International Network for the
Availability of Scientific Publications
No. 9 November 1997
Contributors to this issue:
Resource sharing holds a strong potential for academic libraries in developing countries. With no library able to acquire all publications deemed essential, a division of tasks or specialities is a worthwhile investment for increasing a country's total 'coverage'. However, resource sharing requires efficient communication structures.
A number of projects focusing on the establishment of such structures are now under way. In this INASP Newsletter we try to introduce two of these to a wider audience.
INASP is a co-operative network of partners aiming to improve world-wide access to science information. It has three immediate objectives:
INASP is a project of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) initiated with the support of the European Commission and UNESCO.
Chairman: K-I. Hillerud Director: Carol Priestley
News from INASP
New developments, activities and projects
Several new projects are under way and funding has been secured for some activities which had been in the pipe-line for some time already. Most projects are described elsewhere in the Newsletter. The next issue will focus on these new projects.
For INASP-Health securing funds means - apart from guaranteed continuity in the next 3 years - that preparations for the publication of an INASP-Health directory of Health Information Providers can now take off. The Directory is scheduled to appear in spring 1998.
Questionnaires for the South-South Rural Development Network have just been posted and the first responses are already coming in. As the name suggests, entries on the database will include organisations located in developing countries which make information on the subject available to rural development professionals in the South.
The general INASP Directory will from now on be published biennially. The INASP database has developed to a stage where the expensive publication of an annually updated hard-copy can no longer be justified. Elsewhere in this INASP Newsletter information can be found on three projects INASP has become recently involved in, namely:
At the initiative of IFLA a project electronically linking up the main university libraries of Ghana is now under way. Danish and UK partners have teamed up to assist the Ghanaians with the exercise. The outcomes look promising and may set an example for other countries to follow.
Trying to devise cost-efficient ways of improving access to information in developing countries, the International Federation of Library Associations' (IFLA) Section on Document Delivery and Inter-library lending decided in 1993 to start investigating the potential of Internet connections for African university libraries.
A project group established for the purpose decided after careful deliberations to run a pilot project in an anglophone African country. A proposal was formulated and Danish and Norwegian participants to the project group succeeded in finding the necessary funding.
The projects are now in full swing with librarians visiting the UK and Scandinavia and European experts visiting Ghana and Kenya to help find electronic solutions to the logistic spider web of resource sharing.
The Danish project focuses on the university libraries of Ghana. Since August 1995, Ghana has been connected to the Internet. In early 1996, already more than 300 Internet connections had been established in the country, but none of these involved libraries at the country's universities.
The project is supported by DANIDA, the Danish International Development Agency, with about $400,000 for the three year trial.
The project aims to:
The Danish counterpart is the State and University Library in Aarhus. In late 1995 contacts between Aarhus and the Balme Library in Legon-Accra were made with the help of INASP. The Balme Library expressed its interest in the project and already in April 1996 a preliminary seminar was arranged by its staff.
Fifty librarians participated in the seminar alongside researchers and computer specialists from Ghana and members of the Danish and Norwegian project groups. All issues relevant for inter-library lending, training, and Internet connections were thoroughly discussed during this three day seminar.
After the seminar a decision was made about participation in the project. In Ghana now the following institutions and their libraries are involved:
A Steering Committee, chaired by Christine Kisiedu, Head Librarian of the Balme Library at the University of Ghana, was established with representatives from all institutions. The Steering Group had its first meeting in September 1996. Eight to ten meetings a year are envisaged for the duration of the project.
In May/June of this year, one librarian from each of the libraries participated in a training programme visiting the United Kingdom and Denmark. A basic training in inter-library lending procedures with class-room teaching as well as excursions to UK ILL centres was arranged by INASP in Manchester and London. Practical training was arranged at three research libraries in Copenhagen. The Ghanaian librarians were offered PCs and given plenty of time use browse and search the Internet as well as a number of on-line databases.
Before setting off for their training period abroad the librarians had attended computer courses introducing them to different software packages and work with the Internet.
