Problematizing digitization: IFLA LTR Satellite Conference, August 2015

Digitization and digital resources have featured in many articles, books and meetings, but mainly the emphasis has been on technology (how to digitize and collect born-digital media), management (how to run an efficient digital programme) and, more recently, curation (managing preservation and access to collections). Not as much attention has been paid to the political issues. To remedy this the IFLA Section of Library Theory and Research has arranged a pre-congress satellite conference in Cape Town on 12 and 13 August 2015 on “Digital preservation as a site of contestation: national heritage, memory, politics and power – beyond technology and management”.  It will address interesting issues of ownership and control of a country’s heritage, memory and traditional/ indigenous knowledge in a digital environment. Related to these are questions about what we mean, for example, by the metaphors of “national memory” and “nation building” in postcolonial situations, and what the roles of libraries and archives can be in such a context.

The conference will be held in three venues. On the first day we will meet on the campus of the University of the Western Cape (UWC). A day of presentations will be followed by a visit to the Mayibuye Archive, which is part of the Robben Island Museum. On the second day (weather permitting) we will take the ferry from Cape Town to Robben Island itself for a guided tour and lecture. We will return to Cape Town for the afternoon session at the District Six Museum.

Registration will cost R300,. This is slightly up from the originally advertised price of R270, due to additional costs. For foreign participants this does not  affect the originally quoted price of EUR 25. But note that this excludes the visit to Robben Island, which currently costs around R280 (around EUR 21). For more information and the pre-registration form, visit the Satellite Conference website, at: Here you will find the preliminary programme and the registration form.

The deadline for pre-registration was 30 June but will be extended for a week or so as we still have some places available.  Inquiries may be addressed to



About Peter Lor

Peter Johan Lor is a Netherlands-born South African librarian and academic. In retirement he continues to pursue scholarly interests as a research fellow in the Department of Information Science at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.
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