The Avatar Meher Baba Trust Archives at Meherabad is happy to announce that dynamic web access to its digitised materials has been launched. We are beginning to upload documents which have been digitised and they are being made available in individual, indexed format.
This gateway into the Trust’s Archives has been some years in the making:
In 1998 a pilot project to begin the rehousing of the written materials collections was carried out. Archival acid-free enclosures were obtained and a team of more than twenty volunteers were trained in the special handling techniques. Over the course of 3 months (during which 3 shelves of more than twenty thousand individual sheets of paper were transformed into 3 cupboards-full of neatly boxed and rehoused materials) it became clear that this was a very long range project which would require many helpful hands and hearts.
Over the following several years the Archive team’s efforts were mostly directed towards the construction, equipping and developing the functional aspects of Manzil-e-Meher, the Trust’s main archival facility at Meherabad. During this time paper document digitising (by scanner and camera) was carried out on only an as-required (for particular projects) basis. Much of the results of these efforts have been made available via both Heart Talk and the Archives section of the Trust’s website.
By the mid 2000’s, once we had reached a smooth-running day-to-day operational basis, it became possible to return more focus towards collections and their sharing, which for paper materials meant regular sessions for rehousing and scanning.
In the ensuing recent years thousands of individual sheets of paper from the large collection of files kept by Baba’s secretaries (both F.H. Dadachanji and Adi K. Irani, Sr.) have been rehoused and tens of thousands of the earlier rehoused pages have been scanned. Concurrently a much more time-consuming project to record details about each document (for example with a letter – the writer, the recipient, the date and place written) was initiated and a section of these have been indexed and made available for web viewing.
Over the past two years work was commenced to acquire and develop software which would allow the Archives to maintain a server-based database of these documents which could then function as the repository from which our website would allow public access to the digitised collections.
And so, in Baba’s perfect timing, the time has at last arrived to allow each and everyone of His lovers and those who wish to know more about Him, direct access to these materials. Imagine you are accompanying an archivist into the document collection room at Manzil-e-Meher and retrieving the first few boxes of rehoused documents and one by one opening the enclosed folders to view the earliest documents in Baba’s secretary’s files.