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"
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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!