References

15 December 2020

Re: Reference for Africa Media Online

To Whom It May Concern

I am the Head Librarian/Manager of The Brenthurst Library in Johannesburg, a privately-owned research library holding collections of books, pamphlets, manuscripts, artworks and photographic materials.

In 2016 the library collaborated with the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam on a project to digitise records relating to Robert Jacob Gordon, the last Dutch military commander at the Cape. The library holds a substantial archive of manuscript material, and artworks and maps were in The Netherlands, so the Rijksmuseum wished to set up a website combining all the material for researchers. The manuscripts held here are fragile and very valuable, so it was important that they would be handled in line with best conservation practices.

David Larsen from Africa Media Online was commissioned to digitise the records here, to specifications set by the Rijksmuseum, in line with international metadata standards. The project was completed efficiently and very quickly. The work was completed to everyone’s satisfaction, at a reasonable cost, ahead of deadlines set by the Rijksmuseum.

I highly recommend Africa Media Online for the digitisation of archival and museum materials.

Yours faithfully

SA MacRoberts, Head Librarian, The Brenthurst Library

15 December 2020

To Whom It May Concern

I am writing as Cornelius Thomas, the Head of Cory Library of Humanities Research at Rhodes University, one of the finest preservation and research entities in South Africa.

Africa Media Online (AMO) is well known to us and is indeed one of our preferred digital and online service providers.

In 2008, AMO digitized extensive African heritage photographic collections for us. Employing their state of the science skills, AMO delivered this project to our satisfaction, quality-wise and on time. AMO has since managed these photographic collections on our behalf.

When one of our Mellon Foundation projects, to wit the digitization of our rare maps collection (some maps are massively large), needed a service provider, we again turned to AMO. This project required exceptional skills and cutting edge hard- and software. We were mightily pleased with AMO delivering it as an outcome of the highest quality and, again, on time.

I have no hesitation recommending Africa Media Online as a service provider at the cutting edge of the digitization / electronic industry, and indeed an efficient and professional outfit, that will deliver your project to all your expectations.

Thank you and kind regards.

Dr Cornelius Thomas, Head, Cory Library, Rhodes University

17 December 2020

Recommendation Letter

This is to confirm that I have known Africa Media Online since 2016.

Under the leadership of David Larsen, Africa Media Online has been engaged by the Durban Art Gallery on two occasions. Firstly, this company developed a digital collections strategy in 2016. Secondly, Africa Media Online digitised over 600 2D and 3D objects as part of the Durban Art Gallery’s beadwork collection in 2017.

All these important tasks were implemented in the most efficient way, enabling this Gallery to produce a full colour illustrated exhibition catalogue. That was one of the most fascinating exhibitions, attracting an amazingly huge number of foreign tourists who needed to experience something they had never seen in their countries.

The thoroughness and dedication with which these tasks were executed are evidenced by the good quality of the work that Africa Media Online. When the overall brief was communicated to Africa Media Online, definite project time frames were determined and agreed upon. Both projects were completed and handed over within set time frames. This enabled the Durban Art Gallery to successfully comply with internal audit requirements.

On basis of the foregoing, I would not hesitate to recommend Africa Media Online to any owner of projects similar to the ones articulated above.

Should further comment or elucidation be required, I am more than happy to avail myself.

Dr Mduduzi Xakaza, Director, Durban Art Gallery

15 December 2020

To whom it may concern

Scope of the project:
Africa Media Online has undertaken two (2) projects for the Durban Natural Science Museum:
– In 2015 Africa Media Online worked with our senior management to produce a digital archives strategy
– In 2016 the company worked with our team to digitise type specimens at very high resolution

Quality of work done:
On both projects, adequate consultation was displayed by [-] Africa Media Online, before finalization, and the products (digitization strategy and digitization [of] specimens) met our requirements. On the one project (digitisation of images), even though it was completed in 2016, when trying to extract images for use on another platform with South African National Biodiversity Institute in 2019, we discovered that the format in which images were provided were not compatible with their systems. However, Africa Media Online willingly obliged to convert all the files into a format that was usable for this new platform with SANBI.

