A chance to revisit those Timbuktu manuscripts

This past weekend I had the honor of presenting at the “Approaches to the Qu’ran in sub-Saharan Africa” conference held at the Canadian Museum of Textiles in Toronto, Canada. Sponsored by York University and the Ismaili Cultural office. This conference represented an opportunity to talk about the Aluka | Ithaka sponsored project involving the background, justification, and the production work flow associated with setting up a digitization studio in Timbuctu at the Mama Haidara library. Our presentation was the final presentation of the conference, and was also open to the public. This represented the chance for Sheik Abdelkader Haidara, Rahim Rajan, and I to share the podium.

Harlan Wallach, Abdelkader Haidara, Rahim Rajan

Abdelkader first gave his keynote laying out the background and explanation of the manuscripts and their place in Timbuktu history. Rahim and and I followed and co-presented on the specific project. My goal was to not only look backward, but to revisit the great potential of this work, and the roles and ways it might be used as a basis for future development in the new world of crowd sourced digital humanities. Our presentation is below, you can advance the slides by mouse clicking in the presentation. If you have any problems with this the whole movie file can be downloaded.

The online gallery site we authored as a record of this project can be viewed here, including the free MP3 download of the call to prayer recorded at 4:00 AM on a Dark, cold and clear Timbuktu morning from the roof of our hotel.

Much thanks to Zulfikar Hirji for the invitation to speak at this great event.