The experience built up during the visits to Europe will be used at a training seminar this month at the University of Ghana arranged for about twenty librarians involved in the ILL&DD processes. The six librarians trained in Europe will act as resource persons, but trainers from the UK and Denmark will also be involved.
OCLC has accepted to support the project by financing the training of one librarian in the OCLC services. This training will take place in the UK in January 1998.
Besides OCLC also the British Library, The Danish National Library Authority, and the Danish research libraries have accepted to support the project in various ways. In the practical work with document delivery it is the intention to use as much as possible the IFLA voucher scheme as payment for document delivery.
It is expected that the ILL&DD procedures can start at the beginning of next year when the Internet connections will be in place at each of the involved libraries. The intention is to arrange a mid-term evaluation seminar later on in 1998 when the processes should be well under way.
For further information please contact:
The Danish Project Group
State and University Library
The Steering Committee in Ghana
c/o Balme Library
University of Ghana
On the previous pages we report on the IFLA initiative to support document exchange in Ghana (and Kenya). Sharing being a cost-effective way of increasing access to information, the piloting of the system is not restricted to these two countries. The University Library of the University of Zimbabwe has for some time now been exploring ways of setting up a regional system of document exchange and in South Africa, two initiatives are under way to connect the libraries of core regions in the country. One of the South African groups setting up a regional co-operation system is Gaelic, the Gauteng and Environs Library Consortium.
Gauteng, the Johannesburg-Pretoria metropolitan area of South Africa, is the most populous and industrialised part of the country and its economic heartland. Within this area there are a considerable number of tertiary education institutions, both universities and 'Technikons'.
Gaelic, a major project of the umbrella consortium FOTIM (Foundation of Tertiary Institutions in the Northern Metropolis), was initiated in February 1996, when representatives of the Andrew W Mellon Foundation visited South Africa and expressed a willingness to support a co-operative venture among tertiary libraries in Gauteng. The size of the consortium grew rapidly from seven to twelve members, and several additional institutio ns have expressed a keen interest in joining. At present the State Library participates as an observer.
The mission of Gaelic is to fully utilise and develop the information resources of this region for the purpose of promoting education, research and lifelong learning amongst its clients, as a contribution to the educational, training and information needs of the country.
Gaelic's main objectives are:
In the first phase of the project, the Andrew Mellon Foundation supported co-operation through the provision of funds for the purchase of common software for all member institutions. This was realised for the six first libraries which joined the programme, all of whom desperately needed a new library system. Careful assessment of the available systems took place. Two vendors were in the end invited to South Africa to demonstrate their products. A choice was made for Innopac. In 1997 implementation scheduling, data clean-up, and the conversion of files could start.
For Phase 2, comprising the remaining six libraries, a proposal to the Foundation is now being prepared for the installation of Innopac in the remaining six libraries by the year 2000.
As said above, a major focus of Gaelic has been on resource sharing, and task groups have undertaken responsibility for document delivery, joint acquisitions, serials, and human resources. All Gaelic libraries use Ariel for document transfer, and Gaelic's union database is expected to greatly enhance resource sharing amongst members. It is envisaged that the Gaelic union catalogue will form the basis of a new, upgraded national union database.
Gaelic currently are:
University of Witwatersrand
For more information on Gaelic, please contact:
Chairperson Gaelic S.C.
Private Bag XI
P.O. Wits, 2050
In INASP Newsletter No 6 of May 1996 an announcement was made about a proposed INASP South - South Rural Development Network. With financial support from UNESCO the initiative has now got off the ground.
In its 4 years of existence, INASP has developed a database which now holds a wealth of information about the transfer of scientific information to developing countries. INASP has succeeded in identifying a wide range of information suppliers, mostly in the North, and obtaining information on the services and materials they have to offer to institutions and their libraries in the developing world.
Currently such bodies number 230 and details of these have been published in hard-copy format as the INASP Directory. To date the focus has primarily been on a one-way flow, i.e. from North to South. Although a number of major South institutions are involved in the supply of materials, these are in the minority.
