International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications
58 St Aldates, Oxford OX1 1ST, UK
Tel: +44 1865 249909 Fax: +44 1865 251060
[email protected]

No. 13, November 1999

In this issue:

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

Contributors to this issue: Sarah Cummings, Henry Mambo, Julita Nawe, Diana Rosenberg, Pru Watts-Russell, N.T.S.A. Senadeera, David A. Tibbutt, Anthony Youdeowei.

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

Tel: + 44 181 997 3274
Fax: + 44 181 810 9795
[email protected]

Information and Communication Technologies for Development

Timely access to relevant information is central to all information users. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), especially the Internet, are changing the way people exchange information and, to institutions of higher learning, have to a large extent increased the standard of education. In Africa, developing an appropriate infrastructure for ICT is becoming a necessity and a challenge. It is a necessity because of the role that ICT plays in the daily lives of people. It is also a challenge because of inadequate resources available for developing such services. Despite such challenges and thanks to donor support, the majority of African countries have already established the basic infrastructure that can support some form of ICT use.

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

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

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

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

Membership of the Network is open to all interested organisations and individuals.

INASP is a programme of the Committee for the Dissemination of Scientific Information, of the International Council for Science (ICSU).

Chairman: Kai-Inge Hillerud
Director: Carol Priestley


27 Park End Street
Oxford OX1 1HU, UK
Tel: + 44 1865 249 909
Fax: + 44 1865 251 060
E-mail: [email protected]

and also:

P.O. Box 2564
London W5 1ZD, UK
Tel: + 44 181 997 3274
Fax: + 44 181 810 9795

Supporting the Activities of LIS Professional Associations in Africa

Supporting strategies leading to the continued revitalisation and renewal of African university libraries is a key part of INASP’s programme.

One element is a three-year project aimed at strengthening the role of regional professional associations in assisting and promoting the development of African university libraries and encouraging networking and information exchange between all university libraries in Africa.

The following activities are amongst those envisaged:

• conferences
The biennial conferences of SCANUL-ECS (Standing Conference of African National and University Libraries in East, Central and Southern Africa) and SCAULWA (Standing Conference of African University Libraries in West Africa) are being supported.

The SCAULWA conference takes place between 24 and 26 November 1999 in Accra, Ghana. Organisation is by the Committee of University Librarians and their Deputies (Ghana) and the Planning Committee is chaired by I. K. Antwi, Librarian of the University of Development Studies in Tamale. The theme is ‘African University Libraries in the 21st Century’. A key objective of the meeting is to resuscitate SCAULWA, which has not met for many years. Invitations have been extended to university librarians throughout West Africa.

• research studies, pilot projects, etc.
Members of SCANUL-ECS AND SCAULWA are being assisted to undertake research studies or pilot projects.

The first to get underway is ‘A Survey of University Library Incomes’, a co-operative venture by member librarians of SCANUL-ECS. Its aim is to share experiences and explore possible areas that can be developed for income generation. The results will be reported to the next meeting of SCANUL-ECS.

• newsletters
Support is being offered towards the printing and distribution costs of the biannual newsletters of SCANUL-ECS and SCAULWA;

• Association of African Universities (AAU) Ad Hoc Standing Committee on Libraries
The five librarian members of the Committee were financed to attend a meeting in May 1999. Kay Raseroka presented a paper on ‘The Role of the University Library’. Also discussed was the constitution of the Committee and the implementation of university library statistics collection. A report was made to the AAU Executive Committee;

• co-operation
Co-operation between SCANUL-ECS and SCAULWA is encouraged through representation at each other’s meetings and by exchange of newsletters. John Tsebe, Librarian of the University of the North in South Africa and Chair of SCANUL-ECS is attending SCAULWA in November.

Funding is provided by Danida and INASP.
New INASP Guidebooks
Journal Publishing for Agricultural and Rural Development

Experience in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) has consistently revealed low levels of performance in journal publishing in agriculture and rural development. Apart from the absence of a wide range of comparatively well-published and managed journals in these countries, the mortality rate for new journals is high. Older journals tend to be characterised by poor management and very serious financial problems that lead to irregular and unsustainable journal publication. Reasons for poor performance in journal publishing include lack of sufficient professionalism in publishing procedures and the absence of simple, practical guidebooks for editors and potential publishers of journals in agriculture and rural development.

Against this background, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) in Wageningen, The Netherlands, earlier this year asked INASP to prepare a practical training manual specifically for publishing pro-fessionals in agriculture and rural development. The new publication will be complimentary to Hans Zell’s reference handbook published jointly by the African Books Collective and the International African Institute in 1997.

The target audience for this Guidebook comprises mainly young and upcoming editors and publishers of journals in agricultural and rural development in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

The material will be presented in a simple, easy-to-follow style, focusing particularly on those aspects of journal publishing that are commonly overlooked by journal editors. Examples will be provided to guide editors on how to handle problem areas in editing and communicating with journal contributors. As with earlier handbooks, models of a variety of forms, guidelines, formats for journal management and promotional materials taken from successful journals, will be included to guide editors in designing similar materials for their journals.

