International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications
Newsletter

INASP Newsletter No. 17, June 2001 ISSN: 1028-0790
In this issue:

Newsletter Editors: Ard Jongsma Neil Pakenham-Walsh (INASP-Health section)

Contributors to this issue: Mike Chivhanga, Roger Elliott, Mike Flood, Maritza Hee Houng, Ruth Makotsi, Carol Priestley, Diana Rosenberg, Afzal Sher, John K. Tsebe.

Editorial address: INASP WWW: www.inasp.info

Enhancing research information

A new programme of support to information access and dissemination for research partners in developing and transitional countries utilising new ICTs.

There is much concern within developing and transitional countries that the gap between those who have access to information and those who do not is widening. There is also an increased recognition of the vital role that information and knowledge can play in development and of the potential of the use of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) within this.

INASP has been approached by research partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union to assist in the design and implementation of a programme of complementary activities to support information production, access and dissemination utilising ICTs. As a result, earlier this year, INASP was ready to launch the Programme for the Enhancement of Research Information (PERI).

cont'd

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About INASP

INASP is a co-operative network of partners whose aim is to enhance world-wide access to information and knowledge. It has three immediate objectives:

- to map, support and strengthen existing activities promoting access to and dissemination of scientific and scholarly information and knowledge;

- to identify, encourage and support new initiatives that will increase local publication and general access to high quality scientific and scholarly information;

- to promote in-country capacity building in information production, organisation, access and dissemination.

INASP is a programme of the International Council for Science (ICSU).

Chairman: Kai-Inge Hillerud Director: Carol Priestley

Addresses:

INASP WWW: <www.inasp.info> and also:

In response to expressed needs, the immediate objectives of the programme will be to: n facilitate the acquisition of international information and knowledge through electronic Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs);

  • strengthen and develop journals in the regions as a medium for the dissemination of results from national and regional research;

  • provide awareness or training in the use and/or evaluation of electronic information and communication technologies (ICTs);

  • enhance skills in the preparation, production and management of journals.

A pilot project for the programme will be run throughout 2001. This will include four separate but interrelated components. 

Component 1. Provision of international scientific and technical information  
In line with research needs and priorities, partners are invited to make their selection of current awareness databases and services, on-line journals and document delivery. Using funds available within institutions, or through externally funded projects, partners can take advantage of highly favourable, differentially-priced subscriptions that have been negotiated with major publishers and information providers. 

Component 2. Strengthening and development of journals from developing and transitional countries  
Through continuing support to the strengthening and development of national and regional journals, the aims of this component are to: n help the results of research undertaken and published become more widely known and accessible; n strengthen the academic publishing sector, by providing income both through encouraging print or electronic subscriptions and through the purchase of single articles; n assess the impact of using the Internet to promote nationally- and regionally-published journals. In the first instance this will be through an appropriate extension and expansion of African Journals OnLine (AJOL). 

Component 3. 'Using the Internet'  
Although online access to the Internet has recently been introduced in many universities, librarians in those universities often feel inadequately trained in its use. The PERI pilot will extend the programme of 'travelling' workshops on Internet use for staff in university libraries (see previous issues of this Newsletter) and will provide the opportunity for facilitators in ten university library systems in Africa to meet to discuss their needs and plan for a future series of workshops. In response to expressed needs, a complementary series of 'travelling' workshops on Evaluation, Selection and Management of On-line Information is also being developed. 

Component 4. Workshop for journal editors, typesetters and managers 
Past experience has shown that provision of information in the form of externally published materials has often stifled, or even killed, fragile publishing sectors in developing and transitional countries. In pursuit of helping journal publishers to move to an all-electronic environment, INASP has been asked to facilitate a workshop to provide awareness of all the online publishing options which are now at the disposal of journal publishers. The Pilot Phase of PERI is being funded by the ENRECA Unit of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Danida) and expressions of interest have been received from several other funding sources, including some universities in Africa who wish to use their own funds to procure the information at the prices negotiated. 

Further information on PERI is available from the PERI website at: <www.inasp.info/peri/
or from INASP Director Carol Priestley at:

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Co-ordinating ICT support

Sida/SAREC ICT infrastructure development projects encourage bundling of funding opportunities  
by Dr Afzal Sher
 

For under-resourced countries in the South to benefit from achievements made in the fields of science and technology, they need to be linked up with the world-wide information networks. Unfortunately most countries in the South are lagging behind in the communication revolution that has the rest of the world in its grip.

Sida/SAREC systematically assists universities and research institutions in developing countries to obtain access to the Internet, creating university-wide backbones together with local area networks at departmental or faculty level. Support is also provided to create capacity in running, maintaining and managing the networks. To avoid fragmentation of support efforts, Sida/SAREC ICT projects usually start off with a phase in which assistance is provided for drawing up an ICT policy and an ICT master plan.

Sida/SAREC ICT projects are underway at universities in Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. Projects are carried out in collaboration with the Department for Computer Science and Systems (DSV) at Stockholm University. The network project in Sri Lanka is almost completed and the one at Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique has just gone live. Detailed preparations have been made for the launch of new ICT projects in Uganda and Vietnam and Sida/SAREC has approved funds for the implementation of comprehensive support to these countries.

It should be emphasised that Sida/SAREC is not working alone in these initiatives; each university is encouraged to draw up its plans in the light of all the opportunities offered for support in the field of ICT. A good example is Uganda, where USAID is supporting the establishment of Internet connectivity for Makerere University.

