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Above: Young men dive off a pier in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Welcome to the fifth edition of the Digital Picture Library Manager blog designed to add value to the management of your picture and media collections as well as to keep you up to date with developments at Africa Media Online and the world of digital imaging that could be of benefit you.

1. Early Early Bird Special on Digital Masterclasses
2. Rand Daily Mail Pictures Digitised in African Image Pipeline Project
3. Characteristics of the Information Society that will Impact the Future
4. African Authors have their say on Digital Colonialism

1. Early Early Bird Special on Digital Masterclasses

Graeme Cookson teaching the Digital Imaging Essentials Masterclass in Durban, August 2007

Africa Media Online is kicking off the 2008 masterclasses with an Early Early Bird Special. Following three years of highly successful masterclasses we are pleased to announce that we have held the course fees for 2007 and that we are offering a 10% Early Bird discount for delegates that pay for their places by 30th June. In addition, as a first week special, we are offering an Early Early Bird Special of 15% off for delegates that pay by close of business this Friday May 23.

Run each August in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, Africa Media Online will again be running the masterclasses, but this time in an expanded form known as the Digital Campus. The Digital Campus will be run in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pietermaritzburg in conjunction with the Cape Town School of Photography and the Market Photo Workshop. This exciting initiative will bring together masterclasses run by UK-based digital imaging consultant Graeme Cookson with masterclasses run by Microsoft Icons of Imaging digital workflow specialist and author of The DAM Book, Peter Krogh. Peter’s masterclass is new for 2008 and, as with Graeme’s masterclasses, places are likely to be in high demand.

Click here for more information on the Digital Campus.
Click here to download a booking form.
Click here for quotes from participants
Contact Aneesa Ally regarding bookings or call Ian Blackburn on 033-345-9445.

2. Rand Daily Mail Pictures Digitised in African Image Pipeline Project

A young Raymond Ackerman is captured in Museum Africa’s Times Media Collection

Famous for its anti-apartheid stance during the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the Rand Daily Mail became an icon among the liberal white press. Pictures from the Rand Daily Mail form part of a collection from Museum Africa in Johannesburg which is currently being digitised by Africa Media Online as part of its European Union funded African Image Pipeline project.

Sandra De Wet, Head of Information Services at Museum Africa, says of the Times Media Collection Ltd., “We acquired this collection in the 1970s, it contains photos from the 1930s to about 1985. These come from, for instance the old Rand Daily Mail, the Sunday Times and the Sunday Express – all no longer published.”

“The importance of the photos is that they covered the daily news. The pictures include major political events such as the 1956 treason trial, the Rivonia trial in the 1960s, the 1976 Soweto uprisings, the Verwoerd shooting etc.”

Much of the value of the collection lies in the documentation of daily life in Johannesburg and surrounds from the 1930s to the mid-1980s. These pictures will soon be available for publishing use from africanpictures.net.

The African Image Pipeline project is a wonderful opportunity to have the best of your picture collections digitised. Find out more about the project on theAfrica Media Online web site or call Sue Hadcroft on 033-345-9445 or email her.

3. The Ocean at Your Doorstep: Eight Characteristics of the Information Society that will Impact the Future

There is a new world of possibilities and pitfalls in the information ocean

Speaking to the ISASA Librarians’ Conference at Hilton College, KZN, South Africa in early April, Africa Media Online’s Director, David Larsen outlined eight characteristics of the information society that will impact the future. The eight included: the democratization of technology, the rise of citizen media, the demise of the expert, information overload, the long tail, the erosion of privacy, media convergence, and the ascent of visual media. Download this and other presentations on the resources page

4. African Authors have their say on Digital Colonialism

Kenyan Author Shailja Patel contemplates the exhibit beside a bust of Chief Albert Luthuli, Luthuli Museum, Groutville, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

