Sabinet Gateway will create an online archive of African academic content with the help of a R1,8-million grant from Carnegie Corporation.
Sabinet Gateway is a non-profit organisation that promotes and supports library and information services in Africa. The New York-based foundation has awarded the grant so it can create an African Online Journal Archive.
This archive, the first of its kind to contain purely African content, will make academic inputs from all over Africa available for research purposes to local and international organisations and academic institutions.
According to Rosalind Hattingh, director: product management at Sabinet Online, which has been contracted to manage the project: "This is an exciting project and an important one. It will, for the first time create a central full-text repository of retrospective journal content that contains important African research across a number of fields, including the medical, social sciences and environmental arenas.
"These materials have unique value, providing not only the vital groundwork for further or related research but assisting to preserve the heritage of the African continent."
Two hundred journals from across English speaking Africa countries, including Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia and South Africa, have thus far been identified for possible inclusion.
Stretching over four years, this project will include the sourcing of African journal content, the negotiation of publisher agreements, digitisation and indexing of the journal content and the creation of a front end that will make the journal content easily accessible to end users online.
Says Hattingh: "We have already identified a number of the journals we will include but the real challenge will be gaining access to the existing hard copies of the journals going back to their first publications. In all, we expect the archive will contain approximately 90 000 articles."