Bophana Audio Visual Archives, Phnom Penh

A review of materials on the Cham minority of Cambodia at the Bophana Audio Visual Archives (Phnom Penh, Cambodia). Across the world, economics and war are critical factors that constantly threaten scholarly production. For example, in Cambodia, decades of twentieth century civil conflict, including the worlds’ seventh largest genocide, left the country with few precious scholarly resources by the time of reconstruction in the mid-1990s. Subsequently, the inability of the Ministry of Culture to provide sufficient funds for institutions such as the National Library and the Buddhist Institute have resulted in these collection being further...

Inner Mongolia Regional Archives, Hohhot

A review of the Inner Mongolia Regional Archives (Hohhot, China). 内蒙古自治区呼和浩特市南二环路60号 内蒙古自治区档案局 
tel: +86-47-1481-1482; website In the cavernous, marble lobby of the Inner Mongolia Regional Archives, an LED screen blinks in red with foreboding: “Put our country’s interests above all. The responsibility of keeping information classified weighs heavier than Mount Tai. Protecting state secrets is every citizen’s duty” (国家利益高于一切,保密责任重于泰山。保守国家秘密是每个公民的义务).” This pithy saying only begins to describe the mafan of using the...

Cyprus Critical History Archive, Nicosia

A review of the Cyprus Critical History Archive, Nicosia, Cyprus. The Cyprus Critical History Archive is the largest newspaper collection in Cyprus dealing with the various forms of violence generated by the Cyprus issue that took place during the period 1955-1964. This review will detail the history of the archive and the collection of newspapers it contains, and provide a basic overview of the Association which hosts the archive. History of the Archive  The Cyprus Critical History Archive (CCHA) is housed in the Home for Cooperation (H4C) in the Ledra Palace area of the Buffer Zone in Nicosia, Cyprus. The Archive was instituted as a joint...

Institute Français de Pondichéry, India

A review of the Institute Français de Pondichéry, Pondicherry, India. The Institute Français de Pondichéry (IFP), also referred to as simply the French Institute, is an academic gem in the heart of the French colonial city of Pondicherry, India. With its historic and quiet interior, proximity to the restaurants and attractions of city, and a library overlooking the Bay of Bengal, the French Institute is worth visiting for its grounds alone. However, the real draw of the IFP is its world class research facilities, with coverage ranging from ecology and the social sciences to studies of Sanskrit and Tamil epigraphy. Its libraries and...

National Archives of Cambodia

A review of the National Archives of Cambodia (Phnom Penh, Cambodia). This brief assessment of the National Archives of Cambodia is based upon recent, two months long research at that location. The National Archives of Cambodia have been up and running (again) since 1995. Although the government funded website is not always available, Archivist Peter Arfanis published a general outline of the archival collections, which is available here. Hence, this review hopes not to replicate any of Arfanis’s information but rather looks at how one might gather information in these collections. In general, even though the archives’ staff (headed by...

National Institute for Defense Studies, Tokyo

A review of the National Institute for Defense Studies, Ministry of Defense (Tokyo, Japan). The National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS) in Tokyo houses a sizeable repository of archival materials essential to scholars who do not necessarily focus on the military history of Japan. Those interested in the expansion of the Japanese empire from the late nineteenth century to the early 1940s may also find this collection of immeasurable value. I visited the military archives throughout the fall of 2012 in search of documents on the Japanese occupation of Inner Mongolia, and came across a range of files in varying degrees of significance,...

Two Resource Centers in Pune, India

A review of Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute and Deccan College Scriptorium. Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (Deccan Gymkhana, Pune, India) The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) is an excellent resource for scholars of South Asia. In addition to its extensive holdings of rare books and manuscripts, it also boasts a peaceful and well-organized reading room and, perhaps most importantly, a small group of knowledgeable and friendly staff who take the time to advise those seeking information. The institute is located in the Deccan Gymkhana neighborhood of Pune and is very easy to find. All rickshaw drivers in the city...

General Archive of the Indies, Seville

A review of the General Archive of the Indies (Archivo General de Indias) (Seville, Spain).  My dissertation, entitled Indian Harvest: The Rise of the Indigenous Slave Trade and Diaspora from Española to the Circum-Caribbean, 1492-1560, examines the growth and height of the Circum-Caribbean indigenous slave trade. My project seeks to capture the scope of this slave trade and resultant Indian diaspora for the first time. In tracing the diaspora I also try to reveal the hidden consequences of the slave trade, including the indigenous experience of movement and displacement across the Caribbean. While I look at archaeological and...

