Recording Content on Mobile Phones

Africa needs to move from a continent that consumes media to one that produces it. With limited traditional media skills and budgets available for large-scale production projects, the answer may lie in our hands. Many modern mobile phones have the capability to fulfil a number of different media-recording and publishing roles, as such, can be vital tools for developing a digital media industry.

Mobile phones can be used to tell Africa’s stories to the world

Mobile Phone Capabilities

With the rise of smart phone technology, it is possible to carry around one device with the combined functionality of an audio recorder, video recorder and digital camera. While premium (and costly) brands such as the iPhone are often the first examples of smart phones that come to mind, there are also a range of more affordable options that offer comparable performance at a greatly reduced price. These include a number of handsets running the Android operating system (e.g. Samsung) as well as devices from brands like Huawei, ZTE, Sony and LG. 

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ICTS for Indigenous Knowledge Preservation

I recently had an article published in the ICT Update magazine, in an issue focused on ‘Crowdsourcing and engagement’. My article was on how libraries in South Africa are using ICTs and community journalists to collect indigenous knowledge.

ICT Update is a bimonthly printed bulletin, a web magazine, and an accompanying email newsletter and mobile website. Each issue of ICT Update focuses on a specific theme relevant to ICTs for agricultural and rural development in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

Local Users, Local Language, Local Content

Presented at the IAMCR 2012 Conference, Durban, South Africa.

The Ulwazi Programme uses the public library infrastructure, Web 2.0 technologies and the community to collect and disseminate indigenous knowledge and local histories. This user-generated content is compiled in an online digital library in the form of a website and access is provided through current mobile and web technologies. In this paper I describe the history of the programme, its objectives and its structure. The website’s usage statistics are then unpacked to reveal the demographics of its users and popular content, with a focus on the use of the regional vernacular, Zulu.

How to build an Indigenous Digital Library through Community Participation

African Libraries and Information Centres are poorly equipped to make a meaningful contribution to the current global digital knowledge economy. The paucity of African stories and community information on the web predicates the limited role of heritage and information practitioners in Africa. Low local content on the Web retards buy-in from local communities into digital resources, impeding ICT skills development and social transformation. These issues could be addressed successfully through provision of indigenous knowledge resources, sourced from the community, as part of public library services.
This paper describes a concept for the development of user-generated content compiled in an Indigenous digital library, making use of current mobile and web technologies. Informed by empirical practice based on a real African case-study, the innovative use of internet-based mobile applications that permits the exchange of information is explained, highlighting the interaction between the library, the community and the latest technologies. By re-aligning their services thus public libraries in Africa have the potential to reduce the digital divide an promote sustainable development.

More Info: Co-authored with Elizabeth Greyling. SCECSAL 2012 Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. Published in the conference proceedings ‘Information for Sustainable Development in a Digital Environment’: 400-411.
Publication Date: 2012
Publication Name: Information for Sustainable Development in a Digital Environment