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Building Digitisation Capacity in developing countries: the case of Uganda By Gertrude Kayaga Mulindwa Director – National Library of Uganda Presented.

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Presentation on theme: "Building Digitisation Capacity in developing countries: the case of Uganda By Gertrude Kayaga Mulindwa Director – National Library of Uganda Presented."— Presentation transcript:

1 Building Digitisation Capacity in developing countries: the case of Uganda By Gertrude Kayaga Mulindwa Director – National Library of Uganda Presented to the WDL Partners Meeting, Washington, D.C, June, 2010

2 Outline Digitisation and preservation situation in Uganda Why digitise? Project highlights Challenges The Good News Lessons learnt Conclusion

3 Digitisation and Preservation situation in Uganda Cultural heritage institutions: The National Library of Uganda (NLU) (2003) The Uganda National Documentation Centre (1969) Makerere University deposit library (1958) Uganda National Museum Uganda National Archives

4 Digitisation and Preservation (Cont…) In summary The national collection is a scattering of collections in various institutions and private hands. In addition: Conservation and preservation policies are almost non-existent in some institutions. Most collections are not easily accessible to the general Ugandan public

5 Digitisation and Preservation (Cont…) Also in existence are: Archives in various religious institutions. Private collections especially on cultural matters eg.Genealogical records of clans in some Ugandan communities.

6 Digitisation and preservation (Cont…) Several digitisation projects of different scales in Uganda include: Digitisation of land records at the Ministry of Lands Digitisation of university dissertations/theses at Makerere University (abstracts). Digitisation of Church archives by Uganda Christian University Uncoordinated efforts leading to duplication and under-usage of acquired capabilities.

7 Is digitisation really a priority? Questions to think about: Does it make sense to digitise? Shouldnt we be concentrating on more basic things to improve quality of life? How about the levels of literacy Has the Internet penetrated all sections of society? eg. Uganda Bureau of Statistics: Literacy rate is about 68% Uganda Communications Commission: Internet penetration less than 0.1%

8 The answer is Yes We would like to ensure that the collections are preserved, well- maintained and easily accessible for now, for the future, for Ugandans and for the world.

9 NLUs strengths The National Library is by law mandated to ensure preservation of Ugandas documented heritage. Ready and willing staff. Funding from Carnegie Support from the Library of Congress

10 WDL Uganda Project highlights Dec 2008– April NLU approached Library of Congress about possible support. March Funding secured and preparations for the project commenced March 2009 – Initial meeting with other stakeholders in the country. April WDL launched in Paris

11 Highlights (cont…) May LC staff visited Uganda and met with NLU and other institutions Aug Partner agreement signed with LC Sept – Dec Site prepared and staff recruited. Visit made to Egypt (Bibliotheca Alexandrina and National Library of Egypt)

12 Highlights (Cont…) January Equipment delivered - LC staff arrived in Uganda to carry out training February Initial training completed » - Scanning commenced March Official launch done June Over 60 items (Mostly in book form) from various institutions have so far been scanned and preservation and conservation work carried out on them.

13 Challenges Young national library - Limited number of WDL qualifying items from NLU collections Poor environment for documents - Tropics climate and paper documents do not go together – humidity, mould, insects, water and dust

14 Challenges (Cont…) Documents scattered in various institutions. People not being aware of the treasures they have and having thrown them away because they have photocopies. Suspicion by holding institutions as to the projects intentions

15 Challenges (Cont…) Poor handling of documents leading to their destruction. Some of those that qualify for the project are in a very brittle state.

16 Challenges (Cont…) Intangible heritage Most of what we can show to the world that is unique to us and inherent within us is passed on to the next generation orally. Most of our uniqueness is therefore undocumented

17 Challenges Competing national priorities. Lack of Internet access by most ordinary Ugandans.

18 The Good News Rising interest among the general public to preserve our documented heritage. Communities getting involved in creating their own digital content

19 The Good News (cont…) Raised profile of the NLU and the project

20 The Good News (Cont…) Discovering those gems where they are least expected Some items have been discovered in private homes and owners are willing to pass them on to the NLU

21 The Good News (Cont…) Inclusion of digitization as a way of preservation in the next five year national development plan

22 The Good News (Cont…) Building our conservation and other capabilities This is the start of what we believe will be a conservation department that can be used by other institutions. The meta data skills we are building on are now being used in other work of the institution

23 The Good News (Cont…) Getting other institutions sensitive about conservation Many have requested to come and train in both conservation and digitisation at NLU

24 The Good News (Cont…) With like-minded individuals and institutions, the NLU is steadily getting a national collection together: Documents in the public domain held in different institutions are now being put in one space.

25 Lessons learnt The need to work closely with other stakeholders in the country. The need to borrow experience from those already involved in digitisation work. The need to fully integrate digitisation into the mainstream work of the institution

26 Conclusion It is important to maintain the momentum and interest that the project has generated in the country. We hope to continue with what we have done so far and to get even institutions in the region involved as was the initial intention. For those many endangered items especially where the climate and other conditions are not friendly to paper and other library items, digitisation provides a viable alternative to preserving them for future generations.

27 Thank You

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