Digital Resources for Ottoman & Turkish Histo...

Digital Resources for Ottoman and Turkish History An overview of three digitized collections of interest to historians of the late Ottoman Empire and republican Turkey: Parliamentary Minutes (available at the website of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey), Hakkı Tarık Us collection, Ankara University’s digitized collection. I could have titled this article “Historical Research in the Digital Era,” in a hardly disguised reference to Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Indeed, I feel that I prepared my PhD dissertation during a transitional era: I have a lot of material that I had to...

Inst. of Manuscripts named for Mohammad Fuzuli

A review of the Institute of Manuscripts named for Mohammad Fuzuli, Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan. In May, 2012, I traveled to Baku, Azerbaijan to carry out pre-dissertation research at the Institute of Manuscripts named for Mohammad Fuzuli (Məhəmməd Füzuli adına Əlyazmalar İnstitutu). The Institute has evolved, in several stages of expansion and name changes, from a small archival branch of the National Academy of Sciences founded in 1950. The Institute is located in central Baku, just outside the walled Inner City and next to the State Economic University at 8 İstiqlaliyyət. Hajji Zeyn al-Abedein Taghiyev, a wealthy investor in the...

Ganj Bakhsh Library, Islamabad

A review of the Ganj Bakhsh Library, Iran-Pakistan Institute of Persian Studies, Islamabad, Pakistan. The Ganj Bakhsh Library at the Iran-Pakistan Institute of Persian Studies (IPIPS) is without doubt one of South Asia’s hidden treasure troves. Located in an innocuous building in a residential area adjacent to Islamabad’s F-8 sector market, the Ganj Bakhsh library is said to house the largest collection of Persian manuscripts in South Asia and the second largest collection of manuscripts in any language in Pakistan. The library’s umbrella organization, IPIPS, was founded in 1969 with the aim of reviving Pakistan’s heritage of...

Three Colonial Collections in Japan

A review of Three Colonial Collections in Japan The Northern Studies Collection, Hokkaidō University, Sapporo, Japan 札幌市北区北8条西5丁目 北海道大学附属図書館 北方資料室 tel: +81-1-1706-2994; website The Northern Studies Collection of Hokkaidō University focuses on materials related to Hokkaidō, as well as the Aleutians, the Kuriles, Manchuria, Mongolia, Sakhalin, and Siberia. Its holdings remain unparalleled for publications on the indigenous peoples of northern Japan and its surrounding islands. Visitors must arrange to see the collection via the Inter-Library Loan counter of their affiliate institution in...

Two Archives in Guangdong, China

A review of the Guangdong Provincial Archives and the Guangzhou Municipal Archives (China). In Guangzhou, two excellent facilities for the study of local history are the Guangzhou Municipal Archives and the Guangdong Provincial Archives. While both are managed under the same system, there are significant differences between the two facilities in terms of materials as well as access. In light of these differences, this review will treat each archive separately, In many ways, the Guangzhou Provincial Archives offer an ideal archive experience in China. Its location is convenient, its materials are abundant, its system is technologically...

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Museum

A review of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Museum (Uy. Shinjang uyghur aptonom rayonluq muzéy, Ch. Xinjiang weiwu’er zizhiqu bowuguan) (Urumqi, Xinjiang, China). Archives in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) are notoriously difficult for foreign and local scholars to access. Ethnographic research in the region is often fraught with numerous roadblocks of both personal and institutional varieties. “The field”—anywhere in the world, and certainly in Xinjiang—often calls on researchers to be creative by constructing and pursuing research plans B–Z, plans that sometimes require searching for data and inspiration in...

Center for Khmer Studies Library, Cambodia

A review of the Center for Khmer Studies Library (Siem Reap, Cambodia). The Research Library of the Center for Khmer Studies (CKS) in Siem Reap, Cambodia is among the nation’s top educational and research resources for foreigners and nationals alike. The research library is open M-F 8:00am-12noon and 1:30pm-5:30pm, as well as Saturday from 8am to 12noon. Since general information regarding the library is frequently published in the Center for Khmer Studies Newsletter, which is available on the center website (http://khmerstudies.org/), this review is more concerned with some overlooked details of the collections at the research library....

