Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Available in DAR: Oral Histories from the Economic and Business History Research Center

The Economic and Business History Research Center (EBHRC) is a research, teaching and documentation center at the American University in Cairo.

The EBHRC was established in early 2004 with the goal of creating a repository of primary recordings of first hand accounts to Egypt’s contemporary history with special emphasis on economic and business history. In a country rich in events and history and comparably poor in transparency and in accessibility of records, the centre perceived its task as capturing the untold history, the stories and narratives locked up in the memories of people. (source)

One activity the EBHRC has pursued in order to fulfill this mission is collecting oral histories.

Oral History has been employed by the EBHRC for the past two years as the principal source from which it attempts to uncover aspects of Egyptian economic and business life that were not or could not have been covered by other historical sources. (source)

In collaboration with the RBSCL, the EBHRC is putting some of their 200 hours of recorded sessions with 80 of Egypt’s important figures in the economic and business sector in our digital repository. Each interview will include a short biography of the interviewee, files and a transcription [please note: the audio & transcription are in Arabic]. These files are available in our Digital Archive and Research Repository (DAR).

So far we have 5 interviews available:

  • Fawzy Mansour
  • Fouad Sultan
  • Ibrahim El-Issawy
  • Samir Amin
  • Tarek Ali Hassan
For more information on oral histories, the EBHRC has put together a helpful list of links. You can also read The Chronicles, the EBHRC's periodic publication that provides "a space for research in the making, a venue for the work of young scholars and a brainstorming platform among academics."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Today is International Archives Day!

June 9, 2010 has been declared International Archives Day by the International Council on Archives.

On 9 June 1948 the International Council on Archives (ICA) was founded at UNESCO in Paris. The ICA has decided that an International Archives Day shall be celebrated on 9 June and the first ever International Archives Day is, therefore, also the 60th anniversary of ICA. (source)

To celebrate, we're highlighting archives within Egypt, as well as institutions that have archival holdings related to Egypt.

The National Archives of Egypt is one of the richest archives in the world, containing an enormous number of documents dating back to 6th century H. / 12th Century A.D. up till the present day.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina developed a partnership with the Internet Archive based on the principles of preserving the heritage for future generations and ensuring universal access to human knowledge. They now have a copy of the complete holdings of the Internet Archive, which can be visited here and include:
  • 10 billion web pages from 1996-2001.
  • 2000 hours of Egyptian and US television broadcast.
  • 1000 archival films.
  • 100 terabytes of data (100,000,000,000,000 characters) stored on 200 computers.
  • A book scanning facility for scanning local books (source)

Bibliotecha Alexandrina also has digital archives [both in Arabic] for former Egyptian Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar El Sadat. Both collections have audio files, videos, official documents, government pamphlets and more.

The Egyptian National Library and Archive has an extensive collection of rare coins, manuscripts and papyrus, among other artifacts.

The Brooklyn Musuem has 290 images in their digital archive tagged "Egpyt"....

white the New York Public Library's Digital Gallery has over 8,000 items with the tag "Egypt"
All these archives, along with the Rare Books and Special Collections Library at AUC, are here to serve your interests, research projects and information needs. Let us know how we can better serve you, or share with us your favorite archives!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Vintage Photos and Postcards of Egypt on Flickr

In 2008, the Library of Congress started a Flickr account with the following goals in mind:
• To share photographs from the Library’s collections with people who enjoy images but might not visit the Library’s own Web site
• To gain a better understanding of how social tagging and community input could benefit both the Library and users of the collections
• To gain experience participating in Web communities that are interested in the kinds of materials in the Library’s collections

As part of this initiative, they started The Commons, the goal of which is to encourage people to help describe the historical photos being added to Flickr by institutions like the Library of Congress by tagging them or commenting on them.

The Rare Books and Special Collections Library at AUC is interested in sharing our collections and in involving and engaging our users. We've begun a Flickr account, hoping viewers will help us describe the photographs by leaving comments, tags and notes.

You will need Flickr account to leave comments, but it is a free service and easy to sign up. The free account will also allow to upload photos of your own!

Here's a sample of the types of items we have:
Ismailia - Lake Timsah

Dahibiyehs on the Nile, Underwood & Underwood Stereograph Card

Giza Pyramids

Mosque Sunset

Please visit our Flickr page and explore! So far we have big two collections, 19th century photographs and a collection of postcards. The participation thus far has been incredibly encouraging and exciting and we hope this continues!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Web Archive at AUC

Have you even wondered what happens to web pages over time? Are they lost forever? Do they simply disappear?

In order to collect and preserve publically available websites of long-term research or historical value, the RBSCL saves websites using technology developed by the Internet Archive through a service called Archive-It .

This means that you can view the Carvan's website in March 2009, AUC's main page in April 2009 or even the AUC Facebook page this past January.

In addition to AUC pages, there are web archive collections focused on Coptic religion and culture, Egyptian businesses and migration and refugee studies.

The Rare Books and Special Collections Library is expanding on many of these collections, as well as adding new collections. Some of the new areas will be expatriates in Egypt, Egyptian arts and culture and unofficial AUC sites (such as Facebook pages).

