Digitization of a million images offers a rare glimpse of Kenya’s history

December 7, 2016
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An aerial view of the centre of Nairobi showing the junction of Kenyatta Avenue with Hardinge Street. At the corner can be seen the new nine-storey New Stanley Hotel nearing completion/URITHI
An aerial view of the centre of Nairobi showing the junction of Kenyatta Avenue with Hardinge Street. At the corner can be seen the new nine-storey New Stanley Hotel nearing completion/URITHI

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 7 – Kenyans can now access the country’s rare historical images as Kenya News Agency in partnership with the ICT Authority rolls out a digital library. 

More than 1 million historical images and nearly 5,000 hours of videos dating back to the 1940s are now in digital format, and can be accessed at www.urithi.go.ke.

Broadcast and telecommunication Principal Secretary, Sammy Itemere said the government is committed to digitizing all records and avail rich and interactive content online for public access.

Low-resolution digital copies of multimedia assets will be viewable at no cost online while the news agency will offer licenses for personal and commercial reproduction and re-use.

“To make the project sustainable some of the materials will be accessed by the public at a fee for commercial use,” said Itemere.

However, watermarked low-resolution digital copies of Kenya News Agency multimedia assets will be viewable at no cost online.

The agency has not yet determined the fee structure for the various licenses it will offer.

The KNA Digitization project was conceived in 2011 with the ICT Authority securing funding from the World Bank in 2014 to support the project.

The public event constituting a Street Exhibition of historical photos dating back to the 1940s highlights images most of which have never been seen since they were taken.

ICT Authority together with the Department of Information has been conducting mini launches of the Online Historical Portal through a series of public awareness events in different towns since October.

The Nairobi exhibition is taking place from today the 7th to 10th of December 2016.

“Easy access to these historical photos will especially 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,” said ICT Ministry PS, Eng. Victor Kyalo.

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