IAS-UI wins UCLA MEAP Grant for digital archives

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Our Institute has won a grant from the Modern Endangered Archives Program (MEAP) of the University of California (UCLA) Library.

The grant, worth $50,000, is to support our participation in the MEAP whose aim is to ‘digitize and make accessible endangered archival materials from the 20th and 21st centuries, including print, photographic, film, audio, ephemeral, and born digital objects’. AT IAS-UI, the grant will be expended on hardware and software, and also on the training of personnel towards the digitization of the archival materials in our collections.

Materials in the IAS archives include reel-to-reel tapes, VHS tapes, and audio tapes of performances from virtually all the regions of Nigeria and some parts of Africa. All of these will now be digitized, courtesy of the MEAP grant.

In addition, our Institute is interested in digitizing ‘Atoka: The Yoruba Photoplay Series’, which is no longer in circulation. Although we do not hold the copyright on the series, we have acquired the right to digitize several editions of the magazine.

Our desire for digitization is in line with MEAP’s dedication to ‘providing open access to cultural and historical materials from around the world’. By extension, this project will help preserve our Institute’s legacy in the form of digitized archival materials.

Dr Ayo Adeduntan of our programme in Cultural and Media Studies, who is the Principal Investigator on this project, is of the opinion that the grant is tailor-made for IAS and the University of Ibadan, what with efforts being made to salvage archival collections that have fallen into a precarious state over the decades. Dr Adeduntan has been on the lookout for such a grant and applied to the MEAP on behalf of our Institute and University. In anticipation of the grant, three members of our staff have already been trained in archival digitization at the Kenneth Dike Library (KDL), University of Ibadan. They will be working with one of the foremost digital technologists in Nigeria, Dr Tunde Adegbola of the African Languages Technology Initiative (ALT-I), on this project.

Apart from bringing our Institute and University more visibility globally, the digitized archives will further aid the work of scholars and researchers at home and abroad.