Editor’s Note: This is an interesting online Peer-Review system which Palgrave is beginning to implement. Although it doesn’t have to do with Southern Africa explicitly, It’s an interesting method to think about as it pertains to digital humanities.
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As you read and comment, please keep in mind that the sample chapters are in-progress drafts in various stages of completion, and that proposals and chapters have not been formally copy-edited.
Editor’s Note: This website crowdsources information about Portuguese influence (colonial or not) throughout the world. Again, for obvious reasons most of the entries deal with Angola, Mozambique and Brazil, but there are a good deal of other sites as well. The points are geo-pinned on a Google Map, and the entries are searchable by location, or type of architecture as well. Below is a reproduction from their “about” page. You can visit the site at (http://www.hpip.org/Default/en/Homepage)
Heritage of Portuguese Influence/ Património de Influência Portuguesa (HPIP) is the natural evolution of the project Portuguese Heritage around the World: architecture and urbanism directed by José Mattoso and undertaken by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation from 2007 to 2012. Its aim was to publish in three volumes, plus another with indices, a compilation of information on the subject in the form of a geographically arranged dictionary. This process is well described in the project’s introductory texts by Emílio Rui Vilar and José Mattoso, as well as in the History section.
It is a natural evolution because the printed work has a physical expression and price only readily available to the general public in libraries, but also, given the subject matter and its geographical scope, because it implies a need for continual updating. Despite the large team of experts gathered for the purpose, it is not possible to ensure coverage of all relevant available and updated knowledge for the entire planet. Two desirable project development axes became evident: more extensive dissemination and the integral gathering of scattered information. Once effectively brought together they could generate a reciprocal snowball effect, for dissemination can stimulate collaboration and vice versa.
An online website is the ideal means for achieving those goals, one presented and functioning as an interactive public portal for the geo-referenced database that concentrates and administers all the information collected. The books’ content comprised the start-up capital, certainly sufficiently attractive and stimulating to elicit contributions from all those around the world who have something to add or correct, by means of either written or graphic (photos, drawings, etc) content.
Together this will enhance self-identification of the community that has inherited these assets resulting from various and mixed influences. Knowledge and its globalisation in a post-colonial environment is the basis for identifying communities with their heritage(s), thus encouraging efforts to safeguard, value, use and integrally develop same.
A compilation with all these characteristics will also certainly be significant for the scientific community, not only by making data available but also due to the cross-referenced and integral way it is provided by means of the geographic-based information system (GIS), easy access, continual updating and the inclusion of new material, etc.
The GIS not only ensures fully effective information management, but also facilitates searches via the more common alphanumeric input (box with magnifying glass symbol in the upper right corner) or by clicking on a GoogleMaps satellite image or a map. Each item listed is indicated by a pin with the HPIP logo. For some major urban centres a superimposed picture shows essential features of the early layout, defence structures and/or the location of the buildings covered. It is also possible to directly search the pre-formatted indices (geographic/toponymic, onomastic, original author, chronological) via the menu CONTENTS>NAVIGATION. Another way to search is directly via the images from the sub-menus in IMAGES: click on the image to access all content pertaining to the respective entry.
CONTENTS>CONTEXTS contains a set of texts that provide a synthesis and historical background regarding four major geographical regions: South America; Asia and Oceania; North Africa, Persian Gulf and Red Sea; and Sub-Saharan Africa. For each of those four regions a longer general text is provided, along with smaller ones which detail aspects associated to HPI in each of the sub-regions in which that information has been arranged.
The COLLABORATE menu can be used to propose a change, indicate an error and correct it, submit an image, propose a new entry or add items to the bibliography. It appears on the main bar and often as a clip elsewhere in the website. No prior registration is necessary; some identification information must be filled in, along with a brief description of what is intended. The respective attached file(s) should be in an editable format (jpg, doc, etc). The proposal will be evaluated in accordance with a pre-established certification process; the person who submitted it will be informed of the result within a maximum of 45 days. If approved, the content will be immediately posted on the website.
The scientific quality of the information is one of the fundamental values underlying this project and is assured by the participation as authors, though essentially as certifiers, of the broad range of experts comprising the Editorial Council. In line with current standards for scientific publications, the verification process is conducted anonymously, i.e. the certifier does not know who submitted the proposal and the latter does not in the end know who evaluated it. This ensures maximum system objectivity and transparency, as well as the quality of the approved contribution.
The print version’s texts are signed by the respective authors, as are the texts for new entries proposed after the HPIP became operational. But after a suggested change is included, the name of the original text’s author will appear in an attached list along with those of new contributors. The original text with duly identified authorship will nevertheless still be available via an adjacent menu.
As an interactive non-profit database maintained on the basis of collaboration from all interested parties, and notwithstanding the certification system, the posted content is the responsibility of the respective authors, whereby they must all be aware that the HPIP is an open database whose content (text and images) is provided in the most intuitive manner and open formats available to any interested party. All one needs to do is enter the website via hpip.org.
For more information, please consult the Terms and Conditions menu in the lower left corner of the page.
The Executive Council composed of scientific and academic experts oversees all the HPIP’s operations. It also includes representatives from the four universities which signed the protocol founding the HPIP with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
Lastly, we ask for your understanding regarding any eventual problems that occur in this early stage, regarding how the website functions as well as presentation of its content. Efforts have been made to ensure a smooth transfer of content produced for presentation in book form to another entirely different format, but the results of this process are not always linear or predictable. Fortunately, this kind of support has the huge advantage of allowing continual updating and correction, not only by the team that created it, but essentially through the collaboration of all those who visit and use it.