The Luthuli Museum in KwaZulu Natal hosted five African writers during the 11th Time of the Writer Festival. The authors included current executive director of the Gorée Institute, Breyton Breytenbach (South Africa), Emmanuel Dongala (Congo-Brazaville), Director of the Centre for African Literary Studies, Mbulelo Mzamane (South Africa), Shailja Patel (Kenya) and Angelina Sithebe (South Africa). During the discussion time, sparked off by a question from Africa Media Online’s David Larsen, the writers expressed the frustration faced by authors who often have to travel outside of Africa in order to get published. Speaking about the neo-colonial infrastructure which continues to govern our lives Emmanuel Dongala spoke about how a telephone call from his home city Brazaville to the neighbouring city of Kinshasa which he can see across the river is routed via Europe, and the expense of travel between nations in Africa. Breyten Breytenbach pick up on the topic of digitial colonialism and the monopolies that certain nations are establishing over knowledge. Shailja Patel spoke about the need for Africans to start to value the films, books and media produced by Africans. Ordinary Africans can do a lot to change the situation.

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Above: Shalom Farm, Greytown, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. An estimated 60,000 men gathered on Angus Buchan’s farm to hear the farmer and author speak, calling men from all walks of life to live lives for a purpose greater than personal gain. Over seven thousand men gathered in 2007 and in 2008 35,000 were expected. The world’s largest tent – nine stories high and longer than three rugby fields was no match for the crowd that gathered from all over South Africa, southern Africa and the world. The gathering seemed to signal a spiritual hunger among men in the region that many hope will contribute to a more humane society

Welcome to the fourth edition of the Digital Picture Library Manager blog designed to add value to the management of your picture and media collections as well as to keep you up to date with developments at Africa Media Online and the world of digital imaging that could be of benefit you.
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URGENT MATTERS:
A. If you intend submitting image collections for 70% funded digitisation under the African Image Pipeline project please ensure you contact us before May 15. Find detail under item 1.
B. The closing date for Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards is May 1. Find detail under item 4.
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In this edition:

1. 2010 Digitisation Project Gets Official Support from National Heritage Council
2. Images from the International Library of African Music Go Online
3. Expanded Digital Masterclasses Come to Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pietermaritzburg in August
4. Photo Section of the Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards 2008
5. Claire Kruiskamp, Picture Sales Executive
6. Building an archive that will last: Bit Depth

1. 2010 Digitisation Project Gets Official Support from National Heritage Council

Construction at the Cape Town’s International Airport toward getting the facility ready for the massive influx of visitors expected during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™

South Africa’s National Heritage Council has recently given unanimous support to a project initiated by Africa Media Online to digitise 32,000 images ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. With 70% funding from the the European Union, through Gijima KZN, an initiative of the Department of Economic Development, the project aims to assist photographers and heritage institutions to get ready for the rush of interest in South Africa’s history, cultures, geography and economy in the build up and aftermath of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

CEO of the National Heritage Council Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa said in a letter of commendation, “As this pilot project seeks to enhance the conservation measures of our heritage resources, the National Heritage Council confirms its endorsement of the African Image Pipeline project.”

Africa Media Online’s commitment to principles that ensure that ownership and control of collections remain with the organisations charged with their care, is one of the factors which has enabled the National Heritage Council to consider this project as a pilot digitisation project.

The project provides a 70% subsidy to digitise select pictures from participating collections at archival quality which are representative of South Africa’s history and heritage. Participating heritage organisations and photographers are expected to use the digitised images for their own promotional material in banners, exhibitions, brochures etc. With 32,000 images to digitise before year end, the project is having to proceed on a first come first serve basis.

Should you be interested in submitting image collections for digitisation please do not hesitate to contact Africa Media Online’s Director David Larsen on editor@africamediaonline.comor 082-829-7959 or Business Manager, Sue Hadcroft on sue@africamediaonline.com033-345-9445.

Digitisation is one of five elements to the project:
Click here to find out more about the whole project.
Click here to view a news report about the project.

