Garret uncovers the map collection

Maps are an incredible tool in understanding the world. Vast swathes of land can be digested in a matter of minutes. Imagine how long it would take to describe every twist and turn of a border, every wind of a road, every village, town and city in the detail a map conveys. Their use stretches from education to governance, warfare to commerce. Hence for archives, maps provide a precious source by which we can investigate the past. Where were people making maps of? Who was making them and when? What type of map was it? All of these questions and more arise when studying maps.

The Cambridge African Studies Centre Library is lucky enough to possess a collection of around 250 such maps, which we are in the process of documenting and archiving. They range widely, including as diverse topics as tourist and military maps. Whilst a new gem in our collection, it certainly is a challenging one for a Centre more used to books and papers to deal with!

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As with most of our collection, there is a distinct colonial slant to the maps we possess. Whilst we don’t have records of who donated the maps, they almost all originate in various colonial offices, or as educational tools. Maps far more prevalent  in the late 19th and early 20th century. The many exploratory expeditions across the ‘undiscovered’ world – as with David Livingstone for instance – uncovered discoveries that demanded proper documentation. And those colonial officers who followed these first explorers documented the lands that they ruled. As such, there are many fascinating maps of Africa in our collection, of which we’ve picked out some our highlights of our archiving so far.

The first is a beautiful map produced by the government of Rhodesia, modern day Zambia, in 1964 which, claiming to be comprehensive, details all the journeys of Europeans in Rhodesia prior to 1890. What’s more, on the reverse is a full list of those Europeans who visited the area in that same timeframe, beginning as early as the 16th century with the first Portuguese explorers. It’s just a shame that this list would be obscured during the display of the map itself! The maps clear purpose is educational, but the focus on Europeans, to the exclusion of any mention of the natives, does add an additional layer of interest to the map. Having been printed in 1964, it seems plausible that it could have been used to legitimise the European presence in Rhodesia in the face of strong anti-colonial feeling, by emphasising the long European presence in the country. Whilst just conjecture, it is amongst the many interesting questions raised by these maps.

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Our collection has also been left various French maps made by the Institut Geographique National, including a set concerning Algeria made around 1962. Again, these maps are gorgeous (though that might just be me…), detailing the vast expanse of the Sahara, which is less empty than you might think! Their compilation during, and publication at the end of, the Algerian war, in which France reluctantly retreated, suggests that they did not plan well their withdrawal, with at least some government departments expecting to continue their presence in the country.

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Finally, we discovered several fascinating hand-drawn maps which detailed various land-disputes in the Gold Coast, modern day Ghana. These maps are mostly drawn up by a certain Ernest S. S. Woods of the 2nd Surveyors Brigade – an individual touch not often found in cartography. For colonial historians these documents provide an interesting perspective on Ghanaian compliance with, and possible use of, the British legal system. Furthermore, it gives an unflattering view of British justice, which is so often touted – however spuriously – as one of the greatest benefits of British rule. The document, which was signed off by Woods, the surveyor, in 1922, was then signed off by the court in 1928 – 6 years later! But the maps we have in our collection gives a sense of the scale of the task the British authorities faced – incredibly detailed and accurate maps had to be drawn up to resolve complex conflicts amongst their new subjects across vast areas.

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Maps were an important tool for the coloniser. They demarcated international boundaries – however arbitrary – surveyed lands for for governments based far away in Europe, and detailed natural resources to utilise – to give just a taster of all the flavours of maps we’ve found. With several large wads to go, be sure to check our Twitter feed for any other gems we uncover!

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Garret Shannon has kindly given his time to the African Studies Library before starting his degree at Durham in October

Reference and User Services Quarterly moves to OA

ejournals@cambridge

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) announces that its Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ) journal will move to open access beginning with the fall 2017 issue.

RUSQ disseminates information of interest to reference librarians, information specialists and other professionals involved in user-oriented library services. The decision to move RUSQ from subscription based to open access was based on many factors, most notably the open access movement strongly supported by librarians. Other factors include ensuring a continued pool of strong authors and articles, ease of access for readers as well as broader worldwide access as the cost for professional journal subscriptions is extremely prohibitive.

