International Network for the Availability
of Scientific Publications


INASP Newsletter No. 19,  February 2002   ISSN: 1028-0790   
In this issue:

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

Contributors to this issue: 
Martin Belcher, James Falaiye, Maritza Hee Houng, Clement Lonji, Alfred K. Martey, Michel Menou, Anne Powell, Diana Rosenberg, Praditta Siripan, Jeremy Taylor, Jacinta Were, Nicholas Wright.

Editorial address:
P.O. Box 2564
London W5 1ZD

Please note the change of domain and email addresses!



Capacity building in information production, access and dissemination

The response to the launch of INASP's Programme for the Enhancement of Research Information (PERI) has been quite overwhelming. Through PERI, libraries and researchers across Africa are gaining access to current research results on an unprecedented scale. But the core of the programme is its four-fold approach: providing access to the information requested while training local communities in using it, and generating and disseminating their own publications.

With the pilot year just completed the programme will now be available full-scale in Africa and preparations for providing the opportunity of PERI in South East Asia and Latin America are at an advanced stage. INTAS, a Brussels-based international non-profit organisation that promotes scientific co-operation between its 30 member states and those of the former Soviet Union, has moved in to fund expansion of the programme to some of its target countries. Additional training components in eastern Europe and central Asia will be carried out with support from EC-INCO.

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The Programme for Enhancement of Research Information (PERI) 

Expected impact in Africa

The Programme for Enhancement of Research Information (PERI) has come at a time when such opportunity is most needed to facilitate research in Africa. The PERI Programme, the benefits of which will spill over to the academic community as a whole, has been received with great enthusiasm and expectations.

by Jacinta Were

For researchers and scholars in Africa, access to relevant information and the dissemination of results of their research can be problematic, if not altogether impossible. International publishing standards and escalating journal prices have continued to hinder progress in research and intellectual development in the region. Universities and other academic institutions have been hit by drastic budget cuts, which have seriously affected stock development in academic libraries. A few lucky university libraries have managed to survive on donor funded book acquisition projects but the majority have been forced to cope with years of outdated books scattered on half-empty shelves. Journal subscriptions have more often than not been discontinued years ago. African publishers who are in principle competent rarely find an opportunity to prove themselves; research results from the continent remain inaccessible.

Public universities in Kenya have considered different ways of curbing the problem but have met the following difficulties:

Subscribing to core-journals only: The criteria of choice proved to be a problem as researchers have differing priorities.

Inter-library networking: Logistics continue to pose a major problem to this option. It is still viewed as the best option.

Using publishers' Table of Content alert services: The logistics of document delivery remain problematic.

Using the Internet: For various reasons, most related to payments, electronic subscriptions are not yet a viable option in an African setting.

The PERI Programme

The PERI programme is viewed as a golden opportunity to help alleviate the problems experienced in information production, access and dissemination in Africa. The four components of the project address the problems described above.

Through Component 1 of the project, access is provided to current awareness databases and thousands of electronic full-text journals in various subject areas. This, backed up with document delivery support from the British Library and other services, will go a long way to salvage the withering hopes of researchers in Africa, particularly in the academic community. It is hoped that universities and research institutions will use the opportunity to form consortia to sustain and develop the programme results in the future. Component 2 of the project is a major step towards strengthening and encouraging publishing in Africa to facilitate access to and dissemination of indigenous research results. African Journals Online (AJOL) offers a great opportunity to publishers in Africa to publish their work and contribute to the global information village.

The INASP Travelling Workshops programme 'Using the Internet' (Component 3) was a major success in those parts of Africa where it has been piloted. It was a timely preparation for librarians to ensure effective implementation of the PERI project. All the facilitators involved in the programme were invited to meet at a Planning Workshop hosted by the University of Dar es Salaam to review and evaluate the programme and to identify and prioritise additional training needs. INASP was subsequently asked to assist in the development of three new series of training.

The proposed Journal Management training (Component 4) will enhance journal management skills among publishers in Africa and also encourage and support journals on the road to electronic publishing.

Sustainability will be crucial to the long term success of PERI. Consideration should therefore be given within the time frame of the programme to planning a workshop to help research and academic institutions in Africa prepare a strategic plan for sustainability.

Jacinta Were Systems Librarian University of Nairobi Email:



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


Please note the change of domain and email addresses!


and also:

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PERI in Ghana

by Alfred K. Martey

A review of most of the literature on Information and Communication Technology in Africa from 1990 to 2000 shows that Internet connectivity is an issue that receives more attention than Internet content. By the end of 1998, some Ghanaian universities had connections to the Internet. Exciting as it was, the facility was mainly used to send and receive messages. Academic librarians who wanted to use the Internet to do meaningful, timely and relevant searches for their users had an obvious problem. There are several sites with free information that is of good quality. But most quality information on the Net costs money, as it would if in print. It was a frustrating experience. In fact, so much so that Ghanaian academic librarians heaved a sigh of relief when the opportunity of the PERI project was announced in Ghana. In terms of information access, the project is one of the best things that ever happened to us. 


PERI helps provide access to quality information for the academic and research communities in the country. Relevant and up to date information can now be retrieved instantly. The Ghana Interlibrary Lending and Document Delivery Network (GILLDDNET), comprising five public university libraries and a research institution, has already benefited immensely from the programme. Researchers carrying out research under Danida's Enhancement of Research Capacity programme (ENRECA) have gained access to information that helps them do their work.

