Decapod Nigeria Trip Report - July 2011


The Decapod project is to provide a technical solution to aid in the digitizing of collections at the University of Ibadan (UI or UofI) and Bayero University Kano (BUK) in Nigeria.

Summary of Findings

Power Interruptions

University of Ibadan
  • Decapod lab is running off the NEPA power grid.
  • Power outages should be considered frequent (3 to 6 times daily).
  • Outages are typically short (i.e. 10 minutes), but outages have been known to last for hours.
  • Power inverters with deep cycle batteries used to power some appliances.
  • Many computers using a UPS.
  • Server room has a battery backup capable of several hours of operation.

Server battery backup at UI.

Bayero University Kano
  • Decapod lab is off the NEPA power grid and uses diesel generators to power university.
  • Generators are shut down daily from 2pm to 4pm for cooling, maintenance, and refuelling.
  • Power inverters can be purchased by the university to supplement the power in the Decapod lab.
  • A solar panel array is slated to be installed at the library.
  • Deep cycle batteries ~$400 USD.

Brand-new power inverter. (see larger)

Inverter with batteries powering printer, fan, and other appliances. (see larger)

Existing Digitizing Initiatives

University of Ibadan

There is an existing digitization project funded by McArthur.

  • Started 2 or 3 months ago. So far 100,000 pages scanned over 2 months.
  • Uses ~5 workstations, with HP Scanjet G2710 connected to Windows PCs.
  • Scanners are paid per page scanned.


  • put materials on flatbed
  • scan using Macromedia Fireworks using TWAIN standard capture.
  • save original file as a Fireworks file
  • do touch-ups (remove dirt, straighten)
  • crop left and right pages
  • save left and right pages as JPEGs at 600dpi (note: this appears to be upscaling the "preview scan" to 600 dpi, therefore not truly a 600 dpi scan).
  • then compiled in Acrobat pro for a PDF
  • a DVD is burned of the output PDF and given to the library staff
  • other library staff then generate metadata for books based on what they see
  • upload images to dspace ( for hosting
Bayero University Kano

There is no existing digitization project at BUK.

Description of Materials

University of Ibadan
  • mixture of some type and hand generated documents.
  • some letters, books, typed pages.
  • some materials from people influential to Nigeria including Herbert Macaulay, Henry Carr, etc.
  • material is brittle and exposed to moisture (rain) and humidity. No air conditioning.
  • most material are in boxes, but some are stacked loosely.
  • UI was the official national archive up until the 60s. Today it receives duplicates of content submitted to the National Archive.

Bayero University Kano
  • majority are hand written Arabic manuscripts on loose pages.
  • very few typed pages. Example content: Native Assembly documents.
  • metadata is unknown for many of the material.
  • materials may have been acquired from households where content has been handed down through generations (possibly prone to neglect).
  • material is extremely fragile and degraded (i.e. some pages with holes).
  • BUK aims to expand its acquisition of materials in the next 6 months through partnerships with other institutions and by approaching locals.

Local Decapod Team

University of Ibadan
  • Project Manager: being transferred from another dept. A librarian with CS background.
  • Tech lead / contact: Patrick
  • Possible devs: Hameed and Dauda
  • Content expert: (question) ask Toja
Bayero University Kano
  • Project Manager: (question) ask Toja
  • Possible devs: Faisal and Mustapha
  • Content expert: (question) ask Toja

Decapod Lab

University of Ibadan
  • in room next to server room inside the library.
  • air conditioned.
  • multiple LAN, and power outlets.
  • shelves, and tables.

Bayero University Kano
  • room inside large room at the library where materials are hosted.
  • limited air conditioning.
  • single Ethernet cable inside the room. Currently connected to an existing PC.

Technology Preference

University of Ibadan
  • Windows PC
Bayero University Kano
  • Windows PC

Future Plans for Decapod

University of Ibadan
  • unknown
Bayero University Kano
  • Plans to train more people at BUK to use Decapod and to expand capacity.
  • Increase content acquisition in 6 months.
  • Intends to roll out Decapod to other Nigerian universities.
  • Strong desire for a sustainable strategy.