The American project includes wireless intranet connectivity for all faculties and administrative centres. At the same time, Norwegian NORAD is supporting the strengthening of administrative computing at the university as one of the many components of an institutional development programme. The Government of Uganda has received a loan from the African Development Bank to strengthen scientific and technical teacher education. Part of the proceeds of this loan has been allocated to the procurement of a modern computer network at Makerere University. Makerere University itself has realised the need to develop ICT and avoid infrastructure fragmentation within the university in a comprehensive and planned way. It has drawn up a comprehensive Strategic Framework for the period 2000/1-2004/5. All its considerations and priorities have been brought together in an ICT Master Plan which defines the framework for the ICT infrastructure. The ICT Master Plan was drawn up with the support of Sida/SAREC.

Each ongoing ICT project has developed a homepage where detailed information about the project can be found. These pages can be accessed through the Sida web-site <www.sida.se>  by following the links 'Sector Information', 'IT' and 'IT in the Development Co-operation'.

Dr Afzal Sher
Senior IT Advisor
Department for Research Cooperation, SAREC
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida
WWW: www.sida.se

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Promoting a reading culture

by Ruth Makotsi, Executive Secretary EABDA  

The East African Book Development Association

The East African Book Development Association (EABDA) is a regional forum for the co-ordination of book sector activities in East Africa. Its mission is to promote a reading culture in the three East African countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania through development of all functions within the book chain and to encourage cross-border trade in books.

A three-year regional book development project of the newly registered East African Book Development Association was launched at a stakeholders training workshop held from 18th to 20th April 2001 in Kampala, Uganda. The East African Book Development Project, is financially supported by Swedish Sida with a start-up grant.

The project has a wider scope of activities than its predecessor (see inset), allows for more participation and ownership by stakeholders, aims at creating more sustainable and longer-term impact, and has a centralised management system to ensure that activities in all the three countries are implemented in parallel. The project's three major themes are:

  • policy formulation;
  • book industry development, and;
  • promotion of a readership culture.

The activities, planned to run throughout the year, include library development in schools and community centres, community-based information bazaars, reading promotion media campaigns, institutional capacity building, membership campaigns for associations, advocacy for formulation of national book policies, professional training for stakeholders, research and trade facilitation, publication of newsletters and 'Books-in-Print' catalogues, a revolving book fund, and local and international networking.

The project is co-ordinated by an elected committee of the East African Book Development Association, whose officials are Henry Chakava (Chairperson), Joshua Madumulla (Vice-Chairperson), Fred Matovu (Treasurer) and Abdullah Saiwaad, Pamela Kola and Loy Tumusiime (Members). The Association is registered in Kampala, Uganda, which will also soon host its secretariat currently. The secretariat is currently headed by Ruth Makotsi (Executive Secretary). All active stakeholder associations in the three countries are members and beneficiaries of EABDA's projects through the National Book Development Council of Kenya (NBDC-K), Baraza la Maendeleo ya Vitabu Tanzania (BAMVITA) and the National Book Trust of Uganda (NABOTU).

For more information, contact:

EABDA
P.O. Box 13422
Nairobi
Kenya
Tel/Fax: 254-2-447815
Email:

Book Weeks

The biggest challenge stakeholders in the East African book sector now face is how to effectively and wholesomely strengthen the industry in order to ensure the production, supply and access of appropriate and affordable reading materials to the population. This challenge resulted in the establishment of an East African Book Weeks Committee in June 1998. With support from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), each year in September Book Weeks are organised as a regional festival.

The Book Weeks have illustrated their ability to move the regional book industry to higher levels. Increasing levels of participation in the festivals are an indication of both stakeholders and policy makers acceptance of its aims. Schools, communities and the general public have equally appreciated the role of the project in providing knowledge to the populace through an exciting and participatory medium. With the exception of the city-based international book fairs, where exhibitors pay for the space, participation in all activities is free. This has ensured participation by the majority poor.

Due to the increased popularity of Book Week activities, it has become necessary to broaden them in order to cater for the large numbers of enthusiasts.

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Stepping into the new millennium

Digital developments in Southeast Asia 

Triennial Conference

In conjunction with the Asian International Book Fair and the International Library Expo, the Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians (CONSAL) organised its triennial conference in late April this year in Suntec City, Singapore.

The conference helped CONSAL to take stock of current initiatives in the region and to lay out its organisational strategy for the three years ahead. The formation of a CONSAL Secretariat was announced. It will meet the collective needs of the region and work towards sharing and tapping expertise and resources. Singapore announced a co-operation programme to assist second tier management of the regional libraries to attend annual training programmes under the auspices of CONSAL. The conference attracted a total of 600 participants.

The Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians (CONSAL) member countries have entered into a new era of co-operation. Displaying solidarity and enthusiasm, four CONSAL member countries (Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore) have taken the lead in developing digital content for ASEAN Information Net the Web portal recently endorsed by the ASEAN Heads of States. The remaining six countries will be phased into the project in the next few years.

The said parties made the decision in the First Executive Board Meeting of CONSAL XII, in Brunei, on the 27th of March 2001. On the agenda was a discussion of collaborative efforts to group national digital initiatives for a regional audience.

The lead countries discussed collaborative digitisation strategies to present Southeast Asian digital content online as a showcase to the region. The regional digital showcase, ASEAN Information Net, guarantees that everyone reaps the benefits of their national digitisation programmes. The initiative promotes the sharing of resources and skills for an e-ready CONSAL, capable of competing in the global information and library arena. The project is the second phase of the Resource Sharing and Legal Deposit initiative approved by the CONSAL Executive Board in April 2000.