The Guidebook will consist of 10 chapters covering the most essential aspects of the journal publishing process, recommended reading, a Glossary of Terms, checklists and resources. Essential aspects of journal publishing will include planning for a new journal, through editorial responsibilities and practices, desktop publishing and production, distribution and marketing. Financial management, abstracting and indexing matters as well as legal and copyright issues will be treated.

Preparation of the manuscript should be completed by the end of April 2000 for publication of the first edition in early summer.

Anthony Youdeowei, Consultant in Agricultural Education, Training and Scientific Communication, will prepare the manuscript for this project. He will be assisted by Maritza Hee Houng (Caribbean) and Peter Walton (Pacific).

More information can be obtained from the INASP secretariat.
Practical Guide to Marketing and Promotion for Agricultural and Rural Development Materials in ACP countries

Another publication which is in the making is the Practical Guide to
Marketing and Promotion for Agricultural and Rural Development Materials
in ACP countries.

A practical guide more than a reference book, the publication aims at helping publishers in developing countries market their products.

The theoretical chapters are followed by a workbook with practical exercises.

Outline of Contents

1. What is marketing ? Is it sales ?
2. Can you afford to publish ? Understanding cost ratios, break-even points, pricing and working with subsidies
3. Defining the Market, who do you sell to, and who is the end user ?
4. The Marketing Mix
5. The Marketing Plan
6. Costing a Marketing Campaign
7. Ingredients of the plan; leaflets, visiting institutions, advertising, review copies, direct mail, book launch, media publicity.
8. Building a list and the need for a catalogue
9. Developing a targeted mailing list
10. Market research, analysing the competition
11. Strategic planning and company strategy
12. Distribution and sales, local and international
13. Selling rights

A workbook and exercises are included in this very practically oriented guide. It will be printed in full-colour and fully illustrated.

The guide is due for publication in early summer 2000.


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Do it with the Internet

This article briefly discusses one of the capacity building efforts in the use of ICT: a workshop organised by the University of Dar es Salaam Library in July 1999 with support and assistance from Danida and INASP. The course materials were prepared and presented by Martin Belcher, Project Manager for Internet Development at the Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT) of Bristol University, UK. The article will discuss ways in which such a workshop can enhance Internet training and use at institutions of higher learning.

By Henry Mambo and Julita Nawe

It is now a fact that academics, students and administrative staff at many tertiary institutions have access to some form of ICT. A good number of African countries have full connection to the Internet, full Internet connection meaning that users can take advantage of networking services such as e-mail, conferences, newsgroups, distribution lists, remote login, file transfer protocol, gopher, Wide-Area Information Server and the Web. Further countries are connected to other networks such as Bitnet, Fidonet, and UUCP, with which an Internet connection is possible. Internet use in Africa is largely confined to academic, research and some government institutions. However, statistics also show that private Internet usage is increasing.

About the workshop

The workshop was designed to introduce the Internet and its possible uses in the fields of teaching, learning and research to academic librarians in Africa. It imparted knowledge to participants on basic Internet concepts, efficient Internet search techniques, basic Web page creations and basic skills in training people in Internet related topics. It drew a total of 21 participants, mainly from the University of Dar es Salaam Library, with representatives from the libraries of Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences, Sokoine University of Agriculture, the Institute for Finance Management, and from the Tanzania Library Services. During the workshop the participants were given the opportunity to practice what they learned, at every stage. Participants were divided into groups for discussion and ideas from each group were put together for future training in Tanzania and other countries where similar workshops will be held. Most participants in the workshop already had some knowledge of Internet searching gained in their places of work and from professional training in and outside the country. However, at the end of the workshop, all agreed that it had been important in that it gave them a systematic and effective way of using the Internet and its related aspects.

Future developments

Given the level of resources owed by most African countries, gradual capacity building in ICT is of utmost importance. This is so despite the fact that the African continent has the least developed information technology infrastructure of all developing regions. Some of the institutions represented in the workshop, like the University of Dar es Salaam, Sokoine University of Agriculture, and the Institute of Finance Management, have already developed ICT at different levels. Considering the amount of resources required for such activity, a workshop like this one can assist in capacity building, especially the training of trainers. At the University of Dar es Salaam, for example, such training will have a wider impact since the use of the Internet is gaining momentum not only in the library but also in all major departments. The University Library is now well placed to conduct training on the use of Internet in the library and to other faculties and departments, to assist teaching as well as research. The same thing can be done by other institutions which participated in the workshop. Already, in-house training sessions, based on the workshop, are being arranged in December 1999 and January 2000 for members of the university library staff who were unable to attend.

What next?

Given the nature of information acquisition and use and sustainability of the information technology infrastructure in Africa in general and Tanzania in particular, it is important that capacity building at all levels is strengthened. The workshop on ‘Using the Internet’ has acted as one of such efforts in the training of trainers. However several aspects need to be further addressed:
- There is an urgent need to train the end-users (academics, administrative staff and students in the case of academic institutions).
- Such training must also include other library staff, such as library assistants, who interact with users in their day-to-day activities.
- The demand for using the Internet and other ICT by users will increase as a result of its introduction. This demand must be addressed by increasing IT services.


