Mandela immortalized in digital archives

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Google and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory (NMCM) announced today that the new Nelson Mandela Digital Archive is now live on the web, freely accessible to the global public.

The archives include never-seen sequel manuscripts to Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom autobiography.

Google gave a $1.25m grant to the Johannesburg-based NMCM in 2011 to help preserve and digitize thousands of archival documents, photographs and videos about Mr. Mandela.

Along with historians, educationalists, researchers and activists, users from around the world now have access to extensive information about the life and legacy of this extraordinary African statesman.

“It is invigorating to see our combined efforts become a reality,” said Verne Harris from the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory. “This digital initiative will make it possible for us to reach the full spectrum of our stakeholders, from the global elite to systemically disadvantage South Africans.”

 

The digital archive explores different parts of Mr. Mandela’s life and work in depth: Early life, prison years, presidential years, retirement, books for Mandela, young people and My Moments with a Legend.

The technology used for the Mandela Archive allows for hosting of mixed-media material, making those materials searchable and browsable, and also allows curators to curate the materials into exhibits.  It uses Google Search, Google+ Photos for image serving, and YouTube for video streaming and serving.

 

Steve Crossan, Director of the Google Cultural Institute said: “The Mandela Digital Archive Project shows how the Internet can help preserve historical heritage and make it available to the world.  We’ve worked closely with the NMCM to create an interactive online experience with powerful search and browsing tools, so that users can explore Mr. Mandela’s inspiring life story.”

 

“The Archive currently includes over 1900 unique images, documents and videos, and will grow over time,” said Luke Mckend, Country Manager for Google South Africa.  “South Africans from all walks of life can now engage with important parts of our country’s history.  For example, reading handwritten pages of a letter smuggled from Robben Island in 1977, or seeing Warrant documents that sent Mandela to jail first for 5 years and then for life.”

 

To start exploring the Nelson Mandela archive visit: http://archive.nelsonmandela.org

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