Digitally Preserving African Heritage

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The preservation of culture, language and history is recognized as being of crucial importance for future and current generations.  Africa, especially, has the unique problem of needing to archive many collections of crucial significance to the world, yet without the skills or funds that often are utilized in this pursuit.  The Bleek and Lloyd collection, that documents Bushman culture, and the Disa collection, that documents the South African liberation struggle, are examples of such projects.  In both cases, and in other similar projects, there is a growing need for approaches to digital preservation, tools and techniques that better suit the needs and environment of developing countries.  Some very specific solutions have emerged to solve problems related to Internet bandwidth and information accessibility, and these will be discussed, but these problems are only recently being acknowledged.  Current digitization efforts still outstrip efforts to organize information.  Future technical solutions will therefore need to be found to maintain the pace of preservation as well as ensure ongoing access to all the peoples of the world.