INASP successfully negotiated access to information resources (online journal packages and bibliographical databases) with Academic (Elsevier) Press, Blackwell Publishers, The Cochrane Library, EBSCO Publishing, Mary Ann Liebert and Munksgaard, SilverPlatter, the British Library and 'subito' for a number of developing countries. The participating libraries of GILLDDNET have access to these journals and databases, which cover subjects like science, technology, medicine, social science and the humanities. 


Library staff who have been trained in the use of the Internet are teaching users how to access and retrieve information from the databases provided through PERI. Another interesting development is that Ghanaian academic librarians appear to be regaining their lost image in the academic community in Ghana. They can now deliver to their clientele the sort of service that behoves their profession and this provides them with the job satisfaction and the motivation that they need to continue to work efficiently and effectively.


PERI has made available CD-ROM databases of EBSCO Publishing and SilverPlatter products to all the libraries participating in the programme. This is one feature of the programme that is most highly appreciated in Ghana. The Internet infrastructure is still in its infancy and there are a couple of libraries in GILLDDNET which are not getting much out of their online databases. There is no Internet connectivity at one of the participating libraries while the connection at another is not very stable. Frequent disruptions and low speed put users off. The CD-ROM packages address such connectivity problems. In almost all libraries there are PCs that are not connected to the Internet. These can be used to search the CD-ROM databases.

Information management

With the supply and installation of equipment that will facilitate access and meaningful use of the Internet, Ghanaian academic librarians have realised that electronic resources need to be properly managed if these facilities are to serve the ends for which they were made available. Technical training has so far been provided for librarians in four of the participating libraries. It is hoped that, through this training, those minor technical hitches, which make effective and efficient use of the databases difficult, will be solved and the full benefits of the information resources will be realised. Training

Ghanaian head librarians without technical skills and in-depth knowledge of the use of computers are asking for skills in using the computers and the management of all the electronic resources in their respective libraries. They are asking for negotiation skills. Donor funds and technical expertise will not flow forever. Head Librarians, for instance, want to know which types of equipment must be purchased and for what. They want to be able to monitor the use of the service so that they can decide whether a subscription to a particular database should continue or not. They want to have some knowledge of the electronic market so that unscrupulous salesmen do not take them for a ride. They do not want computer experts to erode their managerial authority in these matters and so be relegated to the background themselves. Seminars that will tackle management issues in the provision and use of electronic resources will, in the very near future, be organised for them.

The PERI programme will continue for at least five years. This will give beneficiaries of the service time enough to address the problems of sustainability. Lessons have been learnt from previous projects that could not be sustained. It is likely that, by the time the PERI project comes to an end, a workable solution to the financial constraints that ended subscriptions to journals in the past will have been found.

Alfred K. Martey 
Librarian, University of Cape Coast 
PERI Country Consortia Co-ordinator Kumasi, Ghana 

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The 'holy' quest for impact

by Michel J. Menou

The years we live in are widely acknowledged as the 'information age', driven by the 'new' information and communication technologies. For decades, information professionals have struggled with the need to demonstrate that information is a key resource. This demonstration is supposed to come from the discovery of an information or ICT 'Impact'. It is the treasure we all seek out of development programmes, information resources, ICT applications, etc. Like all buzzwords, 'Impact' contains more questions than answers: What impact? Of what? On what? For the benefit of whom? Measured how?

What impact?

Anything is called impact today. In our age of commercial communication, misconceptions are spread by the most antonymous expressions. Take, for example, 'Total Quality Management'. In the advertising or literature of organisations, there appears to be a striking inverse relationship between their reference to total quality management and the actual quality of the organisation's products and services. Be prepared for a mess when your boss announces that "we are now going to apply the most advanced techniques of total quality management across the board", if only because the one component of the system which is not total quality management compliant is usually the boss.

Impact is a process that causes a transformation, usually a lasting one. Why is this concept so clear in physics, yet made so confused in the soft sciences? Is it because the less significant the consequences of an action the more they need to be called 'impact' rather than left to be interpreted as such by the alert listener? Impact of what?

In the word 'impact' we can find the word 'pact', which is an alliance of several forces. Alliances are usually a nest of contradictions and tensions. Yet, most impact contenders desperately try to demonstrate the impact of a unique force, of which they are the - not less unique - agent. Not surprisingly, many even try to find linear causality between that force and the 'impact'. But even in the simplest physical experiments we are told that conditions matter.

We are concerned here with 'information products and services'. This not so simple expression depicts a reality which is even more complex. ICT comprises knowledge about facts that is transposed into information, packaged into products and services, and delivered through communication channels and processes often with the help of intermediaries.

ICT is more often than not dealt with as if it were a single entity in its own right, ignoring the fact that it encompasses information, communication and usually several technologies. Some day we will understand the internal alchemy among these components and their role in the chain of events that lead to an impact.

The commandments for impact studies

1. Impact should be clearly defined, and all the steps leading to it named separately. 

2. Impact is a lasting transformation in people's ability to cope. 

3. Impact is a process and should be observed as such. 

4. The input into this process is a complex combination of many different factors. 

5. Conditions and circumstances are as important as less predictable factors - and luck is not the least one of these. 

6. Impact should be appraised by the 'beneficiaries' and from their own perspective. 

7. Ambivalence is at the core of impact phenomena; both positive and negative aspects must remain tied together. 

8. Assessing impact can only be a continuing process from long before to long after, not a comparison of snapshots. 

9. A variety of methods and perspectives should be used concurrently in the study of impact. 

10. To the funding agency, a good programme should be a programme that has a positive impact in the eyes of the beneficiaries for the right reasons.

