The UNO Libraries has made issues of the Afghan newspaper Kārawān, held in Archives and Special Collections, freely available online for access and download from DigitalCommons@UNO with the support of Fran and Will Irwin.
Kārawān was published by Sạbahuddin̄ Kushkaki in Kabul City, Afghanistan. The newspaper is part of the Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection in UNO Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections, one of the largest collections of material about Afghanistan in the U.S. Archives and Special Collections holds all but about 175 newspaper issues out of the over 1,200 issues of Kārawān that were published between September 23, 1968, and July 16, 1973. The newspaper’s publication coincided with the last years of the monarchy in Afghanistan and its overthrow in a military coup in July 1973 led by Mohammed Daoud Khan.
Funding to support the digitization and online access to issues of Kārawān was provided by the generous backing of Fran and Will Irwin. The Irwins’ interest in the issues of Kārawān at UNO Libraries began in 2017 and directly led to the start of the multi-year project. Initially working with now-emeritus professor Bob Nash, Special Collections and Rare Books Librarian, it became apparent that access to the complete run of issues was required. To make access possible over large geographic distances, a project to digitize the newspaper was initiated.
Under the supervision of former Digital Initiatives Librarian Yumi Ohira, student worker Ryan Diego digitized Kārawān in 2018-2019. Institutional Repository Coordinator Kate Ehrig-Page ensured the newspaper was made freely available online through DigitalCommons@UNO and continued to work with the Irwins. In 2020, with the continued support of the Irwins, the project was completed when Bezhan Muradi and Fazila Muradi created enhanced metadata for the newspaper to make it more usable to Persian and English readers.
In the past, the newspaper’s name, Kārawān, was transliterated into the English Caravan in accordance with Library of Congress cataloging standards. The metadata for each digitized issue now includes dates from both the Persian and Gregorian calendars. The expertise brought by the Muradis to the project enabled the creation of metadata that was more inclusive as well as and more accurately reflecting the culture in which the newspaper was published. The accessibility of the collection has already led to issues being downloaded around the world over 25,000 times since 2019.
As we complete this stage of the project, we look forward to the continued use and growth of the Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection.
UNO Libraries’ Archives & Special Collections obtains and preserves unique, rare, and specialized material. The collections are available for the university community and public at both the Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library and digital collections whenever possible.
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