Friday, June 09, 2017

Digitizing books in Nigerian languages

The national libraries of Norway and Nigeria are set to formalize an agreement (on 10 June 2017) for digitization of literature written in Nigerian languages. Plans are for the project to begin in Norway and then shift to Nigeria after three years.

The project has interesting implications for digitization of materials in African languages more broadly. For one thing it could serve as a pilot for similar collaborative efforts in other areas of the continent. Those could involve libraries in other Northern countries that have significant holdings in African languages.

Another aspect to consider is that of cross-border languages. Of the three languages that the project will initially focus on - Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo - the first two are also spoken in other countries of the region. Could this effort to digitize books be designed to anticipate readers from other countries where those languages are spoken, and involve their national libraries?

There are some questions concerning format and access which one anticipates will be answered as details on the project are shared.

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