Mambila Documentation on WWW

Mambila Documentation on WWW

David Zeitlyn
8 August 1994

I am writing to announce that a further part of the documentary history of the Mambila of Cameroon and Nigeria can now be found on the World Wide Web server of the Radcliffe Science Library in Oxford

(the URL is

The document is a digital version of 34 pages from Chapter IX of C.K. Meek's "Tribal Studies in Northern Nigeria Volume 1" 1931 London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd. It is the first major documentary source on the Mambila with whom my own field research has been conducted. Apart from the challenge of producing an electronic version the purpose of doing this was to present and preserve the marginal notes made by Professor Farnham Rehfisch during his fieldwork in 1953.

In addition to the marginal notes I have also included the sections of Rehfisch's fieldnotes in which he mentions Meek. These fieldnotes have been archived in Rhodes House Library Oxford, and the School of Oriental and African Studies, London with the kind permission of Mrs Rehfisch and with the help of a grant from the Nuffield Foundation for which I am very grateful. Digitisation of the main text and the photographs from Meek has been conducted as part of a pilot project with pump-priming funding from the University of Oxford. Routledge kindly gave copyright permission for digitisation and circulation of this chapter to interested parties.

There are a variety of ways in which annotations can be included. For the present they are included in two different ways since I have yet to be persuaded about the best way of doing it, and would be most grateful for comments from readers.

The text of each annotation has been typed up and is included as a footnote (different from the original footnotes which have been included in the main text) at the end of the document. As an alternative the annotations have been transformed into graphics (using an appropriate handwriting-like font) and these have been included in the text. These graphics also serve as HTML links which will take the reader from Meek's text to the note.

Why have I typed the annotations and not scanned them? They are in faint pencil which would be tricky (but not impossible) to scan. Rehfisch's handwriting is not the easiest to read. I have therefore used my experience with his writing to help decipher the annotations.

Since the document with the graphics has become quite big each page has been made into a separate file. This has the advantage of replicating the individual pages of the book, and a WAIS index will soon allow searching of the whole document. Finally, a link has been made between one of the plates (on p. 552) and some of the photographs I took in Nigeria in April 1993 (there are more to come).

It is hoped that this will be but the first of a variety of background documents pertaining to the Mambila connected into a hypertextual web that will illuminate rather than befuddle the interested reader.

anthro-l@ubvm.BITNET, museum-L@unmvma.BITNET

Dr David Zeitlyn,
British Academy Research Fellow,
University of Oxford,
Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology,
51 Banbury Rd,
OX2 6PE,
Tel. 44-1865-274685 FAX 44-1865-274630

From: "Arthur R. McGee" 
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 1994 12:42:05 +0000
Subject: Mambila documentation on WWW

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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