International Network for the Availability
of Scientific Publications


No. 25, March 2004 ISSN: 1028-0790


In this issue:

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© International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), 2004. No parts of this publication may be reproduced for commercial use. Reproduction of articles for educational purposes is permitted only with acknowledgement of the source.


The importance of information, research, and a strong science and technology community to the development process

by Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman

Development is a multi-faceted process, and a number of factors must dovetail together before economic growth and progress can occur. There are five key components which must come together.

  • Firstly, the foundations of the development 
    process must be laid on a high level of literacy 
    and good quality education at all levels.
  • The second important facet for development is a 
    high level of expertise in the sciences.
  • The third important facet of the development 
    process is concerned with applied research and 
    new technology development.
  • The fourth facet of development involves 
    government policies and mechanisms to encourage 
  • The fifth and perhaps the most important factor 
    for success is the introduction of incentives and 
    mechanisms to attract our brightest students to 
    opt for science and technology when they are 
    deciding their future careers.



INASP is a cooperative network of partners whose aim is to enhance worldwide 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: Prof N. Mukunda
Director: Carol Priestley

Website: <

Visiting address:

Guest Editors:
Sara Gwynn and Anne Powell

Newsletter Editor:
Pippa Smart

Layout & artwork:
Ard Jongsma
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The Government of Pakistan was persuaded to make a 6000 % increase in the budget of the Ministry of science and technology in 2002, thereby allowing the launching of major programmes for human resource development, infrastructure improvement and linkages with industry.

Massive programmes have been launched in human resource development, especially in science and technology, which include increasing the PhD output from the present 200 per year to over 1500 per year over the next five years. Each year, four hundred of Pakistan's brightest students are being sent abroad for PhD level training to top universities of the world to take care of manpower deficiencies in key sectors.

With a population of 150 million, of which about 100 million are below the age of 30, the Ministry for Science and Technology Higher Education Commission considers that the real resource of Pakistan is its human resources provided that it can unleash their creativity and provide them with opportunities to work in the country. A mega-project has been launched to attract the best scientists and engineers of Pakistan, once settled in technologically advanced countries, to return. The scheme involves salaries and benefits and provision of research grants as well as accommodating the returning faculty members in cities and universities of their choice.

In order to provide information access at the widest level, the government of Pakistan has initiated the Pakistan Educational Research Network Program (PERN) project. Under this all the universities in the public and private sector are being linked together and connected by Pakistan's own satellite, PAKSAT-1, to foreign educational and research institutions in technologically advanced countries. Sharing of faculty at the national level and interaction with leading educationists at the international level will thus be facilitated.

A digital library comprising 11,600 full-text online journals, including current issues as well as back volumes, and abstracts of some 20,000 journals will be made available to the entire educational and research community in the country. INASP has played a key facilitating role in this programme which should provide a huge boost to universities and research institutions by giving them access to the latest literature in different disciplines.

Moreover, it has recently been decided that the Federal Minister for Science and Technology (the author of this article) should be responsible for developing a short, medium and long term vision for socio-economic development for Pakistan. The key component of that vision would be to develop a knowledge-based economy through application of science and technology in the national development programmes. A major nation-wide programme is therefore being undertaken to identify opportunities and challenges in engineering, information technology, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, energy and other key sectors in order to have a 3-fold growth in the GDP of Pakistan over the next 10 years.

Exciting things are happening in Pakistan to develop a knowledge-based economy. I have the challenging task of making it happen in my capacity as Federal Minister Incharge of Ministry of Science & Technology as well as the Chairman, Higher Education Commission. I am determined to succeed!

Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman
UNESCO Science Laureate
Federal Minister for Science and Technology /
Chairman, Higher Education Commission
Email: <> 

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Assessing user needs in university libraries

by Prof. Doris Bozimo

Assessing user needs in university libraries About two and a half decades ago in many university libraries in Nigeria, assessing user needs was a rarity. This posture was a fallout from the 1970s and early 1980s when the oil boom and abundant wealth of the nation made such exercise unnecessary. Lately, however, drastic cuts in government funding of higher education has mandated an interest in user needs assessment in a bid to promote user satisfaction and enhance library performance. Below are some ways adopted by one library in Nigeria, Ahmadu Bello University Library, in assessing user needs.

