Soon Kenyans will be able to browse through an online library of the country’s history. Through the Kenya News Agency, the Kenya ICT Authority is working on a project to digitize and launch the online library by December 2015. Kenya News Agency was established on December 5th 1963, a week to Kenya’s Independence specializing in news gathering across the country and news dissemination for local and international news agencies.
Currently, its volume of assets include 500,000 photos, 6,000 hours of video, 20,000 hours of audio, 500,000 records of articles and 40,000 bounded books worth of magazines dating back to 1936. The digitization process will by large involve cataloging process that includes adding descriptions to the digital file to make it searchable from a computer. In addition, it will involve capturing details for each resource. The cataloging is a slow process that can take years to complete. To this effect, KNA plans to open the online library with at least 30% of the collection searchable.
The KNA Digitization project was conceived in 2011 with the ICT Authority securing funding for the project in 2014. The project seeks to improve the storage conditions of the digital assets for posterity besides creating a catalogue system that supports search and retrieval of these assets. The online library will also allow users to purchase licensed digital copies of the digital assets besides allowing users to find, view, and comment on digital copies of these materials.
KNA plans to offer watermarked low resolution digital copies of content for free online but also offer licences for personal and commercial reproduction and reuse of its assets. The agency is yet to determine the fee structure of these digital assets. Access to these historical content will benefit the creative industry and researchers. From fashion designers to filmmakers, access to visual history of Kenya will serve to inspire and enrich their creations. For personal family research or professional cultural research, the online catalogue will be an invaluable reference source.