Whilst the need to sustain and improve the flow of information to developing countries is as great as ever and the current work of INASP remains valid, we feel that there is a significant volume of information produced in developing countries which should be made more widely available, especially on a South-South basis. Often results of research and development remain within the country in which they are generated, when much of what is produced is of considerable relevance to other countries in the South.
INASP therefore now proposes to extend, with the support of UNESCO funding, its database coverage to take into account southern institutions which produce the results/experience in the South and are willing to share them with similar South institutions.
'Rural Development' in its broadest sense, is regarded as an area where this initiative is most appropriate and INASP now intends to concentrate on identifying further those southern networks and international, regional and national organisations with information-sharing activities or potential which fall within this category.
The information can be in conventional formats (newsletters, journals, monographs) or electronic formats. It is intended that those included will be identified by subject interest (crop science, plant immunology, etc.) and broader focus (environment, nutrition, etc.). Information thus gathered will be published in an INASP South-South Rural Development Network Directory and shared with INASP South members and other interested parties.
Questionnaires have already been circulated to nearly 200 institutions in the developing world. If you have relevant information in the field of rural development available for distribution and you feel that your organisation should be included but you have not received a questionnaire we would be very pleased to hear from you. In such a case we can be contacted by ordinary mail, fax, or email at the address below:
27 Park End Street
Oxford OX1 1HU, UK
Fax: + 44 (0) 1865 251 060
INASP prepares a new directory with specific information on health information providers.
Access to reliable health information in developing countries can only be achieved if there is co-ordination of activities among the different organisations involved. To facilitate such co-ordination, we are planning to publish a directory of health information provider (HIP) organisations. Thanks to a 3-year grant from DANIDA, pledged for 1998-2000, development and publication of the Directory may now go ahead as planned.
The INASP-Health Directory 1998-1999 will contain details of a wide range of HIP organisations across the various sectors, including NGOs, inter-governmental organisations, and the commercial sector among others. As with the general INASP Directory, each entry will contain contact details and profiles for each organisation.
The Directory is intended as a networking tool for all those with a commitment to providing reliable information to health workers in developing countries, and will be available free of charge to libraries in developing countries and HIP organisations, North and South. We would value your comments and suggestions on what type of information you would find most useful.
Over the next few months we shall be contacting individual HIP organisations in the INASP-Health network with a view to including a short profile for the Directory. Other interested organisations who would like to be represented in the directory are warmly invited to get in touch with us also.
Neil Pakenham-Walsh Programme Manager, INASP-Health
Global Knowledge '97
At a recent conference organised by the World Bank and the Government of Canada entitled Global Knowledge '97 there was a session on 'Meeting the Information Needs of Front-line health workers', jointly organised by Andy Haines representing Action in International Medicine and Eugene Boostrom of the World Bank.
Participants heard from a number of speakers including Daniel Addo (University of Ghana Medical School) who spoke on the assessment of information needs of front-line health workers and Helga Patrikios of the University of Zimbabwe who described the need to support libraries in Africa and for valid and relevant guidelines for district level health workers.
Fred Bukachi spoke of the advances made by SatelLife in providing satellite links for health institutions to enable them to access up to date informatio n and Akira Sekikawa of the University of Pittsburgh presented the growing capacity of the internet to meet the needs of health workers for information in particular through the international collaborative activities of the Global Health Net, which includes both the development of disease monitoring capacity as well as the provision of information about an increasing range of conditions.
Vera Bertagnoli from the Fundacao Esperanca in Santarem in Brazil gave a graphic account of the challenges facing health workers in the Amazon region and how distance learning programmes could overcome the isolation of communities scattered over a wide geographical area.
The session highlighted the need for national and international bodies to devote resources to make appropriate information available to front-line health workers, who are frequently overlooked by education and training programmes run by schools of medicine, nursing, etc.
Professor Andy Haines
Department of Population Sciences and Primary Care Royal Free Hospital Pond Road London NW3 2QG UK.
SatelLife UK initiates health information links
Jean Shaw, Research Officer of SatelLife UK since January 1996, introduces a new modular programme to improve the flow of medical and health information to Africa through liaison partnerships with UK libraries.