Since more than 90% of textbooks and monographs for teaching and research are obtained from abroad and the foreign exchange rates for their purchase are worsening by the day, the library now encourages academic staff members to choose wanted titles from publishers' catalogues within budget limitations. Faculty representatives in the University Library Committee are used as pressure groups to ensure that academic staff members, many of whom are reluctant to respond to such requests, are favourably disposed to reacting positively. Once notified about the arrival of such books, the library has noticed that the titles are heavily used by the academics, who in turn include them in students reading lists.

The provision of foreign journals, known for their astronomical increases in prices, has led to yearly cuts in their number. For those that are bought, however, every effort is made to ensure that they are truly needed. Thus, in addition to involving academic staff in the choice of titles, the library monitors their daily use. Usage of current journals is roughly noted as the number of times a journal is removed from the open shelves and consulted on the tables. Titles not consulted in this manner for several months on end are candidates for exclusion from subscription lists. Additionally, for multi campus sites like Ahmadu Bello University libraries, journals are sent to their appropriate campuses to enhance use and the journals are brought to the attention of academic staff through their Heads of Departments and to students on notice boards.

Assessing user needs is further facilitated by the library's ability to teach students how to use resources. Because this issue has not been tackled efficiently, resources bought in the library at great cost are not maximally used. Accordingly the library has recently embarked on video cassette presentations on the structure of the card catalogue, the location of books on the shelves and on teaching student the mechanism for searching CD-ROMs. The library's efforts have brought gratitude from several students who are now better poised to retrieve information from the library. Plans are afoot to teach bibliographic resources in special subject areas. These would be useful to students who are confronted with thesis writing in their final years.

Other methods of assessing user needs are in the pipeline. For example, survey studies that would lead to an identification of the needs of academic staff, postgraduate and undergraduate students are all future efforts on the library's part aimed at meeting the needs of its users.

Prof. Doris Bozimo
Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria

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Journal access programmes in African university libraries

by Sara Gwynn

Number of active programmes per institution
  • Cameroon 2
  • Cape Verde 0
  • Egypt 3
  • Ethiopia 2
  • Ghana (4 institutions) 1, 3, 8, 9
  • Kenya 2
  • Lesotho 7
  • Madagascar 0
  • Malawi 16
  • Namibia 5
  • Nigeria (5 institutions) 0, 0, 3, 4, 6
  • South Africa (2 institutions) 5, 5
  • Sudan 0
  • Swaziland 3
  • Tanzania (2 institutions) 5, 6
  • Uganda 5
  • Zambia 1
  • Zimbabwe (5 institutions) 1, 4, 4, 5, 

In 2003, INASP completed a survey of African university libraries in order to generate an overview of the journal access programmes used during 2002 (including externally supported, free to all, print and electronic).

The survey was sent to 135 institutions in 32 African countries and the outcome formed a background document for discussions between representatives of African university libraries and journal access programme providers in Ghana (November 2003). Sheila Ndolvu's article in this issue gives a review of that meeting.

Respondents from Ethiopia, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Uganda rated their particular institutions as having 'Adequate' to 'Excellent' coverage in all subject areas. At the other end of the spectrum, respondents from Sudan, Nigeria, Cape Verde, Madagascar and Zimbabwe stated they had no access to journals in any of the subject areas mentioned.

Variation within countries is illustrated by the five respondents from Nigeria-two stated they had access to adequate or better coverage in 19 subjects, two stated they didn't have adequate access in any subjects.

Although the 20 journals access programmes provided, 'Adequate' to 'Excellent' coverage in all subject areas, this does not mean that each individual institution had adequate access. The number of active programmes varied, as indicated in the box 'Number of active programmes per institution'.

Respondents were also asked for their views on what they considered to be the most and least successful journal access programmes, and their reasons for these choices.

The positive features mentioned by respondents are set out below with the 'most mentioned' features first:

  • provides relevant, useful material
  • provides comprehensive coverage
  • provides CD ROM and paper resources
  • regular provision/provides complete journal volumes
  • allows library to select resources
  • free
  • easy to use
  • fast and up to date
  • provision of support and training

Programmes which did not support the features listed above were less popular.

