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Manuscript Kijuma

Manuscript from Muhammed bin Abubekr bin Omar Kidjumwa Masihii (Photo: DEVA)





Kijuma Porträt

Muhammed bin Abubekr bin Omar Kidjumwa Masihii, Lamu ca. 1936 (Photo: Dammann)

Contents and Objectives

DEVA was founded in 2007 with the aims of saving and making available the manifold research results, data and documents that have been generated in more than 30 years of intensive research at the University of Bayreuth. The DEVA databases and information retrieval systems allow fast access and subsequent processing of raw data and information.

The data are as varied as the disciplines that carry out research relating to Africa. Research documents from Modern Art and Media, Anthropology, History, Sociology, Law, Economics, Linguistics, Literature, Islamic Studies, Religious Studies, Geography, Biology and Ecology have been made available to DEVA, as well as the art and music collection of Bayreuth University.

The wide range of available data includes:

DEVA seeks to provide innovative solutions in Bayreuth and, at the same time, to offer central documentation services for African Studies on an international level.



The material is organzied within three superior databases:

Collections Iwalewa-Haus: Development and digitization of an archive in the special area of contemporary art and popular culture in Africa

African Studies Bayreuth: Information system for recording all data from the Bayreuth Institute of African Studies (IAS). The Collection Spittler is a separate database with a special structure.

Photos and Personal Papers: Significant photographic archives and personal papers of famous academics, also from outside the University of Bayreuth, are processed and made available. Moreover, the database contains collections of travel, documentary and portrait photography.



DEVA relates to the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. With an interactive database model we offer a platform for the presentation of raw data as well as academic results. The aim is to strengthen the position of German research on Africa within the increasingly networked international research field and, at the same time, to profit from new cooperation opportunities, especially with European and African partners. Under the guidance of the Institute of African Studies, much importance will be attached to joint projects with African universities and other institutions. Through joint digitization and editing projects, research data which would otherwise be accessible only locally will not only be preserved but also made available to international researchers.

The development and maintenance of stable local databases is the first step. And it is the precondition for data exchange and the feeding of data into meta databases and relevant portals. In this respect, DEVA will contribute to the shaping of scientific networking in the field of African Studies.

A particular challenge is posed by the technical hurdles in many regions of Africa, which hinder access to international data transfer systems. Thus, it is important to devise strategies and resources, in close cooperation with African partners, to overcome this technical bottleneck. Another important issue is the legal situation concerning personal rights, author rights, copyrights and questions of data security in the international context.