Historical Archives of Goa

A review of the Historical Archives of Goa (Panaji, Goa).  The Historical Archives of Goa is one of the greatest repositories of documents relating to Portuguese expansion in Asia and Africa during the last 500 years with a particular relevance to those interested in Indo-Portuguese history. It also has the advantage of being located in one of the more pleasant cities to visit in India. The primary archival holdings are housed in the Directorate of Archives and Archaeology building along the Rua de Ourem in Mala, Panaji, adjacent to the Bhandare Hospital. Any rickshaw driver will likely know the location, or one can take a short 10 or 15...

Accessing Primary Documents in China

Accessing Primary Documents in China Familiarizing oneself with the particularities of a certain archive is helpful for any researcher preparing to conduct in-country research. But as most scholars who have conducted primary research in China can attest, negotiating access to the archive is just as integral to planning the research trip. When I embarked on my dissertation field and archival work in China, I had a list of library collections, archives, and informants in the art world pertinent to my study, which focuses on the relationship between sculpture and new public spaces after the Chinese Communist Party assumed power in 1949. I was...

Literary Archives at the University of Guyana

A review of the literary archives of the Rare Books Collection and Caribbean Research Library at the University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana. In August of this year, I had the pleasure of staying in Georgetown, Guyana. The trip was a combination of the professional and personal (to paraphrase Stuart Hall, we are all ‘placed’, and the heart has its reasons). During my brief stay, I was lucky enough to catch the memorial lecture held in honour of Guyana’s treasured poet, Martin Carter, perhaps best known for his poem “I come from the nigger yard”: Leaping from the oppressor’s hate and the scorn of myself I come to the...

Dar al-Kutub Manuscript Collections, Cairo

A review of the manuscript collections viewable at the Bab al-Khalq branch of Dar al-Kutub wa-al-Wathaʾiq al-Qawmiyya (Egyptian National Library and Archives), Cairo, Egypt. Bab al-Khalq Square, Cairo, Egypt Tel: +20 2393-8656; 2391-7843; 2391-7825 Fax: +20 2393-8759 www.darelkotob.gov.eg (functions sporadically) Bab al-Khalq Reading Room hours: Sunday – Thursday, 9 am to 4:45 pm Closed Fridays, Saturdays, and national holidays. The Egyptian National Library and Archives in Cairo makes available extensive holdings of printed books, serials, coins, papyri, documents, and other collections of interest to researchers; however, in this review...

5 Archives on the Modern Metaphysical

5 Archives in which to explore the Modern Metaphysical Increasingly, scholars have been exploring the modern metaphysical — what has been considered on the fringes of human interests but (as these scholars have shown) actually constitute a significant part of people’s lives, past and present. The study has been propelled by documentation left behind by the historical actors who have studied and pursued the metaphysical — heterodox religions such as occultism, Spiritualism, and Theosophy, and controversial sciences such as psychical research and parapsychology. Here, I will review five archives that provide excellent entries into the...

Guomindang Party Archives (Taiwan)

A Review of the Guomindang Party Archives (中國國民黨黨史館) (Taipei, Taiwan). The Guomindang Party Archives originally operated within the former Guomindang Central Party Headquarters on Chung-shan South Road, opposite the Presidential Office in Taipei. The Chung-shan South Road site was sold to the Chang Yung-fa Foundation in 2006 and the Party moved its headquarters to the present location at Ba-de Road Section 2 (八德路二段). It was not until late 2012 that the archives began relocating to the Ba-de Road site. Because of the laborious and time-consuming process of moving, reorganizing, and re-shelving the entire collections,...

Museum of Church History, Taiwan

A Review of Tainan Chang Jung Senior High School, Museum of Church History (臺南長榮高級中學教會史料館), Tainan, Taiwan. Those working in the field of Christian missionary movements in Taiwan will perhaps have heard of the Museum of Church History housed in the Tainan Chang Jung Senior High School. The school was originally founded as Tainan Presbyterian Middle School in 1885 by missionaries of the English Presbyterian Mission (EPM). In 1950, the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan, which was established with the help of the EPM, started collecting and preserving their historical materials such as lists of baptized congregations,...

