The Passport to Paradise gallery highlights the bold, visual images found all over Dakar by focusing upon the urban visual culture of the Mourides, a Senegalese Sufi movement centered upon the life and teachings of a local saint named Sheikh Amadou Bamba.

Read our recently published guides to best practices in digitizing text and multimedia resources. Download them today from our "Best Practices" site.

Digital libraries and archives are being created around the globe. Educational institutions, publishers, corporations, governments, librarians, archivists, museum curators, and individual collectors are all trying to find ways to use digital media to help preserve, store, catalogue, disseminate, and share their materials. Developers of digital repository, however, face a number of difficult decisions, including:

    What collections or pieces of collections should be digitized?

    How should digital files be catalogued, organized, stored and preserved?

    Should work be done in house or outsourced?

    What metadata practices should be implemented?

    What technical specifications should be used for digitizing the various kinds of objects (texts, images, sound, artifacts, artwork)?

Having a single set of "standards" to guide these decisions would be ideal. However, computer, Internet, and digital technologies change too rapidly and institutions have too many varying needs and resources for a single set of standards. Nations also have differing visions and laws.  While the promise of the new technologies is to help people around the world to share resources and knowledge, digitizing projects must respect the rights of individuals, cultures and nations who own the materials. Thus the best solution is not to work toward standards but develop sets of "best practices" that can be used to best meet the needs of specific institutions and collections.

The African Digital Library Project in particular poses interesting practical and research questions about collaborating on international digital information systems in a cross-cultural context. The African Digital Library Project will seek to create and identify those best practices that will support the effective development, interchange, persistence, and assessment of digital repository collections and services.  This work will be an ongoing part of our research and thus this page will be updated regularly and will seek input from the various institutions and individuals involved the project.


AODL White Papers

Digitizing Best Practices

Selection for deciding what to digitize (html, pdf)

Text (html, pdf)

Images (html, pdf)

Sound (html, pdf)

Metadata Best Practices

Descriptive Metadata: based on Dublin Core (rtf, pdf)

General Overview of initiatives monitored by the AODL (html, pdf)

Rights Management Statements

AODL Draft

American Memory

National Archives, USA

National Archives, Australia

Other Resources

Library of Congress: Bulding Digital Collections

AHDS Policies, Standards and Practices

Digital Library Federation: Standards and Practices

Sampling from L'Institut Fondemental d'Afrique Noire (IFAN)

Phil Curtin Collection

Collection Boubacar Barry

Collection Charles Becker: Recherches et documents sur le Sida

Photographs from “Passport to Paradise’: Sufi Arts of Senegal and Beyond

Mosques of Bondoukou

Futa Toro, Senegal and Mauritania

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