Supporting activities will ensure that each CONSAL member country has the tools and the skills it needs to participate fully in the Knowledge Economy. CONSAL Net officer Mr Johnson Paul outlined a three tier development programme. It focuses on the development of a virtual community (CONSAL-Web), a resource sharing portal (ASEAN Information Net) and on strengthening the roles of libraries and librarians as information intermediaries through regional training programmes.

He said that the existing CONSAL project initiatives would provide the means to carry out the regional development programme. Mr Ramachandran, the Secretary-General of the CONSAL Secretariat commented on the Secretariat's role in forging regional consciousness and enabling member countries to effectively compete in the knowledge economy with highly skilled professionals.

"Training," he said, "is at the top of the agenda through 'Government to Government' co-operation programmes within ASEAN."

CONSAL

CONSAL was founded in Singapore in 1970 in response to a growing sense of Southeast Asian identity, fostered particularly by the formation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The initiative of establishing CONSAL was taken by the Library Associations of Singapore and Malaysia; they have a common origin and long history of close co-operation. Representatives from the library associations of Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and South Vietnam ratified the original constitution and the first CONSAL participants came from these seven countries. Today, CONSAL has 10 members which include the library associations and librarians of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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Revitalising Public Libraries in Africa

Kenya and Botswana update

by Carol Priestley

In the last issue of this Newsletter, we gave an update of progress made under the Carnegie Corporation initiative Revitalising Public Libraries in Africa. Since November 2000, when the presentations from which we drew our information were presented in Ghana, the Botswana National Library Service has formulated a Strategic Plan for the years 2002 to 2004, while the Kenya National Library Service has published the final report of its Planning Process.

For more information on the Carnegie Corporation initiative, see previous issues of this Newsletter or contact INASP at the address on the inside cover of this Newsletter.

Kenya National Library Service (KNLS)

The Kenya National Library Service (KNLS) has prepared a very substantive report as the outcome of its Planning Process (see also INASP Newsletter no. 16).

The KNLS Board has concluded that to effectively implement the strategic plan, the many issues raised in the plan have to be prioritised. In summary, the following have been selected as top-priority tasks:

  • The establishment of a Project Planning and Implementation Unit within KNLS
  • Equipping existing libraries and diversifying services
  • Introducing/improving information and communication technologies for library operations and management
  • Reviewing management and personnel system and training
  • Defining a policy and legal framework for KNLS
  • Developing networking activity, partnerships and innovative methods of financing libraries
  • Supporting the infrastructural and physical development of libraries in Kenya
  • Marketing library services.

Based on the above, KNLS has now submitted a proposal to the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Botswana National Library Service Strategic Plan, 2002 to 2004

The Botswana National Library Service (BNLS) has submitted its strategic plan for consideration by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Using as its base recommendations from both a User Needs Survey and a Stakeholders Consultative Seminar (see also INASP Newsletter no. 16) it is formulated after a wide and thorough consultative process.

The plan is well thought through and if implemented it should go towards overcoming the stated weaknesses of the small readership base and the lack of suitable reading materials. The plan has three strategic goals:

  • To improve the provision of a networked library and information service in order to bring about effectiveness and efficiency in supporting, promoting and facilitating education and research
  • To market and promote library services in order to ensure optimum use by increasing public awareness of these services
  • To effectively collect, capture, preserve and promote the national documented and oral, cultural and historical heritage, facilitatingits dissemination and preserving national identity.

Erratum

In the article on the first Annual Library and Information Science Conference in Uganda on page 18 of the last issue (February 2001) of this Newsletter, the captions with the photographs were accidentally swapped. The speaker in the top-left photograph was Hon. Omony Ogaba, while the speaker in the bottom-right photograph was Mr. Robert Ikoja Odongo.

INASP-Health Update Go to top
 

Towards 'Universal Access to Health Information'

Two major events in July 2001

Recent years have seen an encouraging increase in international awareness about the importance of access to reliable, relevant information for health professionals in developing and emerging countries. In March 2000 the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, announced the Health InterNetwork, a UN initiative led by the World Health Organization. The Health InterNetwork is seeking to improve access to health information in developing and emerging countries, using Internet technologies. On July 17th 2001, INASP-Health is delighted to welcome Michael Scholtz, Special Representative to the Director-General of WHO, to present the Health InterNetwork at a public Health Information Forum (HIF) meeting at the British Medical Association, London.

Global initiatives to improve health information are more likely to make a real and lasting impact if they complement and strengthen other proposed and existing activities. With this in mind, INASP-Health is collaborating with two partner organisations - Health Communications Exchange (Exchange) <www.healthcomms.org> and Interactive Health - to organise an international videoconference, 'Universal Access to Health Information'. The main objective of the conference, which will take place on July 18th 2001, is to present global and local ICT initiatives in relation to six priority areas for action proposed by the 'WHO-HIF Cooperation Group' (see INASP Newsletter February 2001, pages 9-12). The focus will be on the information needs of pre-service and in-service healthcare providers, especially in the least developed countries. However, issues of access to information for other end-users (researchers, policy makers, the general public) will also be considered. Throughout, there will be an emphasis on the perspective of those working in developing countries - health professionals, information services, publishers, educators, and others who are responsible for creating, repackaging, disseminating, and applying information to improve health care.

Videoconference sites are being organised in Cape Town, Harare, London, Nairobi, Sao Paulo, and Washington DC. For further information, please contact Neil Pakenham-Walsh at.

To keep informed of this and other events, subscribe to 'HIF-net at WHO'.

Join 'HIF-net at WHO' !

Join 500 colleagues worldwide - health professionals, librarians, publishers, technologists, policy-makers - on the email discussion list specifically dedicated to issues of improving access to reliable, relevant information for health professionals in developing and emerging countries.

