Endangered records online – for free

By Deputy Editor, 26 February 2015 - 12:37pm

Deputy editor Claire Vaughan explores a free collection of endangered records

Claire Vaughan is the deputy editor of WDYTYA? MagazineThursday 26 February 2015
Claire Vaughan, deputy editor
Read more blogs from the magazine team
 
 

The British Library’s decade-long Endangered Archives project has created a rich and thought-provoking collection of records, says deputy editor Claire Vaughan

As you can imagine we’re all looking forward to Who Do You Think You Are? Live, taking place at the NEC in Birmingham on 16-18 April – especially now we’ve had another celebrity confirm that they’re going to be there. Tamzin Outhwaite will be sharing her WDYTYA? story with audiences on the Saturday morning…

I‘ve been chatting to one of my colleagues about Reggie Yates, who’ll also be at the show this year, and discovered that some of the records from the archives Reggie visited during the course of his research have been digitised in the British Library’s ongoing Endangered Archives project, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

It’s a sad fact that thousands of archives around the world are at risk of being destroyed or deteriorating beyond use, so it’s wonderful that The British Library is on a mission to save as many as it can for posterity.

The Endangered Archives programme has now helped archives in 78 countries preserve a whopping 4 million records plus, each of which have been digitised and added to the website.

I’ve just hopped onto the site to have a look and spent a good half hour exploring the photographic archives of the southern Siberian indigenous peoples; the last hieroglyphic manuscripts in China: Shui archives in Libo, Guizhou; palm leaf manuscripts from northern Kerala in India; and the tifinagh rock inscriptions in the Tadrart Acacus mountains in Libya.

There are also hundreds of files held by Ghana’s Public Records and Archives Administration Department (PRAAD), including the branch at Sekondi seen in Reggie Yates’ episode of WDYTYA?. According to Dr Carina Ray, who helped Reggie research his ancestors, the sea air along the coast is a major problem as it is “dissolving the documents at a fast rate”.

The British Library has amassed a rich, exciting and incredibly important collection. The mesmerizing images can be viewed at the click of a mouse – and all for free! Why not go and have a look for yourself or click here to go behind the scenes on some of the individual digitisation projects.

Let us know your thoughts – email or contact us via our Facebook page or via Twitter.

 

Five tricks to help you find elusive forebears
previous blog Article
Third celebrity revealed for this year's WDYTYA? Live
next blog Article
Five tricks to help you find elusive forebears
previous blog Article
Third celebrity revealed for this year's WDYTYA? Live
next blog Article
We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here