Digitising the endangered archives of Grenada (EAP295)
As of May 2013 Cathy Collins (EPA Grants Administrator @ Endangered Archives, The British Library, London, UK) wrote:
“I am afraid the results from this project are still being finalised so the records have not yet been catalogued or made available online. However, I am optimistic that the last few remaining queries should be sorted out without too much delay now.“
Project Outcome – four years on
Before this project, the material from Government House that had survived the 2004 hurricane had been deposited in the basement of the Office of the Governor-General but there was no index, or order to the material. In totally reconstructing this archive the project relied heavily on E. C. Baker’s A Guide to Records in the Windward Islands (1968). All our Government House material was cleaned, repaired, placed in chronological and thematic order and indexed.
Twelve volumes and files of Governor and Lieutenant-Governor’s correspondence were digitised covering the period 1764-1879. The Letter Books of the Administrator and Colonial Secretary were digitised as series P because these were far more fragmented than the Governor’s correspondence. Without an item-level index of material dating from before the 2004 hurricane (Ivan), series P material has been ordered chronologically and digitisation was focused on those works which were seen as the most fragile due to their age or unbound condition.
The material at the Supreme Court Registry was far better preserved than at Government House as it was relatively unaffected by Hurricane Ivan. Loose-leaf documents previously identified as connected to the eighteenth century French Deeds formed the initial focus of in situ digitisation in the Supreme Court Registry. Many of the bound volumes of French Deeds identified by the project required such extensive preservation and conservation work that their digitisation would have destroyed their physical structure. By stabilising their storage and digitising those materials in the Supreme Court Registry which were already fragmentary or fragile, the project was able to make a significant step towards its original aims.
Aside from preservation and restoration – THE most important aspect and concern for this endangered project is with the dititisation and immediate onine access and availablility of our historical records.
Digitisation has continued in the Supreme Court Registry on the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registers for St Georges and records related to Forfeited Estates, 1794-1802. During this time one Archival researcher employed by the project has attempted to clean, sort and order the French Deed bound volumes and unbound materials.
Most significantly copies of all digitised material have been deposited with the British Library. Further copies have been placed with the University of the West Indies, Grenada campus, and this is supposed to be made publically accessible through the new campus that is being constructed on the island. We will just have to hold our breath and wait.
Copies of all digitised material will also be deposited with our Grenada National Archives … when this is too is constructed.
I’m sorry to say that four years has now passed since the project took place and we still await physical access to this virtual data but as seem Grenada’s lot we must wait and see…
Keep up with the Archives News on our page “Grenada’s Endangered Archives” at http://www.facebook.com/groups/158188037685838/
“The Library will be reopened at a new location, in the National Stadium, as the previous building (on the Carenage) is in need of extreme structural repair. Regular operation is projected to begin early in the New Year. Opening hours and policies are expected to remain the same.”