Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Bernard C. Moore

Bernard C. Moore

By

May 6, 2016

Namibia Digital Repository: Official Launch!

May 6, 2016 | By | No Comments

This post officially declares the project launch of the Namibia Digital Repository! For the past year, I have been slowly digitizing and piecing together a Namibian Studies online digital library. Far too often, existing scholarly materials pertaining to Namibia are not accessible to Namibians for many reasons; this project seeks to fill a gap in scholarly access.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, this project is both creative and agglomerative. It is creative in the sense that countless hours have been spent in front of scanners and VCRs digitizing books, photos, documents, and films (for more on this, click here). It is agglomerative in the sense that I also pull from existing Namibiana resources on the web, providing attribution and an alternate host for the files (for more on this, click here).

Screenshot of the Namibia Digital Repository

Screenshot of the Namibia Digital Repository

As of 5 May, 2016, I have uploaded 246 items into the repository, broken down into the following collections:

Basler Afrika Bibliographien: (2 Scanned, 18 Agglomerated)
Dissertations on Namibia: (7 Scanned, 24 Agglomerated)
Documentary Films on Namibia: (20 Digitized, 5 Agglomerated)
Finding Aids: (2 Scanned)
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung: (9 Agglomerated)
Labour Resource and Research Institute: (8 Agglomerated)
Legal Assistance Centre: (15 Agglomerated)
Leiden University: (3 Agglomerated)
Miscellaneous Articles: (3 Scanned)
Missionary and Travelers’ Diaries: (1 Scanned)
Namibia Documentary Series (Interviews): (11 Digitized)
Namibia Institute for Democracy: (12 Agglomerated)
Namibian Autobiographies: (5 Scanned, 1 Agglomerated)
Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit: (1 Scanned)
Nordic Africa Institute: (19 Agglomerated)
Nordic Documentation on the Liberation Struggle in Southern Africa: (6 Agglomerated)
Out of Print Books on Namibia: (44 Scanned, 11 Agglomerated)
Political Documents: (3 Scanned)
Thomas Baines: (11 Scanned)
Union of South Africa “Ethnological” Publications: (7 Scanned)

Some of these collections are still works-in-progress, particularly the ever-important “Out of Print Books” and the “Missionary and Travelers’ Accounts” collections, which will see their numbers rise as I include some recent scans I’ve made.

Furthermore, I’ve recently received a consignment from the retiring Professor Dr. Robert Gordon of the University of Vermont. Dr. Gordon is an esteemed and radical scholar, authoring several books on Namibian history and anthropology (perhaps his most famous is the 1991 The Bushman Myth). On his retirement, he has provided me with many boxes of old papers from the United Nations Institute for Namibia in Lusaka, Zambia and of early, pre-independence publications from the University of Namibia. During this summer, I will be digitizing these papers and publications to form two or three new collections. For digital library projects to succeed, it is necessary for them to incorporate new content regularly. I hope to continue to live up to this.

Other than continually adding more material during the summer, I will also be spending a great deal of time advertising the resource, appealing for other scholars, librarians, and archivists to make use of the repository, and hopefully add their own materials. I cannot do all of the work on my own.

The final aspect of the repository, and this is the most fun, is the use of exhibits. For those of us who use archival resources in our research, one often opens old finding aids to try to locate archival boxes relevant to our research. The first few pages of the finding aids often have a brief introduction from the archivist or scholar who organized the collection. This introduction is intended to go beyond just introducing the user to how the resources are organized; it is meant to provide thematic guidance. Exhibits in Omeka can function the same way. I plan to incorporate a number of short historiographic essays into these visual exhibits, introducing the user to the materials included in the repository, as well as the significance of each one. I have built one exhibit on Namibiana studies and resources in Finland, and I have another en-route exploring writings on trade unions and labour in Namibian history. These will form a crucial component into allowing other scholars to contribute more than just PDF scans and audio files. Exhibits will also help university students navigate the website in the best way possible.

I hope that all of you enjoy going through the materials I have created and collected over the past year, and I would love to receive feedback on the content and look of the site as well.

Enjoy!
Bernard C. Moore

Bernard C. Moore

By

April 25, 2016

A Review of Namibiana Resources on the Web

April 25, 2016 | By | No Comments

A Review of Namibiana Resources on the Web

As I have mentioned in previous Blog posts for the CHI, the Namibia Digital Repository contains two main endeavors. First, it is a digitization project; countless hours have been spent standing in front of scanners digitizing books and papers, and many more have been spent setting up VHS players to record to hard drives. I have described the process of digitization in a previous post on 29, January, 2016.

