In times of increasing importance of the Internet, the digital archiving of manuscripts, oral traditions and sound recordings is becoming ever more important in African studies. For example, the NCAC National Digital Archive of The Gambia, a Gambian-German cooperation project, has set itself the goal of digitizing the valuable collections of the National Archives in Gambia.
[T]he collection at NCAC/RDD of The Gambia is to be seen as an exceptional case. In laying a focus on oral traditions this archive documents recordings of West African history, the collection contains approximately 6000 audio recordings of spoken art and oral traditions, but as well 500 written documents on the history of Senegambia, Guinee and Mali.
The project to digitize these collections will be jointly implemented by the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) (The Gambia), the Asia-Africa Institute of the University of Hamburg and the Hamburg Center for Language Corpora.
The purpose of this project funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation (see also the project description at NCAC) shall be a comprehensive digital archiving and documentation of the NCAC/RDD collection by the implementation of a multi modally annotated Archive implemented and mirrored at the Hamburger Zentrum für Sprachkorpora (HZSK) providing digitized documents to a wider academic and regional public under regulated legal conditions. For that purpose the collection will be catalogued and digitized. Recordings will be transcribed, translated into English and extensively annotated. It will be designed as a resource for research in different fields of African Studies, history and social anthropology.
A first version of the catalogue can already be accessed on the Internet.
Further information can be found in the following presentation by Prof. Henning Schreiber (Workshop, Bayreuth, October 2018) (with friendly permission):