Libraries Receive $1.2 Million Grant to Preserve Record of Human Rights Violations, Genocide

July 16, 2008

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas Libraries have received a $1.2 million grant from The Bridgeway Foundation to collect and preserve in digital form the fragile record of genocide and human rights conflicts worldwide.

The Bridgeway Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bridgeway Capital Management, Inc., in Houston, has taken an active role in combating oppression, genocide and human rights violations.

Christian Kelleher and Fred Heath walk with students to a memorial event for the Rwandan genocide

Benson Latin American Collection archivist Christian Kelleher and Vice Provost Dr. Fred Heath walk with students to a memorial event for the Rwandan genocide.Photo: Lawrie Boarer

Through service to international human rights scholars, activists and students the University of Texas Libraries identified a need to preserve and make accessible the historical record of genocide and human rights violations, a necessity the Bridgeway Foundation also discovered through its philanthropic work.

"There is a very real danger that fragile primary resources documenting actors and actions in human rights conflicts around the world will be destroyed by environmental or human attack," said Fred Heath, vice provost for university libraries at The University of Texas at Austin. "This generous grant will help the University of Texas Libraries make giant strides toward locating those resources, preserving them as evidence and memorial and making them available to conflict survivors, scholars, activists and students of human rights for generations to come.

"As the institution primarily charged with maintaining the foundational resources for research and study at the university, we are honored to be charged with a trust of information vital to understanding of this devastating socio-political phenomenon. At a time when the library as a traditional model is seeking to corral and restructure the deluge of information available through new technologies, this unique resource will provide insight into an often misunderstood aspect of global politics."

The project's strategy begins with the collection and cataloging of fragile or transient Web sites of human rights advocacy and genocide watch. The Internet is a primary avenue for information and misinformation on human rights conflict, and for organizations and individuals alike to document what is occurring. The University of Texas Libraries will identify, organize and preserve these records. Audio and video documentation, formats that are especially endangered, will form another core of the Libraries' digital preservation programming.

About 3,000 high school students march to a memorial event for the Rwandan genocide at the Kigali Memorial Centre

About 3,000 high school students march to a memorial event for the Rwandan genocide at the Kigali Memorial Centre.Photo: Lawrie Boarer

The University of Texas Libraries initiated its efforts through a partnership with the Kigali Memorial Centre (KMC), which was established and is administered by the Aegis Trust (UK) in cooperation with the Kigali City Council to document and memorialize the victims of the Rwandan genocide. Records of the genocide from the Kigali Memorial Centre, including survivor testimonies and local court recordings, will be digitized by the university and preserved in the University Libraries' digital repository.

With the KMC, the University Libraries will design secure storage and access tools for these unique primary resources. A similar project is also under way to preserve and provide digital access to deteriorating recordings of historical broadcasts from a clandestine radio station in El Salvador during that country's civil war.

The University of Texas Libraries, among the largest research libraries in the world, is distinguished by the depth and diversity of its collections and by its expertise in digital access and preservation.

About the University of Texas Libraries

The University of Texas Libraries is ranked among the top 10 academic research libraries in the United States. The collections of the University of Texas Libraries are the result of more than a century of commitment by librarians, faculty, students and private donors to build one of the great library collections of the world. Containing more than nine million volumes and providing access to the latest electronic research materials, the library collects the products of human knowledge in all formats.

About Bridgeway Capital Management, Inc., and the Bridgeway Foundation

Bridgeway Capital Management, Inc. is a Houston-based investment management firm founded in 1993. Bridgeway offers mutual funds, separate account management and sub-advisory services to retail and institutional investors. Among the numerous ways Bridgeway seeks to differentiate itself in the marketplace is its commitment to donate 50 percent of its investment advisory fee profits to charitable and non-profit organizations. The firm's charitable arm, Bridgeway Foundation, is a catalyst for hope and reconciliation throughout the world, working towards the prevention of oppression, genocide and human rights violations.

For more information, contact: Travis Willmann, University of Texas Libraries, 512 495 4644.