EBHRC acts as a repository for primary documents including: oral records, transcripts, private papers, newspaper clippings. The major part of our collection is made up of oral records and transcripts. The transcripts that are available for researchers are those that we have obtained a legal clearance from the interviewee to share with researchers and the public. We continue to expand our activities in order to compile a primary repository of material related to the economic and business history of Egypt.
Oral History Projects
Since EBHRC’s inception, Oral History has been the principal source from which it attempts to uncover aspects of Egyptian economic and business life that were not or could not have been covered by other historical sources. Our repository includes so far more than 200 hours of recorded sessions with 80 of Egypt’s important figures in the economic and business sector. The sessions have resulted in a valuable collection of primary records available in audio format or as transcripts.
In effect, the center’s work is divided simultaneously among the different economic forces within society such as government, private businesses, banking, finance, and insurance in addition to small and traditional businesses. EBHRC is also interested in research and development as well as individual economists, intellectuals and political activists for their constant involvement and their individual outlooks into Egyptian economic and business life.
Activation of the accumulated sources has required the center to devise and refine an apparatus through which sessions of recording are turned into usable and available written records. The process includes providing written confidentiality agreements to interviewees, transcribing the colloquial record in legible written form, making the transcript available to the interviewee for additions and editing, obtaining a legal clearance from interviewee regarding sections of the record that would be disseminated, archiving and digitizing final records for use by scholars.
One of the earlier activities at EBHRC was the collection of private papers and other collections. Indeed, the center has a modest collections of material, in the form of private papers donated to the center from some of our interviewees, rare publications, photos, original rare documents or copies of rare documents that the center purchased at some point. In more recent years, this activity is now restricted to the identification of private papers, and other publications as an end product and is done as an auxiliary product by way of oral history interviewing. The process of acquiring the material is then left in the hands of the RBSC library.
In its efforts to document Egypt's and the Middle East's economic and business history, the Centre also pays special attention to recent trends in the making. One of the earlier activities at EBHRC was the collection and compilation of clippings from the daily and weekly press including Al Ahram, Al Alam Al Youm, Al Masry Al Youm, Al Hayat (London based), Ahram Weekly, Al Mal, and Alam Al Mal amongst others. The byproduct of such an activity is the Centre's lecture series "History in The Making". These archives are meant to give researchers easier access to periodicals, and for the same purpose the Centre is currently in the process of issuing indices and background information for selected topics.