“It is essential for RUSA to clearly live the values that we espouse as professionals; the move to open access is an important step in that direction,” states RUSQ Editor, Barry Trott. Read more about the transition from the editor in the first open access issue…

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New ebooks – July 2017

ebooks@cambridge

Here is a selection of the titles added to the ebooks@cambridge collection during July. These titles were purchased by, or on behalf of, department and faculty libraries within the University of Cambridge and by the University Library.

Click on the cover image to access the title via our authenticated links.

Education1   English1  9780415154963.indd  Crime & Empire AW  Art1  HPS1  Law1  Music1   Politics1  Psychology1  Sociology1    SPS1    Business1  Business2  Economics1  Education2  Education3  History2  Art2  Medicine1  Music2  Philosophy1  Psychology2  Sociology2  Sociology3   MML1  MML2    HPS2    Education4  Education5  Education6   HPS3  HPS4  HPS5  MML3  Psychology3

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The results are in!

 

Summer_Survey_2017_

 

The summer survey has drawn to a close, and we are incredibly happy with the constructive feedback that we have received.

I will be analysing the results shortly, and a further post will be created addressing the issues that our users have raised.

A huge thanks to all of you who took part, your opinions and ideas are invaluable!

 

The Adventure Doesn’t Stop Now.

I have been volunteering in the Centre of African Studies Library since November 2016. Today, this incredible experience comes to an end and I wanted to share with you what it felt like to be part of this great journey.

When I first started, last November, everything seemed brilliant. Today, I still have the same feeling and, while I am trying to do my retrospection, I am looking all around me, trying to remember all the details that have kept me happy for months. It can be a chair scraping the floor, the sound of a keyboard, or a book being moved. It’s raining and we can hear the wind – and I will miss all of that. I was happy to volunteer a few hours every week ; it was not a lot, it was not a huge amount of time, but it felt like home every time I went into the Library, and it will still feel like home even after I leave.

During these few months, I met Dr. Audrey Richards whilst I went through her pamphlet donations, and her own research papers. I met her a second time when Dr. Ray Abrahams came to talk about her, as a friend. And this experience was revealing about what you can learn, the two very different ways to get to know someone ; with her written works, I felt close to the professional, the anthropologist who will never be forgotten. By talking with Dr. Abrahams, I felt I was discovering the human being behind these interesting thoughts.

I am currently working on documents about race relations in South Africa, and I had to organise the documents into different boxes by subject area to find my way back to some kind of understanding. In this case, I found out a lot about politics, struggling people fighting for their rights, and social balance.  The feeling you get when you deal with political statements and documents such as these is powerful ; you know that these documents went through other hands. Fighting hands, revolutionary hands, and idealist hands. Sadly, I will not be able to finish my work – but I hope these feelings will be shared by the one who will complete this collection.

Even if leaving the Centre of African Studies Library makes me deeply melancholic, I am raring to start my Internship in Schlumberger Center of Research, because I am sure to earn useful skills that will lead me where I want, and need, to be.

I am so grateful for everything I know, everything I’ve learnt and discovered, and for the brilliant people I had the pleasure to meet. I am lucky to have been guided by someone exceptional, who gave me the taste of a profession and who, in many ways and with a fine honesty, made me stronger and ready to build my career path. Also, I believe that volunteering has been the most beautiful experience I’ve ever had : so go outside, give a helping hand because you might discover many attributes about yourself you didn’t even know were there in the first place.

This experience is over, but the adventure doesn’t stop now.

What about you ?

Ophélia Labardacq

Ophelia B&W july 2017

Text & Data Mining LibGuide

ejournals@cambridge

We are keen to help the research process where we may be able to make a contribution towards facilitating text & data mining in the University.  To that end we offer a new LibGuide on text & data mining in the growing number of guides in the Cambridge Libraries’ family of LibGuides.

The aim of this guide is to make a start towards exposing the breadth of content (mostly library-subscribed) that may be of potential exploitation by Cambridge researchers wanting to use the techniques of text and data mining in their research.  The guide summarizes the main points in the Hargreaves exception and builds on and links out to professional bodies and information sources to provide librarians and University members with a beginner’s guide to first steps in TDM and considerations it is important to make.

The guide provides a means of contacting us to clear any issues that…

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New ebooks – June 2017

ebooks@cambridge

Here is a selection of the titles added to the ebooks@cambridge collection during June. These titles were purchased by, or on behalf of, department and faculty libraries within the University of Cambridge and by the University Library.