The efficiency of the project team:
With the digitization strategy, the project team was efficient. However, with the digitization of natural science specimens, this took longer than expected, as it was the first time that the team had undertaken digitization of specimens, having previously only worked with artifacts. Once the methodology was finalized and [the] team was used to working with the specimens, the process became easier.

The project was undertaken:
2015-2016

Yours sincerely

Allison Ruiters, Director, Durban Natural Science Museum

February 2017

First of all, I absolutely loved the pictures! From the artistic point of view, the pictures are amazing and the artifacts themselves are really unique!

… Many thanks for the photos! I have just uploaded them to my test dashboard to check if all’s good and it’s just perfect! The quality is really high and we can definitely work with these! … Million thanks in advance! Outstanding job!

Agata Wieczorowska, Coordinator, Google Cultural Institute

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.davidl637.sg-host.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.

Thank you,

Sincerely,

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

15 December 2020

RE: REFERENCE REGARDING AFRICA MEDIA ONLINE
Client: Iziko Museums of South Africa Collections and Digitisation Department
Director: Paul Tichmann

Scope of the project:
Africa Media Online assisted Iziko Museums of South Africa in 2017 in the digitisation of collections of 3D and 2D objects including isiShweshwe, beadwork from Southern Africa, Kalahari skin bags and tobacco bags from the Eastern Cape. The project was funded by Google Arts & Culture and the outcome can be found on our section on the Google Arts & Culture website: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/south-african-national-gallerv under Stories

Quality of work done:
Africa Media Online produced work of a high standard and the digitized collections were accepted by Google Arts and Culture for inclusion in their global fashion online exhibition project. Africa Media Online were attentive to the brief and were able to work within an extremely tight deadlines. We have received positive feedback on the Iziko contribution from many commentators locally and internationally. I would have no hesitation in recommending the work of Africa Media Online. They were able to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of digitisation of museum collections.

Yours sincerely

Paul Tichmann, Director Collections and Digitisation, Iziko Museums of South Africa

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

Dear Sir/Madam

Re: Letter of Reference for Africa Media Online

It is a pleasure for me to write this letter of reference for Africa Media Online. In my capacity as the Deputy Director at the KwaZulu-Natal Museum, I have worked closely with Africa Media Online, and in particular Mr David Larson who is the Managing Director of the company.

Africa Media Online was awarded a tender to digitize a collection of over 8,000 historical photographs in the Museum Library in the year 2010. These photographs form part of a valuable and irreplaceable heritage resource of the country. This rich collection of photographic materials has been built up carefully since the formal inception of the Museum in 1903 (and prior to this, from 1850, when the early Museum was part of the Natal Society). Because of this, the photographs have to be treated with care, and by personnel with the necessary skills and experience of handling heritage objects.

With the demonstrated experience in handling such objects, Africa Media Online was the obvious choice for the work. I am happy to say that the company did not disappoint. The work was completed with professionalism and dedication.

The scope of work of the contract included the following:

  • Cataloguing and digitization – assign catalogue numbers using internationally accepted standards; scanning of up to 8000 images; digital retouching of 400 images in Photoshop; keywording of 400 images; and archival storage: set up a conducive environment for storing original images.
  • Website development and management – to host, market and sell the images through e-commerce.
  • Training and skills transfer to Museum Library staff.
  • Supply of digitization equipment / hardware and software for continuous use by Museum staff.

In addition, Africa Media Online has provided the following services to the Museum:

  • Digitisation of a map and poster collection in 2015
    Writing of the Museum’s digital archives strategy in 2015
  • Training of Museum staff on the Heritage Digital Campus in 2016 and
  • Digitisation of type specimens from Museum’s natural history heritage collections in 2016.

