Lost Boys Mobile Archive

Lost Boys Mobile Archive

Sunday, Mar 20, 2022 by Leon

Last Updated: 22-Mar-2022

For a long time I’ve been helping out the Lost Boys Center For Leadership Development with both IT and web development services. One of the projects I’ve worked on was the web interface to their interview archives.

In a nutshell, while the Lost Boys Of Sudan were in the refugee camps in the 1990s there were interviews (some with photos) of approximately 15,000 Lost Boys conducted. After being lost for many years these were scanned and cataloged electronically.

Our first challenge was to get the infrastructure to allow the Lost Boys from around the world to search and order copies of them. This is available online at https://lostboysreunited.com.

Now, we are working on a way to package everything up in a standalone system that would allow the LBCLD to bring this to their new facility that they are building in Juba, South Sudan, to allow people there who have no access to internet, computers, or printers, to find and print their archives.

As part of the project we will need to take into account the fact that the power there is unreliable, so any infrastructure will need to be low powered, and we will include a system to supply power for a few hours with a rechargable battery. The current options we are considering are:

Any of these would allow us to run the mini-server for a few hours, power a small desktop laser printer, charge mobile devices, provide lighting, and be rechargeable either by local power (when available), solar, or automobile batteries.

Functionality wise, the heart of the system is a ‘mini-server’ that is powered by a Raspberry Pi, which is a small mini computer with all the components of a server. It is powered by the same type of CPU that many tablets and smartphones use. It will be configured as a WiFi Access point. When a device connects to it, all web requests will be redirected to the internal web server and hosted application. From there they can query the database, and either print or download individual interviews in PDF format. While we will have tablets and laptops available for public use, people can bring their own devices if they want to.There will be a small desktop laser printer connected to the mini-server via USB cable which will be used to print off hard copies of the interviews.

I’ll post a couple videos of screencaptures of the user interface as we move through development.