"An excellent forum for current debate - it could be especially useful for organizations in developing countries that have access to email but limited access to relevant publications." Christine Kalume, Healthlink Worldwide, UK

"A mine of helpful views and contacts." John Dada, Fantsuam Foundation, Nigeria

"I subscribe to many lists. This is probably the most elegant and most informative." Najeeb Al-Shorbaji, Director of Information, WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office

To join, email your name, affiliation and professional interests to.

About INASP-Health

INASP-Health is a co-operative network created by health information providers, for health information providers. Its goal is to facilitate co-operation across the health information community towards universal access to reliable information for health professionals in developing and transitional countries.

The network currently involves more than 600 participants, North and South, representing non-governmental organisations, international agencies, library services, publishers (print and electronic), and others. Visit our website at: www.inasp.info for further information about our range of services and activities.

We welcome all those who are willing to share their experience and expertise with others to improve access to reliable information. Participation is free of charge and without obligation. Please write to:

Dr Neil Pakenham-Walsh Programme Manager INASP-Health 27 Park End Street Oxford OX1 1HU, UK

Please note, new telephone number for INASP-Health !

WWW: <www.inasp.info/health/> 

We are grateful to the following organisations for their support:

  • British Medical Association
  • CDSI (ICSU-Press)
  • Danida
  • Department for International Development (UK)
  • Exchange
  • World Health Organization

Strengthening local communication strategies

by Christine Kalume and Roger Drew

What role should a northern information NGO play in improving the wellbeing of poor communities in developing countries? Healthlink Worldwide believes that local organisations are the key players in communicating effectively about health, disability and development in developing countries. Therefore, it has developed a model of working called 'communicating through partnership', designed to support the work of its partner organisations in developing countries. This article highlights Healthlink Worldwide's approach and experiences.

Healthlink Worldwide (formerly AHRTAG) has been providing practical and up-to-date information on health and disability to grassroots health and community workers for over 20 years. It is best known for its newsletters, including AIDS Action, Child Health Dialogue and Disability Dialogue, which were translated and adapted by partners worldwide to meet the needs of local audiences.

This approach emphasised information dissemination and placed Healthlink Worldwide at the centre of a network of partner organisations. However, many partners saw the newsletters as something 'owned' by Healthlink Worldwide, rather than a resource that they could use and adapt (or even replace) to communicate effectively to their target audiences about relevant issues. Efforts by Healthlink Worldwide to challenge this model met with limited success. Consequently, a more dramatic restructuring process was introduced in 2000.

The restructure challenged the central role of newsletters in Healthlink Worldwide's work by making a commitment to replacing the printed international editions with an electronic publication, and in doing so releasing resources to respond flexibly to partner needs. It also emphasised the process of decentralisation by clearly locating the ownership of newsletters with partner organisations. It is envisaged that partners will continue to produce regional newsletters where these fit with their organisational communication strategies and meet their target audiences' needs effectively. Healthlink Worldwide will support the publication of these regional newsletters, through the production of information source material that will be available to partners. In 2001 this will take the form of 4 electronic newsletters comprised of articles that can be adapted for partner newsletters. The long-term nature of the information source material is under discussion, but is expected to be a less complete product and to involve much more collaboration between editors across the network of partner organisations, and the use of correspondents in the regions to originate material locally. Healthlink Worldwide has faced many challenges in seeking to make this change. These have included:

  •  responding to the need for different skills e.g. facilitation, training,
  •  meeting commitments made to funders under the previous model whilst at the same time developing the new model,
  •  effectively communicating the changes and their implications to diverse stakeholders including funders, advisors and partners.

A particular challenge has been to move sensitively towards the new model without partners feeling it has been imposed on them, which in itself contradicts the new model. Yet despite these challenges, initial results are encouraging and responses from most partners and funders are positive. Healthlink Worldwide believes that it is a worthwhile and sustainable direction to move in.

Christine Kalume, Team Leader 
Roger Drew, Director 
Healthlink Worldwide Cityside, 40 Adler Street London E1M 1EE <www.healthlink.org.uk

 

Health information access and use in rural Uganda

by Maria Musoke

In 1998 and 1999, I carried out a qualitative study in rural Uganda as part of a doctoral thesis at the University of Sheffield, UK. The main aim of the study was to investigate the accessibility and use of health information in the lower levels of Primary Health Care. Two groups were interviewed: women leaders and health workers. A model of health information access and use emerged from the qualitative data. The model highlights the value and impact of information as the driving force in the various information activities reported.

The most important sources of information for women leaders were radio, health workers and the local authority. For health workers, the most important sources of information were seminars/courses, printed sources and colleagues. The character of sources that influenced that choice included accessibility, reliability or credibility, interactivity and relevancy.

The study confirmed the importance of providing timely information. This was particularly so in critical incidents and in epidemics. It was difficult to access the required information or information source at the right time in rural Uganda, which sometimes resulted in loss of lives.

Some previous reports have suggested many African health workers do not make use of health learning materials even where they are present. By contrast, I found that health workers actively seek information despite many obstacles. Throughout, the study reports the need for continuing education to keep up to date, and the negative impact of lack of current information on health workers' activities.

The major constraints were socio-economic. Economic constraints affected access to information sources, as well as communication, staffing of health units and transport. Social factors - culture, gender and language - played a big role in constraining women's access and use of information. However, through interpersonal interactions and the repackaging of information, some constraints were overcome or reduced, thereby enabling both women and health workers to access and use information.

