Author Archives: clriley

Presentation by Dr. Deborah Anderson given at LocWorld 46

Here is a link to a PDF of a presentation given by Deborah Anderson of the University of California-Berkeley to a group of localization experts at a conference last year, on the subject of African scripts. Enjoy!

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Dr. John Gay, 1928-2022 and Dr. David Dalby, 1933-2022

Both men were deeply influential in their fields, and although I never met either of them in person, I have benefited greatly from their insights. They leave behind strong legacies. A finding aid to Dr. Gay’s papers may be found here:, and a list of Dr. Dalby’s publications may be found here:

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J. Moore Crossey, 1932-2022

We remember Moore’s contributions and honor him. Here is a link to his obituary:

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Loma texts from Wozi

There is a set of Liberian Loma texts that I received in PDF form from a linguist who gave them to me on USB at a conference in Paris in 2017. I have checked on possible successor institutions to the literacy center that likely produced them, and have heard no objection to posting the texts here.

UPDATE: I have just come to realize that I was mistaken about the provenance. The images of texts that I received in Paris are a different set of files.

UPDATE #2: The content above has been edited.

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Two-part interview series coming up

The Library of Congress will be hosting an interview in two parts with James Armstrong, a former field director who served in Nairobi, on January 6th and January 20th. Here are the links:

 January 6, 2022

January 20, 2022

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More memorials

As 2021 gives way to 2022, let us remember more of those who have passed on in recent months:

-November 11, 2021. F. W. de Klerk, former president of South Africa, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela for bringing about an end to apartheid. He declined a Harper Fellowship at Yale Law School in 1997.

-November 29, 2021. Robert Farris Thompson, professor emeritus of art history at Yale, specializing in cultural flows from Africa across the Atlantic.

-December 15, 2021. bell hooks, who taught at Yale as an assistant professor of African and Afro-American studies, as well as English.

-December 24, 2021. Kenya Siana Flash, a librarian of government and political science at Yale, passed away.

-December 26, 2021. The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, Archbishop of Cape Town.

-January 2, 2022. Richard Leakey, former director of the National Museums of Kenya.

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Update on Yale Zoom series on Ethiopian & Eritrean cataloging and digitization

Since March of this year, a series of sessions has been hosted on a quarterly schedule covering various aspects of metadata and text processing in Ethiopic script. The materials from each session can be found here:

1.) Presentations by Gabeyehu Adugna, Tesfaye Wolde-Medhin, Charles Riley, and Pietro Liuzzo from March 13, 2021:

2.) Presentations by Isabelle Zaugg, Daniel Yacob, and Martha Yifiru Tachbelie, from June 26, 2021:

3.) Presentations by Steve Delamarter, Jeremy Brown, and Kaleab Demeke (Part 1), from September 25, 2021:

Presentations by Kesis Melaku Terefe and Ashlee Benson (Part 2), from September 25, 2021:

Presentations by Jonah Sandford, Ralph Lee, and Garry Jost (Part 3), from September 25, 2021:

Presentations by Carolina Melis, Dawit Muluneh, and Jeremy Brown (Part 4) from September 25, 2021:

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We mourn the loss of four luminaries who passed away in the last month. They are:

-September 16. Alexandra Vydrina, a linguist who specialized in the Guinean language of Kakabe, who was a researcher at LLACAN (INALCO, CNRS, PRES Sorbonne Paris Cité).

-September 20. Rev. J. Peter Gorwor, a Liberian pastor who was skilled at translating into and from the Bassa language using the Bassa Vah script.

-September 27. His Majesty Ibrahim Mbombo Njoya, sultan of Foumban, Cameroon, who promoted his people’s history and culture across many roles and responsibilities, including support of the Bamum scripts and archives.

-October 1. El Hadji Assane Faye of Dakar, inventor of the Garay script used primarily for Wolof, which was featured in an episode of Star Trek: Discovery that first aired in 2019.

May they rest in peace.

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News to pass along from Cape Town

After the horrible tragedy of the Cape Town fire that has affected Jagger Library at the University of Cape Town, there comes this note of good news that the 60,000-page Bleek and Lloyd collection of San materials has been saved. Our thoughts are with the librarians of UCT and researchers who have depended on their extensive special collections over the years.

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“Issues in Cataloguing using Ethiopic Script”

I had the opportunity to present last month alongside Gabe Adugna of Boston University, Tesfaye Wolde-Medhin of the University of Illinois, and Pietro Liuzzo of Universität Hamburg on some of the key issues that arise in cataloging Ethiopic script. Our presentations may be found here.

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