Do you have any websites you think should be included in the web archive?
Leave a comment and let us know!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New Graduation Requirement: Online Thesis Submission‏

The AUC Digital Archive and Research Repository (AUC DAR) is a home-developed  and customized product which resulted from a tremendous collaborative effort carried over the last year by various university units (Libraries and Learning Technologies, Rare Books and Special Collections Library, University Academic Computing Technologies, Office of the Registrar, and the Office of the Vice Provost and Director of Graduate Studies and Research). AUC DAR is part of a greater campus effort to increase the visibility of AUC’s research and scholarly accomplishments. The AUC DAR Repository, as an Open Access institutional repository, will help improve overall scholarly communication efforts.

Through DAR, for example, faculty and graduate students can deposit electronic versions of their theses and/or research work making it readily accessible to the world-wide community through various search engines.

Accordingly, and in an effort to streamline the thesis submission process, starting with the Spring 2010 semester, in addition to submitting a hard copy of your thesis to your department, you are asked to upload an electronic version of your thesis directly to the AUC Digital Archive and Research Repository (AUC DAR)The E-Submission deadline is June 1.

Electronic submission and online dissemination of theses is quickly becoming standard practice at many leading U.S. and international universities.  By submitting your thesis to DAR, your work can be made available to an online audience, including potential employers and publishers, opening avenues for professional networking and collaboration.  Your document will be assigned a stable permanent URL to which you can link from your website, blog, or network sites.  Note that, if you find it necessary, you will have the option to restrict access to your thesis.

E-Submission is a 3-step process:  (View or Print detailed E-Submission instructions)
  1. Register NOW! for a MyDAR Account (allowing up to 24 hours for account configuration).
  2. Convert your thesis to PDF format (to allow preservation).
  3. Upload your document to the AUC DAR Repository.
All UACT Computer Labs and Library Learning Commons workstations are equipped with the necessary software and technical support.  Detailed instructions will also be posted at those locations.

The deadline for E-Submission for Spring 2010 is June 1This process is required for graduation. 

For assistance at any point of the E-Submission process, please free to contact:

AUC DAR Administrators:
Terra Kridler: or 2615-3656
Asmaa Ayman:, 2615-3401
Steve Urgola: or 2615-3678
Maha Elkoshairi: or 2615-3743
RBSCL Reference and Reserve Desk:  2615-3676 (Sat.-Thurs. 8:30am-4:45pm)

Thank you very much for your participation.

RBSCL on Facebook and Twitter

The Rare Books and Special Collections Library has expanded its web presence by starting a Twitter account and creating a Facebook fan page.

Follow our Twitter for frequent updates on RBSCL services, news and highlights from our collections, as well as news from libraries around the world that AUC students will find relevant.

Our Facebook fan page contains even more information about the RBSCL and will highlight our collection, exciting projects we're working on and gives users a chance to connect with each other.

Please take a minute to check them out, follow us on Twitter, 'Like' us on Facebook and let us know how we can better serve the AUC community!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

AUC Digital Archive and Research Repository

The AUC DAR Repository is set for campus release at the UACT Technology Fair on Monday, March 15th.

In the summer of 2009 a few very different campus initiatives began to come together. There was an interest in making graduate student theses available online. The RBSCL recognized the need to gain control over their rapidly growing digital collections. And the AUC campus was preparing for their “Year of Research” which placed an emphasis on raising the visibility of AUC’s research efforts.

University Academic Computing Technologies and the RBSCL saw this as an opportunity to improve scholarly communication on campus and with the greater academic community. They realized that an open access institutional repository would help us with all these initiatives and potentially present other opportunities as well.

Working together in this effort along with representatives from the Vice Provost's office, the AUC Digital Archive and Research Repository was established, and is currently undergoing several phases of pilot testing and customized development to make it uniquely AUC’s institutional repository.

The technical platform used to create the DAR Repository is called DSpace, an open source software platform developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Hewlett Packard. How it works...

A “submitter,” such as a graduate student submitting a thesis or faculty member submitting a publication, uploads their work into the repository system and includes some descriptive data about the item (title, author, etc.)

The file is then sent to a “curator,” a librarian or archivist, who proof reads the data submitted, and ensures that the file input is in a preservable digital format.

The item is released to the "end-user," the public or other appropriate audience. It is assigned a permanent url, by which it can be located by Internet search engines, and linked to from external databases or websites. It is also searchable in the Repository catalog itself, and eventually available through the library catalog as well.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

RBSCL Open on Library 3rd Floor

The Rare Books and Special Collections Library is open to the AUC community as of January 31st, 2010. Reserves and many special collections materials have been moved and are available for use. However, University Archives, manuscripts, architectural, and other special format collections are not yet available.

Please visit the RBSCL Reference desk to inquire about the availability of rare, archival, or other special materials.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

RBSCL Moving to New Campus!

Starting Sunday, January 10, 2010 the Downtown Rare Books and Special Collections Library will close permanently and complete the transfer of its collections to the New Rare Books and Special Collections Library on the new AUC Campus where it will reopen January 31, 2010. During this move the general and rare books collections will be inaccessible. If you nevertheless MUST have access to materials from any of the RBSCL collections, please phone the RBSCL Reference and Reserves Office on the New Campus (2615-3094) for special assistance.