As observed in the previous sections, the majority of academic institutions in Tanzania are already using some form of ICT. Some, like the University of Dar es Salaam, have already built a reasonable capacity to exploit information through the Internet. It is, however, of utmost importance to continue with systematic capacity building at all levels. This includes acquisition of equipment, maintenance, upgrading and continuous staff development. Libraries, as one of the most used sources of information, must fully utilise their institutions’ efforts to build ICT capacity by increasing their own ability to use modern information sources such as the Internet.

Travelling Workshop Update

By Diana Rosenberg

The first workshop on ‘Using the Internet’ took place in July 1999 at University of Dar es Salaam. A report from two of the participants at this workshop can be found on these pages.

But would the workshop travel? Would the hand-over of the course to local facilitators be successful?

The second workshop in the series was held at the University of Botswana Library from 11 to 15 October 1999. It was attended by 20 participants, from the University of Botswana Library and affiliated institutions. The attendance was very impressive and all took the workshop very seriously. The Workshop Director was Mary Materu-Behitsa of University of Dar es Salaam Library, assisted by Babakisi Fidzani from University of Botswana Library. The organisation was undertaken by University of Botswana Library.

All participants completed an evaluation form. The results show that:

• 95% said the core objectives were met;
• 80% rated the overall contents of the course as excellent and 20% as very good;
• 90% rated the format of the course as very appropriate and 10% as appropriate;
• 95% rated the performance of the Workshop Director as excellent and 5% as very good;
• 100% said that they had learnt a lot during the workshop.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor, when opening the Workshop, commended INASP on the idea of ‘travelling workshops’ as they build local capacity. The University Librarian commented that the workshop benefited from having a ‘local’ director in that she thoroughly understood the African issues that affect information transfer.

The next workshop will take place at the University of Zambia Library. A representative from Zambia monitored the University of Botswana Workshop and is eagerly looking forward to being the host.


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Networking for Effective Libraries and Information Services
Report from a five-day workshop in Sri Lanka

By N.T.S.A. Senadeera

Networking for effective libraries and information services (NET ELIS), was the main theme of an international workshop held at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 17 to 21 October 1999. The workshop was organised by the Sri Lanka Library Association, sponsored by IFLA-RSCAO and financed by IFLA-ALP. Special emphasis was on South and Southeast Asia and Oceania.

In addition to a number of overseas participants, 41 professionals from Sri Lanka, representing libraries and information-related institutions, attended the workshop.

The workshop was ceremonially opened under the distinguished patronage of the Chief Guest, Hon. Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in Sri Lanka, Prof. G. L. Peiris.

In the first plenary, which was devoted to Issues in Networking, the following presentations were made:

1. Networking consequences for information dissemination: international and regional, by Dr. Gihan Dias. Technical Manager, LEARN, Sri Lanka.
2. IT and information convergence or divergence, by Dr. Ruwan Weerasinghe, Dept. of Computer Studies, University of Colombo.
3. The libraries’ perspective by Upali Amarasiri, Director General, National Library and Document Services Centre, Sri Lanka.
4. Human Networking: the days before IT by Prof. Derek Law, Director, Information Strategies, University of Strathclyde.

The second plenary session was devoted to the presentation of country reports describing the current situation in South Asia situation. Country reports were made for six countries: Sri Lanka (Ms. Sumana Jayasuriya, President Sri Lanka Library Association), Bangladesh (Dr. S.M. Mannan, Associate Prof., University of Dhaka), India (Dr. H. K. Kaul, Director, Delnet), Maldives (D.. A. Asif, Assistant Director, Ministry of Planning), Nepal (K. Bandary, Librarian, Tribhuwan University) and Pakistan (Z.J. Naqvi, Deputy Chief Librarian, Inst. of Development Economics).

In the next plenary session lessons and relevant issues outside South Asia were presented. John Shipp, Librarian, University of Sydney, Australia, gave an overview of the state of affairs of library networking in Australia while Terry Kuney, Consultant to the IFLA-UDT Core Program made a presentation entitled Developing digital libraries: directions for the coming millennium.

Presentations from the international community on the contribution of IT to our field were presented in Plenary 4. In this session Terry Kuny elaborated on IFLA-UDT while Prof. Russell Bowden explained the role of IFLA-ALP. IT lessons and relevant innovations in developing countries were presented in Plenary 5 through contributions from N.U. Yapa, Head Librarian, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Sri Lanka (Co-operative software for library networking: The Sri Lanka Experience) and Ms. Kalpana Dasgupta (New initiatives for co-operation, resource sharing and networking of libraries within the cultural sector of India). The representatives from Singapore (Y.K.Hee) and Pakistan (A.S.Syed) also presented developments relating to their countries in this session. Mr. Yapa demonstrated the software he has developed and named Purna based on the WINISIS database management system developed by UNESCO.

In between the plenaries, group discussions took place on topics such as policy planning and management, technology, funding and marketing and human resource development.

The workshop organisers are in the process of developing a paper containing the resolutions approved by the workshop.

More information from:

Harrison Perera
Assistant Director (Information)
PO Box 753
Colombo 3
Sri Lanka

Telephone: + 94 1 581171
Fax: + 94 1 587079
Email: [email protected]

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

The network currently involves more than 500 participants, North and South, representing non-governmental organisations, international agencies, library services, publishers (print and electronic), and others. Visit our web-site at: for further information about our range of services and activities.

