Information specialists from seven African countries attended our workshop, “Practical Digital Content Management from the Digital Libraries & Archives Perspective” at Saint Mary’s University (SMU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Participants from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe gathered for the 3-day workshop, 5-7 November and learned how to increase online access to African research.
The workshop presentations are now available on our site: http://adlsn.org/adlsndl2014/ . They include overviews of FOSS (free and open source software) solutions as well as workflow and policy best practices.
ADLSN President, Africa J. Bwamkuu, opened the workshop by reminding the participants that in order to fulfill their role as information professionals they must improve global access to the research output of their institutions. The perception that African researchers are not contributing to the global knowledge base persists because the research is not globally available. In order to meet this goal, libraries must provide uninterrupted online access and also provide the necessary tools to easily search and download.
The primary solution comes in the form of Digital Repositories (DR). Through DRs, libraries collect, manage, preserve and provide online access to the research output of their institution.
During the workshop, ADLSN staff demonstrated a range of free, open source software solutions that libraries can use to implement a DR. In addition, for those institutions with limited IT resources or who do not have the infrastructure to support 24/7 online access, participants also learned about ADLSN’s ADLC, a cloud-based solution that guarantees 24/7 access along with technical support.
Advocating for Open Access (OA) goes hand in hand with building a DR. OA is the unrestricted online access to peer-reviewed scholarly research. OA is primarily intended for scholarly journal articles, but it also encompasses other research output, including theses and dissertations, book chapters, conference proceedings, and scholarly monographs. ADLSN advocates for OA and encouraged workshop participants to implement policies and best practices to encourage their researchers to broadly share their research.
In addition to managing their institution’s research output, most libraries also have unique archival collections such as historical photographs and newspapers that remain hidden unless they are digitized and made available online. Participants learned about a variety of free, open source solutions for addressing this challenge.
At the end of the intensive, 3-day workshop, the participants expressed their appreciation for what they had learned and also for being able to share best practices with their colleagues.
ADLSN would like to thank the Saint Mary’s University (SMU) staff for being such gracious hosts!