SatelLife UK was founded in 1991 in the wake of the excitement generated by the use of electronic mail via satellite to remote corners of the globe. Although taking its name from SatelLife (the organisation in the United States which launched the HealthNet services) SatelLife UK is a separate organisation and a registered charity (no.1031674) in the United Kingdom.
Information and communications technology is clearly having an enormous impact on library services in Africa, but despite the opportunities it offers there are very real dangers that technology may simply increase the gap between developed and developing nations. For example, many health librarians in Africa have little or no literature to keep them up to date with advances in information management. One of SatelLife UK's objectives is thus to build on the capacity of African librarians to take maximum advantage of the opportunities.
From 1992 to 1996 SatelLife UK supported a pilot phase of library partnerships between university medical school libraries and their counterparts in Kenya, Uganda and Sudan. These concentrated almost exclusively on the provision of medical and health literature either in the form of current journal articles or backruns of requested material. In the light of what we had learned and after having had closer contact with health science librarians in Africa, SatelLife UK is now proposing a more comprehensive, modular form of partnership. Parts of this partnership are aimed at support for librarians and others are concerned with the transfer of health information.
The need for continued updating in all aspects of information management was highlighted by African health librarians themselves at their 5th Congress held in Brazzaville in September 1996. To address this need, SatelLife UK is carrying out a two-part project for 1998. The first is a short (2 week) visit to the UK for a senior African health science librarian to attend the UK Health Libraries Group conference, and will include some individual training of their choice. The second, the more important, is to continue the connection with a host UK health science library after the visit. The visit provides an opportunity for holding preliminary discussions to explore ways in which they might collaborate.
A 'Liaison Partnership' is intended to be a low cost support system for the African library and its staff. But liaison is a two way process and, if the African library were to gain from, say, the greater experience of technology and automation in the UK, the staff at the UK end will certainly have their horizons widened by the problems faced by their African counterparts and the imaginative ways in which they have tackled them.
In tandem with the above is a more widespread scheme of support for African librarians in which AHILA will be our partner. The AHILA newsletter, AHILA News, will provide a medium for information on science literature to be made available to all members of the Association. An initial selection of suitable references will be made in the UK, but the African editor of AHILA News will make the final selection, which will be available on request.
The provision of free photocopies of journals is expensive, dependency-creating, and ultimately unsustainable - and, according to some Africans, counter productive (1). In the long run we can only help African and other developing countries find their own solutions. Nevertheless SatelLife UK recognises the immediate need for up-to-date health information. In collaboration with other interested parties we hope to devise projects which combine the provision of journal articles with the collection of data needed for cost-effective long-term development - embracing not only conventional print journals but electronic media.
Thanks to the generosity of the Library Association (LA) Health Libraries Group and the International Section of the LA, SatelLife UK has two modest projects under way. Through its Trustees and the Research Officer the links with African health science librarians are sound and our contacts with information professionals in the UK are widespread. Though SatelLife is a small charity and is keen to experiment with innovative small scale projects with a potential for long term development, we hope, in partnership with others, to develop more ambitious projects in the use of new information media and communication technology.
(1) Health information exchange in east and southern Africa: report of a workshop, 12-14 November 1996, Nairobi, Kenya; organised by CAB International, Regional Office for Africa, Nairobi. Nairobi: CAB International, 1997. For further information, please contact:-
Jean G. Shaw
The Dreyfus Health Foundation
Adam Greenberger and Shana Raggio describe the Dreyfus Health Foundation's programmes in Africa.
DHF, a not for profit organisation active in over 18 countries, works to achieve its mission - to serve as a catalyst for better health world-wide - through its two main programmes: Problem Solving for Better Health (PSBH) and Communications for Better Health (CBH).
PSBH began in 1989 and follows an approach which places the responsibility for change on the individual. At a 3-day workshop, participants identify the health problems of their community and analyse them both individually and as a member of a team. Using the PSBH process, they strengthen their abilities to verbalise and define strategies to implement a solution, using local resources, to their identified health problem. Critical to the entire effort is the development of local leadership and ownership of the process, as well as the participation of an international faculty of experienced health professionals. PSBH is active in 16 countries around the world and has already generated hundreds of successful health and health education projects.