The study highlights the need to address the constraints identified. It also suggests the need to strengthen existing provision of health information and factors which have proved effective in rural Uganda. In the case of women, a participatory and multisectoral approach was suggested, involving health workers, the local authority, the church and other religious organisations, women's groups, NGOs, the Ministry of Health and information providers. Other priorities include (1) repackaging of information to suit the needs of women and (2) more attention to health education and information transfer from health workers to patients.

Health workers reported a need for: regular provision of current printed materials in appropriate quality and quantity; traditional library services; repackaging of information, e.g. newspaper articles on health; indexing of CME materials; and training in information skills.

Maria Musoke, Medical Librarian Makerere University PO Box 7062 Kampala, Uganda Email:

[errata November 2003: new Email:]

 

What do Health Information Resource Centres think about technology ?

by Chris Zielinski

The Health Information for Development (HID) project has just published the Global Directory of Health Information Resource Centres, which is available free on <www.iwsp.org> . This is the first edition of the largest global listing of health information resource centres, with data pertaining to about 1,000 centres, the overwhelming majority of which are based in developing and emerging countries. Support for this project was provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Children's Vaccine Program at the Program for Appropriate Technology for Health (PATH). If we can secure the funding, the Directory will be an ongoing work, and will be updated. We aim to refine the data, and invite all readers to suggest improvements and provide better information.

The HID project was the fruit of 18 months of intensive work among non-governmental and international bodies. Discussions took place from early 1999 within the Health Information Forum (HIF), an INASP-Health activity uniting those active in health information development in the UK, along with numerous international and regional organisations. The discussions covered the concepts of 'Information Waystations' and 'Staging Posts'. HID is seen as the research phase of the much larger, US$45 million, 'Information Waystations and Staging Posts' project, which aims to establish a global network of health information resource centres that will provide locally appropriate content on health issues. We are currently looking for funding for various seed projects related to this concept.

Using questionnaires provided online, by e-mail and on paper by regular mail, we collected information about the missions and objectives of centres, with particular reference to their attitudes to technology, and their capabilities and requirements. The Directory thus also represents the first needs assessment relating to information and communication technologies drawn from the resource centres themselves. In addition to information collected by questionnaire, considerable information was provided from other directory sources, notably from Healthlink Worldwide.

Altogether some 430 entries in the Directory listed an e-mail address, and over 120 include a website address. At the other end of the spectrum, over 80 gave no telephone number and over 200 have no fax. Close to 30% of the entries list HIV/AIDS as a key concern, while over 25% indicate disabilities as an area of activity. Overall, the preliminary results of the analysis of the data regarding information and technology use submitted to the Directory is revealing - the table below sets out the main findings extracted from the questionnaires only (excluding other databases). We will be preparing more detailed papers expanding on this analysis for publication in due course.

Chris Zielinski, Project Director Health Information For Development c/o Informania Ltd, PO Box 40, Petersfield, Hants GU32 2YH, UK Email:   WWW: <www.iwsp.org

Indicator 

No. of staff working at the centre: Minimum: 1 ; Maximum: 1,500; Median: 8

Funding sources of the centre 

Self-supporting 

43 

Government/Ministry 

49 

Donor organisation in country 

21 

Foreign donor organisation 

31 

Other 

24

Importance of collection and pro vision of information to centre 

Primary activity of the centre 

70 

Secondary activity of the centre 

26 

Not a priority at the centre 

2

Attitudes to technology 

Do not have a computer and do not consider computers to be a priority 

<1 

Do not have a computer and con sider they could achieve their objec tives better if they had one or more 

14 

Have one or more computers and do not need any more computers, training or databases 

11 

Have computer(s) and need more/ better, or training, or databases 

73

Users of the information 

Specific target groups 

35 

Centre's own staff 

78 

General public as a whole 

53 

Primary/community health workers 

72 

Hospital staff, doctors, nurses 

65 

Researchers/teachers/students 

85

Ministry personnel and institutions 

60 

Other centres/NGOs in the country 

80 

Other centres/NGOs abroad 

44

Origins of the information 

Write/draw/produce own information 

60 

Use info from other centres within the country 

85 

Use info from outside the country 

82 

Use local non-formal knowledge 

51 

Use local formal knowledge 

73 

Get information via e-mail/Internet 

67 

Get information via CD-ROM/disk 

47

Use of information received 

Centres rarely change information 

34 

Centres adapt and modify inform. 

51 

Centres translate materials from for eign languages into local language 

41 

Centres provide information to users on demand by non-electronic means 

74 

Centres provide inform. electronically 

58 

Users come to consult information 

78

Training 

No need for any further training 

Training in information skills (publishing/library/translation) 

Some staff have received training 

53 

Centre wants new/further training 

70 

Centre can provide training 

23 

Training in technology skills (computer/database/CD-ROM/Internet) 

Some staff have received training 

61 

Centre wants new/further training 

75 

Centre can provide training 

25

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Participatory Web design

Prototype PAPWEC was used to design the content of a prototype Web resource. The website's purpose is to provide trade and market information to support producers and exporters of fresh fruits, vegetables and horticultural products and also act as a meeting place for both importers and exporters of agricultural produce. The published website was re-designed on the basis of the draft site by Zambian-based Web design company Dispatch Ltd. It is hoped that the prototype site will grow to be a portal site providing critical agricultural information to local farmers in Zambia and the rest of Southern Africa. Some worksheets also accompany the practical guidelines.

A people approach to produce Web content (PAPWEC)

by Batsirai Mike Chivhanga

This is the second part of the article 'Web-based information resources for development', first published in the February 2001 issue of this Newsletter. It outlines 'a people approach to produce Web content' (PAPWEC). The rationale behind the methodology is the recognition that development of Web-based information should involve the eventual users of the resource. The methodology was developed at City University's Department of Information Science (London).

