Mr David Larsen, the founder of Africa Media Online, shared some of his observations on the best possible steps to help in the management of collection access, monetisation, and IP rights.
Mr Larsen referenced the historical concept of digital colonialism, in which western powers went to the majority to acquire resources, then returned to process those resources before selling them back to the majority, as one of the key new issues plaguing archival collections.
The same thing is happening with archival collections in the digital age: resources from a specific culture are now being mined, but this time through people/organisations offering to digitise them.
“Apart from documenting best practices, dealing with digital colonialism should aim to maintain our rights to our collections as Africans, as well as our ability to commercialise them, and still allowing access to people all over the world.”
Larsen said that when it comes to archival collections, the internet should be considered a marketing tool for reaching a bigger audience. “Even when collections are published online, we must ensure that traffic is routed back to the source institution.” It should all be about driving traffic, assuring that everything is in order and that the person in possession of the archive collection can fulfil their responsibilities as custodians.
Watch Mr Larsen’s explanation on how the industry can “battle digitisation grants that come with conditions”