CBH (Communications for better Health) was developed by DHF to improve the accessibility of relevant health information and experience in the developing world. The programme focuses on the creation of innovative, dynamic and interactive information centres which function not only to disseminate relevant health information, but also to collect, organise and share local regional experiences. This health information is published in a locally edited and prepared digest utilising modern information technology, such as the Internet and CD-ROM. The digest may consist of abstracts from medical databases, information on local projects and research, upcoming health activities and conferences, etc. The digest is then distributed to those who need the information most - rural isolated primary health care professionals. Readers are then able to request the full text articles of those abstracts they find of interest. Database searches are also offered on specific topics.
The CBH programme also actively promotes the collection and dissemination of the wealth of local information and experiences that are not published in international journals and databases. With the Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), DHF is collaborating on the African Index Medicus (AIM) programme. The purpose of this project is to create databases of bibliographical records of African health materials at the national level.
In Africa, the PSBH programme is currently active in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia. Plans for 1998 include possible expansion in Cameroon, Mozambique and Tanzania. The CBH programme is active in Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. With the assistance of Reach & Teach of South Africa, all the African sites are linked electronically via IBM computer equipment and email. DHF also has active programmes in Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North America and South America.
For further information on the Dreyfus Health Foundation's programmes in Africa, please contact:
Part of our everyday life as it may seem, automation in Western libraries has only been developed within the last 10 years. Because the experiences of this decade can often be of great help to librarians in developing countries, we asked Mark Perkins - librarian at the Overseas Development Institute in London to share with our readers his experiences with the development of inter-library lending systems and his opinion on the potential of electronic media for inter-library loan in Africa. In the following, Mr Perkins first describes the developments in his own work-environment and then attempts to relate this to the African situation.
When I started out in inter-library loan and document supply at the British Library of Political and Economic Science (London School of Economics library) in 1991, the facilities available here were in advance of many organisations - we utilised an integrated library computer system - "Libertas" - which included an inter-library loan management module. This system ran on a mainframe - the computers in the ILL section were dumb terminals.
However, other than on-line access to a union catalogue, our only external electronic access was email and the ability to transmit ILL requests to the British Library Document Supply Centre (BLDSC) via ARTTEL (a telnet system). Also, all programs on these dumb terminals were DOS based - menu or command line driven.
On moving to my current position at the Overseas Development Institute library (ODI) in 1993, I had somewhat of a culture shock. While all staff had PCs (286 or 386's), there was no internal network, no integrated library system, no access to union catalogues, no ARTTEL. The email system was limited to the library, with no facility for managing retained messages or filtering large numbers of messages from electronic mailing lists. The only Windows based software was Procomm Plus for Windows - our communications software.
The first project I decided upon was to obtain an inter-library loan module for our library system - InMagic Plus - and to set up an ARTTEL connection to the British Library. This I was able to do using the existing hardware and software. The impact on the library and its reputation amongst research staff was immediate and positive. Turnaround time for items requested was halved and we were able to keep track of what had been requested (important for collection management) and amount spent.
I also monitored email lists, including those relevant to document supply. Not only did this allow for keeping up with developments in this area but it also gave me excellent contacts for problem requests or ILL tips. This did create some problems as, with no tools for managing the email, this process was time consuming - until my computer was upgraded to allow a move from a dial-up shell account with my Internet Service Provider to SLIP "seri al link internet protocol" account - and I could start using "Pegasus" email software to manage the email.
During this time I was also on the National Committee of the Forum for Inter-library lending - FIL (the UK professional body for those involved in inter-library loans). This gave me much experience from other institutions to compare my situation with.
Given the poor telecommunications infrastructure in most of Africa and the low power of most PCS available - full internet access is not viable excepting major institutions. Most internet access is still of the email "store and forward" type, eg Fidonet, rather than SLIP or TCP/IP (i.e. interactive). While telnet is often possible, the cost is prohibitive for more than very occasional use. However, email was all that was used at the ODI for ILL requests to other libraries. The only block to this was that other ILL librarians were not connected or aware enough of the use of email for this to be possible with more than a few libraries. Things have now moved on and today this is our most common mode of transmitting ILL requests to (and receiving responses from) libraries other than the British Library's Document Supply Centre (BLDSC).
