Wednesday, 15 September 2010

British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme

The British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme

Call for applications

The Endangered Archives Programme at the British Library is now accepting applications for the next round of funding. Detailed information on the timetable, criteria, eligibility and procedures for applying for a grant is available on the Programme’s website. Applications will be accepted in English or in French. The deadline for receipt of preliminary grant applications is 5 November 2010.

Since it was established six years ago, the Programme has so far funded 137 projects in 57 countries in grants totalling £3.7 million. The Programme is funded by Arcadia, in pursuit of one of its charitable aims to preserve and disseminate cultural knowledge and to promote education and research. The aim of the Programme is to contribute to the preservation of archival material worldwide that is in danger of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration.

The Programme’s objectives are achieved principally by awarding grants to applicants to locate relevant endangered archival collections, where possible to arrange their transfer to a suitable local archival home, and to deposit copies with local institutions and the British Library. Pilot projects are particularly welcomed, to investigate the survival of archival collections on a particular subject, in a discrete region, or in a specific format, and the feasibility of their recovery.

To be considered for funding under the Programme, the archival material should relate to a ‘pre-modern' period of a society's history. There is no prescriptive definition of this, but it may typically mean, for instance, any period before industrialisation. The relevant time period will therefore vary according to the society. The endangered archival material will normally be located in countries where resources and opportunities to preserve such material are lacking or limited.

For the purposes of the Programme, the term ‘archival material’ is interpreted widely to include rare printed books, newspapers and periodicals, audio and audio-visual materials, photographs and manuscripts.

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.

The Programme is administered by the British Library and applications are considered in an annual competition by an international panel of historians and archivists.

For further details of EAP projects and collections as well as application procedures and documentation, please visit the Programme’s new website:



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