11. Impact assessment should be a collective, participatory and continuing learning process among all stakeholders - rather than the pseudo management tool that it too often is. 

12. Include people as the central piece in both concern and analysis.

Impact on what?

Electronic communications, especially fax and email had a noteworthy impact on the way organisations communicate internationally; the telex, for instance, disappeared. Does that necessarily mean more effective communication?

Progress in miniaturisation and process integration will one day permit that crops grow at pace with market prices as interpreted by financial

simulation software. Before that, refrigerators will have learned how to take best advantage of the special offers in the nearby chain stores. More than what people - or systems - now do, what really matters is what they are able to do. Not to mention what they need, or want to do.

Impact for the benefit of whom?

Usually, it is the funding agency and/or the service provider that is concerned with impact. "Show me the impact of your project," asks the former. "Look at the impact of my project," says the latter.

The great absentee in the ball game is the 'beneficiary'. Of course, they were asked if they would like to have access to the Internet in order to be able to check the prices of their products on the local market. And they said: "Yes". This approval is duly accounted for in the supporting documentation of both parties. But the beneficiaries may not care about the Internet; they may know little of it. All they want is access to market prices. In the evaluation they will say that they are happy to have access to the Internet, even though the prices they get are not those they need, and not those of the local markets. Their children may use the Internet. Their happiness is no reflection of the impact of Internet access on what was meant to be improved.

Impact measured how?

This is where surrealism makes its greatest contribution. The basic approach is to compare two pictures, one 'before' and one 'after' - except that in most cases, one has forgotten to take the 'before' picture. Or it was not focused at what has since become the central theme of activity. No big deal, the before picture can easily be reconstructed for what it must serve and, with a minimum of luck, one can see great differences between the 'before' and 'after' pictures. Herein lies the impact!

In order to have effective measures of the kind that decision makers can appreciate, we need good indicators. An example of an indicator often used is the ratio of school success to media centre use. If school success improves at a rate comparable to media centre growth, this means that use of the media centre is enhancing school results. That the new (or newly trained) teacher is far better than the previous one and that programmes have been made easier does not need to come into the picture!

I have been struck on several occasions by the use of the 'number of engineers' as an indicator of ICT literacy. Because, if I am not mistaken all computerised processes that crash are produced by engineers, and the higher the number of engineers and systems the higher the probability of crashes, or did I miss something? Oh yes, total quality management, I apologise.

Would the real issue not be how people manage to achieve impact rather than what the impact comprises? After all, the difference between 'before' and 'after' does not tell us much about what really matters: the process by which change is achieved from one to the other stage - so that others can try to replicate it. 


People are often represented among the parameters, as socio-economic actors. In rare instances, some more complex and obscure dimensions, such as 'cultural influences' may be referred to, if not accounted for. But people are human beings, with their energy, fragility, dreams, reason and emotion, history, fears, intelligence and stupidity, etc. There is no piece in the puzzle - information, knowledge, information products and services, ICT, management, development - of which they are not the central and essential component.

Michel J. Menou 
Department of Information Science, City University, London 

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Journal Publishing for Agriculture and Rural Development

Experience from developing regions consistently reveals low performance levels in journal publishing and journals in agriculture and rural development are no exception to this. The few comparatively well-published and managed journals sharply contrast the high mortality rates of new journals. Some established journals survive despite poor management and serious financial problems, resulting in irregular and unsustainable publication. One of the reasons for the persistent problems is the scarcity of simple, practical guidebooks for editors and journal publishers.

To respond to this need, INASP and CTA have just co-published a new Guidebook on Journal Publishing for Agriculture and Rural Development by Anthony Youdeowei. Written in an easy-to-follow style, the publication aims to strengthen the publishing efficiency of new and existing journals by presenting the fundamental planning and implementation aspects of successful journal publishing in a developing country environment. The publication is available in English and French.

Copies of the publication (£12.75) can be ordered from the African Books Collective Ltd at:

The Jam Factory 27 Park End Street Oxford OX1 1HU 

A limited number of complimentary copies are available through the INASP secretariat.

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INASP Health Links

A gateway to information for health professionals in developing countries 

An increasing minority of healthcare providers, students and researchers in the developing world are able to benefit from the Internet. In addition, the unconnected majority can benefit indirectly from the Internet because those who are responsible for providing them with reliable, relevant printed health information (ministries of health, NGOs, publishers, libraries and others) are increasingly connected.

Internet 'Gateways' are a popular and useful method of helping Internet users to identify useful on-line resources. Selected links are organized and described in order to help users find what they need. But there is a surprising lack of health information gateways for developing countries. One of the best is to be found at the University of Zambia School of Medicine Library <>. This gateway was developed by library staff in cooperation with Lenny Rhine, Librarian at the University of Florida Health Science Center Library, U.S.

INASP Health Links

In September 2001, Lenny Rhine approached INASP to help adapt the Zambia gateway for international use, for developing countries worldwide. The result, INASP Health Links, was launched in January 2002 and provides a gateway to selected Web sites and Internet resources of special interest to health professionals and medical library communities in developing and transitional countries.

