16 December 2020
To whom it may concern,
Re: Reference for Africa Media Online.
Writing this letter provides me with a great opportunity to sing the praises of Africa Media Online (AMO). The International Library of African Music (ILAM), based at Rhodes University, has for a long time worked with the AMO on a number of digitising projects.
Over the last 12 years AMO has assisted ILAM with three projects:
1. In 2007 AMO digitised ILAM’s photographic collection of more than over 10,000 prints, transparencies and negatives. This project was carried out on-site at ILAM.
2. In 2008 AMO helped ILAM build a digital archive: https://ilam.africamediaonline.com
3. In 2015 the AMO digitised the Ian Bruce Huntley collection and loaded it to the ILAM digital archive. Not having the most current technologies nor the staff in 2008, it fell upon ILAM to procure the services of a digitising agency such as AMO. At the time digitisation was something new for archives and museums and as such the capacity at institutions was limited. Digitisation requires sophisticated equipment and staff with the capacity to manage this equipment. In this regard, the AMO presented itself as a worthy candidate to fulfil this task. Its management did not sit in an office and direct from a distance. Instead, site visits and providing training on site were an essential part of developing this relationship. At the time the AMO was already the leader in the field and came highly recommended by academics and other archives.
The AMO is a valuable resource for digitisation processes for the following reasons:
1. Staff members are highly professional.
2. Visionary approach to digitisation practices and technologies.
3. It keeps up to date with the most relevant technologies and even designs its own platforms where the market cannot provide them.
4. Works according to predetermined deadlines and budgets.
5. In South Africa the AMO is a leader in the field of digitisation. I have not heard of any other company which can provide clients with the high quality of their services.
6. The AMO always serves the best interests of the client and in a consultative manner.
7. The AMO provides regular reports on the finances and technical progress of projects.
8. The AMO operates on the principle of best practices and keeps one informed of the latest developments in the field. The above illustrates the AMO as a very reliable company. Without the engagement of the AMO, ILAM’s collections of images would not have enjoyed global accessibility and these images would also not have been protected by the best technologies available. We have entrusted our digitising fortunes with the AMO and to date there have been no disappointments. I doubt if any other company in South Africa comes even close to what the AMO has to offer. I support their application with conviction and without reservations.
Should you have further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
Dr Lee Watkins, Director, International Library of African Music
“Africa Media Online have made themselves responsible for digitising and cataloguing all the photographs. And there were many more than we had thought…. I am most grateful to the team, who have come here for two whole months, in a really professional way on mass. There must have been, I think, 11 of them in all. And they came here and took over the place completely and they worked long, long hours in two shifts. It was very professionally done.”
Andrew Tracey, Professor Emeritus, International Library of African Music