Paper 6

2018 Washington conference submission

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Enhancing Accessibility to the African National Congress Archives: A case study in the utilization of IIIF in Africa

David Larsen - Africa Media Online (South Africa)

Abstract: Since 2011, Africa Media Online has been involved in the digitisation of the African National Congress Archives at the University of Fort Hare in Alice, Eastern Cape, South Africa. With close to 2 million pages and over 80,000 photographs, the archive is largely paper-based but also includes a significant audio-visual component as well as museum objects. The longevity and size of the project has enabled Africa Media Online to invest in technologies to capture material at the internationally accepted standards and also to innovate in the area of preservation of, and access to, the digital files. This paper will give insight into the innovations leveraged by Africa Media Online with a focus on its implementation of IIIF. The paper will also touch on how IIIF compliant technologies enhance both the digital preservation aspect of Africa Media Online's MEMAT digital asset management system and the access aspect of the system. Africa Media Online has also developed an innovative platform for the outsourced capture of metadata for digitisation projects in Africa that utilizes open standards and a thesaurus that we have been developing called the African Archival Thesaurus. This system too will utilize IIIF compliant technologies to enable remote metadata capturers to interact with digital files. Part of this latter initiative has been to build a community of volunteers called the Metadata for Africa community, that we are hoping will enable access to underfunded and endangered African heritage resources.

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Presentation type: 7 minute lightning talk to be given in a plenary session


  • IIIF and archival collections,
  • IIIF implementations from outside Europe and North America,
  • Audio/Video IIIF implementations,
  • IIIF content communities (museums, manuscripts, newspapers, archival content, etc.),
  • IIIF-compatible software and experimentation


  • Africa,
  • access,
  • preservation,
  • digital asset management,
  • African National Congress,
  • ANC