Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the objective of the Sabinet African Archives?

A: The objective of the Sabinet African Archives is to index as many archives and special collections in Africa and about Africa as possible to create the most comprehensive source possible to assist researchers to locate archives and special collections in and about Africa and its people.

 

Q: Why did Sabinet decide to focus on African Archives?

A: Sabinet has been a trusted partner of libraries and researchers for over 30 years, assisting them with collaboration systems and offering accessible routes for discovering the correct information required. When researchers from the United States enquired about an archive locating solution in South Africa and Africa, Sabinet did an investigation and found that there was not one place where a researcher could go to see what archives and special collections are available in South Africa. That is when the idea of the Sabinet African Archives was born, and we hope that we will be able to grow this venture into a valuable research resource.

 

Q: How many collection holders and collections do you have listed on the Sabinet African Archives?

A: During the writing of this FAQ (in September 2020) the Sabinet African Archives had just over 30 collection holders and close to 3 000 collections listed. Collections are, however, added almost every day at a rate of approximately 12 collections per day.

 

Q: Why must I register to use the Sabinet African Archives index?

A: With further content being added or made available as time goes by, Sabinet’s vision is to demonstrate the benefits of the platform as well as its strengths. Sabinet African Archives is set to be the single biggest and most robust portal repository of archival indexed information in, around, and on the African continent. For the researcher interested in Africa, this portal makes it easy to discover what archives are available, where.

Our long-term vision is to grow the portal to a point where digitised full-text archival records will be included and offered to our users. More importantly, with ample experience in the digitisation environment, Sabinet already offers a digitisation service whereby entire physical collections can be captured electronically and archived safely for future reference within this portal.

 

Q: Is there a registration or access fee?

A: The Beta version is free of charge.

 

Q: Why must I register with individual archival websites when I have already registered for the Sabinet African Archives?

A: The Sabinet African Archives is currently only an index which indicates what collections are available where. , It is not a host of any collections and cannot grant access to a collection on your behalf. If a second registration is required, it is required by the collection holder on their official platform and the user must contact the relevant collection holder to request / arrange access to the collection.

 

Q: Why must I contact the collection holder to gain access to the finding aid or collection?

A: The Sabinet African Archives does not currently host any digitised content, including finding aids. Users should contact the collection holders, where applicable, to obtain access to their finding aids if it is not available online on their official website.

Each collection holder has their own rules and requirements for accessing their archives and special collections, especially fragile and/or valuable collections. Access to these collections must be arranged by the researcher themselves as the collection holders must host the researcher during their visit.

 

Q: Why must I contact the collection holder to obtain a copy of the collection if it is not digitised?

A: Each collection holder and each collection have their own rules and requirements with regards to reproduction of a collection. Some collections are still under copyright and the host country’s copyright laws may apply. Some collections may also have stipulations placed on them by the donor when the collection was donated, and the collection holder must uphold these stipulations.

 

Q: May I use the digitised content of a collection when it is openly available online?

A: Copyright will still apply to digitised content. It is the researcher’s responsibility to ensure that they are aware of the copyright applicable to a collection and to obtain the necessary permission from the relevant collection holder to use the copyrighted material in a publication or on a publicly accessible platform.

 

Q: What are the benefits of adding my collection to the index?

A: Sabinet African Archives is set to be the single biggest and most robust portal repository of archival indexed information in, around, and on the African continent. For the researcher interested in Africa, this portal makes it easy to discover what archives are available, where. By adding your collection to the index you will increase the discoverability of your collection. Users are provided with fond/collection level details and the collection holder’s website should they require more information and access to the finding aids or collection items. Therefore, traffic is being directed to the collection holder’s website.

 

Q: I would like to recommend a collection, but I am not the collection holder.

A: You are welcome to email recommendations to africanarchives@sabinet.co.za. Please include the collection holder’s name and a website link and/or contact information and we will investigate the possibility to include the recommended collection in our index.