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

Dr Neil Pakenham-Walsh Programme Manager INASP-Health INASP 27 Park End Street Oxford OX1 1HU UK
Tel: + 44 1865 249 909 Fax: + 44 1865 251 060 Email: [email protected] WWW:

We are grateful to the following organisations for their support:
British Medical Association, Danida (Denmark), Department for International Development (UK), ICSU-Press and the Reuter Foundation.
Health Information Forum (HIF)

HIF has completed a highly successful first year, including six thematic workshops hosted by the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Royal College of Physicians. An Annual Report is available on the INASP web site, together with proceedings of all workshops. E-mail and print versions are available on request to those without web access.

During 1999–2000, we are holding a second series of workshops and are seeking to increase international participation and to deliver measurable outcomes that complement and strengthen the activities of HIF participants. If you would like to be kept informed by email about HIF activities, please contact:
[email protected]

Co-operation with WHO

The World Health Organization is widely perceived to have a special potential not only as a ‘health information provider’, but also as a co-ordinator, facilitator, and advocate for ‘access to information for healthcare workers’ as an issue, working with the health information community world-wide to develop and help implement cost-effective strategies.

WHO is now taking up this challenge, using INASP-Health services and HIF as a tool. The initial aim is to develop a strategic framework to clarify priorities and respective roles of WHO and other organisations involved in improving access to health information, laying the foundation for a more coherent, co-operative approach in the future.

The first ‘WHO–HIF Co-operation Group’ meeting will take place at the BMA on November 17th, and future meetings will continue through July 2000, coinciding with HIF workshops and the 8th International Congress of Medical Librarians.

The process will draw on as wide a range of perspectives as possible and will encourage input from the health information community at large, North and South, including healthcare worker representatives, health information workers, and other sectors. Reports will be posted on the INASP web site.

WHO and INASP-Health are grateful to the British Medical Association for providing complimentary meeting facilities for WHO–HIF Co-operation Group meetings.

Co-operation with DFID

INASP-Health and HIF participants have played a central role to promote better access to reliable information for healthcare workers as part of a health communications study commissioned by DFID and managed by the Institute of Development Studies.

After wide consultation, a model of partnership was proposed based on a networking and learning programme in parallel with a grants programme. The full report, DFID Health Communications Partnership Study, is available by email from:
[email protected]

It is hoped the programme will lead to strengthening of co-operation in improving access to reliable information for healthcare workers, as well as promote cross-sector links with other areas of health communications.

Neil Pakenham-Walsh
Programme Manager, INASP-Health

Continuing Medical Education: the approach in Uganda

By David A. Tibbutt

Medical education has traditionally been teacher-based with formal instruction. Often this instruction was centred on the diagnosis (e.g. pneumonia, malaria) rather than on the problem with which a patient presents (e.g. fever and rigors). The problem is the real situation and the diagnosis the possible one. It is clear that problem-solving is essential for near-patient learning. Time spent on such study is immediately applicable to health workers’ practices and encourages team learning.

The design of a continuing medical education (CME) programme must include all health professionals with the opportunity for joint activities. A system that covers CME for each profession in isolation is likely to fail. The reasons include: insufficient organising manpower; duplication of activities leading to wastage of resources and time; and undermining of the team ethic. There is also poor co-ordination and lack of a unified approach to the Ministry of Health’s Minimum Health Care Package – essential knowledge that healthcare professionals should have to cope with common diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis.

The CME programme in Uganda has developed over a number of years. The concept and value of CME in Uganda, as in all parts of the world, has taken time to be accepted. The climate for progress was created by the Ministry’s recognition of the need for CME, and the partnership work by the Ministry and the Tropical Health and Education Trust (UK)*. The management structure is now almost complete with a National CME Steering Committee made up of representatives from the Ministry, medical school, professional councils and associations. Each Region now has a CME Co-ordinator, who is a senior clinician. Many of the Districts within each Region now have CME Co-ordinators (mainly nurses) in post, and each of these are members of their respective Regional CME Committee.

The philosophy of CME in Uganda is modern. We are attempting to create environments for continuing learning rather than providing just formal instruction, to encourage collective activities within hospitals and health units, and to survey the learning needs of professional groups (bearing in mind the Minimum Health Care Package). Throughout we emphasise the importance of the individual through personal assessment of strengths, interests, weaknesses and ambitions of individual medical and clinical officers, leading to personal CME plans. There is evidence, at this early stage, that the approach is working but we need to be patient and prepared to modify methods depending on outcomes.

An increasingly important part of CME is the Uganda CME Newsletter. This is produced monthly by the National Advisor/Co-ordinator (the author) and distributed to all (about 100) hospitals and many other health units and individuals. The Newsletter has 15–20 pages and includes general articles, case reports and ‘Letters to the editor’. In addition there are sections such as ‘Questions from Up-country’, which provides the opportunity to answer queries directly from rural doctors, and ‘Multiple Choice Questions’ with a prize offered. A popular section includes abstracts that are adapted into an easily readable format that highlights the essential points and excludes confusing statistics and ambiguities.

The contents of the Newsletter are increasingly written by rural medical officers themselves. With editing (and joint learning!) most case reports and articles submitted by medical officers are published in the Newsletter under the name of the originating professional. We all like to see our name in print and Ugandan professionals are no different. This approach has already led to the publication of two articles from rural doctors in an international journal. The effect on morale is clear to see.

