THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Endangered archives blog

2 posts from September 2009

25 September 2009

Flowers of Persian song and poetry

I would like to draw attention to some of the non-textual material copied by EAP projects. We've received several collections of music, video and oral history material, images of artefacts and, not surprisingly, many copies of photographs.

Our music collections are vaired and exciting. They include music from Iran, Africa, India and Micronesia. We recently received material from a project to collect and digitise old music in pre-literate Micronesian society. This is very different to the classical music and gramophone records from India or the indigenous recordings from the Syliphone Studio in Africa, also being copied.

Here I would like to mention the approx. 847 hours of programmes featuring Persian music that were copied as part of the project The Golha radio programmes (Flowers of Persian Song and Poetry). The programmes include music, literary commentary and poetry. They were "exemplars of excellence in the sphere of music and refined examples of literary expression, making use of a repertoire of over 250 classical and modern Persian poets, setting literary and musical standards that are still looked up to with admiration in Iran today". More information on the programmes and current research activity can be found on the Golha website, which will be added to to include details of the music, transcripts of the poetry and information on the people involved.

The importance of these programmes is immense. Broadcast between 1956 and 1979, they featured renowned critics, broadcasters, composers and performers. They helped redefine attitudes towards music and musicians within Iran. In addition, the music itself, in my opinion, is wonderful.

The programmes can be accessed via the British Library Reading Rooms (please email the Endangered Archives Programme Curator beforehand). Or you can buy CDs from the SOAS bookshop.

14 September 2009

Back at the Library

It was wonderful for me to have the chance to attend the Society of Archivists’ conference. Many of the papers addressed the future of electronic records, something very important to the EAP. Included in the programme was a talk by Will Prentice on internships for Archivists offered by The British Library’s sound archives team. The conference also gave me the chance to discuss cataloguing, copyright, metadata and other issues with colleagues. And, because I arrived a few days early, I also had a chance to see Bristol, a lovely city.

Back at the Library, I spent most of last week answering emails and checking new accessions. But it was a busy week for two other reasons. Firstly, we put out an advertisement for a new temporary cataloguer. Details of the post are on the Library's main careers site. Secondly, the EAP sent out a call for the next round of applicaitons. Details of how to apply are on the web pages.

This looks like a good place to give some information on how the Programme works. After the call for submissions goes out, interested applicants fill out a Preliminary Application form. These are assessed and the applicants may then be invited to submit a Detailed Application. The detailed application form allows the intended projects to be explained in full: in terms of what the project hopes to achieve and how the work will be organised. When these are received, they are discussed and evaluated by our international advisory panel who meet in April each year. Successful applicants are informed shortly afterwards.

The amount of funding varies, as do the timescales, from project to project. A recent tally revealed that the EAP has funded 118 projects so far. Of these, 50 have been completed.