The latter has now introduced ARTEMAIL, which allows for transmission of requests directly into their system without the need for a telnet connection, thus allowing institutions with less advanced telecommunications to contact them with the same facility as the most advanced. Even though ODI's library catalogue is now available for remote searching via the internet - we still allow and receive requests for database requests via email, the results of which we return in the same way, including to and from Africa.
Within the UK there has been much talk of full text document delivery, but not much progress outside of the academic and commercial sectors. This is for 2 main reasons: full text files can often be very large and thus expensive to download for institutions who are paying for their internet connection by the minute; the cost of access to full text journals is out of reach for most institutions. If this is the UK situation, then the lessons for African librarians are clear.
During the early 1990's there was a push for library services to prove their worth, mainly through performance measures or indicators. Given that the most visible measure for performance was the time taken from ILL request to receipt, this was where the efforts and finances for improvement went. On closer analysis this proved a false route. Most users were not interested in a minimal reduction in this "turnaround time". Either they wanted the document the same day or within 2 weeks - a reduction from 14 days to 10 days meant little to them. Thus much finance and effort was wasted.
My worry in the African context is that similar pressures could lead to similar results. Full text delivery by electronic means can be costly and difficult to sustain without ongoing funds and maintenance of infrastructure. When end users realise the cost they tend to prioritise other improvements. Before spending limited funds on high tech solutions - low tech solutions such as dedicated van and courier services should definitely be looked at. They may be slower but perhaps more cost effective for the immediate purposes required.
One major advantage that the UK ILL system has traditionally had is its payment system. This has been on the basis of pre purchased BLDSC vouchers One loan or photocopy is paid for with one voucher. Not only does this allow for easy administration and budgeting, it also means that the ILL budget was not available for use by other sections of the institution! As the voucher is based on a voucher number, payment to institutions is possible by including this number with an email request. In the African context, I believe such a system would be extremely valuable if it could be maintained. In the UK this system is beginning to break down, with differential charges being introduced by certain libraries.
A last word on one of my favourite subjects - copyright. Traditionally copyright has not been a major issue within in Africa. Given their isolation, researchers have copied documents at will (photocopiers permitting). Given the World Trade Organisation TRIPS (Trade related intellectual property) treaty, this could change especially if document supply in Africa becomes more organised and thus visible. However, as stated to me by a publisher, many publishers are losing out on income by unlicensed copying of their works in Africa, even though it is unclear what amounts are actually involved.
Most publishers in the developed world now have email addresses - thus contact for copying permissions is much faster than in the past. A librarian's - documentable - willingness to ask permission for copying is often enough legal protection. If publishers do not respond then that is their problem! Also, the more requests they receive the more they realise what income they are missing out on and affordable licenses may be forthcoming. Another major concern in developed countries has been that librarians have been unable to obtain documents written by members of their own institutions - this has led to moves for the copyright in such documents to be held by the institutions rather than transferred to the journal publishers.
Mark Perkins can be contacted at the ODI library. The address is:
London SW1E 5DP UK
Since its conception in 1990 the Afro-Asian Book Council has firmly established itself as a major actor in South-South book development co-operation. Highlighting underexposed areas such as author development, low-cost book production and co-publishing, the Council caters for a hungry market. In the following article, the AABC Director Abul Hasan explains how.
The first ever Afro-Asian Publishing conference held in New Delhi in February 1990 took stock of the global state of affairs in book production and distribution in general and the problems of authorship and publishing in Africa and Asia in particular.
The conference observed that the scenario in the two regions was characterised by fast growing and unsatisfied book needs of various distinct groups in society. It was noticed that, despite a vast reservoir of scholastic and creative talent, there was a continuous dependence of all the developing countries of Africa and Asia on functional as well as literary materials originating from countries with different cultural environments and outside the developing world.
