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Developing Materials for a Digital Library Gallery

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image of Islamic Africa

This essay explores how scholars working on “Pluralism and Adaptation in the Islamic Practice of Senegal and Ghana,” a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Collaborative Research project, partnered with a digital humanities center to create freely available online digital collections to enhance research, teaching, and learning about West African Islam. By looking closely at the development of one of these online galleries, Professor David Robinson’s “Failed Islamic States in the Senegambia,” we examine how materials are prepared for this type of web presentation. Specifically, the essay reviews the efforts of subject experts in describing and cataloging multimedia collections so that users understand the context in which the primary source materials were created, as well as the overarching purpose of the digital collections. We also describe the technology and standards used for storing, retrieving, and displaying interviews, documents, and images in this collection. In short, this essay provides insight into the processes and challenges by which we transform field and archival research data into contextualized web resources useful for learning about and researching Africa and Islam.



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