Google donates to Mandela archive

image captionNelson Mandela at the opening of his Johannesburg law office in 1952.

Google is to donate $1.25m (£770,000) to a project that aims to create an archive of Nelson Mandela's life.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation Centre of Memory is digitising photographs, letters and other documents relating to the former South African president.

A similar project, chronicling the life of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, will also receive $1.25m.

The money will be used to help collect documents and to ensure that poor, rural communities can access them.

In addition to the funding, Google will contribute expertise in document digitisation and archiving.

The company has spent the past seven years scanning millions of texts as part of its Google books initiative.

Community outreach

Sello Hatang from the Nelson Mandela Centre for Memory said that the grant did not oblige them to adopt Google's systems, but welcomed the search giant's involvement.

"We have been worried about the cost of helping people access the information.

"This will ensure we can make it available as cheaply as possible," said Mr Hatang.

As well as collating the documents, the foundation runs outreach programmes, helping communities that may not have internet connections to experience the Mandela archive.

When it is complete, the Memory project will include extracts from Mr Mandela's personal correspondence including letters sent during his 27 years in prison.

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