The meeting also noted with concern that, despite perceptible improvements in world book production, a considerable lag existed in the development of the potential for production of reasonably priced books for the collective needs of all people in various countries of Africa and Asia. The participants to the conference viewed this situation as a challenge and decided to set up an Afro-Asian Book Council to make co-operative efforts to realise the potential in the two regions for self-reliance in the field of books.
The Council is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation registered as a Society with headquarters in New Delhi. It focuses its development work on fields such as author development, co-publishing, easy access to copyright and subsidiary rights, establishment of research and training facilities for the book industry personnel, the production of reasonably priced books and other reading materials and the exchange of books and information about books.
The resolution establishing the Council foresaw the organisation of activities as required for:
Just as South-South dialogue is a speciality of the Council underexposed elsewhere in the field of books, author development is another unusual field of activity of the Council. The Council has mounted author workshops in Africa (Ethiopia and Kenya) and Asia (India, Pakistan and Malaysia) to promote the professional and economic status of authors. Typically, in these workshops discussions are held on the rights and responsibilities of authors, the whole process of publishing (with a special emphasis on legal aspects) and the vital role of authors in books promotion.
Another important role of the Council has been to publicise Afro-Asian books through collective displays at almost all major international book fairs. The Council has thus participated and displayed books of its members in New Delhi, Calcutta, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Beijing, Seoul and Jerusalem in Asia, Harare in Africa, Frankfurt, Moscow and Belgrade in Europe and Chicago in North America. Due to the Council's enduring efforts, many small Asian and African publishers have been able to display their material at large international book fairs.
Interaction and continuous dialogue between African and Asian players is necessary not only to create awareness about their status, strengths and weaknesses, but also to identify solutions to their problems through mutual co-operation and support. To this end the Council organises seminars on such core themes as the National Book Policy, two-way flow of books and easy access to copyright.
An annual feature of the Council is the Afro-Asian Publishers Conference, organised alternately in Africa and Asia. So far, eight such conferences have been held, each of them focusing on a special theme. Topics covered so far include: educational publishing, co-publishing, co-operative marketing, low-cost book production, copyright, etc.
The ninth conference is scheduled to take place in Nepal in 1998 and will focus on author development. The conferences enable Afro-Asian publishers to exchange ideas and experience with their counterparts in other developing regions, and to formulate opinions and make recommendations for action at national, regional and international levels.
The future programme of the Council includes extending its collective displays of books to more and more venues inside and outside its main target region, covering other vital themes in its conferences and seminars, and offering advisory services concerning national book policy and national book development councils, copyright and subsidiary rights, and university courses and other training programmes for professionals from the book industry.
As part of the latter part of this strategy, the Afro-Asian Council proposes to organise a 3-day workshop on Digital Publishing in February 1998 to coincide with the New Delhi World Book Fair. In the long term, the Council is planning to set up an Afro-Asian Book Industry Training Institute to cater primarily to the training needs of the book industry personnel of Asia and Africa.
The Council is neither a book-seller nor a publisher. It publishes only reports of its conferences and seminars and a quarterly newsletter for distribution to its members and to not affiliated interested organisations. It aims to act as a catalyst paving the way for a healthy growth of the Afro-Asian book industry, mainly through self-help. It has on its roll over 140 members from 26 countries in the two regions as well as Europe and North America.
Within a short span of 7 years, the Council has earned the recognition of such international bodies as Unesco and WIPO and the Commonwealth. It is professionally associated with the Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for Unesco (ACCU) in Tokyo, the African Publishers Network (APNET) in Harare and the Society for the Promotion of African, Asian and Latin American Literature in Frankfurt.
Considering its track-record and the encouragement it has received in the past years, the Afro-Asian Book Council is bound to grow as a key organisation for book development in Africa and Asia.
More information on the Afro-Asian Book Council can be obtained from:
The AABC Secretariat
4835/24, Ansari Road
New Delhi - 110002
Fax: + (91) 11 - 326 7437
In July we received the disappointing news that the Federal Government of Australia had decided to discontinue its AUS$ 150,000 funding for the Australian Centre for Publications Acquired for Development (ACPAD). Dating back to 1983, the programme was one of the oldest science literature donation programmes. In the following 14 years some 15,000 cartons, each containing small targeted consignments of 30-45 books were sent to universities mainly in Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and Vietnam.