This post describes the other goal of the NDR, agglomeration of existing digital resources regarding Namibia which are already on the web. A few qualifiers should be made. First, the goal of pulling existing resources – whether from university repositories, NGO web-sites or government publications – is not about replacing these repositories. It is about providing an additional home to the files. One of the less appreciated aspects of digitization and the digital humanities is the maintenance and organization of digital resources.1

Read More

Bernard C. Moore

By

March 4, 2016

Finland in Namibia: On the Way to an Omeka Exhibit

March 4, 2016 | By | No Comments

March 2013, Helsinki: I had the privilege to interview Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and Nobel Prize Laureate, for my documentary film From Windhoek to Washington. From 1977 through 1981, Ahtisaari was the United Nations Special Representative for Namibia, and eventually the UN Special Representative, directing the United Nations Transition Assistance Group which administered the first free elections in Namibia in 1989, ushering in the post-apartheid period with independence on 23 March, 1990. His work in Namibia and later in Kosovo led to his receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008.

Read More

Bernard C. Moore

By

January 29, 2016

The Process of Digitization

January 29, 2016 | By | No Comments

My past couple of posts have been more on the political and ethical side of digitizing materials for the Namibia Digital Repository. This post will approach the project from the other side: the process of digitization. For those who are conducting historical research, digitizing materials is a necessity if we are going to ever finish these dissertations in an organized and structured manner. So even for those who aren’t pursuing a digitization project for their CHI Fellowship, this blog post may help you in other ways.

Read More

Bernard C. Moore

By

December 19, 2015

Namibia Digital Repository: An Effort Towards “Democratizing Knowledge”

December 19, 2015 | By | No Comments

The politics of publishing in African studies are controversial and problematic. This is the dilemma: foreign researchers are able to obtain more funds than African-based academics to conduct often very innovative research projects. In order to obtain tenure, and therefore more research funds, these professors publish in western university presses (or Palgrave and Routledge, which is a different story). Western presses choose not to sell their books on the African continent because the market is deemed “unprofitable.” African Universities seek to make themselves look more “respectable” in the eyes of western donors, so they encourage their faculty to publish “internationally” in order to obtain tenure and raise the standing of their departments. With less prestigious alma-maters and sites of employment, as well as less research funds, many of these African-based academics fail to get enough material published abroad, most obtain tenure through university service and teaching. Even if they do publish abroad, the materials are still subject to the dilemmas elaborated upon above. A Namibian academic publishing with Indiana University Press will still not have his or her book available for sale or distribution (beyond the author’s own copies) in Namibia.

This is reflective of fundamental inequalities in knowledge production and access to knowledge about the African continent. Because of the dynamics of tenure, sales, copyrights, and access to research funds, knowledge about Africa remains securely in Euro-American hands. In a cruel ironic twist, African-based faculty apply for fellowships to research about their own countries in the Michigan State University library.

Read More

Bernard C. Moore

By

December 2, 2015

Digitizing History: The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission Archive

December 2, 2015 | By | No Comments

Digitization and archiving of historical materials is an intensely political process. While technical aspects are still crucial to having a functioning online resource, we must realize that cultural heritage informatics projects are done for specific reasons. I’d like to elaborate on one of my favorite, if still partially flawed digital resources: the SABC Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) website.

Read More

Bernard C. Moore

By

October 26, 2015

The Politics of Academic Publishing on/in Africa

October 26, 2015 | By | No Comments

I buy too many books. There, I said it. (admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?). I see it as something of an investment though, and though the books may sit on my shelves for several months before I get around to actually reading them, I do eventually crack open the spine and begin to write all over it with one of my multiple hi-lighters and pens. You don’t want to read a book when I’m done with it.

By and large, the bulk of what I read comes from American and European presses. This is indeed strange because I research African labor history, particularly southern Namibia. Scanning through my shelves this morning, I ratted off a list of presses: Berghahn, Cambridge, Oxford, Chicago, California, Brill, Routledge, Palgrave, Helsinki, NYU, Columbia, UPenn, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin. I then sought out any African-based presses. I have a few from University of Namibia press, UCT Press, Wits, and UKZN Press, as well as a handful from Dar es Salaam.

Read More

Bernard C. Moore

By

October 1, 2015

CHI Fellow Introduction: Bernard C. Moore

October 1, 2015 | By | No Comments

DSC_0731a

My name is Bernard Moore. I am currently a second-year M.A. student in MSU’s African American & African Studies program. I received a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from Fordham University in New York, and prior to coming to MSU I worked as an assessor for the City of New York’s property valuation division.

Since 2011 I’ve been heavily involved in Namibian Studies, very much on the periphery of African Studies (which itself is on the periphery of academia). In 2012, I completed a number of documentary films on Namibian history which were broadcast for the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation for Heroes’ Day 2014, Black History Month 2015, and for the 2015 Inauguration of President Dr. Hage Geingob. The film From Windhoek to Washington (co-produced with Matthew Ecker) has been screened on a number of occasions in the USA and Namibia. The interviews for the film project were archived at the National Archives of Namibia in Windhoek and the Basler Afrika Bibliographien in Switzerland. I also assisted in the conferral of an honorary doctorate for Namibia’s president, Dr. Hage Geingob, from Fordham University, where I screened a short film on his activism at the United Nations.

Read More