Locally relevant information

The questions and issues addressed by PAPWEC specifically pertain to those settings where there are many human development needs and where traditional information services are badly lacking. Information and knowledge are driving many Western economies. In Africa, the Internet has the potential to address many gaps that traditional information services have failed to fill. Providing information is a key resource in any development endeavour. However, this has yet to be realised throughout Africa and many other developing countries. A large majority of websites on African material are produced and maintained outside the continent. We are yet to see a proliferation of websites that target local, ordinary African people. PAPWEC can be used to build information resources that cater for their needs. It is a starting point for developing Web content that will meet the information needs of users in developing countries.

There are four stages that can be followed in the Web weaving process namely: 

  • Needs Analysis: 
  • Content Architecture 
  • Authoring 
  • Implementation and Impact Assessments

Phase 1 - Needs Analysis 

  • Study the socio-economic circumstances of the people, their culture, environment and development goals. 
  • Identify the information needs of people.
  •  Analyse existing sources of information.

Practical Guideline 1: Define the development needs of the people, i.e. list and describe the socio-economic problems that they are facing and the specific human development goals and objectives - short term and long-term.

Practical Guideline 2: List the cultural tendencies of people and their attitude to new technologies, in particular Internet technologies.

Practical Guideline 3: List the social, economic and political environment of the country where the people are living or the industry if the Web resource is for people in a particular sector.

Practical Guideline 4: Describe the Internet environment where the beneficiaries of the resource are living. Issues to highlight are the mode of access to the website, Internet access speeds and cost to access the service.

Practical Guideline 5: Assess the people's existing sources of information and document the constraints and problems they are experiencing with these information services, i.e. map out the current information gaps and how they are affecting people in their daily lives and work.

Practical Guideline 6: Draw up a checklist of people's information seeking behaviour.

Phase 2 - Content Architecture 

  • Match information needs and development goals. 
  • Prepare the content.

Practical Guideline 7: State briefly the development goals and associated development activities.

Practical Guideline 8: State specific information needed to achieve development goals and objectives, i.e. information for development - establish the purpose of the website.

Practical Guideline 9: List the expected benefits that will accrue from using the resource.

Practical Guideline 10: Collate the information that is going to be used as the subject matter of the Web resource. If the content is not in a readily accessible format, then produce it from scratch by working with the subject experts and consulting with the people that are going to use the resource. Make the content accessible first in a traditional format, usually print, before converting it into a Web format.

Phase 3 - Authoring 

  • Design and produce the resource.

Practical Guideline 11: Follow good Web interface design principles. Use different types of content, i.e. text and graphics to convey the message in a way that is easily accessible and understood by the community of users.

Phase 4 - Implementation, Evaluation and Impact Assessments 

  • Market your Web resource
  • Analyse the impact of your resource 

Practical Guideline 12: Evaluate over time how the Web resource has directly or indirectly led to socio-economic progress whether at a personal level, community level, organisational level and national level, i.e. what are the benefits that have accrued to the community of users since the introduction of the Web resource.

Practical Guideline 13: Use Web counters and robust Web logs that yield more statistics about the visitors to your website.

Practical Guideline 14: Carry out a regular survey to assess the usefulness of the Web resource and updates needed to increase the value of the Web resource.

Practical Guideline 15: List the uses or functions of the website and document tangible benefits (outcomes) - based on the feedback exercise in Practical Guideline 14.

Detailed information about PAPWEC is available from the website: <www.soi.city.ac.uk/research/isrg/ papwec.htm>

For further information, contact:
Batsirai Mike Chivhanga Web Development Consultant Email:  

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Electronic publishing in science

A joint ICSU/UNESCO conference - Paris, February 2001

by Roger Elliott, Chairman ICSU Press

Through its Committee for the Dissemination of Scientific Information/ICSU Press, and jointly with UNESCO, the International Council of Science (ICSU) held a second International Conference on Electronic Publishing in Science earlier this year. This was almost exactly five years after the first highly successful conference of this type had been held. With the collaboration of sister organisations, CODATA, ICSTI, IFLA and the STM Publishers, it attracted the broadest spectrum of experts representing the international scientific unions and associations, librarians and information scientists, copyright specialists, publishers (both commercial and learned-society) and information brokers. It also attempted to achieve wide international participation through the ICSU and UNESCO constituencies.

The dramatic impact of the new technologies on the distribution information is being particularly felt in science, where many technological innovations (such as the Web) were initiated. The new developments provide enormous potential benefits for the scientific information chain and hence for the progress of science. But there are real difficulties in developing a new paradigm that meets the needs of science in an effective way. There have been major developments in electronic publishing since the last conference and these continue. It was therefore appropriate to bring together those with experience and knowledge of the developing scene.

The lectures and discussion groups engendered a lively debate and enabled the conference to make a number of important recommendations on how the interests of the international community of scientists could best be served by electronic publishing. To varying degrees, they are aimed at all the stakeholders involved in the scientific information chain and in particular to the unions, learned society publishers and individual scientists who make up the ICSU Family.

One break-out session, chaired by Carol Priestley and Lisham Adam, was devoted to developing country issues and of special interest to the INASP community. It was well attended and made some important contributions to the general debate.

The conference was judged a great success by those who attended and we hope and believe that its influence will be broadly felt in the scientific community.

The full proceedings of the conference, including reports on the break-out sessions, will be published shortly on the ICSU Press website <http://associnst.co.ac.uk/~icsuinfo>  where most of the papers presented are already posted. ICSU Press, along with its associated partners, will also be initiating a programme of follow-up activities which will be publicised in due course.

