Aluka was an online digital library focusing on materials about Africa. Aluka's mission is to connect scholars from around the world by building a common platform that allows online collaboration and knowledge sharing. Aluka's audience is higher education and research communities worldwide.

Aluka (library)
Aluka logo
Type of site
Digital library
OwnerIthaka Harbors
Created byAluka

Aluka is an initiative of Ithaka Harbors, which is a non profit organization that has a mission of incubating promising new projects that support the use of technology for the benefit of higher education. An assumption of the incubation process is that successful projects will eventually become independent or join larger, existing organizations serving the academic community. In June 2008, the Ithaka and JSTOR Trustees approved a recommendation that the Aluka initiative be integrated into JSTOR.

Founded in 2003, Aluka was an initiative of Ithaka, a non-profit organization based in New York City and Princeton, New Jersey. The initial funding was provided by the Mellon Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation.

The first release of Aluka took place in early February 2007 with preview access to JSTOR subscribers. In Africa, Aluka is free to all academic and other not-for-profit institutions.

The name 'Aluka' is derived from a Zulu word meaning 'to weave'.

Aluka seeks to attract other collections of scholarly interest from institutions and individuals worldwide. By bringing materials together, Aluka creates new opportunities for research and collaboration. Documents and materials that were previously hard or impossible to access are now available for researchers around the world.


Initial focus of Aluka digital library is in three major areas:

See alsoEdit

External links and Further readingEdit

  • Aluka Homepage.
  • Aluka Blog.
  • Aluka at the Mellon Foundation
  • Project briefing at the meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information
  • Meeting of Africana Librarians Council at the Library of Congress
  • Introduction to Aluka from the Association of Research Libraries
  • Isaacman, A., Lalu, P., Nygren, T. 2005. Digitization, History, and the Making of a Postcolonial Archive of Southern African Liberation Struggles: The Aluka Project. in Africa Today v.52 no.2. doi:10.1353/at.2006.0009 hdl:10566/299
  • Can Technology Save the Developing World in the Chronicle of Higher Education July 21, 2006.
  • Building a Digital Library of Scholarly Resources from the Developing World: An Introduction to Aluka, Rajan, R., Ruther, H. in African Arts v.40 issue 2. doi:10.1162/afar.2007.40.2.1
  • Documenting African Sites: The Aluka Project, Rajan, R., Ruther, H. in Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians v.66 number 4. JSTOR 10.1525/jsah.2007.66.4.437 doi:10.1525/jsah.2007.66.4.437
  • Project Digitizes Works from the Golden Age of Timbuktu in The New York Times May 20, 2008.
  • The Rush to Save Timbuktu's Crumbling Manuscripts in the Der Spiegel August 1, 2008.


  1. ^ Rüther, Heinz; Rajan, Rahim S. (2007). "Documenting African Sites: The Aluka Project". Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. 66 (4): 437–443. doi:10.1525/jsah.2007.66.4.437. ISSN 0037-9808. JSTOR 10.1525/jsah.2007.66.4.437.
  2. ^ Rajan, Rahim S.; Rüther, Heinz (2007-05-30). "Building a Digital Library of Scholarly Resources from the Developing World: An Introduction to Aluka". African Arts. 40 (2): 1–7. doi:10.1162/afar.2007.40.2.1. ISSN 0001-9933.
  3. ^ Ruther, Heinz. "AN AFRICAN HERITAGE DATABASE – THE VIRTUAL PRESERVATION OF AFRICA'S PAST" (PDF). International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing.
  4. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  5. ^ Rüther, Heinz. "Challenges in Heritage Documentation with Terrestrial Laser Scanning" (PDF). Zamani project.
  6. ^ "Recent additions to the African Cultural Heritage Sites and Landscapes Database – Opinions – Archival Platform". Archived from the original on 2019-11-01. Retrieved 2019-11-01.
  7. ^ "Site - Djingereyber Mosque". Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  8. ^ "Site - Djenne Mosque". Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  9. ^ "Site - Lalibela Rock-Hewn Churches". Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  10. ^ "Site - Petra". Retrieved 2019-11-01.
  11. ^ "Site - Kilwa Kisiwani - Swahili Ruins". Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  12. ^ "Site - Songo Mnara - Swahili Ruins". Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  13. ^ "Site - Lamu Fort". Retrieved 2019-11-01.
  14. ^ "Site - Shela Mosque". Retrieved 2019-11-01.
  15. ^ "Site - Elmina Castle". Retrieved 2019-11-01.
  16. ^ "Documented Heritage Sites by Zamani". Retrieved 2019-11-01.