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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Museum Finds Its Rare Book in Merkato

allAfrica.com -- The Institute of Ethiopian Studies (IES) of Addis Ababa University (AAU) recently discovered that a rare and unique pictorial book was missing from its archives after it was tipped that the book was seen elsewhere, sources disclosed.

The Institute was able to recover Goglia Luigi's Storia Fotografica Dell Impero Fascista through a member who accidentally came across the book as it was put on sale in Merkato --the country's largest open market.

The exact date of theft is not known. Sources within IES confirmed that the last time it displayed during an exhibition staged in the institute under the theme "Ethiopian History in Black and White."

The member according to sources who spoke with The Daily Monitor is said to have bought the book and handed it back to IES.

The book contains a collection of well over 400 original photographs and explanatory notes depicting pictorial facts during the Italian occupation of Ethiopia.

Among the rare photographs of the collection for the period between 1935 to 1941, are the demolished Menelik II statue and a replica of the Axum Obelisk erected around the present day Arat Kilo.

Some archival experts say that while theft is a common criminal act affecting libraries, IES however is full of collections that are either unpublished or published with one or two original copies suggesting that loss of any kind would be tantamount to losing history itself.

They are of the opinion that the museum ought to consider installing modern security systems rather than "relying on a single guard and the good conscience of its employees."

Currently IES boasts over 100,000 texts, unpublished journals and articles and is said to be the largest Ethiopian collection ever in the globe.

Wrt. Elsabet W.Giorgis, Director of the Institute declined to comment on the issue, she however is said to have ordered an immediate inventory of the collection of the library.

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