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Information and Communication Technologies in Africa: A Review and Selective Annotated Bibliography 1990-2000

A new INASP publication by Dr. Nyaki Adeya

A review of relevant literature published between 1990 and 2000 has revealed that, despite many constraints, the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is growing in Africa. There have been successful developments in infrastructure, information management, networking and gender-related issues. However, the literature has also revealed considerable variation between different African countries in their adoption and use of these technologies.

This review and annotated bibliography brings together diverse sources of information on ICTs in Africa from selected websites and printed literature. The information is synthesised into a cohesive analysis of past and present initiatives on ICTs, within the context of the diverse economic, social and political conditions in Africa.

The literature reviewed relates primarily to anglophone Africa and generally excludes telecommunications issues. The latter are considered well documented in other publications. The review should assist those embarking on ICT-related research in Africa by identifying areas of ICTs about which there is currently a lack of information or research. The book is divided into two sections: the review and the annotated bibliography. The review begins by introducing ICTs and the information economy in the African context. The literature selected for the bibliography is then reviewed thematically under the headings:

  • Overview of ICTs in Africa 
  • Information Infrastructure 
  • Information Economy 
  • Information Management 
  • Socio-cultural and Political Issues 
  • Education and Training 
  • Gender

Dr Adeya then draws some conclusions from this review and provides some thoughts on the future. The bibliography has been annotated with a view to giving an indication of the nature of the research that has been conducted and identifying areas for further research.

Information and Communication Technologies in Africa: A Review and Selective Annotated Bibliography 1990-2000 
Dr. Catherine Nyaki Adeya 90 pp. 297x210mm ISBN: 1 902928 059, Price: £15.00 Publication date: June 2001 Published and distributed by INASP (see address).

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Running an NGO Resource Centre

A new manual published by Powerful Information

Virtually any NGO with a room, a table and some shelving can set up a local resource centre but to stock the centre with useful publications and attract people to use it is far from easy. It takes resources, time and energy, as well as considerable know-how.

A new Resource Centre Manual, published by Powerful Information, provides guidance on what is involved in planning, setting up and operating sucha centre. It focuses in particular on centres working with rural development, sustainable agriculture and renewable natural resources.

The manual provides tips on how to attract people and on how to keep them as loyal members. It is targeted at people who have not had any formal training in documentation or library science.

The manual is in four parts. The first part outlines the pre-requisites for setting up a resource centre. The second deals with the selection and acquisition of materials, and with cataloguing and record keeping. The third is about managing the centre (including staffing, membership, security, etc.). Finally, the fourth deals with how to monitor the use of the centre and assess the impact it is having on the community.

Annexes provide a draft constitution and a framework contract for staff.

The manual [ISBN: 1 899950 184] costs US$15 (plus post and packing).

It can be ordered from: Powerful Information City Discovery Centre, Bradwell Abbey, Milton Keynes MK13 9AP, UK Tel/fax: + 44 (0) 1908 320033 Email:   Web: <www.powerfulinformation.org

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Reports from Latin America and the Caribbean

Edited by Maritza Hee Houng

Caribbean and Latin American information professionals have in the last months been engaged in a number of meetings focused on moving the region forward through the application and development of information and communication technologies.

Meetings have been both sectoral and broad-based, and have taken place across the region. The Association of Law Librarians met in Grenada, the Congress on Health Sciences (CRICS) attended by medical librarians met in Havana, and the Caribbean Information Action Group (CARINFO) met in Barbados.

Caribbean Association of Law Librarians

The 16th annual conference of the Caribbean Association of Law Libraries was held in Grenada in May. The theme was: Web Publishing and Online Catalogue Options for Small Law Libraries.

Presentations on the evaluation of software packages were made by Mrs. Carol Nicholson, Assistant Director for Bibliographic and Collection Resources of the University of North Carolina Law Library and President of the American Association of Law Libraries, and Mrs. Janice Ross, Serials Librarian, Florida State University Law Library. Prof. Fay Durrant, Director of the Department of Library Studies of the University of the West Indies presented an excellent address on the Retraining of Librarians.

Demonstrations of Alexandria and Eloquent Web Librarian (by company representatives), and Inmagic (by Mrs. Ingrid Iton, librarian at the Main Library, UWI) were given.

At the end of the seminar a panel discussed the matters which should be borne in mind when shopping for online catalogue software, especially if the intention is to publish a holdings catalogue on the web.

Caribbean Information Action Group

The Caribbean Development Bank was host to the 8th Biennial Caribbean Information Action Group Workshop. This one was entitled Informing the Caribbean in the year 2001. The Workshop programme included presentations on current information initiatives at international level and at regional level.

In his feature address, Professor Fay Durrant placed the development of the regional information systems in the context of regional changes such as the establishment of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and the establishment of the Association of Caribbean States. Professor Durrant also looked at the global scenario and stressed the need for CARINFO to be engaged at the policy level, thus ensuring the enhancement of CARICOM's economic competitiveness through communications, information and technological capabilities of its people and its infrastructure.

A paper by Maritza Hee Houng provided the background for the discussion on CARINFO's role in the new ICT environment. The impact of new technology was felt both in the decentralisation of systems and the user expectations for new levels of delivery. CARINFO can address this by practical methods. In addition, the region's critical need for poverty alleviation and for creating a knowledge society are problems within the scope of CARINFO's objectives of using information technology for economic development. An institutional framework, an extended broad based structure engaging international partners, and policy role were recommended and accepted by the participants.

The papers presented and details of agreements can be accessed at <www.caribank.org>. 

