Sources guide in the making
Both in Belgium and abroad, the records and other sources regarding Congo Free State, Belgian Congo and Rwanda-Urundi are very much dispersed. Consequently, researchers have to face heterogeneous rules with regard to accessing and using these records, and the sources are only known to a part of the scientific community. Apart from a few publications (see ‘Further reading’) there are no general research tools available that could guide researchers in this area of expertise. In order to remedy this shortcoming, the National Archives and the Royal Museum for Central Africa have joined forces to publish a “Guide to the archives on the colonial history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Burundi, 19th-20th century.”
Project collaborators Lien Ceûppens (National Archives) and Laure d’Ursel (RMCA) have been working since February 2009 on the archives guide that provides answers in a user-friendly manner to the questions asked by researchers. By means of a functional structure, the guide provides an overview of existing sources and their archive producers in Belgium and abroad. The aim is to simplify exchanges of finding aids on research data about Central Africa. In this context, archives of the Belgian government, of the Ministries for Foreign Affairs, Colonies and Defence, of public institutions, private individuals, religious institutions and organisations –including numerous missions – but also international institutions such as the League of Nations, the United Nations and international non-governmental organisations such as the International Red Cross and Oxfam come to mind. The guide is intended to have a(n) (inter)national orientation and to enable comparative and/or thematic research. The publication is scheduled for the end of 2012, in print and digital format.
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