Production and distribution of the Newsletter is not expensive – the total cost is well under £200 (approximately US$300) each month. A number of organisations assist with distribution, including the MoH, Mission Aviation Fellowship, the Protestant and Catholic Medical Bureaux and Médecins sans Frontières.

Many hospitals do not have reliable telephone communications or electricity; even if they had a computer (and most do not), access to the Internet is impractical. Nevertheless some hospitals are acquiring these facilities and such hospitals could act as ‘staging posts’ for receiving literature for distribution within their regions. At the moment the Uganda CME Newsletter system is effectively a ‘staging post’, and this we would like to strengthen.

Nurses are increasingly becoming involved in CME activities. At the end of March 1999, 20 hospitals included nurses in their regular CME joint activities and by the end of June 1999 this figure had risen to 35. A newsletter is now being developed for the nursing profession. This is proving rather more difficult, there being a great need for appropriate health learning materials for nurses.

The medical officers of rural hospitals are often isolated geographically, socially, professionally and educationally. This, with other factors (e.g. workload and low salaries), leads to a feeling of being forgotten, poor morale and ‘what’s the point of CME?’. This can be reversed. Visits to hospitals are always welcomed. The author has, during the last year, visited about half of the hospitals in Uganda – a few on several occasions. This enables personal contacts when individual CME plans are made as well as attendance on routine ward rounds. The daily work within the hospital is not significantly interrupted and CME continues ‘on the job’. Within a week or so of a visit each medical or clinical officer is sent a letter confirming their personal plans or just offering encouragement. Clearly it is not possible to visit all hospitals and for those not visited emphasis is placed on communication by post, which works adequately.

We are still in a steep learning stage of designing CME and identifying means of delivery in the African context, but Uganda has progressed far. The system is in place but it will need to be strengthened, preferably and predominantly with Ugandan input before it can be said to be comprehensive and sustainable. It is crucial that methods used are appropriate to the health needs of the population, the learning needs of the individual professional, and the material circumstances of the health units.

David A. Tibbutt, DM., FRCP. is
National Advisor/Co-ordinator for Continuing Medical Education in Uganda

[email protected]

* The Tropical Health and Education Trust is a UK-based organisation involved in assistance to health education and training and the provision of basic resources in support of education.

Professor Eldryd Parry
Euston House
24, Eversholt Street
London NW1 1AD
[email protected]

International support for national HLM programmes

By Neil Pakenham-Walsh

In June this year INASP-Health had the privilege to work with the Ghana Ministry of Health (MoH) on behalf of Healthlink Worldwide. Funded by DFID, the challenge was to identify ways in which the MoH ‘National Health Learning Materials Programme’ (NHLMP) could provide reliable, appropriate and locally relevant information for Ghana’s 30,000 pre-service and in-service healthcare workers.

NHLMP aims to do this through development of resource centres in training colleges and hospitals throughout the country, together with production of new health learning materials (HLMs) as required. But the sheer scale of the task is out of proportion to the available resources. What simple, new actions could be taken at international level that would help make the best use of available resources?

Many of the responses reflected the familiar priorities of financial support and training in IT skills, librarianship, writing, and editing. Others indicated a need for information services targeted to NHLMPs and local publishers in Ghana and perhaps elsewhere:

1. ‘Provide better access to information about what is available internationally and is reliable, affordable, and appropriate for use by district level healthcare workers - and how to get it.’
NHLMP currently houses a collection of HLMs of varying relevance and quality, built up over the years mainly through ad hoc donations. The collection has few if any distinguishing features compared with other resource centres throughout Ghana. It is of little use in guiding procurement and identifying gaps to commission new local publications. To do this, the NHLMP wants a single central reference collection of the most reliable, affordable, appropriate HLMs for district level healthcare workers, including international, regional, and national materials.

To collate the international aspect of such a collection, NHLMP needs access to something that does not yet exist: a single authoritative source of information on recommended international publications that are reliable, affordable, and appropriate for use by district healthcare workers. Several questions remain. Would other NHLMPs find such a collection useful? Would it be desirable and feasible to define, independently and objectively, the international element of such a collection? And could such collections be put together at minimal cost, assuming that publishers of selected titles would be willing to donate single copies to each participating country, knowing that they would be part of a ‘showcase’.

2. ‘Provide reliable source information that can be easily adapted to local needs’.
There will always be gaps between what is currently available and affordable, and what is needed. NHLMPs and publishers in Ghana and elsewhere need to be able to identify and fill these gaps cost-effectively. A reference collection as described above might help identify gaps, but local production will continue to be limited by available resources for authoring, editing, peer review, revising, design, and illustration. And authors and editors will continue to be hampered by lack of access to quality, relevant source and reference information. Current information on the internet and CD-ROMs, even where accessible, is of surprisingly limited use to Ghanaian authors of district level HLMs.

The NHLMP wants to be able to produce quality HLMs that are locally relevant, and to do so quickly and effortlessly. Is there a role for the World Health Organization or other international agency to shift their emphasis from publication and distribution of their own texts (which often do not reach their target audience at all) to partnerships with NHLMPs and local publishers? Perhaps WHO could provide quality text and illustrations from a ‘generic’ web site specifically targeted to NHLMPs and local publishers – demand-led prototype pre-publications that would then be downloaded and processed by local publishers, with translation and adaptation by local health experts as necessary, and with local printing and distribution?