INASP Health Links consists of three sections:

1. General Resources (search engines, gateways - global and regional, bibliographic databases, abstracts, clinical trials databases, research networks, dictionaries, glossaries, disease classifications, evidence based medicine, full-text E-books, image collections, journals, newsletters, medical education resources, news, useful email lists, and WHO sites)

2. Subject Index (e.g. anaesthesiology, basic sciences, dermatology, HIV/AIDS etc.)

3. Library and Publishing Support, and use of ICTs (information for development, Internet skills, medical informatics/e-health, publishing tools)

Each section comprises several pages of hyperlinks, arranged alphabetically, and each hyperlink carries a brief description of the site concerned.

Focus on developing countries

It is estimated that there are at least 30,000 health-related sites on the Internet, but the vast majority are targeted at users in North America and Europe. The launch version of INASP Health Links contains links to 448 selected sites, of which 160 are specifically focused on health information in developing countries. New sites will be added every month.

Our impression is that the many and varied needs of developing-country health professionals (from specialist researchers to village health workers) and health information providers (librarians, publishers and others) are not adequately addressed by current Web resources. There are some excellent individual Web sites, but they are few and far between - there are doubtless huge gaps in coverage that have not been addressed. For example, very few sites encourage international dissemination and sharing of health information materials created and/or adapted by organizations in developing countries. We hope that INASP Health Links will help identify such gaps and promote support for the development of new demand-led resources. 

Priorities for the future

INASP Health Links is seen to be a short-term contribution. It has been produced with minimal resources and is not intended to be definitive nor comprehensive. Moreover, users should note that there has been no formal quality assessment of content.

In the long term, health professionals in developing and transitional countries require comprehensive and quality-controlled gateway services in consultation with end-users. Such vital initiatives can only be done through international cooperation and are currently being planned by a range of international organizations, including WHO and the Interactive Health Network.

INASP encourages international cooperation among existing and planned initiatives, so that long-term solutions can be identified, implemented, evaluated, and improved. To this end, INASP is organizing a Health Information Forum meeting at the British Medical Association, London on 21 May 2002. The theme of the meeting is Internet portals and gateways to practical information for frontline healthcare workers in developing countries. For further details, or to reserve your place, please contact Neil Pakenham-Walsh at . Meanwhile, INASP Health Links is offered freely for use as a template by others (eg medical school libraries, ministries of health, publishers, libraries, NGOs) to develop customized gateways on their own websites. This approach should reduce the risk of duplication of effort while maximizing the usefulness of the gateway for specific target groups.

Print copies of INASP Health Links (112pp.) are available on request for US $45/£25 including p&p, and free of charge to health libraries in developing countries.

INASP Health Links acknowledges the support and contributions of Exchange, INASP, University of Florida Health Science Center Library, and the University of Zambia School of Medicine Library.

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 800 participants, North and South, representing non-governmental organisations, international agencies, library services, publishers (print and electronic), and others.

To join the network, please contact:

Dr Neil Pakenham-Walsh Programme 
Manager INASP-Health 

Please note, new email address for INASP-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


Access to health information for medical students in Kinshasa

by Clement Lonji

In 2001, the UNESCO Club in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, carried out a study of access to and use of information by medical students at the Kinshasa University Medical School. Our objective was to identify ways to improve access to reliable, relevant, affordable information, which would in turn support the development of medical education and health service delivery in the country.

We interviewed 200 first-year medical students and 50 final-year students.

Students reported that they learn mainly from attendance at lectures. Many students have to follow lectures from outside the lecture theatre.

There are very few materials available for private study. Photocopies of lectures are sometimes available from individual teachers, but at a price - US $5-10 per collection - that few students can afford.

Students reported that they made little use of the library because most of the books are out of date - often more than 30 years old - and few are in French.

Only four students could operate standard Windows software, but 17 had established an e-mail address to communicate with friends and relatives abroad.

Full access to the Internet in the Congo is prohibitively expensive - 100 US dollars per month. A few students use the cybercafé in town at least once a week, where they pay 1 US dollar for 20 minutes connection to the Internet. They download documents for printing and photocopying for colleagues. The cost for this is 0.30 - 0.50 US dollar per page. Some students had tried to identify and apply for free online distance education resources, but they always met with the same problem - most online materials are available only in English.

As a result of the above, the vast majority of students fail their exams.

What can be done to improve the situation for teachers and medical students in Kinshasa?

  • National and international commitment to human resource development of medical personnel in DCR. 
  • Support for cooperation among medical schools in Congo to share available resources. 
  • Information service to help identify sources of free and low-cost health information and information on funding and grants for study and research. This service could be provided by our office in cooperation with UNESCO, INASP and other international agencies.
  • Increased international provision of relevant, reliable, affordable health information in French. 
  • A national or regional meeting on 'Access to information for health professionals in Francophone African countries'.

The next meeting of AHILA (Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa will be held in Mali in September 2002). * A supply of voluntary teachers from the developed world to help with medical teaching and teaching of English. Note: As a member of UNESCO Club and activist during the International Year of Volunteers 2001, I am developing a non-profit library in the Democratic Republic of Congo. With the help of INASP and 'HIF-net at WHO', I am collecting free books, CD-ROMs, newspapers, computers, resources, and projector equipment from a wide range of sources.

For further details or to offer assistance, please contact:

Clement Lonji Tshidibi 
Medical Advisor and Library Coordinator 
UNESCO  Club of Rural Development 
Ecole Internationale St. Patrick 
BP 1359 Kinshasa 
RD Congo 




medteaching: simple, cheap, printed resources for medical students

by Nicholas Wright

In the developed world there is almost unlimited access to electronic learning resources and lecture notes for medical students - on the internet, on university intranets, and on the hard drives of computers in medical school libraries and faculty offices. The situation is in contrast to that in Democratic Republic of Congo, as described in the article by Clement Lonji above.