2. Images from the International Library of African Music Go Online

Batwa pigmies listening to playback 2, Congo, 1949. Photo: Hugh Tracey/International Library of African Music

In March Africa Media Online completed a digitisation project tackling the picture collection of the International Library of African Music at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. With close to 10,000 images digitised and a web site created with over 1,000 high resolution images available for publication, the project was a great success. The first heritage project in South Africa to take a picture collection all the way from physical archive to a global online audience, the project was funded by South Africa’s National Heritage Council.
Click here to view ILAM’s new Picture Archive
Click here to view a photo feature from ILAM’s new Picture Archive
Click here to view a video of the ILAM project.

3. Expanded Digital Masterclasses Come to Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pietermaritzburg in August

Participants being taught masking techniques by Graeme Cookson during the Practical Digital Workflow masterclass in Durban, August, 2007

Following three years of highly successful masterclasses run each August in Cape Town, Durban and Gauteng, Africa Media Online will again run the masterclasses, but this time in expanded form. In 2008 Africa Media Online will be running its first Digital Campus – a whole week of training. UK based digital imaging consultant Graeme Cookson will be joined by US based Peter Krogh the author of The DAM Book and Microsoft Icons of Imaging member. The Digital Campus will include masterclasses by Graeme and Peter as well as evening workshops and events. Find out more…

4. Photo Section of the Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards 2008

May 1 is the deadline for the Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards 2008. The Awards were created in 2004 to help transform perceptions about the continent. Five years on, Africa is seen very differently, and the Awards continue to seek out and recognise journalists and editors around the world who have gone the extra mile to promote a balanced view of economic opportunity and business achievement in Africa. The Awards aim to promote a more balanced view of financial issues and business opportunities across the continent, thereby empowering investors to make informed decisions about Africa as well as showcasing Africa’s success stories. The awards include a category for “best published photograph”. To enter, visit the Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards 2008 web site

5. Claire Kruiskamp, Picture Sales Executive

Claire Kruiskamp, Sales Executive for Africa Media Online’s africanpictures.net

Claire Kruiskamp has been Sales Executive for Africa Media Online’s africanpictures.net for almost a year. She looks after the company’s South African clients and some of its international clients. With a matriculate from DSG, and BComm from Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, Claire came to Africa Media Online with a background in administration, marketing and sales. If you have not already met her in her travels to Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town she would be glad to pay you a visit next time she is in your area. Clients in the UK will have the opportunity to meet her at the BAPLA Picture Buyer’s Fair at the Business Design Centre in London, 7-8 May. Email Claire on pictures@africanpictures.net or call her on +27-33-345-9445.

6. Building an Archive that will last: Bit Depth

Constitution Hill in the heart of Johannesburg is the home of South Africa’s Constitutional Court. Formerly the Old Fort Prison Complex, the site was home to Number Four prison which in the days of apartheid saw the incarceration of thousands of political activists including Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela. Pictures with great range from dark to light gain from being captured and worked with in 16 bits

The africanpictures.net Imaging Standards Document outlines image quality for professional markets and archival preservation. In the last edition we dealt with interpolation, now we want to look at the related subject of bit depth.

To build a digital collection at archival quality, you should be scanning at 16 bits per colour channel or 48 bits. This is to capture the maximum colour variations in an image. When you want to output to printing or to media markets, however, a file should always be changed into 8 bits per colour channel or 24 bits otherwise you will end up stopping the press, hence the africanpictures.net imaging standard is 8 bits, simply because the standard defines the standards of market ready files. So what does all this mean?

To get on to all the technical stuff click here

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Above: The Eastern Cape from the air. Africa Media Online’s Mobile Digitisation Unit has relocated to the Eastern Cape to digitise the International Library of African Music

Welcome to the second edition of the Digital Picture Library Manager blog designed to add value to the management of your picture and media collections as well as to keep you up to date with developments at Africa Media Online and the world of digital imaging that could be of benefit you.