The Canberra Times wrote already in April that AUSAid had indicated that an extension of the current three-year contract was not an option. According to AUSAid officials the programme did not fit with the government's funding priorities. In 1996, the Australian overseas aid budget was cut by more than 10% to 0.29% of GDP. The International Development Programme (IDP) of Australian Universities and Colleges, under whose auspices the programme was carried out, did not submit a new funding proposal.
About 150 institutions in ACPAD's main focal area, south-east Asia, will now lose an important source of research materials, in particular because the area is not very well covered by other specific science literature donation programmes.
During the past couple of months, INASP has been preparing a new project to promote African science journals.
In a 2-year pilot period, current contents of 10 journals will be published through INASP's Internet site on Oneworld. Interested visitors will be offered the opportunity to order copies of articles which will be despatched by fax or post. Charges will be made on the basis of expenses and a small surcharge to be returned to the publishers.
In parallel with this, Bioline Publications (operated by the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development) will arrange full-text electronic access by annual subscription or single document purchase to 3 African medical journals.
The trial period will run until late 1998, when an evaluation of the activities will take place. Statistics will be held on number of hits per journal per month and number of ordered articles, as well as the impact the project will have on general subscription figures for the journals.
Diana Rosenberg will manage the project for INASP. She can be contacted at the normal INASP address.
INASP has joined forces with the US Academy of Sciences to organise a Workshop for African Journal Editors and Publishers. The 5-day workshop will be held in Accra, Ghana in February 1998 and its programme will roughly follow the structure of the Handbook of Good Practice in Journals Publishing, edited by Hans Zell and published last year by the International African Institute in London (see earlier issues of the INASP Newsletter).
In line with the Handbook, the workshop will focus on the management of journals rather than on the actual production process.
More information can be obtained from the INASP secretariat.
Also in Accra, and in collaboration with the Association of African Universities, INASP will on 5 and 6 February 1998, organise a Workshop on Funder-Recipient Relationships in the African university library world.
Speakers at the workshop will include major actors from both international support agencies and African university libraries. Key addresses will cover subjects such as financing of African university libraries, current practice in project identification and implementation and individual case studies.
In group discussions, the following themes will be covered:
The Workshop is funded by Danida and INASP. More information can be obtained from the INASP secretariat.
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Short contributions can be sent to the editor at INASP.
Following a request from none other than Hillary Clinton, the Sabre Foundation have put plans into action in support of the six Mongolian state universities and a number of smaller higher education establishments in the country. The institutions have apparently put a consortium into existence for the purpose of selecting appropriate materials. Sabre is locally assisted by the Mongolian office of the Peace-Corps and a consortium of higher education institutions - founded by the main universities of the country - which monitors the upgrading and transformation of Mongolian education and research. On the American side, the project involves 60 donating publishers and the International Research and Exchanges Board, which runs exchange programmes with many of the Mongolian institutions involved.
Since communism was officially abandoned as the national nostrum, the demand for English texts has risen dramatically in Mongolia. A first shipment of almost 20,000 texts was scheduled to arrive in Ulaanbaatar in October and according to Sabre, more are to follow soon.
More information from:
The Sabre Foundation
Scientific Assistance Project
872 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
From the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology in Pretoria we received an offer for free distribution of their quarterly Meta-Info Bulletin.
Meta-Info Bulletin is a useful publication in which a wide range of information policy development issues are discussed. These encompass areas such as legal deposit legislation, the transformation of national libraries, access to government information, participation in the information society, information service provision, etc. The publication is mainly targeted at library and information personnel.
The Meta-Info Bulletin is available free of charge (at the discretion of the Department) to interested INASP network members from developing countries. Queries should be addressed to:
Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology
|The next INASP Newsletter will be published in May 1998. If you would like to contribute to its contents, please write to the editorial address above. Contributions must be received by 1 April 1998.|
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