Trust’s Archives goes online with its digital collections of letters
August 29, 2013
Starting today, the Trust’s Archives happily begins web access to its digital collections!
Since the Archives itself was “launched” by the Mandali in the mid-1990s, sharing has been an important responsibility hand-in hand with preservation. After creating facilities at Meherabad and Meherazad in which to work, we spent much of the ensuing years physically stabilising the tangible legacy that Baba has left us. This legacy includes His personal belongings, the documents kept by His secretaries, the still- and moving-image reproductions of His physical form, the audio recordings of His life’s story related by close ones, and the preservation care of the buildings and grounds where He lived and worked. This stabilising aspect of readying the collection for sharing is essential and was prioritised to prepare for responsible sharing.
Now, with the many technological advances which have become part of our everyday life, combined with the care taken in re- housing, scanning, and the beginning of indexing some of the hundreds of thousands of documents kept by Baba’s two secretaries, Chanji and Adi Sr., it is possible to provide all of you with the opportunity to look through an early section of this collection.
This is just the beginning of what we hope will be a many- faceted access to the items in the Archives that can be digitised. Several years ago, after careful research and testing, we chose an open-source software program called Collective Access and with it created a database that currently resides on a “cloud server.” Several thousand of the already digitised documents, mostly consisting of correspondence to and from Baba in the 1930s, have been uploaded to this database, and with the help of Archive volunteers, basic indexing has been assigned to an initial section of these, allowing for simple research access and browsing.
There were many, many steps in this process, which resulted in what you see on the digital website, and there is much more planned for the future to continue to enhance the site. But we are bursting at the seams to share it with you now – today – and not take a moment longer!
So what you see is a nearly raw form of what the Archive team has been seeing as each file, binder, box, trunk, etc., is opened and taken through the steps from re-housing to digital access. As we continue to develop other forms of access and presentation, we will update the website and keep you informed.
The link below will take you to the Archives section of the Trust website and the gateway page into the digital collection. There you can also read more about how the document collection is being archived and made ready for web access. As time permits, other types of collection items will also be added to the database and website, but for today please have a Baba-full visit to this unique legacy Meher Baba has left us!
Gateway page: http://ambppct.org/gateway.php
In His Love and Service,
The Avatar Meher Baba Trust Archives