May 26, 2022

Google is working with West African historians to digitize contemporary art, cultural and historical sites in Mali, and today the digital library was launched at Google Arts and Culture (GAC), making these items available for study around the world.

Known as Mali Magic, the project includes over 40,000 digitized manuscript page assets, a street snapshot and a 3D model of nine heritage sites, and an annotated tour of the world’s largest adobe structure, Jeanne’s Mosque, in its original form. was built in the 13th century. ,

The catalog also includes the original music album Maliba, created specifically for the project of the Malian singer-songwriter Fatomata Diyar, to provide information about the country’s cultural heritage.

I[The manuscripts] are more important historical documents. They are central to the heritage of the West African nation of Mali, represent Africa’s long heritage of written knowledge and academic excellence, and can inspire the world to study the works of the past while solving contemporary problems.” Abdel Kader Haidara, a “fraudulent librarian” known for smuggling manuscripts out of Timbuktu, a city in Mali, is also a member of the Google project.

Timbuktu has always been used as a euphemism for a distant place. What most people don’t realize is that the city of Malian was an important trading post on the trans-Saharan caravan route during the Middle Ages, and history made it an important center of learning. This active history has made the city a repository of manuscripts, music, monuments, and other art forms that provide insight into the history of African trade, education, religion, and culture.

“The Malian city of Timbuktu has produced a vast amount of knowledge in the fields of human rights, ethics, politics, astronomy and literature, recorded in thousands of manuscripts. When this ancient knowledge was threatened by extremist groups in 2012, locals fought to keep this treasure alive. This legacy is now available for people all over the world to explore,” said Chance Cognor, program manager and digital archaeologist at Google Arts & Culture.

The library is available online and through apps in the Google and Apple stores. Launched in 2011 as a digital platform that brings together the treasures, stories and knowledge of over 2,000 cultural institutions from 80 countries, Google Arts & Culture continually documents museums and heritage sites around the world.

The Robben Island Museum in South Africa was the first museum in Africa to have a library in 2015, followed by the Nairobi National Museum in Kenya in 2019. There were the Nigerian African Artists Foundation, the Riley Art Gallery, and the Terra Culture Center for the Arts and Culture. 2020 the same year as Wits University’s parent center in South Africa. The addition of Mali material brings the total number of digitized pages written by African scholars over nine centuries to over 400,000.

The Google Arts and Culture platform not only serves as a collection of historical documents and artifacts, but also comes with some unique features, including a 2021 update. matching pet photos With works of art in museums.

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