Funding Awarded for the ACOR Library Photographic Archive

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ACOR is delighted to announce that it recently received new funding from the U.S. Department of Education through the competitive American Overseas Research Centers grant program.  The new grant will support the ACOR Library Photographic Archive with an award of $260,000 that will be dispersed over a four-year period.  ACOR Associate Director Dr. Glenn Corbett and ACOR Head Librarian Humi Al-Ayoubi will oversee this new project.

The ACOR Library holds a remarkable photographic archive. The complete collection, estimated to number more than 100,000 images, provides visual documentation of ACOR’s presence and activities in Jordan. The collection includes the photo collections and slides of the five directors who have served the institution since 1975, as well as the prints, slides, negatives, and digital images of several archaeologists, journalists, travelers, and photographers who have donated their personal collections to ACOR over the years.

From the photo archive of Dr. Bert de Vries (ACOR Director 1988-1991) showing before (left) and after (right) restoration work undertaken by Ammar Khammash at the Resthouse at the site of Um Qais in northern Jordan—funded by USAID, implemented by ACOR, and inaugurated in September 1991

Senior Archivist Diane Ryan will advise the ACOR Library as they develop a strategic four-year workplan for processing, digitizing, and making available online ACOR’s major photographic collections according to professional archival standards and best practices. Diane Ryan is an American librarian and archivist with more than 30 years’ experience in archival processing and digitization, including serving as a consulting archivist for ACOR in 2012. She has also been senior archivist for several federally and internationally funded initiatives, including the NEH project to process and digitize special collection holdings of the American Research Institute in Turkey.

These photographs from ACOR’s holdings will be a resource for scholars involved in cultural and natural heritage preservation and management.  In 2017 ACOR will begin to make high quality scans of these photographs freely available online, and in this way the ACOR Library will better equip American, Jordanian, and international researchers and policy makers to monitor and assess the numerous threats facing heritage sites in the Middle East and especially Jordan. The project will also help ACOR establish best practices for processing and digitizing its other, larger collections of photographic and archival records, particularly those related to official archaeological project documentation.