NCAC - National Digital Collection Project
A Cooperation Between NCAC and the University of Hamburg

September 2016

The National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) on Wednesday 21st September 2016 signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Hamburg, Germany, which spells out the responsibilities of the partners in implementing a new project aimed at making the oral collections of the NCAC more accessible to students and researchers.

It is envisaged that the project will promote our efforts of inter-cultural dialogue and international cultural exchange for the promotion of peace and understanding between the people of the world, and will also recognize the importance of safeguarding the audio and visual collections of the Research and Documentation Division (RDD) of the NCAC because of its national and international significance.

Therefore, aware of the importance of preserving, promoting and developing oral sources which forms a considerable part of the RDD collection, a grant was applied for and received from Gerda Henkel Stiftung, Düsseldorf, Germany. The project is entitled 'NCAC National Digital Collection'.

The primary aim of the grant from the Gerda Henkel Stiftung is to provide and facilitate access to the audio-visual collections of the NCAC-RDD for students and researchers through digitization and host it securely in The Gambia and at the HAMBURGER ZENTRUM FÜR SPRACHKORPORA (HZSK).

The grant has facilitated inter-alia, the acquisition of equipment needed for refining the digitization of audio and paper files, including computers, scanner, NAS and software. Apart from NCAC staff, UTG students have been co-opted into the project to work on the transcription and translation of the data.

The Project Principal for the German partners is Prof. Dr. Henning Schreiber, Department Of African Linguistics and Ethiopian Studies, University of Hamburg, and for the Gambian partners, NCAC, is Mr. Baba Ceesay, Director General. The Project Manager will be Dr. Katrin Pfeiffer for the German partners and Mr. Siaka Fadera, Senior Research and Documentation Officer, for the Gambian partner at NCAC.

The project will be implemented in three (3) phases:

Phase 1: September 2016 – February 2017

  1. Acquiring equipment for digitizing stations – 4 laptops, 1 book scanner and storage capacity for the digitized material through NAS (Network Attached Storage) (covered by project funding).
  2. Installation of the scan station, OCR software and project notebooks.
  3. Suggesting 1) a solution for the digitization and multimodal annotation of written material and audio transcriptions, 2) data processing priority principles, 3) meta data schemes and annotation standards and 4) proposing quality management guidelines.
  4. Participating in training sessions in September 2016 based on agreed workflows with the NCAC.
  5. Scanning of written materials and audio transcriptions as well as data annotation and production of EAF files.
  6. Catalogue maintenance and meta-data production.
  7. Symposium organization.
  8. Data quality management and corpus data upload.
  9. Online Archive Website and repository implementation.
  10. Corpus data import and first milestone corpus launch.
  11. Symposium and official presentation of the NCAC - National Digital Collection.
  12. Project evaluation for 2016 and reporting to Gerda Henkel Stiftung.

Phase 2: March – September 2017

  1. Continuation of annotation, scanning of written materials and audio transcriptions. Data annotation and production of EAF files.
  2. Catalogue maintenance and meta-data production.
  3. Re-digitization of missing or corrupted data
  4. Data quality management and corpus data upload.
  5. Corpus data import and second milestone corpus launch.
  6. Project evaluation and preparation of the follow-up project proposal.

Phase 3: October 2017 – March 2018

  1. Catalogue maintenance and meta-data production.
  2. Data quality management and corpus data upload.
  3. Corpus data import and third milestone corpus launch.
  4. Marketing and production of media.

Currently, the Project consists of the following work teams:

  1. Scanning and documentation of the scanning
  2. Transcription, translation and linguistic analysis of the transcriptions and add them to the sound-files via audacity
  3. Re-digitizing missing or corrupted data
  4. Catalogue update
  5. Supervision and monitoring

Access and Copyright

  • The NCAC - National Digital Collection shall be licensed to researchers according to the provisions of the National Copyright Laws of The Gambia.
  • Research access shall be granted by the implementation of an online research permit with conditions, including payment of fees for accessing particular corpus of data.

It will be recalled that the NCAC archive holds a collection of more than 5000 oral recordings covering various aspects of the history, genealogy and folklore of the country and the sub-region. The collection which was started in the 1960s is of undoubted international significance and is even more important in the wake of the loss of the Guinea Bissau archive which was totally lost to fire during that country’s turbulent years.

Thanks to the support of the British Library Endangered Archives Programme and Music Development and Heritage, Sweden a big effort was made already in digitizing audio and video in the past 3 years. This new project will add value to what has already been achieved by facilitating a digital repository which can be consulted by researchers easily.

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