Click here to skip to content

East Timor (Timor-Leste) studies

Sources for the study of East Timor in the British Library include printed books and serials in English, Portuguese, Dutch and other European languages and in Indonesian, as well as manuscripts, maps, archives and sound recordings. Through the Endangered Archives Programme, we also hold digital copies of recordings and other materials relating to the struggle for independence conducted by East Timor’s Commission on Return, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) in 2002-2004.

Researching East Timor at the British Library

Printed books and periodicals

Almost all books and serials in English, Portuguese and other European languages relating to East Timor can be found through Explore the British Library, as can titles in Indonesian acquired after 1982. Older books in Indonesian are found on card catalogues available in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room. Apart from dictionaries and grammars, the Library holds almost no printed works in Tetum or in other languages of East Timor.

Newspapers

European language newspapers are included in Explore the British Library. They can be searched directly, or by selecting the ‘Newspapers’ subset to narrow the search. See the British Library Newspapers pages for details of how to access the Newspaper Collections.

Manuscripts

The British Library’s manuscript collections in European languages include the writings of politicians, diplomats, academics, travellers, missionaries, artists and journalists, including early travel accounts of the island of Timor. Most of the Library’s manuscripts in European languages are included in the Manuscripts catalogue. There are also some materials relevant to Southeast Asia in the India Office Private Papers.

Archival resources

There are resources on Southeast Asia including the island of Timor in the India Office Records, which are the documentary archives of the administration in London of the East India Company and the pre-1947 government of India. 

Visual materials

The British Library has a rich collection of prints, drawings and photographs, including materials relating to the island of Timor.

Recorded sound and audio-visual resources

The British Library Sound Archive holds one of the world’s largest collections of world and traditional music. There are other relevant resources in the oral history, drama and literature collections, as well as field recordings of wildlife.

These resources may be located through the Sound Archive catalogue.

Endangered Archives Programme

The Library also has digital copies of material from East Timor digitised through the Endangered Archives Programme, including the complete records of eight public hearings, each on a different theme, conducted by East Timor’s Commission on Return, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) in 2002-2004, and currently held by the successor to CAVR, known as the Post-CAVR Technical Secretariat (STP-CAVR). The material includes written and oral testimonies by the victims and witnesses of crimes against humanity committed during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor (1975-1999); official statements by the perpetrators of some of those crimes; research interviews and consultations conducted prior to the public hearings; and multi-media coverage of the hearings themselves.

This project has continued into a second stage with the copying of the complete records of the Statement Taking Team of CAVR and related research interviews. Other material to be copied as part of the project will include Indonesian court records from the period in question, documents relating to the implementation of the CAVR process, and documents relating to CAVR's outreach program to refugees in Indonesian Timor.

Electronic resources

A number of key electronic resources for the study of Southeast Asia are also available at the British Library. For licensing reasons, most of these may be accessed only from the Library’s reading rooms. The Library also subscribes to a growing number of electronic journals relevant to Southeast Asian studies. 

Other resources

In addition to these resources the Library offers access to 

Contact

Asian and African Studies enquiries
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7873
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7641

E-mail: Ask the Reference Team

Hispanic Section
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7569
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7784

E-mail: hisp-enquiries@bl.uk

Endangered Archives Programme
Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7296

E-mail: endangeredarchives@bl.uk