IFLA World Library and Information Congress: Call for Papers

12 Jan 2015 - 12:15
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The IFLA Rare Books and Special Collections Section invites proposals for papers for TWO sessions during the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, 14-21 August 2015. These sessions are described below.

The submission deadline is extended to 15 February 2015.

Session One:  Fostering Collaboration to Build and Preserve African Cultural Heritage

Date and Location: TBA 16-21 August; IFLA conference center in Cape Town

This session will explore various international projects dedicated to preserving African cultural heritage.  The case studies will focus on successful methods for fostering collaboration, international concerns versus local cultural priorities, contextualizing African collections outside of Africa, and the ways in which national copyright laws and international treaties can serve to hamper preservation activities.

Examples of relevant topics might include:

  • The Tombouctou Manuscripts Project
  • Islamic Manuscripts from Mali
  • Genocide Archive Rwanda
  • Collaborations between Scotland and Malawi
  • African heritage collections outside Africa
  • Challenges in managing heritage collections in Africa
  • The impact of copyright on international collaboration

Session Two:  Satellite Meeting: Managing and Promoting Special Collections in Africa: The Bleek-Lloyd Collection

Date and Location:  Friday, 14 August 2015, University of Cape Town

This one-day satellite meeting will highlight the management and promotion of African special collections using the Bleek and Lloyd Collection* as an introduction and conceptual framework for further discussion. The Section welcomes proposals about the Bleek-Lloyd collection itself or papers relating to the management and promotion of African collections.

Examples of possible themes include:  challenges and opportunities of managing split collections and diverse locations; managing mixed-format collections; collaboration with a curatorial center; digitization, crowd-sourcing; challenges associated with language, dialect, and notation; public outreach; and ways to stimulate new research. Proposals may also address the issues surrounding the management of collections from indigenous African cultures or how to become a Memory of the World collection.

* About the Bleek and Lloyd Collection:

The University of Cape Town Libraries is the repository for a unique collection of material about the /Xam Bushmen, compiled by philologist, Dr. Wilhelm Bleek, and his sister-in-law, Lucy Lloyd, between 1870 and 1881. They worked with a series of Bushmen informants to record the language, stories, life-histories and way of life of the /Xam. An important part of the collection is the series of notebooks in which Bleek and Lloyd recorded this information, in the original language, most of which they then translated into English. There are also drawings made by the informants as well as other material including photographs, maps and ephemera.  A large portion of the notebooks and material from this collection has been digitised and is available online through the Libraries digital collections site.  The University also has a number of academic researchers and units that have engaged in various ways with the material. The National Library of South Africa in Cape Town and Iziko South African Museum also have collections of Bleek and Lloyd material. These collections are listed in Unesco's Memory of the World Register as documentary heritage of international importance.

For all proposals, please provide:

  • name and institution of presenter(s)
  • an abstract of the paper or presentation up to 350 words, preferably in English
  • relevant biographical information of presenter(s)
  • the name of the session most appropriate to your presentation

Please send your proposals by 15 February 2015 via email to both the Chair of the RBSC section David Farneth ( and to the Information Coordinator of the RBSC section Edwin C. Schroeder (

The abstracts will be reviewed by a Review Committee and the papers selected will be announced in early March 2015.

The paper may be given at the congress in any of IFLA’s official languages; English is preferred for the Friday, August 14 session.

If a paper is selected, authors must commit to presenting it in Cape Town.

Presenters must forward the full text of their papers by 30 April 2015 to allow time for review and for preparation of translations (if applicable). Presentations should not take longer than 25 minutes to deliver and papers should be no longer than 20 pages.

In accordance with IFLA's Open Access Statement all papers presented at the Satellite Meeting will be available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) license. Authors of submitted papers will need to sign IFLA’s Author form. The papers and presentations will be made available through the IFLA Library or RBSC website.

Submissions All proposals must be sent via email before 15 February 2015. The decisions of the review committee will be communicated by the end of February.

Please note: All expenses, including registration fees, travel, accommodation etc., are the responsibility of the authors/presenters. No financial support can be provided by IFLA, but a special invitation can be issued to authors.

Questions? Please write to David Farneth, Chair, Rare Books and Special Collections section.