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Google to digitize Nelson Mandela archives with $1.2 million grant


Wednesday, March 9, 2011
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Google has donated $1.25 million to the Nelson Mandela Foundation Center of Memory in Johannesburg to help digitize memorabilia related to the South African leader.

Documents, photos, and multimedia from the 92-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner’s life will be included in this free online archive. The archive will also feature correspondence between Mandela and world leaders, activists, family, and friends in the time leading up to the end of apartheid in South Africa. Although this treasure trove of multimedia isn’t live yet, it will be accessible globally “in the future,” Google said.

“The online Mandela archive… will be a wealth of information for those wanting to learn about and research the life and legacy of this extraordinary African statesman,” Google said in a blog post.

Google is already aiding in the indexing of the information, but it aims to provide the search technology that will make the multimedia catalog accessible to anyone, from anywhere.

According to the Nelson Mandela Foundation site, “memory resources documenting the life and times of [Mandela] are to be found in an extraordinary range of locations, both within South Africa and internationally. These resources are embedded and various legal and other jurisdictions.”

The search engine giant is also helping to digitize other important historical documents. In partnership with the Yad Vashem Museum in Israel, Google recently created the world’s largest archive of Holocaust photos and documents.

Google donated another $1.25 million to the Desmond Tutu Peace Center in Cape Town, in order to document and digitize his works and create an interactive digital learning center.

Equally, another $1.25 million was granted to Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Cape Town, for the documentation and digitization of Desmond Tutu’s archives and an interactive digital learning centre.

Google also announced three additional grants given through the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Funds of Tides Foundation to support access to information across the continent.

Among the beneficiaries of the grant is the Nigeria ICT Forum, which was awarded a $500,000 grant to help in improving access to internet infrastructure in tertiary education institutions in Nigeria.

The Nigeria ICT Forum is a scheme of the Nigerian Caucus (a joint meeting of the Vice-Chancellors and ICT Coordinators) of the six Partnership Nigerian Universities. Its mandate is to develop an ICT-based capacity for strengthening Research and Higher Education, HEIs; Facilitate and nurture collaboration between HEIs to cultivate a favorable policy environment; develop, utilize and sustain ICT networks, services and shared resources consistent with institutional roles as focus for development.

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