[This call for papers also has an African IT dimension- see especially the
Internet and electronic solutions sections - so if you are intrerested,
please get in touch]

CALL FOR PAPERS: "Ethical Issues in Southern African Archives & Libraries"

Special issue (no.24) of the journal _Innovation_ (Pietermaritzburg).
Proposals with abstract due: November 1, 2001. Editor: Peter Limb


Recently, there has been considerable debate among scholars of Africa,
librarians, and archivists on various ethical issues surrounding the
handling of, and access to, archives and intellectual property.

Original archival collections continue to be removed from Africa. In part,
this is analogous to the removal of literary and artistic treasures by
colonial powers. Another body of thought points to severe problems of
archival preservation associated with declining budgets and rigours of
climate in some African countries, and the danger to archives of political
conflict. How can a balance be maintained? At the same time, cooperative
projects seeking to maintain the integrity of collections have returned
archival collections to Africa, though most often in microform.

In the age of the Internet, there is increased scope for electronic
solutions to some of these problems. There is real potential for the
"virtual repatriation" in digitized format of archival collections taken
from Africa, and a number of projects to this end have begun. Yet,
questions of cost and of national sovereignty and intellectual ownership
have to be resolved. What solutions are best for Southern Africa:
microfilming or digitization? Will digitization of overseas archives help
scholars in Africa? Will digitization of African archives mean that fewer
scholars will visit Africa?

There is a continuing debate on "limited access" versus "freedom of
information." Whilst policies are today not as severe as they were during
the periods of apartheid and colonial rule, restrictions remain. Some
apartheid-era archival papers remain elusive. Many libraries with archival
collections enforce some kind of limited access and whilst often they have
valid reasons, questions remain about equality of access.

There are enormous regional variations among archival collections. Even
within the same institution, some Southern African archival collections are
in a much worse state than others. How can regional cooperation help to
ensure uniform preservation standards?

It has been argued that Western researchers making use of African archives
should deposit copies of their research in Africa. Should they also be
required to contribute to upkeep of archives?

How can librarians and archivists continue to solicit and acquire
collections for the use of future scholars with limited financial resources
and with policies often centered elsewhere? How many collections might
already have been lost to posterity? How can improved communications
between researchers and archivists or special collection librarians help
rectify such problems?

These are important issues in both South Africa and the wider Southern
Africa region. Recently, calls have been made to save archival collections
at risk in Livingstone, Zambia. Controversy has arisen over the purchase by
wealthy Western libraries of original papers of celebrated South African
literary authors. A parallel debate has been running for some years in
museums and universities about the fate of human remains of indigenous
Southern Africans taken to the North, and of priceless archaeological
artifacts pilfered by Western institutions in colonial days. Common to both
debates are serious questions of ownership, sovereignty and
preservation/care of intellectual heritages.

What SHOULD we do? Librarians and archivists working in libraries and
archives, as well as concerned scholars, can play an important role in
developing policy and enforcing equitable and effective arrangements to
improve access to, and ensure the preservation of, archival collections.

Articles are sought from librarians and archivists, but also from scholars
concerned about these matters. Different perspectives and themes could
include (this list is
not exhaustive):

* limited access versus freedom of access and freedom of information;
* national sovereignty versus freedom of authors to sell on the market;
* practical strategies to ensure preservation;
* electronic solutions;
* microfilming versus digitization;
* cooperative arrangements as solutions to ethical dilemmas;
* relations between national archives and university archives;
* how archivists, librarians and scholars can work together better;
* meeting the archival needs of scholars;
* the impact of contemporary political and economic realities.

Proposals with abstract due: November 1, 2001
Final drafts due the end of April, 2002. Publication date, June 2002.
Please send all correspondence to: Dr. Peter Limb <[log in to unmask]>


Innovation: Appropriate librarianship and information work in Southern Africa
web page:

Purpose of Innovation

The primary purpose of this journal is to publish material on libraries,
information supply and other related matters in South and Southern Africa.
Potential contributors are invited to submit articles (3,000 - 4,000 words)
or shorter contributions (up to 1,000 words) for consideration. Both should
be written in a lucid style, address the needs and concerns of the working
librarian and demonstrate at least one of:

* a practical approach to library issues of general interest
* original, controversial or even provocative viewpoints
* critical understanding of the socio-political, educational and economic
realities of contemporary South and Southern Africa
* commitment to library and information work in a post-apartheid South Africa

Each article should be accompanied by an abstract of not more than 100
words. The author-date system of referencing is used.

Please send all correspondence to:

Dr Peter Limb
Africana Bibliographer
MSU Libraries
100 Library, Room E224B
Michigan State University
East Lansing , MI 48824-1048 , USA

email: <[log in to unmask]> or <[log in to unmask]>
phone (517) 432-4983 fax: (517) 432-3532