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Rift Valley Institute

Making local knowledge work

Sudan open archive

The Project

The Sudan Open Archive ( offers free digital access to knowledge of all regions of Sudan and South Sudan. It is an expanding, word-searchable, full-text database of books, documents, scholarly resources and grey literature. The website is linked to the RVI’s guide to internet resources on Sudan and South Sudan.  

The Sudan Open Archive ( was originally created in 2004 to preserve the records of Operation Lifeline Sudan. From these origins in a shipping container in Lokichokio in northern Kenya, the Archive has grown to include classic and contemporary material, rare manuscripts and foundational documents of Sudanese and South Sudanese legal and political institutions. The Archive software platform was designed for expansion, to encompass as great a range as possible of historical, anthropological and political knowledge, to inform the phase of development that followed the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. It has now grown to include material from many different institutional and individual sources, much of it new to the digital domain. The Archive features, for instance, a complete run of the flagship scholarly journal, Sudan Notes and Records, grammars and dictionaries of Sudanese languages, and the personal archive of the noted Sudan specialist, Richard Gray. 

SOA is built using Greenstone software, the open-source standard for digital libraries. The contents are integrated in a single word-searchable database, accessible either online or on an external hard drive, readable on any PC. (To purchase a copy of the Archive on disk, please write to the Institute.)

The Rift Valley Institute is currently planning to develop a bilingual version of the archive, with an Arabic interface and further documents in Arabic and other languages of the Sudans. 

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