DISA recently hosted another intern - this time from the African Union (AU) based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Stephen Mayega is a cataloguer in the AU Archives and the purpose of his internship was to better understand the digital cycle of creating, managing and preserving digital data. The African Union has a large collection of AU reports going back to the 1960’s and their aim is to digitise and make these available to all their members through their website.
All AU reports are published in 4 languages, English, Portugese, French and Arabic. This provides challenges for content management and creation of metadata. The ability to create metadata once, in English, with translation into the other languages would be a huge time saver. Drupal, with its powerful taxonomy module, was demonstrated to Stephen, as an extensible and scaleable content management system. In addition Drupal is able to operate in mutiple languages simultaneously - a really important consideration for a multi-language collection. The entire process of digitisation, including hardware and software requirements, were covered in a week of intensive theory and practical exercises.
Stephen’s internship was sponsored by the American Embassy Mission to the African Union Commission.
DISA hosted another two-week internship training programme that was attended by two interns from Botswana. The interns were Oarabile Rakgamanyane, an archivist from the Archives Unit at the University of Botswana who is also responsible for the Institutional Repository and Zanele Hadebe, senior librarian at the Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Centre (HOORC) based in Maun. Their motivation for attending this training was inspired by the need to set up digital libraries within their respective units. Zanele had some experience of digitisation by being involved in digitising maps and slides at the HOORC Centre.
DISA kicked off the year with a training programme that was attended by two interns from the National University of Lesotho. They are currently involved in setting up an institutional repository and came out to SA to acquire the hands-on training. It was an intensive two-week programme. The DISA staff designed individual training modules for the various processes involved in setting up a digital library/archive. The interns were advised on the necessary hardware and software requirements. Extensive hands-on training was offered on file management, file naming conventions, the digitization process, the post processing of the scans, the creation of metadata for each document/item using Dublin Core as well Greenstone models, workflow processes, database management, quality control and digital rights management. Much of the first week of training focused on digitization and the interns were given the opportunity to digitize different types of media. In the second week, preservation and storage of digital objects was covered and finally the creation of a website from which to serve the digital archive.
The two interns were instructed on how to write their own guidelines which they took home with them to guide their own process of training others at the University library. At the end of the two-week period the interns felt a little overwhelmed but also well informed on the processes involved and the ins and outs of setting up a digital repository.
Internships serve a vital function between training and implementation. Overall it was a valuable learning experience for the trainees as well as the host and based on the positive outcomes, DISA is planning to host more internships in the future.
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