Cambridge Archive Editions is a unique collection of collated diplomatic papers copied from the international archives at Kew in London. We are delighted to announce, it is now available as an online collection.

It was originally created by a small team of people from a company called Archive Editions who set out to obtain and edit materials on the development and British involvement in certain regions in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the Arab League and Israel. It also includes a smaller body of documents from the Far East, including an archive of papers covering Hong Kong from 1841 – 1941 and political reports from China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. There are political reports on the Soviet Union from 1917 – 1970. The discovery and exploitation of oil in Eastern Europe also features, as well as the development of Armenia, the Balkan states and how their boundaries were fixed; and the political diaries of diplomats stationed in Yugoslavia from 1918 – 1965. Archive Editions produced the reports as high-quality print facsimiles in beautifully-bound volumes for sale to libraries. The company was acquired by Cambridge University Press in 2009 and its editorial team retained as Press employees. The collection is being digitised this year.

 

When the digitisation process is complete, more than 120 titles will be available. The print collection will have been replicated completely, in PDF format. Because of the delicacy of the material, it is not possible to reproduce it in XML format, but the metadata will be structured in XML to make it completely discoverable and searchable, to reflect the very high standard of curation and editorial comment achieved by the original research team. CUP will then be able to make it accessible worldwide. The collection has attracted a massive amount of interest from both academics and governments. The material that it contains is extremely relevant today: for example, it can be used for mediating boundary disputes. All of the collections are significant, but the papers relating to the Middle East are indispensable for anyone studying the region or engaged in political or commercial activity there. They include some beautiful maps. Nor are they merely dry-as-dust papers compiled in officialese: for example, handwritten marginalia by famous historical characters such as Sir Winston Churchill, often expressing robust opinions about the topics in question, bring them to life.

 

CUP has partnered with Eastview in order to digitise the collection swiftly and to a very high standard. Eastview, a company based in the USA, specialises in this kind of project and has a non-destructive scanning facility on-site. The sales representation is being shared by the Eastview and CUP sales teams. CUP will lead in most markets, but Eastview has a strong presence in some corporate markets, parts of the Russian Federation and some parts of the USA and will concentrate on these areas.

 

120 volumes from the collection will be available by the end of this year. Eventually there will be more than 1,000 volumes, consisting of approximately 700,000 pages. Libraries will be able to select their own collections from the corpus. Each title will be assigned MARC records. The online pricing model is outright purchase, charged at 110% of the print price.

Chris Bennett, Global Sales Director at CUP, says of the Cambridge Archive Editions initiative:

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Eastview to bring this important collection online. I’m personally very excited by the range and quality of the material we are able to offer. It is extremely relevant to what is happening in the world today. We’re looking forward to making it available to scholars and governments worldwide.”

If you would like to trial the first tranche of Cambridge Archive Editions, please contact your account manager or e-mail online@cambridge.org if you are based in the Americas, or library.sales@cambridge.org if you’re based elsewhere.

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