Digitisation and preservation of rare historical sources of Mongolia written in the 19th and early 20th centuries

Mongolian Academy of Sciences (MAS) and the National Library of Mongolia hold in their collections 3,000 rare, unpublished manuscripts from the 19th and 20th century. These cover a crucial time in Mongolian history. However, the documents are currently inaccessible to the public, and they are deteriorating rapidly.

Mongolia is a treasure-house of manuscripts containing important but partly unknown and unpublished material. The archives of the Department of History and Archaeology, MAS, contain books and documents related to Mongolian history, religion and culture. Surveying these historical documents researchers can obtain a complex picture of the operation of the Mongolian, Manchu and Chinese administrative systems at the turn of the 20th century, the political and social role of the Buddhist Church until and after 1921, the first measures of the Bolshevik government in the 1920s, and the gradual suppression of religion and ‘out of date’ institutes in the 1930s. Prior to the project the documents were inaccessible to the public, and the lack of local resources for maintenance and the unfavourable storage circumstances created a dangerous situation for the survival of these sources. The project digitised a great amount of items in the MAS, creating over 110,000 images. The project resulted in a substantial database of written sources. The project provided training and experience in digitisation and archival handling to the archival staff. The archive is currently using the training to digitise the collection of Hungarian ethnologist Éva Schmidt.

Project Details

Location: Mongolia, Eastern Asia, Asia Organiser(s): Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) Project partner(s): Hungarian Academy of Sciences Funder(s): Arcadia Funding received: £31,480 Commencement Date: 03/2017 Project Status: Completed
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