Other negative features included:

  • poorly designed interfaces
  • technical issues slowing/preventing access
  • lack of full-text articles
  • being too expensive to be sustainable
  • creating a need for training for users that could not necessarily be met

Other issues included by respondents to the survey were that there were difficulties due to

  • lack of staff and staff skills to support some of the programmes
  • technical and financial difficulties with connectivity that inhibited use 
  • a lack of awareness of available access programmes

In summary, responses to the survey indicated that although respondents felt their organisations and users benefited from broader access to journals, not all libraries/institutes were aware of which journal access programmes are available to them and what each programmes contains. This leads to many programmes being under-utilised and many institutions still being in need of better access.

The full report is due to be published on the INASP website shortly.

Sara Gwynn
Programme Officer, INASP

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'Building the African Library' Workshop

by Sheila Nomathemba Ndlovu

A brainstorming one-day workshop on 'Building the African Library' was held in Ghana (November 2003). University librarians and journal access programme providers met to deliberate on how the needs of African scholars could best be met.

The challenges facing African universities include:

  • Phenomenal growth in demand for higher education.
  • Dwindling University and library budget allocations.
  • Limited foreign currency reserves
  • High subscription rates for journals.
  • Collapse of university libraries due to inability to acquire and support research for our academic communities.

This 'intensive care' condition prompted programme providers and university librarians to come together to try and salvage this situation by making the following recommendations.

Recommendations for library staff

1. Carry out advocacy and awareness raising activities including:

  • Inform Vice Chancellors of journal access programme (JAP) opportunities and how they could meet the needs of the University community.
  • Become involved in institutional management/finance/planning committees.
  • Make the university management aware of the journal needs of each academic/research programme within the institution.
  • Get the backing of University community by raising awareness of the opportunities available to them.
  • Build good personal relationships with university management personnel.
  • Use the Information Literacy programmes to raise the profile and status of the library within the institutions.
  • Liaise closely with faculties to share information.

2. Assign one Librarian to take responsibility 
for all JAPs within the institution.

3. Assess users' needs and select relevant core journals from the JAPs.

4. Manage resources effectively.

Recommendations for programme providers

1. Communicate and co-operate with other programme providers to ensure a coordinated approach.

2. Ensure that Vice Chancellors and Bursars are fully involved from the onset of the programme and, if possible, get them to commit to a project in writing.

3. Consider the training needs of librarians, users and management within each programme.

4. Provide journals in CD ROM and/or paper formats as well as electronic.

5. Have a 3-5 year commitment.

6. Maintain continuous dialogue between 
librarians, programme providers and publishers.

7. Have an approved business plan jointly drawn 
up by the institution and programme provider at 
the start of the programme.

PERI : New Resources

Two new publishers have joined PERI: John Wiley & Sons (Wiley InterScience), and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

Wiley InterScience provides 477 journals in many subject areas, and the RSC provides 36 leading chemistry titles and key databases.

For more information contact your librarian or PERI Country Coordinator - or visit <> , select your country, and discover which information resources are available to your library through PERI.

Recommendations for university management

1. Minimise bureaucracy within the management of JAPs.

2. Include funding to support any necessary JAPs 
within the institution's budgets.

3. Making a commitment to support programmes and improving IT infrastructure.

It is hoped that these recommendations can be developed into best practice guidelines.

As an example of progress, the Zimbabwe University Libraries Consortium (ZULC) under the leadership of Dr. Buhle Mbambo, has forged ahead with a plan of action which includes the following:

  • Establishment of a ZULC foreign currency account.
  • ZULC members contributing 10% of the subscription rates to ensure sustainability of  the programme.
  • Formation of the Zimbabwe Electronic Site Licence Initiative (ZESLI)-a national initiative which will negotiate and implement electronic information delivery services to academic and research libraries.
  • A ZULC Conference scheduled for August 2004 on Library Advocacy Training and Information Literacy Programmes.

All these are aimed at ensuring the success and effectiveness JAPs in Zimbabwe's academic communities.

