The organization featured here, Africa Media Online, is a commercial enterprise, but their website points out many aspects that are important to having a presence in the digital age. Even though NGOs may think that they do not have a “product” for sale; nonetheless, they have the task of selling themselves as a responsible organization with valid and important goals. Because of this, they need to have access to images and they should be able to ensure that the images that they produce get the widest possible dissimination.
Too many NGOs are languishing in the “backwaters” of cyberspace, getting too few “hits” or no hits at all. Professional assistance, such as that provided by a company such as African Media Online can help to get an NGO’s message out to the broader world and create and foster a more professional appearance. This is not and advertisement for Africa Media Online, but an illustration of what type of resources are available to help grow NGOs as organizations.
Below is the text of Africa Media Online’s “About Us” webpage on its website
Africa Media Online is a technological bridge enabling you to get your collections to a global audience. We provide online media library systems, professional digitisation services, digital imaging training for professionals, and access to a worldwide audience.
What type of organisation is Africa Media Online and who owns it?
Africa Media Online Pty. (Ltd.) is a private company registered in South Africa. As such it is required to undergo an independent audit on an annual basis. Africa Media Online is also 100% African owned. The company’s majority shareholding is controlled by a black empowerment company, Kabusha Technology Investments Pty. (Ltd.). Minor shares are also owned by the Larsen Family Trust and Dr Rouen Bruni. In view of its shareholding Africa Media Online is considered by the South African Department of Trade and Industry to be a black owned company and an HDI.
A brief history of Africa Media Online
Africa Media Online was founded in March 2000 by journalist and photographer, David Larsen, with designer and internet entrepreneur, Paul De Villiers. Africa Media Online was a Joint Venture between their respective closed corporations, The Media Bank and The Blue Box respectively. In 2002 Africa Media Online became a more formal entity when it became a closed corporation.
Initially Africa Media Online was a technology company developing an online media library system called MEMAT as well as a picture library which matured with the launch of africanpictures.net in 2004. In October 2004 David Larsen left freelance journalism and photography to concentrate full time on Africa Media Online. In 2005 africanpictures.net joined the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies (BAPLA) and later that year launched a high end scanning operation and a professional keywording service, as well as professional training in digital imaging with Graeme Cookson.
In 2006 Larsen bought De Villiers’ shares and became sole owner. In 2007 he managed to attract investment from Dr Rouen Bruni and Kabusha Technology Investments Pty. (Ltd.) and the closed corporation was transformed into a limited company. The directors of the company are now Executive Chairman, Sandile Swana, and Director, David Larsen. In 2006 Africa Media Online initiated the founding of the Digitise Africa Trust to assist with digitisation projects and training initiatives that require initial funding to get going.
Our vision is to enable Africans to tell Africa’s story. In the "Information Society," if we are to create some semblance of global information democracy, it is important that Africans are heard from their perspective. We work with media organisations, media professionals, corporates and business entities, museums, archives, libraries, galleries, government institutions and others to enable Africans to:
1. Digitise their media collections,
2. Retain ownership of their media collections,
3. Grant secure, efficient and cost effective access to those collections,
4. Where appropriate, to present those collections to a global audience, and
5. Where appropriate, to earn an income from the sale of use rights to those collections.
What we do toward this end is:
Training: Africa Media Online runs masterclasses specifically geared at working professionals so that you can compete in the global information economy and build collections that will last for generations. We draw on leading digital imaging consultants from around the world giving African institutions exposure to the cutting edge of the global industry. more…
Scanning: With a specific focus on whole collections, Africa Media Online’s Digitisation Service has developed systems to efficiently digitize large numbers of pictures, moving images, sound, documents, illustrations and objects at archival quality and relatively low cost. more…
Retouching: While preservation concerns are prime when digitising, there will be a certain number of images that will be needed for promotional materials, use in exhibits, and used by publishing markets. These should be cleaned and colour corrected. Africa Media Online’s ImagePerfect service brings the best out of your images using experienced staff and the right tools. more…
Metadata Capture: Capturing quality metadata about an object is as vital as digitising the object in the first place. Africa Media Online’s MetadataCapture service enables the capture of comprehensive metadata in conformity with world standards such as Dublin Core. Our online systems enable subject experts to contribute and act as editors. more…
Keywording: Keywording is the essential ingredient for granting access to your collections by the public, researchers, and your own staff. Africa Media Online’s professional KeywordingService will ensure consistent quality across your collection. The service uses a controlled vocabulary specifically designed for the keywording of collections allowing for intelligent search functionality. more…
Archiving: In spite of being digitized, the original object retains its status as the original, and needs to be preserved for many reasons. After scanning Africa Media Online works with your collection managers to store your collection in archival quality preservation materials.
Storing: Digital files can be lost far more easily than they are created. Africa Media Online’s expertise in this area is available to museums and archives that have work digitised by us. In addition Africa Media Online’s online system serves as a secure backup for your valuable files.
Hosting: Secure online access to your collections in a “virtual museum” is not only valuable to your staff and colleagues, but also to a global audience. Africa Media Online’s Media Management Technology (MEMAT) makes this a reality on your own web site. You can load images remotely, search your collections, create slide shows, and even manage the sale of use rights. more…
Marketing: Having secure online access to your collections has potential to greatly increase the number of visitors coming through your doors. Africa Media Online’s MEMAT online collection management system can capture and manage both actual and virtual visitors to your institution and can send graphically rich emails directly off the site to interested persons around the world. In addition there is the opportunity for appropriate parts of your collections to be represented on africanpictures.net, where our staff actively market them to appropriate publishing markets around the world. more…
Selling: In the information economy, media collections are gaining commercial value for media markets. Whether material is needed for a television documentary or for a book, institutions safeguarding public and private heritage assets need the capability to manage and sell use rights without losing control. Calculating usage rates, taking payments, and delivering invoices and legally binding contracts which limit use, is all automated on your MEMAT system. And if your work is represented on africanpictures.net, our sales and accounting staff handle africanpictures.net sales to select markets for you.