University News

UCLA Library launches international initiative to save at-risk cultural heritage materials

Charitable fund Arcadia gives $5.5 million to support Documenting Global Voices

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The UCLA Library has launched Documenting Global Voices with a $5.5 million grant from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. This ambitious new international initiative will preserve at-risk cultural heritage materials and make them publicly available online on a UCLA-hosted website.

Through Documenting Global Voices, the library will award grants to archives and cultural heritage organizations around the world. The program will focus on regions with limited capacity for preservation and where archival materials may be in danger of being lost.

“Arcadia’s visionary funding for Documenting Global Voices enables the library to directly support UCLA’s mission to create, disseminate, preserve and apply knowledge for the betterment of our global society,” said Ginny Steel, Norman and Armena Powell University Librarian. “We are deeply grateful to Arcadia not only for this gift but for its exemplary leadership in preserving cultural heritage and promoting open access.”

Documenting Global Voices complements the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme, also funded by Arcadia, which provides grants to preserve materials from the pre-industrial era. The new initiative’s contents will include rare and unique materials of historical, cultural and social significance dating from post-industrialization to the present.

“Modern history is often recorded in fragile and ephemeral sources, including born-digital materials. If they are not preserved and accessible, modern history writing will be limited to official narratives, eliminating dissenting voices. This program allows scholars, archivists and activists worldwide to protect and preserve at-risk modern archives that may otherwise disappear,” said Baldwin, co-founder and chairman of Arcadia.

Further information about this new initiative is available on the Documenting Global Voices website. The first call for proposals opens December 1, 2018.

This project continues the partnership between the UCLA Library and Arcadia, which share a steadfast dedication to making recorded history freely and openly available. Arcadia’s support of the library includes gifts to develop the International Digital Ephemera Project, an initiative to digitize, preserve and provide public access to materials produced worldwide; publish open access monographs; and digitize and make openly accessible rare and unique manuscripts held by St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai.

Founded by Rausing and Baldwin, professor of history at UCLA, Arcadia supports charities and scholarly institutions to preserve cultural heritage, protect the environment, and promote open access. Since 2002, Arcadia has awarded more than $500 million in grants to projects around the world.

The grant is part of the UCLA Centennial Campaign, which is scheduled to conclude in December 2019 during UCLA’s 100th anniversary year.

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