I represent medteaching, a group of UK medical students that is exploring options to improve access to lecture notes for our colleagues in low-income countries. We propose to use a website (available to registered users from low-income countries), or CD-ROMs sent via the postal service, as a link to a contact in a medical school or country who can then print out the resources. These can then be photocopied and made available to be photocopied by students themselves or placed in a library. This would form the equivalent of textbooks that are up-to-date, well written and based on the latest evidence. They could also be modified locally to improve their relevance. The idea is simple, but of course it must be put into practice. The issue of content for the website or CD-ROM is obviously important. There are huge amounts of information available on the internet that could be used, including on-line textbooks or lecture notes in subjects such as pathology. There are also the lecture notes produced at University College, London (UCL) for myself and my fellow students and at other medical schools. We already have permission to use the comprehensive clinical pharmacology notes from UCL. We are also approaching other departments at UCL and other UK medical schools, and have so far received positive feedback.

We are currently assessing the need for the project, the facilities available in target countries to make it work in practice, and the types of learning resources most needed. We are presently conducting research from the UK, feasibility studies and semi-structured questionnaires with students, lecturers and librarians in Tanzania, Brazil, Venezuela and Malawi. The results should be distributed on 'HIF-net at WHO' by April 2002.

In the meantime, we need help in three areas. Firstly, we would welcome suggestions for any more content in all areas of undergraduate medical education from medical schools. As Clement Lonji demonstrates, it would be very useful to have resources in languages other than English. Secondly, we have contacts in Brazil and Venezuela who are prepared to act as contacts there and carry out practical pilot projects in those countries and it would be great to expand the project with such contacts in other countries. It might also be useful to try and carry out the project through existing schemes or organisations that already have networks in relevant countries, and we welcome collaboration with such programmes. Finally, we would welcome any feedback or advice from those with experience in these areas on funding or any other aspects of the project. We hope the project will provide medical students in low-income countries with access to printed learning resources in a low-cost, effective and, above all, simple way.

For more information, contact:

Nicholas Wright, BSc 
University College London 

Partnerships to strengthen medical publishing in Africa

by James Falaiye

With thanks to: 
  • African Books Collective 
  • Bellagio Publishing Network 
  • Book Aid International 
  • British Journal of Obstetrics 
    and Gynaecology 
  • British Medical Journal 
  • Exchange 
  • Healthlink Worldwide 

I was invited to the UK in November 2001 as a guest of INASP-Health, with sponsorship from the British Medical Journal and Exchange. The purpose was two-fold: to raise awareness of the priorities of biomedical journal publishers in Africa, and to exchange experience and ideas with publishers and NGOs in the UK.

My own organization is both a publisher and an NGO. The Women's Health and Action Research Centre (WHARC) publishes a peer-reviewed journal, the African Journal of Reproductive Health, and several informal health publications for health workers and the general public.

Local publishers and local organizations are best placed to create, adapt and distribute information that is relevant to local circumstances. And with the increasing ease of communication worldwide, we are increasingly able to form mutually productive partnerships with international publishers and international NGOs (see Health Information Forum report ).

During my 10-day visit I met with several organizations (see box). As a result, I have learned a great deal about recent developments in publishing, many of which can be applied to my organization. In addition, I have identified new marketing contacts for our books and journals; assistance with fundraising; donations of books, CD-ROMs and other materials for our resource centre; and numerous leads to other organizations and networks. We also look forward to continued technical assistance through INASP's African Journals Online Publishing Programme to explore the potential of online publishing.

James O. Falaiye 
Managing Editor, African Journal of Reproductive Health 

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Asian library projects Mobile libraries, virtual libraries and a digital divide

by Praditta Siripan

While there are still many towns and cities in Asia that need traditional library services, at the beginning of the new millennium digital libraries have become a main theme for library services in Southeast Asia. One recent activity that illustrated this need was the 'Mobile libraries for sustainable development' workshop that took place in February 2001 in Bangkok with support from the Japan Foundation and the IFLA Regional Office.

The workshop was aimed at libraries in Indochina. Through it, countries such as Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam were offered an opportunity to learn from the experience of neighbouring countries like Thailand and Malaysia. Both Thailand and Malaysia have published national aims and targets with a strong emphasis on developing e-skills among their citizens. The idea of electronic libraries has been included in the national development plans of both countries.

A reading culture

Library development in Asia, however, shows a contrasting picture of on the one hand libraries in need of printed books throughout the country and on the other hand libraries that are furnished with computers and Internet access, such as some of the libraries in Singapore. Singapore in fact announced in November 2001 that the nation wants to 'secure a lifetime of learning through reading with children' and this is the message the National Library Board and the Ministry of Community Development and Sports want to bring to Singapore parents in the 2002 initiative 'Born to read, read to bond'. But the question remains, how can services be provided so that all Asian people can access to knowledge in any forms?

Public libraries and Internet cafes have greatly helped improve IT literacy in the region. Internet cafes have mushroomed and become accessible almost everywhere in Asia - even in remote areas where public telephone services are expensive and inefficient. The Internet has created its own ways of getting young people to look for other uses of the Web than playing games and chatting. People need useful knowledge but there has thus far been too little of a kind that Asians can enjoy and that can be easily accessed from the Web. 


