The 1990s was a crucial time period marked the history of Cambodia. It was crucial in a sense that it was a transition period for Cambodia emerging into a new world of democratic system after decades of civil war that was strongly tight and utterly imprisoned by the communist ideological political system. It was also a time when the second Kingdome of Cambodia and Constitution were historically re-established. It was also critical in a sense that it marked a new era of Cambodian media to once again flourishing and mushrooming after it had been imposed, abused, depressing and harassed by a series of government starting from the Khmer Republic.
The Cambodian newspaper collection at Yale was collected by various means and efforts made by both the library staff and friends of the library over the past years. The collection covers over sum 70 titles whose issues mainly published during the 1990s. It is believed that the collection is unique and historical and can tell many stories that Cambodia and the cambodians experienced and have overcame during that critical transitional period. Some of thoses experience could potentially be a great lesson learned and case studies for future implication. Additionally, the collection could also be self-explanatory on the development and progress of the Cambodian media sector itself.
It is important to point out that this project was spearheaded by Rich Richie, Curator for Southeast Asia Collections of the Yale University Library and organized by Wanna Net, Library Research Associate from the Hun Sen Library of the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Undeniably, the project would not be possible without strong support from the department and Management of the library and the funding from the Arcadia grant. So, we are grateful their spiritual and financial support.
There could be more purposes connected to the project project, but just to name the three important ones here. Primarily, the project aimed at outreaching and serving broad communities of local and international by making this newspaper collection more accessible and in a sustainable way to them. Also, the project was established by mean of preserving and housing the unique and historical contents of these Cambodian newspapers that could potentially be disappears in the very near future. Last but not least, the project is well in line with a library’s goal of building a rich global collection.