Russian State Historical Archive of the Far East

Navigating Northeast Asia in Vladivostok: A Review of the Russian State Historical Archive of the Far East (Российский Государственный Исторический Архив Дальнего Востока), Vladivostok, Russia The Russian State Historical Archive of the Far East (RGIA DV) is a treasure trove for historians of Northeast Asia and the Russian Far East. But preparation, perseverance, and patience are needed. The archive is located in Vladivostok, which was founded in 1859 as the eastern outpost of the tsarist state and became a military and administrative center for the region. The vast majority of the...

Institute of Experimental Medicine, St Petersburg

A review of The Institute of Experimental Medicine (Научно-исследовательный институт экспериментальной медицины) (St. Petersburg). In November of last year, I had the opportunity to visit a small but well-equipped research institute in St. Petersburg, the Institute of Experimental Medicine. Formerly known as the Imperial Institute of Experimental Medicine, the medical center was built in 1890 by a distant relative of the Tsar, Prince Aleksandr Oldenburgskii, in response to a series of devastating cholera epidemics in the Russian Empire and rumors of an outbreak of plague in China. The...

Federal Archives at Berlin-Lichterfelde

A review of the Federal Archives – Berlin-Lichterfelde (Bundesarchiv, Berlin-Lichterfelde), Berlin, Germany. The Federal Archives are the largest public archives in Germany and are made up of nine different branches. Two branches, the Federal Film Archives (see review by Kristen Ehrenberger) and the Federal Archives Berlin-Lichterfelde, are located in Berlin. During a longer research trip to Berlin in June and July 2013 I spent two weeks at the Federal Archives Berlin-Lichterfelde. These archives are the biggest of the several branches of the Federal Archives and hold files that go back as far as the year 1495. However, the main...

History of Advertising Trust Archives UK

A review of the History of Advertising Trust Archives, Raveningham, Norfolk, United Kingdom. In March 2013, I spent a couple of days looking at books and marketing material relating to everyday chemical products used in the home. I was interested in the archives that History of Advertising Trust (HAT) holds relating to Thawpit, a carbon tetrachloride preparation used as a dry cleaning chemical, and for some household disinfectants and bleaches made by Reckitts. I wanted to write this review because whenever I have mentioned the HAT to other researchers working on British domestic life, brands, consumers or business histories, they have never...

Political Archive of the German Foreign Office

A review of the Political Archive of the German Foreign Office (Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amtes), Berlin, Germany. In July 2013 I spent three weeks at the archives of the German Foreign Office in Berlin — officially called “The Political Archive” — to collect materials for my dissertation on German banking in late Qing and early Republican China (see the archive’s webpage in German and in English). While I was mainly interested in the files on Sino-German relations, the archives with their large collection of foreign office records, German embassy and consular files and private papers of former diplomats are of...

National Security Archive, Washington DC

A review of the National Security Archive, Washington DC, United States of America. On January 19, 1989, a lawsuit was filed against the Executive Office of the President of the United States and the National Security Council, seeking the preservation of electronic messages created during the Reagan administration through IBM PROFS (Professional Office System). The emails saved in backup tapes included messages from Oliver North concerning the Iran-Contra scandal, among other emails from the NSC. The electronic messages were successfully preserved. One of the plaintiffs was the National Security Archive, a non-governmental research...

Digitization of Canadian Photographs Collection at...

Digital Collaborations: Taking a Collection Online This review takes a slightly different angle from some of its predecessors in this section, embarking on a review of one part of the digital domain. The British Library is already famed for its physical collections (some of which have been reviewed before here: http://dissertationreviews.org/archives/3487) but as of April 2013, it is responsible not only for collecting the print published output of the UK but also the UK’s digital publishing, meaning that the horizons of the Library and its collections increasingly open up beyond the reading rooms and into the digital domain...

Central State Archive of the Republic of Kazakhsta...

A review of the Central State Archive of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Центральный государственный архив Республики Казахстан / Қазақстан Республикасы Орталық мемлекеттік мұрағаты), Almaty, Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan’s Central State Archive (TsGARK) is the largest archive in the country, and essential to any researcher working on Kazakh history. With almost two million dela, the archive mainly covers the Soviet and pre-revolutionary periods, and has particularly strong holdings relating to nineteenth-century imperial administration, thanks in part to...