In 2001, Asian regional and international conferences on digital and electronic libraries were held in China ('Electronic library conference', May 10-24, Beijing), in Japan ('Dublin Core Conference 2001', October 24-26, Tokyo), and in India ('The International Conference of Asian Digital Libraries, 2001', December 10-12, Bangalore). At all of these, issues related to digital content creation reigned supreme. There is a general expectation that, as more content will become available and disseminated more widely, knowledge will be preserved for the future generation.

On January 25, 2002, the Singapore Library Association started the new year with a conference under the title 'Towards digital libraries: Current practices and projects in Singapore libraries'. On the same day, in Thailand the conference 'Digital Library: theories and implementation plan for academic libraries' took place and on February 14 and 15, Kasetsart University and Thailand Software Park will organise a conference entitled 'Web services and interoperability'.

Malaysia announced an 'Asian Library Conference on Collection Development' to be held on July 1-3 in Penang. Co-organisers in this case are Asia Library News, InfoMedia Asia Ltd and the Library Association of Malaysia (PPM). The conference is supported by CONSAL (Conference of Southeast Asian Librarians). Discussion topics include long-term strategic planning on issues related to collection development of academic and special libraries in the Asia-Pacific region, acquisition of library materials (consortia for e-journals, e-books, online databases etc.), Asian materials, hard-to-find materials and grey literature, AV and other non-print materials, and ethics and integrity in dealing with vendors and copyright issues.

Web sites for more information: 
Singapore libraries:  
Thailand Software Park:  

Praditta Siripan 
National Science and Technology Development Agency Bangkok 

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Publishing in the Caribbean CAPNET's first regional publishing conference

by Jeremy Taylor and Maritza Hee Houng

The recently concluded First International Conference on Publishing in the Caribbean was a resounding success. The conference, organised by the Caribbean Publishers' Network (CAPNET) was held in Jamaica in November last year and gave the small, fragmented and fragile Caribbean publishing sector a much needed opportunity to present its current status and problems, allowing interaction of the many players in the field and initiating debate on the long-term perspectives of the industry and its thinkers and writers. Conference participants were drawn from across the region. Publishers, scholars, writers (who, in the Caribbean, often are their own publishers), editors, librarians, printers and booksellers from the anglophone countries joined their Spanish speaking colleagues from Cuba and Puerto Rico and those from the Dutch speaking countries Curaçao and Surinam. The group also included participants from as far afield as Norway, South Africa, the US, the UK and Canada.

Despite the threat of a hurricane which eventually resulted in the closure of both international airports and torrential rain which fell for the entire duration of the conference, the sessions were well attended to the point where at some sessions only standing room was available. Among the presenters and participants were one Head of State in the person of Dame Pearlette Louisy, the Governor General of St. Lucia and three government Ministers - Jamaica's Burchell Whiteman, the Minister of Education Youth and Culture; Jacinth Henry-Martin, the unconventional Minister of Information, Culture and Sports of St. Kitts and Nevis and Michael Browne, Minister of Education from St. Vincent.
A permanent CAPNET secretariat

On the final afternoon of the conference, CAPNET held its first General Meeting and elected a new Council which held its first meeting in Kingston the following week. At this meeting it was agreed that the time had come to establish a secretariat, initially on a part-time basis but eventually becoming a full-time secretariat; that the next conference would be held in 2003 in Curacao and that the full conferences would be alternated with a smaller more focused 1-day symposium at the AGM, the first of which would be either in Belize or Puerto Rico in November 2002.

Among the Council's first tasks will be the completion of the industry survey, following the decision announced at the conference to return to the field for additional information and to begin work on transcribing the conference proceedings leading to the publication of an edited version in 2002.

Equally high on the Council's agenda is convening a strategy planning meeting that would build on the outcomes of the November 2000 meeting in Bellagio and the 2001 conference to develop the Network's 3-year strategic plan. This is envisaged for the spring of 2002.

The opening session presented participants with a scholarly look at the literary and intellectual tradition in the Caribbean. Dr. Tony Martin delivered a key note address justifying the theme selected for the conference, 'Reclaiming our own voices', presenting a record of intellectual and literary achievement by Caribbean peoples, through a history of resistance. Dr. Keith Nurse subsequently placed the book industry in the context of the vibrant Caribbean cultural industry and made a case for maximising the cultural input to the region's economy. These stimulating papers led the way for the more practical sessions which followed. Publishers of scholarly materials, textbooks, magazines and children's books, shared their case histories, their achievements and their problems. The issues of a region faced with multiple languages within countries and across their borders were addressed and an appeal was made for publishing in the informal languages of the region as a factor in national development. Aida Bahr's presentation of Cuba's Editorial Oriente project on publishing multi-lingual editions of books on outstanding Caribbean people seemed an answer to this call. The sessions moved smoothly from concept to practice as participants grappled with the problems of textbook publishing by the private and public sectors, intellectual property rights and international standardisation. Mrs. Beverly Pereira's excellent paper on copyright will be a highlight of the proceedings when published. Marketing and distribution were noted as major problem areas, there being no major distributor in the region.

The impact of new technologies and what they can offer the Caribbean publishers and users were also dis-cussed. The potential for e-publishing and for books on demand are certainly issues which will engage CAPNET's deliberations for some time.

Representatives of the regional book fairs in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Colombia promoted participation in book fairs in their respective countries, and promised to support CAPNET President Ian Randall's call for a Caribbean Book Fair.

Coinciding with the conference, workshops on editing and marketing were organised. The editing workshop was led by Mr. Roger Stringer from Textpertise in Harare, Zimbabwe and attended by 20 participants, most of them freelancers.

