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U.S. Department of Education, TICFIA Program

Project ASK-DL is funded by the U.S. Department of Education through the Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access (TICFIA) program. Award #: P337A090009

African Language Program at Harvard

ASK-DL is a project in the African Language Program of the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.

About Project ASK-DL Project Director, Professor John M. Mugane, Harvard University

The Africa's Sources of Knowledge - Digital Library Project

The ASK-DL project is a pioneering initiative in the identification, recovery, integration, consolidation, and dissemination of information contained in rare handwritten and out-of-print African language documents of non-latinate scripts.

Languages of Africa

Project ASK-DL collects documents of diverse African languages

Africa is home to more than 2,000 languages and a great wealth of information documented in diverse scripts. ASK-DL focuses on written documents from eight languages: three West African languages - Berber, Mandinka, Wolof; and five East African languages - Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, Somali, and Swahili.

African Scripts

Documents in the ASK-DL library represent diverse scripts

The ASK-DL document collection comprises diverse scripts including Ge'ez (Amharic, Tigrinya, Oromo), N'Ko (Mandinka), Osmanya (Somali), Tifinagh (Berber) and other non-latinate and non- ajami scripts (e.g. Swahili documents written in Hindi script). These scripts are found in unpublished booklets, poetry, essays, treatises, travelogues, private letters, and other documents.


The African Language Program at Harvard University

The African Language Program (ALP) in the Department of African and African American Studies offers African language courses and resources at Harvard University. In the ASK-DL project ALP develops a digital library that makes accessible rare African language documents of literary and historical importance.

Odù Ifá

Odù Ifá Collection in ASK-DL

Ifa is the sacred divination system of the Yoruba which includes a vast oral corpus. Given to the world by Ọrunmila, the Yoruba god of wisdom, this oral corpus is memorized by the Babalawo (priests and guardians of Ifa), is composed of 256 chapters (Odu), and is said to contain all of life. The wisdom contained within in Ifa literature in the form of poetry, proverbs, myths, and songs is used to help those seeking Ifa's guidance through divination. Videos on each of the 256 Odu can be found in this section fo the library.

Wolof in Wolof Ajami (Wolofal) script
Tifinagh in Tifinagh script
Bamanankan in N'ko script
Bamanankan in N'ko script
Amharic in Ge'ez script
African Language Program at Harvard University