In this edition:

1. Building an archive that will last: file size
2. Black owned company acquires majority shareholding in Africa Media Online
3. Digital imaging masterclasses meet the need in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg
4. World’s foremost African music archive to be digitised by Africa Media Online
5. South African photographer, David Goldblatt, wins prestigious honorary fellowship

1. Building an archive that will last: file size

Graeme Cookson at ILAM 2

Capturing files that will last: digital imaging consultant, Graeme Cookson at the International Library of African Music

The new africanpictures.net imaging standards, which can be downloaded here, gives target file sizes for submission to its image library in megabytes. This is because the size of an image is a more accurate measure of its quality, as long as it has not been interpolated (had the size bumped up artificially), than the commonly used measure – resolution. For resolution to be a useful measure, the dimensions of a file need to be mentioned. Simply saying a file is “300 dpi” is not enough. It is like saying “100 km/hour” in response to the question “how far is Pretoria from Johannesburg?” “100 km/hour for 1 hour” is going to be a far more useful answer. Likewise “300 dpi at 10 cm by 15 cm” tells you more about how useful an image will be. To get to the point more quickly in response to the question about the distance from Johannesburg to Pretoria, one could have said 100 km. In the same way a more efficient way to speak about file size is in Megabytes.

The africanpictures.net Digital Imaging Standards document outlines the target file sizes for building a collection for professional print purposes and for archiving.

Digital files that will last

Picture collections need to be digitised for the purpose of preservation and access. You want to make sure you do it right the first time so you do not have to revisit an expensive process again

The minimum standard for professional news and sport photography, where photographers often have to shoot large numbers of images to capture the action, is the most lenient in terms of file size. An 18 MB file can be shot on a 6 megapixel camera.

On the other extreme are images for commercial work which should be between 50 and 60 MB in size so that they can be used on everything from a magazine advert to large display boards.

50 to 60 MB is also the file size if you are wanting to produce archival quality scans from negatives and transparencies. Museums and archives also tend to have to scan photographic prints and here the file size will vary according to the size of the print. The convention is to scan the print at it real dimensions (eg. 10 cm x 15 cm) at 600 dpi. This means you are capturing enough data to print that image at twice the size of the original.

The minimum file size for editorial images is between 24 and 30 MB which is sufficient for printing a full page of a magazine and has enough quality factor for a double page spread. Of course with all of these we are speaking about minimum targets and if a sports photographer captures images at between 50 and 60 MB those images simply become useful for more purposes.

2. Black owned company acquires majority shareholding in Africa Media Online

Sandile

Africa Media Online’s Executive Chairperson, Sandile Swana BTh BCom BCom Hons MBA, brings to the organisation a wealth of experience in business management and financial leadership

Kabusha Technology Investments Pty. (Ltd.) has recently acquired a majority stake in Africa Media Online. The change in ownership means that Africa Media Online is now officially black owned and holds the status of HDI as defined by South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industries. The new executive chairperson and director, Sandile Swana, said there are two primary developmental needs in Africa, cost effective transportation and effective communication. He sees Africa Media Online as a solid investment as it is contributing greatly toward effective communication in the African continent as African media professionals, media organisations and heritage institutions are empowered by the technological platform developed by Africa Media Online, to tell Africa’s story to a global audience. Africa Media Online’s Director, David Larsen said he was delighted to be in partnership with Kabusha Technology Investments Pty. (Ltd.) as they bring a solid financial base to the company and considerable financial skill. Kabusha Technology Investments Pty. (Ltd.) now owns 51% of the company, the Larsen Family Trust 39% and Dr Rouen Bruni has a 10% equity share.