Africa Media Online did not only complete all the work in line with the scopes of work, but went beyond by offering continuous support after the work was completed. All of the work was also completed within the stipulated timeframes.

I am happy to say that we were more than pleased with the work completed. I would therefore recommend Africa Media Online for any digitization work, especially in the digitization of heritage objects.

Yours sincerely,

Sandile Miya, Deputy Director, KwaZulu-Natal Museum

2017

“My experience of working with Africa Media Online has been professional and timeous execution. They are knowledgeable and informed in terms of trends, policies and latest archiving methods – particularly relating to digitisation. They may be pricey but are worth the money spent.”

“David Larsen has been of enormous help and assistance with the establishment of our digital repository. Apart from the digitisation work we have carried out with them, he has always been a great source of knowledge and can often recommend those who can best assist us.”

Robyn Gruijters, Archivist,Michaelhouse

2017

“We have enjoyed a very good experience in our work with Africa Media On Line. At each stage of the project they provided valuable input into the requirements and resource planning. They provided specialist skills in terms of the archive systems and workflows. Their team of specialists on site were professional, diligent and hard working. The systems they provided were of a high quality, robust and capable of adaptation to meet the functionality required of our project.”

“I would advise that Africa Media Online can be trusted to provide archive consultancy that can be trusted. Their services and products are first class and reliable. Basically your project will be in safe hands!”

Eddie McAlone, Technical Director, SuperSport, Multichoice South Africa and lead project manager on the ANC Archives digitisation project

15 December 2020

To whom it many concern,

Contact Name – Vanigay Dass
Designation – Museum Administrator
Company Name – Phansi Museum Trust

We have worked with Africa Media Online since 2016 the scope of the project at our Museum was for the digitisation of over 4,000 2D and 3D museum objects and the setting up of a digital archive. We were very happy with their service and we were very impressed with the efficiency of the project team who worked very hard photographing and digitising over 4000 pieces for our website. They worked closely with us to meet the project time frames.

We have no problem in recommending Africa Media Online for all digitisation and metadata ingestion.

Yours faithfully

Vanigay Dass, Administration, Phansi Museum

2017

The professionalism of the team, their willingness to explain the processes and procedures in place, and the dedication of the team were aspects of the project that was enjoyable and refreshing. Their processes also did not impact on the work environment much.

I would recommend the services of AMO with specific mention of the knowledgeable and skilled team involved in the project, as well as the high quality of the product received. The images received are really of extreme quality, and as such ensures that the specific items digitised can be prepared for long-term storage and preservation.

Wynand van der WaltHead Librarian: Technical Services, Rhodes University Library Services

November 19, 2016

Thank you very much indeed for the excellent work you did scanning the Brenthurst MSS. They are exactly what we wanted, and are an enormous help.

Duncan Bull, Curator, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

2017

To whom it may concern

Africa Media Online Archival System

St Alban’s College contracted with Africa Media Online in 2012 so that the school magazines and school history could be placed on an electronic archival system.

The process of getting the hard copies onto the archive platform worked easily. We were allowed to spread the process over two years so that we could afford to have all the documents we wanted processed. Any questions we had were dealt with quickly and efficiently. The training videos made available online made it easy for us to make changes in the way our page looked. Africa Media Online were able to connect the archive page to the current school webpage.

We have found the system very efficient and useful. Parents and old boys have been able to access these records from around the world.

We have had every possible help from Africa Media Online and would be happy to recommend them to anyone who would like further information in this regard.