CAPNET's major activity in 2001 was the publication of its Survey of the Publishing Industry in the Caribbean whose results were presented in a preliminary report at the conference. Results in some areas were queried by participants and CAPNET agreed to revise and update it, noting that its efforts at providing members with base data may have resulted in some inaccuracies. 

More information from:

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

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Revitalising Public Libraries in Africa

INASP provides technical support to the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the partners involved in their initiative Revitalising Public Libraries in Africa. 

On February 15, Mpumalanga Provincial Library & Information Services will launch its Carnegie-funded project: using technology to help librarians know what information is available within the system, and improving access and delivery of services. Five other South African public libraries will follow shortly. 

Botswana National Library Service and Kenya National Library Service have submitted final drafts of their proposals, aimed at improving and extending library services. To support their proposals, workshops on Monitoring and Evaluation, and on Advocacy and Leverage will be held in Botswana and Kenya during 2002. These are being facilitated by Book Aid International. A basic workshop on 'Using the Internet' is also being offered to staff of the two libraries by INASP. Production of a publication on 'The Book Chain in Africa' is in process. This will include articles on all aspects of the book chain, as well as directory-type entries for each country. The publication will primarily serve as an easy-to-use reference resource on the book chain in Anglophone Africa for librarians and all those involved and interested in the world of books. It will comprise a brief overview of the book industry in each country and a directory of the major organisations involved in it. A collection of case studies on income generation in public libraries in Africa has been requested. Most libraries struggle with lack of adequate government funding, and many librarians have resourceful ideas on the raising of additional funds. They are being asked to write up their experiences. Through sharing these ideas, it will be possible to establish training priorities and develop pilot projects.

Library associations are being encouraged to produce newsletters and the Tanzanian Library Association has just issued a newsletter as part of this project, and at the time of writing, the newsletters of the Kenya and Botswana Library Associations are being proof read. Next in the pipeline is one produced in Uganda while newsletters from Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria and Zambia all are at various stages of production.

More information from:
Anne Powell Email:  

Internet 'Travelling' Workshops

Following the success of the travelling Internet Workshops (see INASP Newsletter, nr. 13, page 5) further plans are being made to extend both the materials of the workshops and the methodological approach used (cascading, locally facilitated, travelling workshops). 2002 should see both the materials and approach being extended into the public library sector in several African countries. Additionally, the same methodology and approach to the workshops will be used in a range of new workshops arising out of recommendations made at the Planning Workshop, reported elsewhere in this Newsletter. These workshops should start in March 2002 with a workshop series covering "Electronic Journals and Electronic Resources Library Management".

2002 should also see the Internet 'Travelling' Workshops doing some travelling both within and outside of Africa. Extensions to the workshop programme are planned for a number of areas including: Lusophone and Francophone Africa, South East Asia, South and Central America and a number of the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union. It certainly looks to be a busy year of travelling and workshops!

More information from: 
Martin Belcher INASP Email:  

Computer labs

One of the lasting benefits of the INASP/DANIDA sponsored 'Travelling Workshops in Internet use' in Ghana has been the establishment of computer laboratories in participating libraries that had none. Access to such facilities was one of the conditions for hosting the training programme.

In Ghana, through PERI (see page 3), INASP facilitated workshops for librarians in the University of Ghana who did not participate in the INASP Internet workshops of June 1999. Training was also organised for all librarians of the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi; the University of Cape Coast, the Research Library of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Accra, the University for Development Studies in Tamale and the University College of Education of Winneba. These workshops were a major boost to ICT skills at the participating libraries.


Internet planning workshop for African university libraries 
A Francophone attendant's point of view

As a representative of Francophony, I attended INASP's 'Internet Planning Workshop for African University Libraries', held in October last year at the Dar es Salaam University Library, Tanzania. The purpose of this workshop was to evaluate the 'Using the Internet' series of workshops, with particular reference to methodology and impact and to consider topics for a further series of workshops, arising from ICT needs of African university libraries and users, developing outlines of course contents.

The seminar was important both from a personal and from a professional point of view. At the personal level it was a chance to meet with colleagues from Anglophone countries, particularly from Eastern and Southern Africa, with whom we do not normally have much opportunity to work. The sympathy, the availability and the willingness of colleagues from the University of Dar es Salaam Library, especially Professor Julita Nawe, the Director, have remained in our memories as unforgettable recollections.

Then, from a professional point of view, the seminar was a model of organisation and intensity. On our arrival, everything was settled for strict and efficient work. The seminar gave me the opportunity to experience the pragmatism and efficiency of the Anglo-Saxon world. We did not waste time. After reading evaluation reports of the different workshops organised by INASP in the university libraries, the attendees drew forth strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of these workshops before proposing, according to actual needs, a programme for the future. As a Francophone librarian, I think a programme, like the one developed during the seminar, will give colleagues from university libraries in Francophone countries, the opportunity to develop their skills in ICT, with the ultimate aim of offering better services to users through the exploitation of information offered on the Internet. In addition, it will contribute to develop the spirit of networking in university libraries.

I would like to thank warmly Mrs Diana Rosenberg and INASP for giving me this opportunity. I hope it is only the beginning of a long co-operation between INASP and Francophone university librarians.