Sheila Nomathemba Ndlovu
Midlands State University, Zimbabwe


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Information literacy: a Nepali experience

by Mr Krishna Mani Bhandary

The basic problem in dealing with information is its vastness. A scarcely quantifiable amount of information is scattered around the world at innumerable sites, and is becoming increasingly accessible via communications media in a wide variety of formats. In order to make the best use of this globally retrievable information, people need to achieve an additional form of literacy -information literacy.

Information literate persons have an edge in the competitive environment of the information age. They are independent learners, know what information is required, and are capable of retrieving the relevant information to solve the problem at hand. They have the skills for managing technological tools so as to access pertinent information. Their work performance is enhanced, and quality production is achieved. They can adjust themselves to the situation. If growing numbers of students are produced in Nepal with such skills, they can help to reduce poverty, which is a common problem of developing nations.

The first time I saw a book on information literacy was during the IFLA/SLA "Workshop on Networking for Effective Library Service" organized by the Sri Lanka Library Association in Colombo in 1999. Later I acquired some books on the topic from Ms Petricia Senn Breivik, chairperson of the National Forum for Information Literacy (USA). Over time I gained some knowledge on the subject and there came a point where I wanted to share my understanding with a larger audience so as to develop awareness on a local level about its importance and usefulness in producing competent human utilisers of resources.

In 2002 Tribhuvan University Central Library, with the support of the American Center in Kathmandu, organised a National Seminar on Information Literacy in Kathmandu, the first of its kind in South Asia. During the conference the following issues were identified as crucial for the development of information literacy in Nepal.

1. The necessity of integrating information literacy into the curriculum at different levels of education so as to produce information literate graduates.

2. Creating an organisation/forum for all those interested in promoting information literacy in Nepal.

3. Establishing an information centre endowed with a rich collection of printed materials and the means of accessing international information resources electronically, so as to develop a resource-based learning environment.

4. Encouraging recruiting agencies to include information literacy skills in their selection process.

In response to these needs:

1. The Central Department of Library and Information Science of Tribhuvan University has established information literacy as a taught subject in their degree programme.

2. The Nepal Library Association submitted a plan to develop information literacy to the National Planning Commission of Nepal who have now included a related programmeme in their 2002-2007 plan.

3. Tribhvuan University Central Library is planning to organise a workshop for its staff on information literacy in early March 2004.

4. Discussions are continuing on the possibility of including information literacy in the curriculum of different levels of study at Tribhuvan University.

In conclusion, knowledge about knowledge is now a necessity and this knowledge can be gained through information literacy. The overwhelming sea of information is a problem of our time and information literacy teaches us how to swim in this sea.

Mr Krishna Mani Bhandary
Tribhuvan University Central Library, Kathmandu, Nepal
Email :  

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itrainonline: towards a community of trainers

by Saskia Harmsen

The itrainonline (ITO) partnership was established in 2001 as a means to:

  • Harness investment in training more effectively by reducing duplication of effort and sharing of human and financial resources,
  • Facilitate the sharing of training expertise within and beyond the participating organisations,
  • Strengthen capacity building activities by providing access to a wider pool of learning, resources and expertise.

A first and most prominent output of the initiative has been the web space or portal which provides a single entry point to high quality ICT training resources which are relevant to the needs of development and civil society organisations (see <> ), including a 'Resources for Trainers' section which has to date focused mainly on aggregating and describing freely available valuable resources around training skills and training content and materials.

Now, under the lead of the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD), ITO is committed to evolving this section into an online 'Community of Trainers' - a space where trainers can find materials, instructions to put materials to the most effective use, a resource base where they can compare and contrast their 'live' experiences, post questions and find persons with specific expertise.

Depending on feedback obtained during upcoming face-to-face train-the-trainer workshops, the online community of trainers could include the following set of elements:

Participatory review panel: consisting of trainers affiliated with training organisations in the South who will review and test original materials in live training situations, thus providing valuable feedback for improvement via sharing implementation experiences, critiques, and suggestions for optimal use.

Newsletter: to notify the community of new resources available via the ITO site. The content can be generated automatically from the database in specified intervals (e.g. monthly), and used to enhance existing publications that are received by organisations in the South.