Yours sincerely,

Rob Campbell-Atkins, Deputy Headmaster, St Alban’s College

December 17, 2020

To Whom it May Concern,

Re: Reference for Africa Media Online

This letter is to confirm that Africa Media Online (Pty) Ltd have assisted the University of KwaZulu-Natal Archives in a number of digitisation projects over the years including:

– Digitisation of 7500 photographic prints in 2017

– Development, setup, hosting and support of a digital archive in 2017

– Digitisation of 2,488 pages of bound documents in 2018

– Digitisation of UKZN Calendars collection and other bound documents in 2018

– Digitisation of 27,251 pages of bound annuals in 2019

– Digitisation of 23,707 pages of bound UKZN Calendars in 2020

Quality:

The quality of Africa Media Online’s work has been excellent. They use state of the art equipment and are truly experts in the field.

Team Efficiency:

Africa Media Online’s project team is very efficient. They communicate well, keeping us updated regarding the progress of the project. They are flexible, offering expert advice regarding technical issues. They are knowledgeable, meticulous and well organized. They also have extensive experience with archives and museums. This shows in their careful handling of manuscripts and memorabilia without causing any damage. They are also able to maintain confidentiality with sensitive material/documents. They offer a highly professional service.

Project Time Frames:

Project time frames are always met. Even during 2020 with the challenge of the university shutdown for COVID-19, Africa Media Online were accommodating, efficient and still managed to complete the project.

I am confident to recommend Africa Media Online without reservation.

Carol Bowler, Archivist, University of KwaZulu-Natal Archives

18 December 2020

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

This letter serves to verify that Africa Media Online, under the direct supervision of Mr David Larsen, undertook the digitisation of 3,500 2D and 3D artefacts from our collection in 2010. The project was completed on time and included the creation of an archive.

Mr Larsen and his team were most professional and diligent. As a result we were the first small museum in KZN to have a digital record of our collection, which has been most useful. Mr Larsen was also instrumental in helping us to source funding to cover the project. I am able to recommend his services unreservedly.

Mrs V. Garside, Trustee and Retired Curator, Vukani Collection Trust

December 14, 2020

To whom it may concern,

I am very pleased to be able to submit a positive letter of reference for Africa Media Online. I worked side by side with them over a couple of months in late 2018 on a large complex digitisation project (details below). I was present on site during the entirety of their digitisation work and witnessed and monitored their efforts first hand. Their work was world class, efficient, professional, adhered to internationally recognised standards, and accomplished within set budget and timeline. I would not hesitate to contract them again for complex digitisation efforts.

Contact Name – David A. Wallace, Ph.D.

Designation – Clinical Associate Professor

Institution – School of Information, University of Michigan

Scope of the project – Selective digitisation of over 30,000 pages of materials (archival documents, bound and fragile, photographs and photographic slides) from the Albie Sachs Collection held by UWC – Robben Island Mayibuye Archives, University of the Western Cape (UWC). On behalf of the Albie Sachs Trust on Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law (ASCAROL). I was the project manager for this effort on behalf of ASCAROL. I wrote the tender, selected AMO from amongst several proposals, oversaw the work contract, and closely monitored the work during its entirety.

Quality of work done – The quality of the work was outstanding. It adhered to internationally recognized digitisation standards and best practices. It also delivered, per our contract, archival master and derivative files with adequate descriptive, administrative, and technical metadata on quality hard drives. This work effort also included quality review checks and image post processing actions such as cropping, rotating, and deskewing. All digitisation capture work was done on site at UWC.

The efficiency of the project team – AMO project staff used state of the art equipment that was incorporated into well developed and efficient workflows that maximized throughput while maintaining professional standards and image quality. AMO project staff worked very well together and were well versed and highly competent in the use of their complex hardware and software infrastructure. The team responsibly complied with the need for lengthy workdays to meet digitisation targets within time and budgetary constraints. Overall, they were flexible, professional, competent, and a pleasure to work with both individually and as a group.

When the project was undertaken – October – November 2018

Whether the project time frames were met – Yes, absolutely. Once I delivered an accurate project scoping to AMO, they provided a coherent and well developed project plan, including a specific digitisation timeline. This timeline was adhered to.

Sincerely,

David A. Wallace, Ph.D., Clinical Associate Professor, School of Information, University of Michigan