This phase was the announcement of the existence and purposes of the Indiana University Liberian Collections. At this stage, the Indiana University Liberian Collections (IULC) organized and indexed the collections and made selected inventory lists available in text-searchable formats. IULC collects e-mail addresses of interested users and potential depositors, and set the procedures for use of the collections and donations.
It consists of publishing finding aids to the Internet using EAD-coded documents. File and site search tools will be enhanced. At this stage, users visiting the website will be able to access specific and detailed information about the collections, then, visit the Archives of Traditional Music at Indiana University to conduct research on the collections.
This phase marks the addition of digitized documents, audio, and video files to the web site. [See DLP's (Digital Library Project) web site at IU.] Further, the materials will be repatriated back to Liberian governmental and educational institutions in the form of CDs.
Our commitment to the IU Liberian Collections is long term. Our ultimate vision is for the IU Liberian Collections to grow into an Institute for Liberian Studies where Liberian history, politics, anthropology, arts, civil war and peace studies, missiology, and other areas are studied based on the materials already in hand as well as those deposits anticipated in the future.
Digitizing the Documents
In addition to preserving and cataloging the Liberian materials, we intend to scan the Liberian Government Archives, an important subset of the Holsoe Collection, for digital preservation as well as access via the Internet and CD, similar to the IU Digital Library Project. In order to initiate this part of the project, Dr. Holsoe, donor of the primary collection and member of the Advisory Board, made several very generous contributions to the IU Foundation's Friends of the Liberian Collections account for operating expenses (acid-free materials, work-study students, office supplies & equipment) while we seek additional supporting funds.
Ultimately, copies of these materials will be returned in the form of CDs to Liberia at the end of its civil unrest, both to its governmental and educational institutions. The Holsoe Collection's Liberian Government Archives are only microfilms, photocopies, and typescripts of the original materials, because most of the originals were destroyed or dispersed during the past two decades of civil strife. These copies of land records, treaties, presidential and agency correspondence, dating back to the early nineteenth century will be invaluable to re-establishing legal, historical, and cultural links with the past. Dr. Amos Sawyer, past Interim President of Liberia and a member of the Advisory Board sees a major function of the IU Liberian Collections as helping to "reassemble the intellectual heritage of Liberia in its eventual reconstruction effort" by restoring these records to the country.
Future Collaborations in Liberia and the United States
The IU Liberian Collections intends to collaborate with Liberian educational institutions, especially Cuttington College and University of Liberia, and possibly the Liberian Ministry of Education if the situation were to stabilize.
Further, the Collections anticipate a collaboration with the IU/UM/Mellon Foundation Ethnomusicology Digital Archives Project to utilize the Liberian materials as both principal investigators, Dr. Ruth Stone (IU) and Dr. Lester Monts (UM) are Advisory Board members and ethnomusicologists specializing in Liberia.