Editor’s Note: Reproduced below is part of the search engine “Internet Library Sub-Saharan Africa” (ilissAfrica). The project links a number of online catalogs. Some of the catalogs link to full-text, or else WorldCat. Of particular significance is the Frankfurt Colonial Archive which has photo-scans. Follow to ilissAfrica from this link.
About the project
The internet library sub-Saharan Africa (ilissAfrica) is a portal that offers an integrated access to relevant scientific conventional and digital information resources on the sub-Saharan Africa region. Information scattered on private or institutional websites, databases or library catalogues is brought together in order to facilitate research. Without ilissAfrica this information has to be collected in a laborious and time-consuming process.
ilissAfrica allows simultaneous searching (“General search”) in the following electronic resources:
Library Catalogue UB Frankfurt (mainly books)
Africa Section of the database World Affairs Online incl. the Africa library catalogue of GIGA Hamburg (books and journal articles) as from 1985
Library Catalogue of the African Studies Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands (books and journal articles)
Library Catalogue of the Nordic Africa Institute (NAI) in Uppsala/Sweden
Library Catalogue of the Department of Anthropology and African Studies at Mainz University with Jahn Library and AMA
SSG-Section of the Swets database “Online Contents” (titles of journal articles)
Africa section of Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE)
Colonial Picture Archive with 50.000 digitized historical pictures of Frankfurt University Library, Germany, and the Sam Cohen Library, Swakopmund, Namibia.
Furthermore an Africa Section of the Electronic Journals Library (EZB) to search E-Journals is provided.
ilissAfrica is a project of the Africa Department of the University Library Johann Christian Senckenberg in Frankfurt on the Main in cooperation with the GIGA Information Centre: Africa Library in Hamburg. Together they are in charge of the DFG Special Collections on sub-Saharan Africa.
ilissAfrica supports the association “European Librarians in African Studies” (ELIAS) as a european network aiming to promote professional exchange and cooperation among its members. The “Africa Section” of the Electronic Journals Library (EZB) was one source for the Wikipedia-article “African Studies Journals“.
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Researchers at the African Studies Centre (Leiden, NL) have been developing since 2006 a project titled “Connecting-Africa,” which is meant to provide information about Africanists, organizations, and published (scholarly and non-scholarly) materials. In addition, the researchers have organized nearly 100 digitized repositories, hosted mostly at universities around the globe. They primarily provide links to dissertation and theses, although there are some other sources of research as well. For sheer size, I have chosen not to reprint the page verbatim here. For those interested in the repositories, follow this link to the website.
Editor’s Note: This article is copied verbatim from the African Studies Centre (Leiden, NL) website. Some of the researchers at the ASC are involved in organizing digitized materials on African History and African Studies. This article gives hyperlinks to some of their efforts in organizing repositories
The ASC Library started breathing new life into Connecting-Africa last December. This is a service that provides access to African research information produced worldwide and more than 100 publications are currently being added to it on a daily basis. One of the latest acquisitions is a series of digitalized books from the German Colonial Library.
Numerous societies that cared for German emigrants and spread colonial ideas were established in the second half of the 19th century. The Colonial Library houses the libraries of various colonial societies, in total approximately 15,000 monographs and a vast number of colonial journals. This formed the basis of Frankfurt University’s Africana Collection.
Editor’s note: A collaboration between the Polytechnic of Namibia, The National Archives of Namibia, Brigham Young University, and Utah Valley University have been engaging in digitizing parts of the National Archives of Namibia in Windhoek. Starting in 2004 and continuing to the present, tens of thousands of photos, documents and film have been digitized by the NAN. Though there is not a large, formal website for external researchers, the archives have a well organized intranet where the digital items can be accessed. Some of the photos from the Cocky Hahn collection (and a few other small ones) have been uploaded to the Polytechnic website for exhibition. See article below & the external links.
The Digital Namibia Archives Project: A 5-year Collaboration Growing Out of a Fulbright Grant
Dr. Allen Palmer Brigham Young University Namibia, 2004
In 2004, I received a Fulbright Scholar grant to Namibia for lecturing in journalism at Polytechnic of Namibia in the capital city Windhoek. I was a professor of communication at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. My wife, Dr. Loretta Palmer, who is a professor at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah accompanied me.
When my wife and I were in Namibia, she volunteered her services at the university while I lectured. She taught computer classes and worked as an instructional designer in the college’s distance education program.
In discussions with the Namibian college leaders, including the Rector, Dr. Tjama Tjivikua, we decided one area in which we could assist Polytechnic, in addition to the scheduled classes we were teaching, was the development of a USA-Namibia partnership to help train their staff in digitizing African cultural artifacts for their new library. Many of the African artifacts were neglected and at risk of being lost or destroyed, including old photographs, music recordings, documents, etc.
What resulted was a project that has lasted more than five years, from 2007 to 2012, and involved 35 to 40 American college teachers and students traveling to Namibia to participate in training for what was became called the “DNA Project”–the Digital Namibia Archives Project–that began in earnest in 2007. A link to the DNA Project is now featured on the Polytechnic’s main internet page: http://www.polytechnic.edu.na.
Each summer a team of six to eight college faculty and students from Utah Valley University’s Multi-media Communication Program traveled to Namibia. They assisted with training college students and staff at Polytechnic of Namibia, and the staff at Namibian National Archives, how to digitize and preserve historic cultural records. Also assisting in organizing the program was Professor Steve Harper at Utah Valley University.
During the ensuing years after my Fulbright, my wife and I have returned to Namibia several times to support project planning. In addition, the rector, Dr. Tjivikua, has traveled to the U.S. twice to confer with us on project development. In addition to the benefits in Namibia, the students from Utah Valley University benefited from the project in their education program.
The 5-year plan for the DNA project recently ended and it was a remarkable example of a successful collaboration between a Fulbright host college and an American university that began with the Fulbright Scholar Program.