Moderated discussion group(s): allowing users to exchange thoughts, experiences, and suggestions interactively. irrespective of space and time constraints. Real-time questions can thus be posted to the group, allowing for advice and recommendations from trainers involved in similar activities. In addition, moderation of the groups by trainers from the South will allow for thematic discussions around topics of interest to trainers involved with 'ICT for Development' activities.

Expertise database: trainers affiliated with the Trainers Community could be entered into a shared database, making it easier to locate existing expertise in specific topics and skills.

The community will start out around trainers associated with IICD and other ITO partners, to develop, test, and adjust it over time so that it truly adds value to the intended users.

The ideas developed so far are far from exhaustive and perhaps misaligned with the real needs experienced by trainers reading this article.

If you have ideas, suggestions, or comments on the plans for the itrainonline community of trainers, please let us know and share your thoughts.

Online communities and their ability to support knowledge sharing and creation is a relatively new field with a limited set of guidelines and lessons learned to build on - basing our efforts on the feedback from persons involved with training in information- or technology-related knowledge and skills for development will be the surest way to success.

More information or suggestions to
Saskia Harmsen
Capacity Development Officer

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Trinidad and Tobago National Information and Communication Technology Plan

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has released a National Information and Communication Technology Plan (NICT) which seeks to "benefit everyone in Trinidad and Tobago". It will provide children from the earliest age with new skills, learning and development opportunities. It will bring communities closer together. All citizens will be able to use ICT in their everyday lives, and will have easy and rapid access to information that is important for their social and economic well-being.

Young adults will play a prominent role. They will acquire new skills, share these skills with others in the community and prepare themselves for an exciting and prosperous future in the information era.

Important government services will be available at any time, from anywhere. Small businesses will soon become e-businesses and will be able to compete in arenas that were traditionally only open to larger players. <

The Government has also created a Telecommunications Authority and is currently seeking an Executive Director. With support from the IDB, the Telecommunications Authority will recommend policies and advise the government on issues such as liberalization of the industry and new interconnectivity standards. It is expected that these policies will have a major impact on information issues in the country.

As expected the library community is also actively involved in addressing the impact of the global information society on the community its serves and will use the Annual ACURIL Conference to focus on their application in libraries (see notice elsewhere in this newsletter).

For further information contact:
Maritza Hee Houng

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Reaching key groups with Internet searching skills: British Council (Malawi ) Internet for Influence Programme

What do young women leaders, the media, parliamentarians and lawyers have in common? They all need to have finely tuned information literacy skills to perform at their potential in today's world.

With this in mind, the British Council Malawi contracted a team of Librarians from Bunda College, part of University of Malawi, to offer a course to each of the 4 groups.

Four modules are covered in the six hour course:

  • basic Windows and internet skills,
  • web tools such as search engines and subject directories,
  • the thinking process - search strategy, information quality issues,
  • a deeper search into quality e-resources in the specific discipline of the participants and the final icing on the cake - a quick exploration of e-journals.

Teaching methodology combines Powerpoint presentations and web- based learning.

The first course for young women leaders was very successful, with participants of different levels of expertise all benefiting, and the more advanced really appreciating smooth access to reliable information on key topics such as HIV AIDs

For further information contact: Margaret Ngwira

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New Possibilities for access to WWW and academic resources and ICT training in South Caucasus Region

UNDP and the National Academy of Sciences open a new Centre of Information and Communication Technologies.

In November 2003 the centre, sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the framework of UNDP's Project "Support to Information Society and Democratic Governance" and the Armenian National Academy of Sciences (ANAS) opened. Sponsorship to the Center was also provided by the Project Harmony (USA) as well as by the Open Society Institute. It is located in a building provided by the ANAS on its campus. Internet access is being provided by Armenian Research and Educational Networking Organization, through the NATO science programme.

The Centre is one of the most modern Internet access sites in the country. More than 600 users per day are able to use the Centre, which has 38 top-quality workstations. The Centre is the main access site for Armenian Freenet, which was the first free Internet facility in the country and has been providing free email and other Internet tools in the Armenian language since 1998. In addition to providing access to Freenet, the Centre aims to promote ICT through research and training programmes. The Centre will be used to host round-table discussions on ICT and as a hub for the Freenet public access sites currently being established in many regions.

Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC).

In September 2003 the Eurasia Foundation, in partnership with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, launched a network of research resource centers in the three South Caucasus countries. The centers, located in Baku, Yerevan and Tbilisi, are aimed at strengthening social science research and public policy analysis by providing open access to fundamental literature, data and professional training for social science researchers.

The centers, serving professionals from the academic, non-governmental, private, and public sectors, will make it easier for researchers to pursue original work, to base their research on actual transition data, and to participate in the growing domestic policy research community. The centers house and provide access to the following resources: (1) current print versions of leading periodicals; (2) seminal books and texts on economics, demography and sociology; (3) online access to major social science journals; (4) access to databases on the economy and social development of the South Caucasus region, as well at to overall international data sources.

British Council Learning and Information Resource Centre opens in Armenia.

In July 2003 the Learning and Information Resource Centre at British Council Armenian office was established. The Centre offers the Armenian academic community a wide range of resources for educational and professional needs through an information gateway to Britain, including access to online resources, searchable databases, audiovisual materials, dictionaries, and a wide range of resources for teaching and learning. Similar centres have been already established in Georgia and Azerbaijan within the last decade.

Further information from:
Anna Boyajyan
Chairwoman Bioecomed NGO


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INASP-Health: Evaluation and evolution

INASP-Health was launched 7 years ago to increase access to relevant, reliable information for health professionals in developing and emerging countries. It brings together the various players worldwide - healthcare providers, researchers, publishers, librarians and others - to help achieve their shared objectives.

The INASP-Health programme has evolved into the leading focal point for intersectoral communication and cooperation in health information development, providing an integrated package of communication tools (advisory and liaison service; Health Information Forum; HIF-net at WHO email discussion list) and reference tools (INASP-Health Directory - a directory of international support programmes; INASP Health Links - an Internet gateway to websites with a focus on healthcare in developing countries).

An external evaluation of INASP-Health is now being completed and will shortly be available on the INASP website. The evaluation will help inform our new strategic plan for 2005-2007.

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Electronic Information Resources in the Caribbean

The Association of Caribbean Universities, Research and Institutional Libraries (ACURIL) will hold its 34th Annual Conference at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, Port-of-Spain from Friday, May 21, 2004 to Friday, May 29, 2004.

The theme of the conference is Electronic Information Resources in the Caribbean: Trends and Issues. This conference aims to explore trends and issues in the information services environment, which will influence access to electronic information resources and the delivery of information services. There will be plenary presentations, poster sessions and workshops on various topics.

Further information from: <

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Health Information Forum: UK Programme 2004

The next meeting of the Health Information Forum (UK) is being held at the British Medical Association, London, on 27 April 2004.

The theme of the meeting is: Leapfrog technologies: the potential of handheld computers, mobile phones and other gadgets.

To reserve your place, contact Neil Pakenham-Walsh at:  

Meetings planned for later in the year include:

London, 15 July 2004
Information for effective healthcare in  developing countries: a global review of progress  and ways forward

London, 28 September 2004
Sharing knowledge on reproductive health

London, 30 November 2004
Learning from developing countries: Videoconference with emerging 'HIFs' in  developing countries

Meetings are free of charge to attend, but we regret that funds for travel expenses, etc. are  not available.

If you happen to be in the UK on the dates above, please let us know and we would be delighted to  welcome you.

Please check: <>  for details, or contact us at:  

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New INASP publications

See <>

The Use of ICTs in African Public Library Services: a survey of ten countries in Anglophone Africa

Edited by Justin Chisenga

This book examines the use of ICTs by 22 public libraries in sub-Saharan Africa, to reveal both the existing levels of use of information and culmination technologies, and plans for the future.

African Journals OnLine (AJOL) Evaluation Report

During 2000-2002, INASP undertook a comprehensive evaluation of the AJOL service. The full report has now been published and can be found on our website.

An Investigation into the Funding of University Libraries in Zambia

by Muyoyeta H Simui and Christine W Kanyengo

This study examines the nature of and problems relating to the financing of university libraries in one African country - Zambia - and how these have affected the provision of library and information services.

