Category Archives: Digitization

Photo exhibition Frits Eisenloeffel | IISH

The Dutch journalist Frits Eisenloeffel (1944-2001) captured the decolonization, liberation struggle and rebuilding process of various African nations during his travels on the African continent in the 1970s. Eisenloeffel was a committed journalist. In his eyes, journalism and engagement went very well together.

Frits Eisenloeffel started his travels in the Portuguese colonies of Guinea-Bissau, Cabo Verde and Mozambique. In 1975 he followed the future president Samora Machel of Mozambique on his tour through the country to prepare for the official transfer of power. In 1978 he visited Namibia to report on the elections. On he went to Zaïre and Senegal. In the 1980’s Eisenloeffel was very much captivated by the spirit of the Eritrean Liberation Front. He was the first journalist to report on the use of nerve gas by the Ethiopian army.
From 1983 to 1985 he worked extensively in Eritrea and the border area with Sudan, partly as a reporter and partly on a fact-finding mission in assignment of Dutch aid organizations.

The vast journalistic inheritance of Frits Eisenloeffel, including 20.000 slides now rests at the IISH. Out of these twenty thousand pictures, over three thousand are high-resolution digitized and described by Ben Krewinkel. Ben Krewinkel is a photographer and he studied Modern African History.  A selection of his photographs taken on the African continent is presented here.

Read more on Frits Eisenloeffel

Read more on Frits Eisenloeffels African travels

Copyright of the photographs rests with Immeke Sixma.

Photo exhibition Frits Eisenloeffel | IISH.

Constitutional Court Trust Oral History Project

Following up on Renfrew Christie’s comment that his signature is on the draft of democratic South Africa’s Constitution, I’d like to call attention to the Constitutional Court Trust Oral History Project.

This important project was carried out by the Historical Papers Research Archive, The Library, at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

It aimed to capture the memories and experiences of the people involved in the formative stages of South Africa’s Constitutional Court, to record in comprehensive, reliable and accessible form their memories of how an abstract constitutional ideal was converted into a functioning constitutional organism.

The 86 interviews were conducted between 2011-2012 and submitted by the Constitutional Court Trust in digital format. The transcripts can be accessed through this inventory from where they can be downloaded in PDF format. The audio recordings of the interviews are accessible at the Historical Papers Research Archive in Mp3 format.

For full inventory and links to PDF transcripts click here.

Archives de l’Afrique Équatoriale Française Brazzaville

Editor’s Note: Although this page doesn’t explicitly deal with South or Southern African history, It’s still useful to look at this digitization initiative. Archivists Jean-Pierre Bat and Vincent Hiribarren have built a small website to show some of the holdings of the French Equatorial Africa Colonial Archives in Brazzaville. They chose not to digitize all of the materials for obvious reasons, but they did provide us with some scans. And most importantly, they uploaded summaries of the inventories and some of the finding aids. Perhaps this is a good compromise to the dilemmas of “digital imperialism.” 
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Ce site est dédié aux archives coloniales de l’Afrique équatoriale française (AEF) conservées à Brazzaville aux Archives nationales du Congo.

Ces archives de l’AEF (fonds dit de gestion) constituent un patrimoine partagé entre la France et les Républiques issues de l’ancienne AEF : Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, Centrafrique, Tchad.
Elles constituent la partie complémentaire du fonds AEF conservé aux Archives nationales d’outre-mer à Aix-en-Provence (fonds dit de souveraineté).

Ce site a été créé par deux historiens spécialistes de l’Afrique, Jean-Pierre Bat (CNRS-Institut des mondes africains) et Vincent Hiribarren (King’s College London), en accord et avec le concours des Archives nationales du Congo en la personne de Raoul Ngokaba (directeur des Affaires administratives et financières à la direction générale du patrimoine et des archives) et en la personne de Brice Owabira (directeur des Archives nationales du Congo), et de l’Institut français de Brazzaville en la personne de Richard Mouthuy (conseiller de coopération à l’action culturelle et directeur de l’Institut français).