Click on the cover image to access the title via our authenticated links.

Business1   Business2  Economics1  Education1  9781138203143.indd  Engineering1  English1  HPS1     Land1  MatSci1  Medicine1    MML1    Politics1  Politics2  Politics3  Business3  Business4  Education3  Education4  Education5  Education6  HPS2  HPS3  Land2  MatSci2Geography1   Geography2  Engineering2    Medicine2    Geography3  MatSci3  Politics4   9781138656642.indd  Education8  Business5  Politics5

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SCOLMA Logo

SCOLMA CONFERENCE 2017

Document to Digital: how does digitisation aid African research?

 National Library of Scotland, Monday, 11 September 2017

Programme

9.00        Registration

9.20        Welcome

9.30        Keynote and Panel 1: Digitising Historical Sources

Keynote

‘Saving Archives through Digitisation: Reflections on Endangered Archives Programme Projects in Africa’

Jody Butterworth (Endangered Archives Programme)

10.10     Panel 1

The Material Remains of the Church of Scotland Mission in Kenya: Reflections from an “Endangered Archives Project”

Tom Cunningham (University of Edinburgh)

‘From Zimbabwe to Stirling: Opening up the Peter Mackay Archive’

Karl Magee (University of Stirling)

10.50     Questions to keynote speaker and panellists

11.05     Coffee break

11.30     Panel 2: Using Digital Archives for Science and Social Science Research

‘Repeat Landscape Photography, Historical Ecology and the Wonder of Digital Archives’

Dr Rick Rohde (University of Edinburgh), Samantha Luise Venter and Professor M. Timm Hoffman (Plant Conservation Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town). Paper to be delivered by Dr Rohde.

‘Free Access to Research Publications for Developing Countries: The Research Archive of the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD)’

Pier Luigi Rossi (Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), Bondy-France)

12.30     Lunch

13.15     SCOLMA AGM

13.45     Panel 3: Digital Archives in the Aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide

‘The Digitised Collection, Preservation and Use of Endangered Archival Materials: The Case of the Genocide Archive of Rwanda’

Jessica Achberger (Michigan State University) and Claver Irakoze (Genocide Archive of Rwanda)

‘Mass Digitisation in Rwanda and Sudan: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities’

Marilyn Deegan and Geoff Laycock (King’s College London and ScanDataExperts)

‘Digital Archives in a Changing Rwanda’

Hannah Grayson (University of St Andrews) and Paul Rukesha (Aegis Trust, Rwanda) to be delivered by Professor Nicki Hitchcott on the authors’ behalf

15.15     Tea break

15.45     Panel 4: Fresh Initiatives in Historical Digitisation

‘Reinventing the Trade in Cloth: Digitisation as a New Form of Cultural Exchange’

Julie Halls (The National Archives (UK))

‘Making African Academic Resources Accessible: The Story of the Kwabena Nketia Archives 65 Years On’

Judith Opoku-Boateng and Korklu Laryea (University of Ghana)

‘Digitising the First Francophone African Women’s Magazine’

Ruth Bush (University of Bristol)

‘Digital Documents: How to Stimulate Usage’

Jos Damen (African Studies Centre, University of Leiden)

17.45     Close

 

SCOLMA thanks the National Library of Scotland for support of the conference.

This programme is subject to change.

Conference fee £50 (£30 unwaged) to include tea/coffee and lunch.

To book a place contact Sarah Rhodes (sarah.rhodes@bodleian.ox.ac.uk).

Global Environment

ejournals@cambridge

New on ejournals@cambridge A-Z :  Global Environment

From the Ingenta Connect website for the journal:

“The half-yearly journal Global Environment: A Journal of History and Natural and Social Sciences acts as a forum and echo chamber for ongoing studies on the environment and world history, with special focus on modern and contemporary topics. Our intent is to gather and stimulate scholarship that, despite a diversity of approaches and themes, shares an environmental perspective on world history in its various facets, including economic development, social relations, production government, and international relations.”

This journal is published by White Horse Press.

Now available to the University of Cambridge electronically from volume 10 (2017) to present.

Access  Global Environment via the ejournals@cambridge A-Z or at this link.

Image credit: Gratisography – http://gratisography.com/#nature

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