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Timbuktu Update – Blog – Tombouctou Manuscripts Project

Timbuktu Update – Blog – Tombouctou Manuscripts Project | The Information Professional | Scoop.it


(http://www.tombouctoumanuscripts.org)
Huma (Institute for humanities in Africa)
University of Cape Town

Since the start of this week there are reports about the destruction of library buildings and book collections in Timbuktu. It sounds as if the written heritage of the town went up in flames. According to our information this is not the case at all. The custodians of the libraries worked quietly throughout the rebel occupation of Timbuktu to ensure the safety of their materials. A limited number of items have been damaged or stolen, the infrastructure neglected and furnishings in the Ahmad Baba Institute library looted but from all our local sources – all intimately connected with the public and private collections in the town - there was no malicious destruction of any library or collection.

Karen du Toit's insight:

Luckily it seems that most have been saved by the hard work of the custodians of the collections!

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Timbuktu mayor: Mali rebels torched library of historic manuscripts

Timbuktu mayor: Mali rebels torched library of historic manuscripts | The Information Professional | Scoop.it

Islamist insurgents retreating from Timbuktu set fire to a library containing thousands of priceless historic manuscripts, according to the Saharan town's mayor, in an incident he described as a "devastating blow" to world heritage.

Hallé Ousmani Cissé told the Guardian that al-Qaida-allied fighters on Saturday torched two buildings that held the manuscripts, some of which dated back to the 13th century. They also burned down the town hall, the governor's office and an MP's residence, and shot dead a man who was celebrating the arrival of the French military.

 

The manuscripts were held in two separate locations: an ageing library and a new South African-funded research centre, the Ahmad Babu Institute, less than a mile away. Completed in 2009 and named after a 17th-century Timbuktu scholar, the centre used state-of-the-art techniques to study and conserve the crumbling scrolls.

Both buildings were burned down, according to the mayor, who said the information came from an informer who had just left the town. Asked whether any of the manuscripts might have survived, Cissé replied: "I don't know."

Karen du Toit's insight:

Terrible news! Hope they would be able to recover some!

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Vatican's Library begins to Digitize 80000 of Its Manuscripts With ...

The library is taking a giant leap to the web. By using NASA technology, it's planning on scanning 80000 of its manuscripts. The technology used is called FITS, which stands for Flexible Image Transport System.
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ONLINE EXHIBITION - Ancient Manuscripts from the Desert Libraries of Timbuktu, Library of Congress

ONLINE EXHIBITION - Ancient Manuscripts from the Desert Libraries of Timbuktu, Library of Congress | The Information Professional | Scoop.it

...Timbuktu's most famous and long-lasting contribution to Islamic and world civilization is the scholarship practiced there. By at least the fourteenth century, important books were written and copied there, establishing the city as the center of a significant written tradition in Africa.

These ancient manuscripts cover every aspect of human endeavor. The manuscripts are indicative of the high level of civilization attained by West Africans during the Middle Ages and provide irrefutable proof of a powerful African literary tradition. Scholars in the fields of Islamic Studies and African Studies believe that analysis of these texts will cause Islamic, West African, and World History to be reevaluated. These manuscripts, surviving from as long ago as the fourteenth century, are remarkable artifacts important to Malian and West African culture. The exhibited manuscripts date from the sixteenth to eighteenth century.

The manuscripts on view are from the Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library and the Library of Cheick Zayni Baye of Boujbeha, two of the most noteworthy institutions in the Timbuktu area. As part of its continuing effort to create a universal collection of recorded knowledge from all geographic areas and all historical eras, the Library of Congress is particularly proud to have the opportunity to exhibit these important cultural artifacts from Mali. The Library is also pleased that copies of these manuscripts will be deposited in its collections and will be available for use by researchers and scholars.

Karen du Toit's insight:

Not sure if these manuscripts also included in those being burned and looted (?), but an indication of the magnificence of these collections!

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Timbuktu librarians protect manuscripts from rebels - Chicago Tribune

Timbuktu librarians protect manuscripts from rebels - Chicago Tribune | The Information Professional | Scoop.it

By Pascal Fletcher

INTERVIEW-

"- Timbuktu librarians protect manuscripts from rebels > Chicago Tribune

- Fabled desert trading town houses "treasure of learning" 

- Priceless texts being hidden away in rebel-held area 

- Fears that illiterate footsoldiers may loot, steal"

 

"JOHANNESBURG, April 10 (Reuters) - Malian scholars,
librarians and ordinary citizens in the rebel-occupied city of
Timbuktu are hiding away priceless ancient manuscripts to
prevent them from being damaged or looted, a South African
academic in contact with them said.

Cape Town University's Professor Shamil Jeppie said he was
in daily contact with curators and private owners safeguarding
tens of thousands of historic texts in Timbuktu, the fabled
desert trading town and seat of Islamic learning overrun by
Tuareg-led rebels on April 1."

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