Although our office is based in Stellenbosch and we are dedicated to the South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP) the ALSA project needs to spread the word about SA’s Antarctic Legacy nationally and internationally. We need to share our ideas and expand our archival knowledge. Our neighbouring country Botswana hosted the second International SciDataCon during International Data Week (#IDW2018) from 5 – 9 November 2018. The conference was convened by CODATA, the ICSU World Data System and the Research Data Alliance. ALSA attended this conference. The conference theme was: “Digital Frontiers of Global Science” and I truly believe that ALSA is in the front row of humanities, social sciences and history archives in the Antarctic region.
ALSA’s main aim is to digitally preserve material collected of South Africa’s involvement in the Antarctic region. This done by maintaining a digital data repository/archive. The other aim is to promote the legacy of South Africa.
ALSA’s Ria Olivier presented two posters during this conference:
Title: Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA) preserving historical human interaction records; is there a need for digital humanities? How can official documents, personal diaries, letters and images be exploited to enhance a better understanding of the humanities and the environment they try to understand under extreme conditions? Humanities form part of this interdisciplinary research.
Title: Promoting the Antarctic heritage of South Africa with a digital museum designed and compile with a digital humanities repository. This poster will outline the process of creating a digital museum with the digitised material in the archive and highlight the open accessibility of such a museum.
Other discussions attended during this conference were related to open access platforms, Humanities and Social Sciences and virtual reality data. This is a great opportunity to ensure that the ALSA archive is still on route within the national and international arena of data management.
The conference ended off with the World Data Services (WDS) hosting a world repositories day at the University of Botswana, where current African repositories are displayed and discussed. The ALSA archive was also part of this discussion.
In the opening ceremony the president of the republic of Botswana Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi welcomed all the delegates to the conference. He made the following statement: “Knowledge belongs to humanities” and I like to agree with this, but then we have to remember to provide information to humans in order for them to become knowledgeable.
Ria Olivier, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, 13 November 2018.