UCLA Library to Expand Global Preservation Work Thanks to Largest Grant in Its History
From the UCLA Library:
- In four years, the Modern Endangered Archives Program has published content from 11 collections, featuring more than 12,000 objects from 11 countries.
- The program has preserved audio recordings, political ephemera, photography, newspapers and financial ledgers.
- The preserved collections are publicly accessible and digitally preserved, while the physical materials remain in their origin countries.
UCLA Library has received the largest grant in its 139-year history: $13 million over eight years to digitize and make at-risk cultural heritage materials from the 20th and 21st centuries available online to the public.
The grant from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, renews a five-year, $5.5 million commitment that launched UCLA Library’s Modern Endangered Archives Program, known as MEAP, in 2018. At a time when cultural heritage materials are targeted and destroyed around the world, this new grant ensures that UCLA will remain a leading force for preserving global knowledge, said Ginny Steel, Norman and Armena Powell University Librarian.
Through MEAP, the library grants subawards to project teams representing cultural heritage organizations and archives outside of North America and Europe. In its first four years, the program has committed $2.8 million in subawards to 88 projects in 46 countries, supporting work to document and digitize collections that reflect the experiences and cultural expressions of diverse communities. The funded projects preserve all forms of media materials, including audio recordings, political ephemera, studio and vernacular photography, film and video, financial ledgers, newspapers and cultural productions.
“We are grateful to Arcadia for continuing to advance the library’s work to digitize and make openly accessible primary source materials that speak to the experiences of individuals around the world who have been largely left out of historical and national narratives,” Steel said.
“The Modern Endangered Archives Program is a priority for the library for two reasons: first, the program furthers UCLA’s mission to capture and digitally preserve knowledge, and second, it expands the library’s ability to build accessible collections on a global scale with international partners,” Steel said. “I look forward to seeing these materials support research and teaching on campus and beyond.”
In just four years and in the shadow of a global pandemic, MEAP has already published content from 11 collections, featuring more than 12,000 objects from 11 countries, and completed inventories from five collections from three additional countries.
Completed reports from MEAP planning grants provide scholars, students and researchers around the world with details about cultural heritage documents ranging from an indigenous community that battled against development at the Biobio River in Chile to the history of the Pakistan progressive movement documented at the South Asia Resource and Research Center. The project team at the Shabistan Film Archive solicited essays from scholars that contextualize films created by the Children’s Film Society of India, a state-funded institute that created films to stimulate children’s creativity, compassion and critical thinking, and that speak to the importance of preserving these collections as a way of documenting women’s contributions to filmmaking in India.
MEAP-supported digitization efforts now provide access to a broad range of materials — many of which were previously unavailable to researchers and to the communities that they document. Recent program publications invite engagement with studio portraits taken by Mohlouoa T. Ramakatane that document the social history and visual culture of Lesotho, a land-locked nation encircled by South Africa, and cultural ephemera from Barbados in the 1960s and 70s, reflecting the social movements and nation building that followed the independence of Barbados in 1966.
The Modern Endangered Archives Program ensures that these collections are made publicly accessible and are digitally preserved while the physical materials remain in their countries of origin, stewarded by the same communities that have cared for these collections and whose histories are represented by these materials. The new $13 million extension ensures that more than 250 projects will have this opportunity through 2031.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.