Though not a panacea, ICT brings a whole new world of possibilities to improving access to information. And this does not just mean ‘putting a computer on everyone’s desk’, but also ‘improving the content and relevance of information that is already available’ and ‘making it easier to access it and repackage it according to local needs’.

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INASP South-South Rural Development Project update

During the first five years of its existence, INASP worked at building up a database which held a considerable amount of information of relevance to the transfer of scientific information, and, in particular (though not by intention) its flow from the North to the developing world. There was, however, a firm belief that a significant volume of information produced by developing countries themselves should be made more widely available on a South-South basis. INASP renewed its commitment to include in its database a wider range of those institutions in developing or emerging regions
which publish the results of their research/experience and indicate a willingness to share them with both similar institutions in the South and also interested organisations in the North.

Since funds kindly provided by UNESCO for this new initiative were limited, its scope had to be restricted. ‘Rural development’ in the broadest sense was the area considered most appropriate. Its geographical coverage was confined to Africa. In July 1997, the INASP Directory of Organisations and Networks in Rural Development: Africa (Pilot edition) was published (see also the INASP Newsletter of Nov 97).

Whilst (or because) response to this publication has been positive and demand high, it is now sadly out-of-print and funding for a (hopefully extended) reprint is still being sought. However, a small amount of funding has been received from Danida which enables us to continue to extend the database and make copies available on diskette. We would welcome hearing from any organisation, active in rural development information provision, which might wish to have its own entry included.

The disk can be ordered from the INASP secretariat. When making a request please state the preferred format: Word 6, Word97, etc.

For further details, please contact:

Pru Watts-Russell
Programme Officer, INASP
Email : [email protected]

Announcements from INASP Rural Development Network members

1. ECOFLASH, a bi-monthly newsletter of the Network for Environment and Sustainable Development in Africa (NESDA), a forum of African experts and institutions engaged in the management of the environment and natural resources, is now available on the internet and can be accessed via its web-site Comments and contributions to future issues are welcome.

Contact address: NESDA, 24 BP 95 Abidjan 24, Guichet Annexe BAD, Côte d'Ivoire. Email: [email protected]

2. The Rural Development Forestry Network (RDFN) has recently launched a new online notice board that will bring its readers regularly updated information including announcements from forestry-related organisations, book reviews, and details of forestry courses and conferences.

Its web-site address is: . For those wishing to have information posted on the notice board please email RDFN at: [email protected]

Contact address: Rural Development Forestry Network, Overseas Development Institute, Portland House, Stag Place, London SW1E 5DP, UK
The INASP Directory of Organisations and Networks in Rural Development: Africa.

The Directory is arranged in three parts:

Section 1: South-South Organisations and Networks in Africa (103). Each entry is grouped under the broad subject heading to which it most closely relates, although many organisations are active in a number of subject areas. This section reflects the main emphasis of the Network which is to encourage increased dialogue and information exchange between like-minded organisations based in the developing world, particularly in Africa.

Section 2: A Select List of Relevant International and Regional Organisations (61).
This includes some of the organisations based elsewhere (Asia, Europe, North and South America) which share an interest in rural development and information dissemination activities and are relevant to their African counterparts.

Section 3: Newsletters and Journals
An alphabetical listing by title of those Newsletters and Journals published by organisations which appear in the Directory.
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The Means and the Ends

North-South collaboration in higher education: the potential role of ICT

Many higher education institutes in the South are currently engaged in a steady process of automation and are rapidly achieving ‘on-line’ status, through email and Internet technologies, in today’s global society and economy.
But what impact does this actually have on their academic programmes and what are the institutional implications? What type of interventions are required, within the framework of collaboration between tertiary institutes in the North and the South, to enhance institutional development, and to improve their knowledge management and the teaching and learning processes by using ICT as a tool for these purposes?
These questions were addressed during an international expert meeting on the use of ICT in higher education organised by Nuffic, the Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education, based in The Hague. The meeting, which was in June 1998, was entitled ‘North-South Collaboration in Higher Education: the Potential Role of ICT’. Some 50 professionals from Europe, Canada, Latin America, Africa and Asia participated in the meeting.
The results of the meeting have now been published by Nuffic in a (tropics-resistant hard-cover) Nuffic Paperback called The Means and the Ends.
After describing the background to the meeting and the key issues addressed, the publication starts off with a chapter on the potential of ICT in higher education in the next century. It not only peeks at the future use of ICT but also at the role of education in the decades ahead.

Next is a chapter on the requirements for a national information and communication infrastructure in Africa, followed by two strong, down-to-earth chapters on the use of ICT in ‘the primary process’: education itself. Both are written from the perspective of North-South collaboration.

One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the fact that it is produced by an organisation which is primarily concerned with higher education, rather than ICT. The trap of transposing ICT standards to the existing forms of education (or vice-versa) is successfully avoided. The authors are acutely aware of the fact that (higher) education itself is changing dramatically in our time, that not all of these changes are attributable solely to developments in ICT and that what we see of these changes now is only the beginning of a process which will continue well into the next century.

