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Endangered Archives Programme funding to South Asia projects

Photo: British Library Endangered archives blog

Every year, the Endangered Archives Programme at the British Library in London is accepting applications for funding to support the preservation of archival material worldwide that is in danger of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration, not the least in South Asia.

The programme is being financed by Arcadia (formerly known as the Lisbet Rausing Charitable Fund), in pursuit of one of its charitable aims to preserve and disseminate cultural knowledge and to promote education and researchDetailed information on the timetable, criteria, eligibility and procedures for applying for a grant is available on the Programme’s website, will be accepted in English or in French. The deadline for receipt of preliminary grant applications is 1 November every year. 
Since it was established the Programme has funded more than 200 projects worldwide with grants totalling £5.3 million. The Programme is funded by Arcadia (formerly known as the Lisbet Rausing Charitable Fund). The endangered archival material will normally be located in countries where resources and opportunities to preserve such material are lacking or limited. To be considered for funding under the Programme, the archival material should relate to a ‘pre-modern' period of a society's history. 
The Programme is keen to enhance local capabilities to manage and preserve archival collections in the future and it is essential that all projects include local archival partners in the country where the project is based. Professional training for local staff is one of the criteria for grant application assessment, whether it is in the area of archival collection management or technical training in digitisation. More information
In South Asia, more than 30 projects in Bhutan, India and Nepal are currently supported by the Endangered Archives Programme. They include projects on digital documentation of manuscripts at Drametse and Ogyen Choling monasteries in Bhutan (photo from Drametse); a project on Locating and surveying early religious and related records in Mizoram; a project on Archiving texts in the Sylhet Nagri script; and a project to Retrieve two major and endangered newspapers: Jugantar and Amrita Bazar Patrika in Kolkata. More information about the South Asian projects 

SASNET visit to British Library

On 12th September 2014, Lars Eklund visited the British Library and the Endangered Archives Programme (EAP). See his London report.
Lars was hosted by Cathy Collins, Grants Administrator for EAP.  Before leaving the place, Lars was taken for a tour around the British Library, guided by Cathy. It was opened in 1998, and is the largest public building constructed in the UK during the 20th century. Its collection includes well over 150 million items, treasures include the famous Magna Carta, and Leonardo da Vinci's Notebook. The Library also hosts temporary exhibitions of high quality. When Lars visited, an exhibition entitled ”Propaganda: Power and Persuasion” was on display, an exhibition exploring international state propaganda from the 20th and 21st centuries. More information.

Web catalogues give digital documentation

The Endangered Archives Programme is pleased to announce the addition of a new catalogue to its web pages. The catalogue gives details of material copied by the project EAP310: The digital documentation of manuscripts in Thadrak, Tshamdrak and Nyephug temples in Bhutan, holding significant collections of ancient manuscripts such as Buddhist canonical texts, religious and philosophical writings, historical and biographical literatures, which have hitherto remained unknown and inaccessible to scholars. More information about the project.

In March 2014, the addition of a new catalogue was announced. The catalogue gives details of material copied by the project EAP570: Digital documentation of Dongkala, Chizing, Dodedra and Phajoding temple archives. The project successfully digitised the entire manuscript collections of Dongkarla, Chizhi, Phajoding and Dodedra in Bhutan. In addition, permission was received to also digitise a small number of manuscripts at four other temples, Phurdogkha, Menrikha, Thujedra and Pumola, totalling nearly 800 manuscripts and 300,000 images. Go for the new catalogue.