To Timbuktu (and Back Again)

Northwestern University recently began a partnership with Aluka to establish a high-resolution digital photography studio in Timbuktu, Mali. The studio will be used in the digitization of Islamic Manuscripts which are held by members of Savama DCI, an association which works to protect and promote ancient manuscripts.

NUAMPS members recently returned from the initial phase of the project. NUAMPS began the job by transporting 224 kilograms of equipment from Chicago to Timbuktu. This shipment included cameras, computers, lights, camera supports, and electrical distribution equipment, among other items. Harlan Wallach, Architect for Media Technologies; Stefani Foster, Photographer and Digital Image Specialist; and Cameron Bill, Digital Image Specialist made the nearly 24-hour journey as well.

Once in Timbuktu, the NUAMPS crew worked with three local project representatives to set up the studio and begin testing equipment. Wallach, Foster, and Bill then trained Hamed Ongoiba, Banzouman Traore, and Abbas Diarra to run the digitization studio. By the end of the week, the crew had digitized nearly 1000 manuscript pages.