Google digitises 13m National Archive documents

Global technology firm Google has digitised 1,200 artefacts and 13 million documents at the Kenya National Archives in Nairobi.

The private-public partnership between the two institutions makes the documents accessible on the Internet and through a Kenya National Archives mobile application.

“This venture will greatly multiply the number of individuals who access our records beyond physical walls of this building and the geographical boundary of this nation,” said Sports, Culture and the Arts secretary Hassan Wario on Monday.

Kenya is one of four African countries benefiting from the Google Cultural Institute’s project of digitising the world’s cultural treasures. The institute has partnered with museums and other institutions in Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa as well as in 60 other countries outside Africa.

“The Kenya National Archives owns important material that tells a story about a period of time or event that is rarely put on display. The online exhibitions, therefore, provide a way through which cultural institutions can tell a story around historical material and bring to life a particular event, theme or topic relevant to our history and culture,” said Google country manager Charles Murito.

It is estimated that the Kenya National Archives and Documentation Service has more than 22,476 boxes of documents in its custody. Each box has an average of 2,300 documents adding up to a total of 51,694,800 documents.

Further, the Murumbi African Collection has 68,884 publications with 2,160,367 pages. This brings the total pages of documents in custody of the National Archives to 53,855,167.