3. Digital imaging masterclasses meet the need in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg

Graeme Cookson coaches participants

UK based digital imaging consultant, Graeme Cookson, demonstrates masking techniques in Photoshop to participants in the Practical Digital Workflow masterclass in Durban

Africa Media Online’s digital masterclasses run in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg in August with Graeme Cookson received wonderfully high ratings from participants. Africa Media Online’s Director, David Larsen, said he was delighted with the feedback. “Considering that all participants at the six masterclasses were imaging professionals in their own right – designers, museums professionals, professional photographers and the like – it was amazing that across the board participants expressed that they benefited greatly. We are obviously hitting the mark. It is obviously rewarding for us in view of our passion to empower African imaging professionals to be confident in working at international standards. It is always wonderful working with Graeme because he is not only extremely knowledgeable but also a brilliantly clear communicator.

This year Africa Media Online ran two types of masterclass in each city. A two day, Practical Digital Workflow masterclasses where participants sit at work stations and put into practice what they are being taught, was added to the one day Digital Imaging Essentials masterclass which had been successfully run in 2005 and 2006. This year the Digital Imaging Essentials masterclass got the following average scores from participant evaluations out of a possible 10 (bearing in mind that the participants were all imaging professionals): Durban – 9.1; Cape Town – 8.9; Johannesburg 8.5. The new Practical Digital Workflow masterclasses got the following average scores from participant evaluations out of a possible 10: Durban – 9.6; Cape Town – 9.5; Johannesburg – 9.1.

Africa Media Online intends to bring Graeme Cookson out again next year and is in the process of finalising dates and courses. There is also a possibility of running classes in other cities as an invitation has already been received from Bloemfontein.

4. World’s foremost African music archive to be digitised by Africa Media Online

Professor Diane Thram at ILAM

ILAM’s Director, Professor Diane Thram examines pictures in the archive. Africa Media Online’s Mobile Digitisation Unit will be digitising the collection over the next two months

The International Library of African Music at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, is known as one of the “greatest repositories of African music in the world.” Not only does the archive contain field recordings from as early as the 1930s, it also contains up to 8,000 images taken by Hugh Tracey, his son, professor emeritus Andrew Tracey and other researchers and photographers.

Africa Media Online’s Mobile Digitisation Unit relocated to Grahamstown this past weekend to begin cataloguing and digitising these images and capturing associated meta-data as part of a preservation project funded by South Africa’s Africa’s National Heritage Council.

In 2006 Africa Media Online assisted ILAM Director, Professor Diane Thram, in creating the funding proposal which led to the awarding of a National Heritage Council grant to catalogue and preserve ILAM’s photographic and film collections. As part of the digitisation process, a selection of the most usable images will be made and copies of them retouched and keyworded using the African Archival Thesaurus. They will then be made available to a global audience online on ILAM’’s MEMAT powered web site.

Africa Media Online’s Director, David Larsen, says, “We consider it a great privilege to be working with Professor Thram and her team in what is a vital project in the preservation of African heritage. We are grateful to the National Heritage Council for taking the initiative to preserve such an essential resource for future generations.” Prof. Thram says, “I wish to heartily thank the South African National Heritage Council for the enabling funding and Africa Media Online for their dedicated cooperation in planning and now executing the essential work of making ILAM’s historic collection of images of sub-Saharan Africa available to the world.

5. South African photographer, David Goldblatt, wins prestigious honorary fellowship

Hugh Masekela

Hugh Masekela, soon after his return to South Africa in the 1980s. Photograph: David Goldblatt

In a ceremony on October 4, South African photographer, David Goldblatt is to be awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Photographic Society. The prestigious award is only presented to up to eight photographers a year. Goldblatt is South Africa’s most awarded photographer. Last year he won the world’s most prestigious photographic award, The Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. Goldblatt’s work is represented by Africa Media Online on africanpictures.net as part of the South Photos archive. The Royal Photographic Society’s Honorary Fellowships are “awarded to distinguished persons having, from their position or attainments, an intimate connection with the science or fine art of photography or the application thereof.”

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