Sunday, August 18, 2013

Archiving Egypt's revolution: the University on the Square #wlic2013

Today at the IFLA World library and Information Conference in Singapore I attended a session called Librarians and social movements: a force for change (organised by the IFLA Social Sciences Section)
Steve Urgola (the American University in Cairo Library) talked about Archiving Egypt's revolution: the University on the Square. The university is physically situated at the heart of revolutionary activities and efforts started with documenting January 25 2011 revolutionary moment and has continued onwards. They have collected images, videos, artefacts (e.g. banners), flyers and posters, and also original oral history by interviewing a range of people involved in different ways. Steve said that whilst social media were a good way of seeking and collecting material to begin with, increasingly they need to use personal contacts, as fewer images etc. were contibuted online (e.g. because of disillusion with the revolution). When they interviewed someone, they would ask for more recommendations for personal contacts. They have made an effort to collect material refleecting different perspectives e.g. pro and anti Mubarak. Although it was known as a social media revolution, Steve noted that in fact traditional means of communication was very important (print leaflets, banners etc.) Steve also mentioned other types of archiving projects e.g. iwasintahrir (pictured) and 18daysinegypt.
The Univeristy on the Square project website is here: and their digital library, which includes project materials is at
His full paper can be found at

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