Access to Print, Digitized, and Born-Digital Newspapers from Africa: The North American / Global Conundrum

SIMON, James (2015) Access to Print, Digitized, and Born-Digital Newspapers from Africa: The North American / Global Conundrum. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2015 - Cape Town, South Africa in Session 80 - News Media. In: IFLA WLIC 2015 - Cape Town, South Africa.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1269
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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.

Abstract

Access to Print, Digitized, and Born-Digital Newspapers from Africa: The North American / Global Conundrum

Newspapers and news media from Africa are widely considered valuable primary source research materials for scholars. Research institutions in North America—such as the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), the Library of Congress, and major academic libraries—have built up over several decades of investment large collections of African newspapers in print and microform through subscription, microfilm preservation, and digitization. However, changing models of access, combined with the challenges and cost of acquiring and storing print newspapers from overseas, has resulted in drastic reductions in the amount of print newspapers currently collected in the U.S. and Canada for research purposes. North American libraries have placed a premium on electronic access to content. However, a large share of news produced in countries in the global South continues to be disseminated in print. To highlight the challenges facing academic institutions in providing access to historical and current news content from Africa, the author examines the present state of digital accessibility, drawing from two recent CRL studies: a 2013 survey of African online newspapers and a 2015 study of the state of newspaper digitization worldwide. The author highlights some of activities CRL and North American libraries have pursued towards broader availability of international news content. However, these measures are as yet not enough to sustain access to the wealth of current and historical news resources. The author argues that deeper, strategic cooperative investment is required by libraries in Africa as well as elsewhere in the world to pursue broader access to African news through such activities as digitization, licensing, and harvesting born-electronic material.

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