Bernard Dione 
Main Library, 
Cheik Anta Diop University, Dakar, Senegal 

Regional Professional Associations

The biennial Standing Conference of African University Libraries Western Area (SCAULWA) met in Accra, Ghana from 10 to 11 September 2001. The theme was 'Networking and Resource Sharing in African University Libraries'. Over 60 participants from universities in Anglophone and Francophone western Africa exchanged ideas on how to link up to share resources for the benefit of library users and on how to sustain SCAULWA and prevent it becoming dormant, as it had in the past. All countries, apart from Burkina Faso and Mali, were represented. INASP sponsored 29 of the participants, as part of its Danida-funded programme to support the development of African university libraries. Support was also received from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (including provision of simultaneous translation) and IFLA.

The 2003 conference will again be held in Ghana, when Senegal will take over as Executive. The 2005 conference will be held in Senegal. The formation of library consortia was extensively discussed and SCAULWA hopes to organize research in this area during the next two years. Cameroon was officially made a member of SCAULWA and it was agreed to invite adjoining countries in Central Africa (Chad, CAR, Gabon, Congo Brazzaville) to the 2003 meeting.

The next meeting of the sister organization of SCAULWA, the Standing Conference of Eastern, Central and Southern African Librarians (SCANUL-ECS) takes place on 12, 13 and 15 April 2002 in Pretoria, South Africa. The key note address will be made by Professor John Willemse, based on his report on 'Adequate Financial Support for African University Libraries', commissioned by SCANUL-ECS at its conference in Namibia in 2000. INASP will be funding the participation of university librarians from countries in the Region.

Support for the African Association of Universities' Ad Hoc Committee on Libraries also falls under INASP's programme. The committee met prior to SCAULWA on 6 September. A revised work plan for 2001-2004 was agreed and it was resolved that the Ad Hoc Committee must in future become a fully-fledged committee of the AAU, with funds for its activities raised by the AAU. The meeting was followed by a 2-day conference on 'Enhancing the Role of University Libraries in Africa', attended by 30 participants, both librarians and academicians, including four of Ghana's vice-chancellors.

INASP has negotiated with Danida an extension of funding to continue to support regional professional association activities in 2002 and 2003. This includes assistance for librarians to attend meetings of SCANUL-ECS, SCAULWA and the AAU Committee. Funds will continue to be made available for the publication of newsletters and for research projects. A new element in the programme is funding to assist university libraries publish case studies of noteworthy developments in their activities, so that these can be shared with others. The first publication in this series, due for publication early in 2002, and is on the computerisation of library systems at the Copperbelt University, Zambia.

African Journals Online

Accompanying this issue of the INASP Newsletter is a copy of AJOL's new publicity flyer. This is also being distributed to academics, researchers, librarians and all who need access to research and information on Africa. A poster for display in libraries and computer laboratories and at meetings and conferences is also available. The French language version of the flyer will be used to give a greater awareness of the AJOL service in French-speaking countries and to encourage the inclusion of more journals from Francophone Africa. To simplify the purchase of journal articles, credit card facilities are now available and libraries are being encouraged to open accounts.

The Online Journals Workshop, the first stage in INASP's project to assist African journals to publish full-text online, took place in Harare from 15 to 18 October 2001, facilitated by Dr John Haynes (Institute of Physics Publishing) and Roger Stringer (Textpertise). Ten journals (from 7 countries and in different subject areas) were represented. Day One provided an overview of what is happening in the developed world, whilst, during Day Two, participants worked on how what they had learnt in Day One could be applied to their own journals. The concept of strategy plans was introduced. Day Three was spent in the Computer Laboratory examining technical aspects of going online, whilst Day Four was devoted to preparing and discussing journal action plans. Journals agreed to submit finalised action plans by 30 November.

It is hoped that some, if not all, the journals can start publishing online in 2002.

More information on both initiatives on this page from:
Diana Rosenberg INASP Email:  


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Short contributions can be sent to the editor at INASP.

Information revolutions 
How information and communication management is changing the lives of rural people

CTA have just released a new publication on the impact of ICTs on rural communities in developing countries. Compiled by Paul Mundy and Jacques Sultan, the book is a collection of 40 success stories in the area of information and communication management. It explains how national and local organisations in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific are changing the way communication works, and how they are making a difference in the lives and livelihoods of rural people.

Those in ACP countries who have registered with CTA's publication Distribution Service may obtain this publication using their credit points and the CTA Publications order form.

CTA publication, 2001. 241pp.
 ISBN 92 9081 2289
 CTA No 1037 (40 credit points)

Copies may also be purchased from:
Triops Hindenburgstrasse 33 
D-64295 Darmstadt, Germany 
Fax: +49 62 51 31 4048 
Email:   WWW: 

The African Publishing Companion 
A resource guide

Hans Zell, publishing consultant and editor of the African Book Publishing Record, has just published his long awaited resource guide to African publishing.

The 250-page guide is intended as a one-stop reference source facilitating access to a wide array of information relating to African publishing, providing quick answers to questions about the African book industries and their various players, organisations and publications involved. Extensively cross-referenced and including more than 1,000 email addresses as well as links to many Web sites, the publication pulls together a broad range of up-to-the-minute information previously only available through consultation of multiple sources or not available in print or online at all.

A bibliographic survey of literature on the key issues and topics that dominate African publishing today. Purchase of the publication comes with access rights to a fully searchable online version that will be updated frequently.

ISBN: 0-9541029-0-8 
Price: £80/$130

The book can be ordered from:
Hans Zell Publishing ConsultantsGlais Gheinn WWW:  

The next INASP Newsletter will be published in June 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 May 2002.
The International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications

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