The epilogue by Nuffic’s literary grandmaster Hans van der Horst tells us why it took the Dutch so long to introduce steam-power on a large scale: the machines were initially introduced in a field (drainage) which was already satisfactorily mechanised through wind energy. His tale is an invitation to look at the opportunities, rather than just the applications of ICT.

The book’s weak point is the prominent position of its second chapter. In it, Mike Jensen (an IT-consultant) in essence argues that Africa needs to (and can) be kick-started into the information society - with the aim of nobody having to go for more than 30 minutes to reach a low-cost communications point. Although the author is clearly aware of the African reality (the list of ‘bottle-necks’ is tale-telling) his recommendations (comp. ‘universal smart-card based systems’) betray little sense of it. The chapter may annoy, if not offend some readers.

The section ‘For further reading’ is expanded with three excellent pages ‘For further surfing’.

Overall, the book is definitely recommended reading for anyone involved in the application (opportunities ?) of ICT in higher education in the South.

More information from:
PO Box 29777
2502 LT Den Haag
The Netherlands
Tel: + 31 70 4 260 260
Fax: + 31 70 4 260 399
[email protected]

The publication can be ordered from the publisher:
Thela Thesis
Fax: + 31 20 620 33 95
[email protected]
ISBN: 90 5538 038 5
The price is HFl 25 (approx. US$12)

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Brazilian journals online
SciELO's collection now holds 34 titles

SciELO Brazil - Scientific Electronic Library Online ( publishes a selected collection of Brazilian scientific journals. SciELO is a result of a partnership project conducted since 1997 by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP), the Latin American and Caribbean Centre on Health Sciences Information (BIREME), and a group of scientific editors.

The project developed a model for electronic publishing to meet the scientific communication needs in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is committed to contribute to the advancement of the science by increasing and improving publication and dissemination processes, as well as evaluation procedures for scientific literature. SciELO Brazil is one of the project's most visible results.

Initially as an experimental initiative, new journal titles have been added to the SciELO collection as the project advances. It now comprises a respectable 34 Brazilian titles in different areas of knowledge, with over 4,000 full text articles which can be browsed through a Web-based interface. They form an indispensable source of information for scientists all over the world, while abstracts in English help generate awareness on Brazilian academic results. A number of titles include full
articles in English.

The serials currently published in SciELO are:

Acta Cirurgica Brasileira
Brazilian Journal of Chemical Engineering
Brazilian Journal of Genetics
Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
Brazilian Journal of Physics
Cadernos CEDES
Cadernos de Saúde Pública
Ciência da Informação
Ciência e Tecnologia de Alimentos
Dados - Revista de Ciências Sociais
DELTA: Documentação de Estudos em Lingüística Teórica e Aplicada
Educação & Sociedade
Genetics and Molecular Biology
Journal of the Brazilian Computer Society
Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins
Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira
Psicologia USP
Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica
Revista Brasileira de Botânica
Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo
Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais
Revista Brasileira de Cirurgia Cardiovascular
Revista Brasileira de Geociências
Revista Brasileira de História
Revista da Faculdade de Educação
Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical
Revista de Microbiologia
Revista de Odontologia da Universidade de São Paulo
Revista de Saúde Pública
Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo
São Paulo Medical Journal
Scientia Agricola

Knowledge, information and new technologies: the impact of information on the development process

The 1999 meeting of EADI’s Information Management Working Group

By Sarah Cummings

This year’s meeting of EADI’s Information Management Working Group numbered a respectable 30-40 participants with some new faces among the audience and the speakers. In addition to its regular sessions, the working group organised a semi-plenary on information which was designed to emphasise the value of information to researchers. It attracted a large audience, comprising approximately 60 researchers and 40 information managers.

The session’s point of departure was the 1998/99 World Development Report entitled Knowledge for Development. In this report, the World Bank examines the role of knowledge in advancing economic and social wellbeing. Although bringing knowledge to the forefront of the international agenda must be applauded, a number of questions remain outstanding for the development community.

The Chair of the Session, Peter Ballantyne, began by arguing that the World Bank report represented a global perspective on the role of information for development. Although this is not the only global approach, it is an appropriate starting point at this time because there is no European perspective on this issue although one is in the process of being developed.

Knowledge is like light: information is like water

The first speaker was Stephen Parker of FID. He compared information to water: ‘It has to be collected, processed, stored, and distributed and it can be polluted and lost.’ He underlined the fact that the link between information, knowledge and decision making is not straightforward.

To address the relationship between information and decision making, a major research programme on the impact of information on decision making, funded by the International Development Research Council (IDRC) is now being carried forward by FID. This research project on ‘The impact of information on decision making’ was initiated in 1992 and is now in its third phase. The aim of the present phase is to test a methodology for assessing the impact of information on a number of IDRC-funded information products.

In his closing comments, Stephen Parker argued that the World Bank report stresses the impact of information at the level of the community and the society, rather than at the level of the individual. The role of information in personal development should not be overlooked.