The study is published jointly with SCANUL-ECS.

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The SciDev.Net 'quick guide' to science publishing

A new electronic resource from the Science and Development Network

The central commitment of the Science and Development Network (SciDev.Net) is to seek ways to enhance the access of developing countries to information about science that is relevant to their needs, and in particular to explore electronic communication through the Internet as a way of achieving this.

One of its latest resources, launched in March, is an online guide to current trends in science publishing. This so-called 'quick guide' <>  explores various approaches ^ including 'open-access' publishing, self-archiving and differential pricing initiatives ^ of using the Internet to increase access to scientific information in the developing world.

As anyone who has been following recent controversies over the relative merits of these approaches will be aware, there are no simple answers to the complex issues at stake, and the quick guide doesn't endorse any one view. Instead, it brings together a wide range of information and different perspectives on these issues, ranging from background reports and features to news articles about the most recent developments. It also seeks feedback, as users are encouraged to add their thoughts to those expressed by contributing authors.

By providing reliable information on science-based issues, SciDev.Net aims to help people in developing countries make more informed decisions about issues that affect their lives.

The quick guide contains:

  • An overview of current trends in scientific publishing
  • Up-do-date news coverage of new developments
  • Editorials on topical science publishing issues
  • Key documents, reports, and statements
  • Links to other relevant organisations
  • Definitions of key terms used in debates on science publishing
  • Forthcoming events

In addition to the latest news about science, technology and development, the rest of the SciDev.Net website provides a wide range of practical toolkits and electronic resources on issues such as science communication, biodiversity, brain drain, climate change, the ethics of clinical research, HIV/AIDS, GM crops and intellectual property. You can register with SciDev.Net to receive a free weekly email alert in English, French, Spanish or Chinese, listing all new material on the website.

Visit <> to find out more.

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Re-launch of African Journals OnLine (AJOL) - <>

AJOL launched in 1998 with only 14 African journals and now has over 175 covering most subject areas. It is now being re-launched on its own website that continues to provide free access to tables of contents and abstracts for all titles - but also provides many additional facilities. AJOL offers a document delivery service, and full (improved) searching and browsing facilities, as well as a new Email alert function. The service remains free to both users and participating journals (charging only for document delivery outside developing countries).

AJOL journals are scholarly in content with peer reviewed articles, and publish a mixture of pure and applied research as well as review papers. AJOL covers Agricultural sciences and resource management; Arts, culture, language and literature; Health; Science and technology; and Social sciences.

An evaluation of AJOL at the end of 2002 showed that participating journals benefit from the international visibility, with more international submissions and citations, and that users value access to African research that they have been unable to locate from other sources.

Use of the service has more than doubled in the past few years (almost 4000 registrations in 2003) and the demand for document delivery tripled (over 650 articles in 2003). The evaluation highlighted a need to update the website to make it easier to use with improved searching and retrieval of articles.

In response to the evaluation, the new website now offers a greatly improved and more sophisticated search system and Email alerting to promote new issues. Journals can manage their own content online, and publish full text articles on AJOL.

We hope the new website assists worldwide visibility for African published research. Please visit us at <> and sign up for email alerts to any journals of interest.

We also welcome new journals onto the service - contact us at:  

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INASP Newsletter: November 2004

Information for effective healthcare in developing countries: a global review of progress and ways forward

Over the past 10 years, there has been an explosion of interest in information for effective healthcare in developing countries. But what difference have we made? Is there now access to the information needed to deliver effective care? If not, why not? What still needs to be done?

We hope to publish this issue as part of a major global consultation, linking together a series of conferences with use of HIF-net at WHO and other ICT applications. The Concept Paper is available at <

We welcome expressions of interest, ideas and contributions, both for the Newsletter and for the Concept Paper. Contact Neil Pakenham-Walsh at: 

Note: Previous issues of the INASP Newsletter contained four pages specifically devoted to INASP-Health: all health-related articles are now integrated within the Newsletter.

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The next INASP Newsletter will be published in July 2004. If you would like to contribute to its contents, please write to the editor at the Oxford address. Contributions must be received by 1 May 2004.

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