Thursday, June 30, 2011

Oral History Project at the Library

Brian Woods, a Master's candidate at Ohio University, began his
month-long internship at the library last week. His internship is
focused on building the library's capacity to record and archive
Crimean Tatar oral histories. Brian was a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years in Bakcheseray where he taught English.

As a student in International Affairs with a specialization in
Communication and Development Studies, Brian is excited about this
opportunity. "Helping empower under-represented minorities is at the
heart of CommDev as a discipline. Helping the library organize this
program...helping them take down people's stories about the
deportation, exile and return is so important, especially given the
implications in terms of displaced indigenous ethnicities in the
Middle East and Africa."

During his internship, he will teach simple best practices for oral
histories and help the library develop an archiving system.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

2011 International Library Conference in Sudak

Last week (June 6-10) was the annual International Library Conference in Sudak. Held for the last eighteen years in this beautiful town on the Black Sea coast, the International Library Conference is sponsored by the National Library of Russia and brings librarians from all over the world, including a few from the U.S. A special guest this year was the president of the International Federation of Library Associations, Ellen Tise, from the J.S. Gericke Library of the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa.

Official logo of the conference.

The Director (left) and Assistant Director (right) of the Gasprinskiy Library--Gulnara Yagyaeva and Leyla Kadyrova--are welcomed to Sudak.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Electronic Information, Libraries, and Society: What is to be Expected from the New Decade of the Information Century?” Despite a theme that focused on technology, there was a wide range of presentations and activities, including the Gasprinsky Library’s event. Every year at the conference the Gasprinsky Library hosts a roundtable for the librarians from the Turkic speaking countries focusing on a Crimean Tatar writer. This year the title of the roundtable was “Ashik Poetry of the Turkic World: Dedicated to the 390th anniversary of Ashik Omer, great poet of the Orient.” Ashik Omer was a Crimean Tatar poet, songwriter, and musician who lived in Evpatoria, Crimea, in the 17thcentury. He traveled worldwide and wrote over 2000 poems and songs. He is best known for his poems about love, but he also wrote about the social and philosophical issues of his day and about Sufi mysticism.

Statue of Ashik Omer in park in Evpatoria.

Elena Emirova from the Crimea Ministry of Culture and Gulnara Yagyaeva, Director of the Gasprinsky Library, opened the roundtable with a welcome to the participants and presenters.

Presentations were given by experts from the Crimean Engineering Pedagogical University in Simferopol and from several Turkic speaking countries.

Almakul Iskakova from the National Academic Library of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Astana, Kazakhstan

Zoya Mongush from the Tuvan Institute of Humanitarian Research in Kyzul, Republic of Tuva, Russia

The roundtable concluded with a performance of Ashik Omer's music and poetry by the Crimean Tatar folk ensemble Makyam.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Library Receives Cultural Heritage Grant

We received exciting news at the library—we were awarded a $15,000 grant to purchase equipment capable of scanning and digitizing the library’s collection of rare books, newspapers, journals, and other documents. Purchasing such equipment has long been one of the library’s goals as it is the first necessary step in the important work of preserving and digitizing the library’s rare collections. Here is the announcement of the award:

Eight Organizations From Around the World Honored as Information Heritage Stewards

HOPKINTON, Mass.—May, 23, 2011—EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC) today announced that eight organizations will receive EMC Heritage Trust Project grants through the company’s Information Heritage Initiative program. The 2011 grants will support projects that digitize, protect and improve access to cultural information in communities around the world. Through the initiative, EMC has donated more than $20 million to date to help advance the preservation and accessibility of information heritage.
“Photographs, ancient writings, letters, film, music and visual art are all part of the world’s information heritage. Yet many of these historical treasures are at risk of disappearing,” said Bill Teuber, Vice Chairman, EMC Corporation. “Through the EMC Heritage Trust Project, we are dedicated to helping local community organizations worldwide preserve and protect these historic artifacts so that future generations can continue to enjoy and learn from them.”
The EMC Information Heritage Initiative program was formalized in 2007 to recognize organizations and individuals that protect and preserve invaluable cultural information from around the world through digitization, allowing readily accessible online research and education. Using the same criteria for excellence that guide this initiative and deployed in local communities, the EMC Heritage Trust Project was created to recognize and support people and projects that practice and inspire the digital stewardship of the world’s information heritage. For 2011, EMC received 95 applications from 19 countries for grant consideration.
The EMC Heritage Trust Project grant recipients were selected based on the following criteria: potential size of the audience that would benefit from access to this information; the at-risk status of the information and why it is urgent to digitize; and how significant the EMC grant would be to the overall success of the project.

The 2011 EMC Heritage Trust Project grantees are:

Canada: C.B. “Bud” Johnston Library, Western Libraries, University of Western Ontario -- The EMC grant will help digitize the entire Canadian Annual Reports Collection, the largest collection of corporate annual reports representing over 6,300 companies dating back as far as the 1920s.

OrganizaciĆ³n Comunitaria Funcional (OCF) Londres 38, Memorial House -- The EMC grant will help expand the digital archive and update the online reference catalogue of Londres 38, a memorial space, to help protect records of the memories associated with the repression and violation of human rights that took place in Chile.

Chile: General Historic Archives of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile -- The EMC grant will digitize 3,000 photographs from the General Historic Archive collection making them more readily accessible online. Most of these original photographs portray a wide range of Chilean and foreign social, political and diplomatic historical episodes from 1876 to 2006.

China: The Tongji University Library -- The EMC grant will digitize unique and valuable information from the Tongji University Library’s collection of books and antiquated texts published during the Republic of China. These resources are significant to the history of city planning and architectural development in the Yangtze River Delta.

Ireland: Boole Library, University College, Cork -- The EMC grant will support the creation of a publicly available digital archive of printed books and papers of mathematician George Boole. Boole laid the foundations in the latter half of the nineteenth century for a system of mathematical expression which formed the basis for all modern computer languages.

Kyrgyzstan: Public Association “Kyrgyz Kitep Borboru” -- The EMC grant will support the digitization of early Kyrgyz books in Arabic type, making selected resources available to the public. Resources include handwritten books and manuscripts which preserve and transmit the history, geography, and ethnography of their time.

Rwanda: Aegis Trust -- The EMC grant will support the creation of a unified digital repository of the Genocide Archive of Rwanda. Resources including audiovisual testimonies, historical photographs, documents, newspapers, and genocide victims’ information will be digitized and indexed to make the collection available to the public.

Ukraine: Crimean Tatar Library (in the name of I. Gasprinskiy) -- The EMC grant will digitize the Gasprinskiy Library’s collection of rare books and documents in order to preserve and publicize Crimean Tatar literature, language, culture, and history.

For more information on the EMC Heritage Trust Project, please visit:

About EMC

EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC) is the world’s leading developer and provider of information infrastructure technology and solutions that enable organizations of all sizes to transform the way they compete and create value from their information. Information about EMC’s products and services can be found at