Mambila documentation on WWW

Thu, 8 Sep 1994 12:42:05 +0000

<TITLE>Introduction to Hyper -Meek</TITLE>
<BR>David Zeitlyn<P> 8 August 1994 <p>
<BR>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.
<BR>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been archived in Rhodes House Library Oxford, and the School of Oriental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.
<P>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.
<P>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.
<P> 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.
<P> 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).<P>
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