Arcadia Funds UCLA Collection of Middle East Media

The University of California at Los Angeles Library has announced a gift from the Arcadia Fund of $3.4-million to help it to preserve “ephemeral media” including a wide range of media artifacts that are serving to capture the rapidly evolving political changes in the Middle East.

The new International Digitizing Ephemera Project’s goal is to gather, digitally preserve, and make publicly accessible the kinds of media products that increasingly serve to note historically important occurrences – print items, images, multimedia, and social networking items such as Facebook posts, Twitter feeds, smart phone photos, and other informal ephemeral media.

During the five-year project, UCLA librarians will collect resources produced in the Middle East, organize them, and make them available as primary sources for students and scholars. UCLA will collaborate with three international partners including the National Library of Israel (NLI) and two others yet to be chosen.

UCLA librarians say they will offer the project as a model for collaborative international preservation and access activities. The UCLA Library hopes to expand it to eastern Africa, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and Central America, where researchers rely on ephemeral primary sources because traditional documentation of events and communities is lacking.

The Arcadia Fund, which has made several major grants to the UCLA library system, is a British foundation dedicated to preservation of cultural knowledge and materials, and to environmental conservation. Its causes include preserving near-extinct languages, rare historical archives, museum-quality artifacts, and protecting threatened ecosystems and environments.

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