Programme of the training course at Arewa House, Kaduna (Nigeria)

24 – 28 July 2017

In cooperation with The Islamic Manuscript Association (TIMA) and the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC), University of Hamburg


  • Michaelle Biddle, Wesleyan University Library
  • Dmitry Bondarev, University of Hamburg, CSMC
  • Stefanie Brinkmann, University of Hamburg, CSMC, TIMA
  • Nikolay Dobronravin, St. Petersburg University, CSMC


24 – 25 July 2017 Conservation & Preservation

26 – 28 July 2017 Cataloguing


24 July 2017, Monday: Preservation

9:00 – 13:00, 14:00 – 17:00 Lectures & practical exercises

❖ Historical papermaking; introduction to inks used in Nigerian manuscripts.

❖ Sources of deterioration to paper materials paper substrate: biological infestation, structural damage; adhesive damage; planar damage; surface damage; surface soiling; media – inks and pigments.

❖ Preventive conservation measures: environmental control, dry cleaning, boxing.

❖ Prioritizing preservation needs: Impact; feasibility; urgency; use; storage; condition, value; preservation format.

❖ Preservation responsibilities – material care and materials science: evidence and information, storage of evidence and access to information, preservation strategies and tactics.

❖ Integrated Pest Management (IPM): manuscript pests; what do pests eat; habits and breeding habits; routes of entry; climate; water sources; food sources; storage conditions; IPM Strategies; housekeeping; incoming collections; pest monitoring; chemical treatments; non-chemical treatments; advantages to IPM; disadvantages to IPM.

❖ Care and handling: how to handle manuscripts, how to make provisional envelopes for protecting the items, how to choose the right paper/cardboard.

❖ Handling paper artefacts – General Do’s and Don’ts.

❖ In the reading room: what should be allowed when consulting manuscripts and what not?

❖ First emergency actions (in case of water, moulds, insects).

❖ Practical demonstration about making boxes/envelopes – participants’ hands-on workshop in afternoon.

25 July 2017, Tuesday: Conservation

9:00 – 13:00, 14:00 – 17:00 Lectures & practical exercises

❖ Theoretical approach to conservation treatments.

❖ Priority setting between preservation/conservation.

❖ Hand-made conservation treatments vs. machines for “automatic” conservation.

❖ Conservation and preservation of manuscripts in Northern Nigeria: Step by step conservation methods; cleaning; foldering; boxing; repairs of tears; when to repair; repairs of lacunae – infills and Klucel coated paper; types of repair papers; recording  conservation work.

❖ Mss conservation lab at Arewa House Kaduna: Variable speed control vacuum; CXD Vacuum pump for anoxic treatment of infested manuscripts.

26 July 2017, Wednesday: Cataloguing

9:00 – 13:00 Lectures & practical exercises

❖ Presentations of the participants and their collections

❖ Short presentation of material prepared for the workshop participants

❖ What is a manuscript?

❖ How to treat a manuscript when cataloguing

❖ Different types of cataloguing – general

❖ Different types of cataloguing – West African

❖ Practical consideration for a cataloguing project (detail of cataloguing, aim and infrastructure/staffing)

❖ Describing the manuscript: Physical description general and West African: Formats & writing material

❖ Describing the manuscript: Physical description general and West African: Layout & decoration

❖ Describing the manuscript: Script styles general and West African

14:00 – 17:00 Practical exercises

27 July 2017, Thursday: Cataloguing

9:00 – 13:00 Lectures & practical exercises

❖ Standards and authority files: Name variants

❖ Reference works

❖ Standards: Transcription

❖ Title & author: Where to find them and possibilities to identify them

❖ Incipit & Explicit

❖ Colophon

❖ Dating a manuscript: problems and solutions

❖ Multi-Text-Manuscripts

14:00 – 17:00 Lecture & practical exercises

❖ Multi-lingual manuscripts / Ajami

❖ Identification of languages

28 July 2017, Friday: Cataloguing

9:00 – 13:00 Lecture & practical exercises

❖ Paratexts: Defining the term

❖ Paratexts: Readers & owners / ijāzāt & samāʽāt

❖ Paratexts: Glosses & commentaries

❖ Online cataloguing versus print catalogues

❖ Discussion on different cataloguing templates and their usefulness for the

collections of the participants

14:00 – 17:00 Presentation of cataloguing strategies

❖ Presentation of proposals by the participants for a cataloguing project for their


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