7 January 2021
The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) have awarded the SOAS Library £922k for its Unlocking SOAS Collections Project as part of the government's World Class Labs funding scheme.
The grant will be used for improving the library’s environmental systems by upgrading the heating, ventilation and arc conditioning (HVAC) systems in its archives, manuscripts, museum objects and rare books stores.
The funding will transform the library’s access through digitisation and enhanced care of the collections that will enable the collections to be used in teaching and research in a meaningful way.
The Unlocking SOAS Collections is a three year programme of catalyst projects to enable deeper engagement, access, learning, teaching, research and outreach through a planned programme of digitisation, access, and preservation of the SOAS Collections to ensure their use for future generations to come.
Oliver Urquhart Irvine, Director of SOAS National Research Library and Director of Library, Research and Enterprise at SOAS said:
"Investment in infrastructure that underpins the preservation, access, and safe custody is vital for generations of researchers now and to come. We are delighted to have received this grant which will further SOAS's ambitions to transform access for the benefit of the world to its nationally and internationally significant collections for the study of Asia, Middle East and Africa."
SOAS Library is the UK's leading library for the study of Africa, Asian and the Middle East. It comprises 7 regional collections, 2 discipline-based research collections, a non-regional teaching collection, and Special Collections (archives, rare books and manuscripts).
Each of the regional and disciplinary research collections, the objects in the Brunei Gallery, as well as Special Collections, contain material that is of national and international significance to a range of researchers and which supports teaching and research across a range of academic disciplines.