedding new light on South Asian film journalism and readership, this material highlights aspects of local engagement with film that have remained unexamined so far and are under threat of being lost forever. Given the scarcity of Urdu material that survives today, the digitisation of rare film magazines makes a significant contribution to future scholarship on the subject. This material constitutes an invaluable resource for early Indian film history and Urdu writing on cinema.

The archives can be viewed here.

Safeguarding of the intangible Romani heritage in the Republic of Moldova threatened by the volatilisation of the individual unexplored collections (EAP699)

This project digitised the personal archives of several Roma families in Moldova. The archives mostly consist of individual photographs and photo albums. The albums are notable for their use of illustrations and collage alongside the photographs of loved ones.

The project digitised 2557 images from 36 individual collections dating from between 1925-2013. They can be viewed here.

Personal Manuscripts on the Periphery of Javanese Literature: A Survey and Digitisation of Private Collections from the Javanese North Coast, its Sundanese Hinterlands and the Fringes of Court (EAP1268)

The project highlights the periphery of Javanese and Sundanese literature. It covers tales written by scribes residing near shrines, notebooks scribbled by commoners, and works produced by courtiers on their own behalf without apparent patronage from nobles or sovereigns. The grant holder came across these sources while doing fieldwork in places like Gresik, Yogyakarta, Surakarta and Tasikmalaya. Their vernacular provenance increases their obscurity and simultaneously limits their preservation due to a lack of patrons. Thus, it also allows for an interesting survey on the more personal sides of Javanese and Sundanese writing.

Other than surveying and digitising these sources, the project team also used them for Natural Language Processing (NLP). The diversity of the writing styles and vernacular languages found within these manuscripts is expected to contribute to the development of a comprehensive Javanese handwritten text and entity recognition model called Gado2.

399 digitised records can be viewed here.

Learn More, Read the Complete EAP Blog Post

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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