Congress on Health Sciences Information

The biennial Congress on Health Sciences Information (CRICS) is organised by BIREME, the Pan American Health Organisation's Centre for Health Sciences Information located in Sao Paulo Brazil. The theme of the Congress, organised in Havana, Cuba, was Knowledge for Change: Information and Knowledge for Health Equity.

Feature speakers included Dr George Alleyne who opened the Congress with his address Information: A Bridge over the Divide. There was an opportunity for 'continued training' on topics such as collective intelligence, marketing library and information services, evidence-based medicine for health professionals, management of financial resources and applying for grants. BIREME introduced its new applications and methodologies for full-text electronic publishing and Web-based products as part of the development of the Virtual Health Library initiative.

The Congress provided an excellent forum for exchange and sharing particularly with regard to developments of the Virtual Health Library Project which provides common space for access to and dissemination of health information of Latin America and the Caribbean region. A consensus on steps to be taken at the regional level was produced with the Declaration of Havana at the end of the Proceedings. These will soon be available online on BIREME's website. The Sixth Congress will be held in Mexico City in 2003.

For further information, visit the website: <www.bireme.br/crics5>.  For information on BIREME's services and information products including searchable databases visit the website: <www.bireme.br

Maritza Hee Houng INASP Co-ordinator for the Caribbean and Latin America  

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Notice Board

The INASP Newsletter Notice Board is a public forum for organisations and institutions wishing to advertise their projects, activities, offers or requests.

Short contributions can be sent to the editor at INASP.

Development Bookshop Online

ITDG Publishing, formerly known as Intermediate Technology Publications, announces the launch of its Development Bookshop Online.

Through the online bookshop, key development books can be ordered and information on ITDG Publishing's core activities can be found. The latter include book and journal publishing and book voucher schemes.

ITDG is a charity registered in the United Kingdom which works directly in four regions of the developing world: Latin America, East Africa, Southern Africa and South Asia, with a particular focus on Peru, Kenya, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. In these countries, ITDG works with poor communities to develop appropriate technologies in food production, agro-processing, energy, transport, small enterprise development, shelter, small-scale mining and disaster mitigation.

For more information, visit: <www.developmentbookshop.com

TEEAL Agricultural CD-ROM Library

Cornell's 'Library in a Box', the Essential Electronic Agricultural Library or TEEAL, currently contains more than one million pages of the best journals about Rural Development, Sustainable Agriculture, Natural Resources, Veterinary Medicine, Agricultural Economics and related subjects. It is the result of cooperation between Cornell University's Albert R. Mann Library, the Rockefeller Foundation, and leading science publishers. Articles from 140 journals are scanned onto CD-ROM and accessed via a searchable database of citations. TEEAL is sold for what it costs to produce. The price is a fraction of the cost of subscriptions to the journals.

A group of 42 universities and research centres in the developing world have now purchased TEEAL. The journal publishers, including Elsevier Science and other for-profit and society publishers, have agreed to waive fees in the interest of promoting scientific development in less affluent nations. With assistance from the Rockefeller Foundation, which also has supported production and marketing efforts, the journals have been selected by a group of 600 scientists from around the world.

The price for the basic set of 130 titles for the years 1993-96 is US$10,000. The price for annual updates is US$5,000. Prices include shipping by air freight.

TEEAL's website can be found at: <http://teeal.cornell.edu>   

Income generation: experiences from university libraries in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa

A new INASP publication by Tirong arap Tanui, Joseph J.Uta, Annie Pienaar, Jenny Raubenheimer, Hester G. Boltman, Julita Nawe, Elizabeth Kiondo, James Mugasha, C. B. M. Lungau; edited by Diana Rosenberg.

Promotion and implementation of strategies that lead to adequate sustainable funding for the maintenance and development of university libraries is a challenge for all librarians in the SCANUL-ECS region. It was discussed at SCANUL-ECS' Lesotho Conference in 1996, its Kenya conference in 1998, and it became the theme of the conference which took place in Windhoek, Namibia in April 2000 (see also our Newsletter of May 2000).

The papers presented at the meeting and the ensuing discussions gave rise to various recommendations:

  • University librarians were urged to recognise that there is a movement away from reliance on government subventions towards alternative funding sources, to formulate business plans for income generation, and to involve themselves more in advocacy. 
  • Donor agencies were asked to fund training activities for librarians in financial management, income generation and advocacy. 
  • SCANUL-ECS was asked to develop common guidelines and standards, in areas related to university library financing, which could be applicable throughout the region, and to publish case studies from university libraries where successful income generation is taking place. 

The book Income generation: experiences from university libraries in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa is the result of the final recommendation and a general call for more networking and exchange of information between libraries. The case studies are from eight university libraries situated in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia and written by their librarians. The hope is that these accounts of income generation activities will encourage and guide all libraries in their endeavours, provide details of what can be done and how it can be done, and act as an impetus for further developments.

Income generation: experiences from university libraries in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa 
by Tirong arap Tanui, Joseph J.Uta, Annie Pienaar, Jenny Raubenheimer, Hester G. Boltman, Julita Nawe, Elizabeth Kiondo, James Mugasha, C. B. M. Lungau; edited by Diana Rosenberg.90 pp. 210x148mm ISBN: 1 902928 075 Price: £7.50

Co-published by INASP (see address) and SCANUL-ECS. Distributed by INASP. Distributed free of charge to SCANUL-ECS members.

The October issue of the INASP Newsletter will be a special issue on Online Publishing. 
The next regular INASP Newsletter will be published in February 2002. 
If you would like to contribute to its contents, please write to the editorial address on the front page of this issue. 
Contributions must be received by 15 January 2002.
The International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications
 
Website: <www.inasp.info

and also: 

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