Anti-apartheid and southern Africa solidarity collection at the International Institute for Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

In 2008 the IISH acquired an extensive collection of archival materials relating to the anti-apartheid and southern Africa solidarity groups in The Netherlands. It concerns the archives and related library and documentary collections of the three former anti-apartheid groups which merged into the Netherlands institute for Southern Africa (NiZA) in 1997. The collected archives consist of documents from organisations such as the South Africa Committee (from the 1960s), the Dutch Anti-Apartheid Movement, the Angola Committee/Holland Committee on Southern Africa, the Eduardo Mondlane Foundation, Institute for Southern Africa and Broadcasting for Radio Freedom.

Since then the archivist of the collection, Kier Schuringa, processed all the audio-visual materials of the former anti-apartheid groups in the IISH collection, including some 13,500 photographs and over 500 slides, 1100 posters, 300 buttons 800 video-tapes, exhibition materials, t-shirts, audio cassettes, etc, Also, the archives of the South Africa Committee and the Dutch Anti-Apartheid Movement have been processed, including the production of full inventories. Currently, the Archives of the Angola Committee/Holland Committee on Southern Africa are being processed.

The results if this work, including many scans of the visual materials, can be seen on the IISH website. A useful introduction to the collection can be found here and which also features a background section, including links and a webdossier on the history of the anti-apartheid solidarity movement in The Netherlands (also in English).

Contributed by Kier Schuringa

Metadata is an important pillar of digital information management. However the sheer number and complexity of metadata standards can be a obstacle in choosing a standard that is right for the purpose and the community for which it was intended. In South Africa, many standards are not considered due to the time, energy and resources required for implementation. This is a pity as the richer the metadata, the easier it is to apply software tools to manipulate and massage the data for discovery by search engines. Even worse is that I still encounter archivists and librarians in this country that do not see the relevance of using internationally standardised schemas to describe their resources at all!

Jenn Riley, a metadata Librarian from Indiana University has complied a wonderful resource for selecting and comparing standards. In the release recently she said:

A new resource,  Seeing Standards: A Visualization of the Metadata Universe, is intended to assist planners with the selection and implementation of metadata standards. Seeing Standards is in two parts: (1) a poster-size visualization plotting standards based on their applicability in a variety of contexts, and (2) a glossary of metadata standards in either poster or pamphlet form.

 

Each of the 105 standards listed is evaluated on its strength of application to defined categories in each of four axes: community, domain, function, and purpose. Standards more strongly allied with a category are displayed towards the center of each hemisphere, and those still applicable but less strongly allied are displayed along the edges. The strength of a standard in a given category is determined by a mixture of its adoption in that category, its design intent, and its overall appropriateness for use in that category.

 

The standards represented are among those most heavily used or publicized in the cultural heritage community, though certainly not all standards that might be relevant are included. A small set of the metadata standards plotted on the main visualization also appear as highlights above the graphic. These represent the most commonly known or discussed standards for cultural heritage metadata.

Take a look - it is really a very helpful resource.

The latest issue of the Archival Platform Newsletter has been published. It contains news from around South Africa and wider afield on issues relating to Archives, Records, Museums and Heritage.

Harriet Deacon will remain acting Director until the new Director is in place, and she will continue to support the Platform’s work.  Good luck with your move to the UK , Harriet

Read the Newsletter here

The Platform was officially launched at the Cape Town Castle on 12 November. We had excellent attendance, the Bow Heritage Agents created beautiful music and Sello Hatang spoke eloquently of the crisis in the sector. We received strong messages of support from across South Africa and as far afield as India, Papua New Guinea and Panama. People commented that the Archival Platform has, indeed, brought back to the sector some of the democratic excitement of the 1990s.

This month, as we start to celebrate the 16 days of activism against gender violence, Heike Becker continues the discussion about cultural practices and human rights.

Now that we are six shopping weeks away from the January sales, the excitement about 2010 and what it means for the heritage sector is mounting – or is it? What are we actually doing about heritage tourism opportunities in 2010, asks Elizabeth Ouma in her blog.

In 2010 we will not only have a world cup, but – hopefully – a national digitisation policy. What are we doing about this? The process takes place against a backdrop of some concern about camera use in South African archives and digital copyright. We speak to those issues in our blog, “Feeling the pulse of the sector”.

In celebration of 2010, we will be offering students and young professionals prizes of R1 000 for the best blog or meeting report for the Platform, and book prizes for the best book review posted on the Platform. Submissions received up to 15 February 2010 will be posted on the website and the winners will be announced at the end of February.

Dr Harriet Deacon
Director, Archival Platform
Email: director@archivalplatform.org

Read the rest of the Newsletter here