Cataloguing Harari Sound Recordings

Hosted by the British Library

Closed for applications

This fellowship is an opportunity to work with the externally funded Endangered Archives Programme (EAP), administered by the British Library and supported by Arcadia. EAP is of international prominence in its mission to preserve social and cultural archival material that is in danger of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration.

Endangered Archives Programme (EAP)

Through an annual competition, EAP grants provide funding to enable successful applicants from all over the world to locate relevant endangered archival collections, to create digital copies of the material and to deposit the copies with local institutions and the British Library. To date, EAP has awarded over 400 grants in 90 countries, preserving collections across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania.

EAP has funded 10 projects in Ethiopia. This fellowship will focus on the sound project “Preservation of the audio recording collection in the Sherif Harar City Museum, Ethiopia” (EAP602). The digitised material, created from 225 cassettes and 80 reels, consists of rare music recordings from the 1970s and 80s. The recordings are songs in a variety of languages.

Project Scope

As they are at present only partially catalogued, the Library has so far not been able to make the digital surrogates of the original collection discoverable. The fellowship would help address this and ensure that the material can be made globally available for research and enjoyment. To complete this task, the fellow will be expected to liaise with the original project stakeholders as well as leading on outreach activities. Due to the variety of languages present in the collection, it is not expected that all entries will receive the same level of description. The copyright status of the recordings is not known, therefore the fellow should be willing to carry out research on the named performers to start the process of assessing the various rights within the collection.

The fellowship will sit within the Endangered Archives Programme, but will also work closely with staff in the Africa Section (Asian and African Collections) and in World and Traditional Music (Sound and Vision). There would be a strong research element to this fellowship, with the opportunity to write articles and present conference papers, both on the audio recordings from the Sherif Harar City Museum and on other material digitised through Ethiopic EAP projects.

Key Responsibilities

  • Listen to the sound recordings from the project ‘Preservation of the audio recording collection in the Sherif Harar City Museum, Ethiopia’ and, by using the fellow’s own experience and cultural understanding, meaningfully enhance the catalogue entries
  • Identify gaps within the metadata, liaising with the EAP team and relevant British Library curators to create an approach for improving the data entries
  • Play a leading role in the development and delivery of a community engagement event around the sound recordings
  • Be the main contact with the Sherif Harar City Museum for any queries regarding the content, permissions and copyright issues related to the sound recordings
  • Work cooperatively with curators and other relevant staff in the British Library as appropriate


  • Catalogue c. 50 carriers with missing metadata (a maximum of 800 tracks)
  • Check all catalogue entries (in the region of 3,600 entries) and add any missing metadata
  • Liaise with the Sherif Harar City Museum on copyright status of the material
  • Carry out a small research project on the performers listed within EAP602
  • Write at least two posts for the EAP blog

Candidate requirements


  • Be a citizen of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Somaliland, or Yemen and currently reside in country
  • Familiarity with archival material or library collections
  • Fluency in Harari and Amharic
  • Strong computer skills and familiarity with Excel spreadsheets
  • Excellent written and spoken English
  • Ability to work methodically, with attention to detail


  • Experience of cataloguing
  • Degree in a relevant subject (e.g. Languages, Musicology, or another subject in the Arts and Humanities)
  • A working knowledge of Arabic and/or Oromo
  • An interest in music from Ethiopia

Applications are closed

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