Thousands of Mali's ancient transcripts go digital

Mali's ancient manuscripts
Mali's ancient manuscripts

Google has partnered with Mali’s traditional leaders to digitise tens of thousands of ancient manuscripts from the city of Timbuktu.

The manuscripts have been endangered by political unrest in the country's north, which in 2013 saw Islamist rebels set fire to two libraries in Timbuktu.

The digitisation project will be unveiled on Thursday and will showcase work done over the last seven years to preserve the documents.

The manuscripts contain centuries of scholarly works on topics ranging from mathematics, medicine, astronomy and science.


Up to 40,000 pages of the documents will be available online.

The collection, known as Mali Magic, also contains online interactive tours of some of the country's most significant historic sites using Google street view.

The internet giant is not the first to attempt to digitise Mali's vast archives - the Tombouctou Manuscripts Project began doing so in the 2000s.

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