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ATAPY Helps a UNESCO School in a Transatlantic Slave Trade Education Project

Slave shipOn September, 15, 1974, divers Odd K Osmundsen, Tore Svalesen and Leif Svalesen discovered wreckage and giant elephant tusks at the bottom of the sea near Tromøy, off the southern coast of Norway. Along with the ivory cannons, ship timber and other interesting objects were found. Almost everything was hidden under layers of seaweed, rocks, and sand. However, as a result of thorough planning and intense study of old documents from the archives, the three divers knew exactly what they found.

The Danish-Norwegian slave ship Fredensborg that sank on December 1, 1768, was a typical ship engaged in the Triangular Trade.

Triangular Trade is the name given to the trading route used by European merchants who exchanged goods with Africans for slaves, shipped the slaves to the Americas, sold them and brought goods from the Americas back to Europe. Ships left Europe with cargoes carrying a broad assortment of goods considered suitable for the slave trade. Once anchored at the forts, the interiors of the ships were rebuilt to accommodate enslaved Africans.

To date, Fredensborg is the best documented wreck of a transatlantic slave trade ship located.

Reconstruction of the ship by students
Photo: Reconstruction of a slave ship by students of Vesthimmerlands Gymnasium

In September, 2003 ATAPY was contacted by Mr. Jeff Klintø, an educator at the Vesthimmerlands Gymnasium. This UNESCO school participates actively in the Transatlantic Slave Trade Education Project. The project was supported by the Danish UNESCO Committee and The Digital North Denmark (Det Digitale Nordjylland) project.

As a part of the project, Mr. Klintø initiated the creation of a CD-Rom with teaching materials about Danish involvement in the Triangular Trade. The CD-rom had to contain contemporary materials as well as materials from the age when the use of Gothic letters was common. That is where the project faced a challenge.

Mr. Klintø explained, "Gothic letters caused a number of problems in relation to the OCR-programs that are currently available on the market. These problems led us to the Royal Library in Copenhagen. They recommended we approach the Russian company ATAPY, that handled the Royal Library’s Gothic materials. However, the thought of having Gothic texts that were written in Danish, handled in Novosibirsk by Russian employees seemed unrealistic. The materials were from a period when there was no national orthography so the dictionaries in the OCR program would be useless. How would they be able to work on this? Add to this the very uneven quality of the printing in the old works, and the task seemed impossible."

The Media Service Department at ATAPY accepted the challenge and did excellent work on recognition, proofreading and exporting to HTML more than 5,500 pages of the Old Danish book.

Mr. KlintoMr. Klintø goes on to emphasize the quality of results, "The materials that were returned were of a high standard, and ATAPY was incredibly obliging and helpful. The communication with project leadership functioned excellently and the team worked wonders with materials that were often of poor quality. Therefore, I sincerely recommend this company. Thanks to the competent staff of ATAPY, it is now possible for the public to have access to materials that may not be issued at libraries anymore because of their age and rarity. It is also worth noting that the work was done for a very reasonable price."

About the Transatlantic Slave Trade Project:

The Transatlantic Slave Trade Project is aimed at breaking the silence surrounding the Transatlantic Slave Trade. By learning about the past, young people can fully understand the present and prepare a better future together in a world free of all types of enslavement, injustice, discrimination and prejudice.