Archives de l’Afrique Équatoriale Française Brazzaville | Ce site présente les archives du gouvernement général de l’AEF conservées à Brazzaville. Ces archives constituent un patrimoine partagé entre le Congo-Brazzaville, le Gabon, la Centrafrique, le Tchad et la France..

Kenya Coast – Social Sciences Portal | African Studies Centre

The Kenya Coast – Social Sciences Portal is a service provided by the African Studies Centre Leiden for students, researchers, development workers, government officials and all others interested. The Kenya Coast is a region with distinct geographical, economic and social characteristics. It has a long history of intercontinental trade and cultural exchange with other communities along the East African coast as well as with the Middle East and South Asia. In particular the coastal strip with the seaports of Mombasa and Lamu very much belonged to the political and cultural world of the Indian Ocean, but at the time of Independence the region was incorporated into the Republic of Kenya. Due to its cultural diversity and varied history, the Coast has attracted the attention of many researchers over the years.

Map Kenya Coast

The Portal provides digital follow-up to the Kenya Coast Handbook (Hoorweg J., Foeken D. & Obudho R. eds., 2000) and incorporates the disciplines of anthropology, economics, education, geography, health, history, languages, law, political science, religion and sociology. It consists of four parts: a section with topical reviews by different authors; a bibliographical section with literature references; a section of tables and maps offering statistical information; and a section listing open-access publications.

 

The Portal is not designed to be a static body of knowledge but should be seen as work-in-progress. Readers are invited to provide further information in the form of literature references, statistical data and/or full-text publications. For suggestions or contributions, please contact the editor, Prof. Jan Hoorweg: kenya-coast@ascleiden.nl.

 

Posted on 23 February, 2015

 

Now online: Kenya Coast – Social Sciences Portal | African Studies Centre.

ilissAfrica – Internet Library Sub-Saharan Africa

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)
  • Database on internet resources with more than 5.000 websites on sub-Saharan Africa
  • 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.

The project is financed by the DFG.

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“.

Partners:

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ilissAfrica – About the project.

Connecting-Africa: Digitization and Repositories

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.

Treasures from the German Colonial Library | African Studies Centre

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

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Map of Africa (Die Erschliessung Afrikas durch Eisenbahnen)

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.

 

Sketch (Reise in Nordost-Africa)

Among the publications added to Connecting-Africa are a number of issues of the Deutsch-Ostafrikanische Zeitung, travel books (Reise in Nordost-Africa: 1859 – 1860 ; Skizzen nach der Natur gemalt), companions for emigrants (Kurzer und gründlicher Beschrieb, über die Kolonie in Afrika: zum Gebrauch der Auswanderer und Auswanderungslustigen), lectures (Die Erschliessung Afrikas durch Eisenbahnen : mit einer Karte von Afrika ; Vortrag) and much more.

Treasures from the German Colonial Library | African Studies Centre.

African Rock Art Digital Archive

By Liz Timbs

Last summer, I got the chance to visit the Origins Museum on the University of the Witswatersrand campus in Johannesburg.  A major feature of the Museum’s collection is an installation of San rock art.  As the Rock Art Research Institute’s website attests, rock art is a key medium through which to understand our collective pasts (pasts which evade the written word).

Full text here.

Digitizing the Namibian Archive

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.

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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.

A brief overview of the DNA  project is posted on a Youtube video by a student participant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ats8jAypl0

Numerous archive photographs and documents showing the history of Namibia are posted to public at the link on the main DNA Project web page: http://dna.polytechnic.edu.na/collections.html

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.

DNA Agreement Signed

– See more at: http://www.cies.org/article/digital-namibia-archives-project-5-year-collaboration-growing-out-fulbright-grant#sthash.yrv7Se0g.dpuf

For a link to the Polytechnic photo exhibition, see below:

http://dna.polytechnic.edu.na/collections.html