What’s In A Digital Map?: An Exploration of Poetry Africa’s Online Archive
When UCT’s beloved Jagger Library Reading Room was engulfed in flames in April 2021, Michal Singer, principal archivist of UCT’s Special Collections, stated:
“Unfortunately, not everything was scanned. But to those who wonder why not everything in the libraries and the archives was scanned: it is not realistic to expect that.”
If it is unrealistic to expect that the labour of digitisation will lead to the identical replication of a physical repository or collection in the digi-sphere, then what can we expect of this act? This question was central to the Centre for Creative Arts experimentation with the digitisation of Poetry Africa’s catalogues from 1997 to 2021. This session will offer a narrative reflection and technical demonstration of the interactive portal that emerged from a selective digitisation process, which mapped the poets, funders and partners who have made the festival possible over the last 25 years. We invite you to engage with us about the limitations and possibilities that present themselves when the intention of digitisation shifts away from complete documentation to strategic intervention.
Karen Ijumba, Steve Jones