The second speaker was James Deane of the Panos Institute, one of the authors of the influential Media Briefing (see: ) which criticised the World Bank’s report. In his presentation, James Deane compared the Knowledge for Development report with the World Bank’s current ’99 report which deals with globalisation and what it calls localisation, namely the decentralisation of power to sub-national authorities. If you look at these two reports together, there are number of inconsistencies. This muddle arises partly because the World Bank does not make a distinction between knowledge and information. Indeed, what constitutes knowledge needs to be defined largely by those who need and use it, not by external agencies. Discussions of knowledge mask fundamental problems which have nothing to do with knowledge gaps: the capacity gap; the information gap; and power gaps. In such a context, developing countries need to make maximum use of what is in people’s heads, they need to recognise that knowledge is distributed throughout their societies, and they need to have mechanisms where that knowledge can be communicated into the decision process.

The discussion focused on a number of issues. One member of the audience used the difference between information (short-term) and knowledge (long-term) to highlight how information affects human behaviour in the context of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Another participant started a discussion on the unsustainable nature of information-related development aid, particularly in Africa. One participant from Africa considered that information was more like ‘life’ than light. Warnings, for example about hurricanes, were able to save lives.

The debates also considered the ownership and control of the media, rights and access to information, the threat posed by new technologies to government’s control of their citizens; the contribution of these technologies to transparency and good governance; the private appropriation of public-domain information and intellectual property rights.

EADI’s Information Management Working Group

The Information Management Working Group is one of the most active working groups of the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI). It serves as an open platform for reflection, discussion and action on development information across Europe. It is the only European meeting place for information professionals with a strong interest in international co-operation and development research. For over 20 years, the working group has organised an annual meeting in close collaboration with its members.

At EADI’s 9th General Conference held in Paris earlier this autumn, the Information Management Working Group held a number of separate sessions and a semi-plenary on the last day of the conference.

Library Statistics for African Universities

INASP has just published the 1997/98 library statistics for three African universities:

- The University of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia
- The University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania
- The University of Zimbabwe.

This publication marks the finish of a project that began in 1997 with a Workshop, held in Harare, on the Collection and Use of Library Statistics. The outcome of the Workshop was an Annual Statistical Return, a copy of which is also included in the publication.

The three libraries undertook to take part in a pilot collection exercise using this return and INASP undertook to organise the cumulation and publication of the data.

The challenge for the future lies in encouraging more libraries to take part and in identifying an organization which will undertake the processing and publication of data on an annual basis. Only then can trends be established and benchmarking take place.

For more information, contact:
Diana Rosenberg
at the INASP Secretariat
or at:
Tel/Fax: + 44 117 973 7915
E-mail: [email protected]

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Notice Board

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

Short contributions can be sent to the editor at INASP.

New Online Rural Development Forestry Network Notice board

The Overseas Development Institute’s Forest Policy and Environment Group has launched a new online notice board, based on the Rural Development Forestry Network Newsletter format, that will bring regularly updated information including announcements from forestry-related organisations, book reviews, and details of forestry courses and conferences.

The Forest Policy and Environment Group’s strategy is to strive for a broader, more livelihood-oriented approach to the importance of trees and forests, focusing especially on institutional, policy and socio-economic aspects of sustainable forest management and conservation as well as on the interface between forests and other land-uses. The Group believes that, while livelihoods must often compete with national and international interests for resources, environmental sustainability and social equity are profoundly related.

The web-site address is:

If you would like to send information to be included on the notice board please e-mail the Group at [email protected]

Second Global Knowledge Conference

The second Global Knowledge Conference (GKII), to be hosted by the Malaysian Government and the Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) will bring together more than 1,000 people to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to hammer out strategies that will help put the tools of the information age in the hands of developing countries and the world's poor. GKII, with participants representing the public and private sectors, key NGOs and international agencies, will be held from 7 to 10 March 2000.

GKII will focus on what GKP calls: Building Knowledge Societies. Three broad themes will provide participants with a framework within which to examine opportunities to harness knowledge and information as tools for development.

These themes are:
- Access: to ensure universal access to ICTs and to the knowledge that can be tapped using them;
- Empowerment: to identify strategies and tools that can help empower individuals and communities to improve their economic, social, cultural and political lives;
- Governance: to explore ways in which ICTs can enable more efficient, transparent and participatory forms of governance.

More information from:

Vimala Sundram or Ayesha Harben
Tel:+ 603 7541735
Fax: + 603 7546849

Anthony Thompson Award

This award, administered by the International Group of the Library Association, aims to enable a librarian not resident in the UK to visit it to study some aspects of British Librarianship.

In the year 2000, IGLA hopes to make an award to a candidate from Central Asia, who has a particular interest in school libraries and services to children.

The deadline for applications is 31 December 1999.

More details are available from IGLA’s website on:

or from:

Mrs Doreen Walker
Stoke Library
Walsgrave Road
Coventry CV2 4EA

Global Knowledge Partnership

The Global Knowledge Partnership, is an informal partnership of public, private, and not-for-profit organisations, which are working together to help people everywhere gain access to the knowledge and technology they need to live meaningful and fruitful lives. GKP currently has 55 member organisations including national governments, international organisations, corporations and non-governmental organisations. The partnership evolved out of the first global knowledge conference, GK'97, held in Toronto, Canada. GK'97 explored ways in which to increase access to new information and communications technologies.

The next INASP Newsletter will be published in May 2000. If you would like to contribute to its contents, please write to the editorial address above. Contributions must be received by 1 April 2000.
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