24.11.2011 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Improving digital knowledge transfer among researchers in Africa

The development of digital libraries in Africa is still in its infancy. But the potential is huge. Think about it: Creating open access to research in African through repositories in universities.

A training workshop for professionals working in the field is currently taking place in Dakar, Senegal to encourage the development of digital libraries on the continent.

40 participants from seven countries (Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal) participate in the week-long training from 21-25 November.

The training is jointly organized by UNESCO and CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, which is also involved in training and international collaboration.

Free digital library system

The workshop is a training in general digital library principles and the CERN digital library system Invenio, which is a free software that enable people to run their own digital libirary or document repository on the web.

The technology offered by the software covers all aspects of digital library management from document ingestion through classification, indexing and dissemination.

"This course is very important to people involved in information and documentatiovn services. Invenio is a software that we should use in our resource centers" says Ms. Bliss-Ouerdraogo Namema from the African and Malagasy Council for Higher Education (CAM ) in Burkina Faso.

The team of trainers is a mix of CERN staff and participants from earlier schools, also spreading across a range of countries: Benin, Germany, Greece, Norway, Romania and Senegal.

UNESCO provides funding to the training workshops through its International Basic Sciences Programme.

Critical mass of digital librarians

The workshop is the third of its kind. Previous workshop was organized in Rwanda (2009) and Morocco (November 2010).

"Through these international workshops we are creating a network of colleagues who will be able to support each other in the future," says Jens Vigen, head of CERN's Scientific Information Service and one of the workshop's organizers.

"The school here in Dakar is particularly interesting as participants come from a large fraction of the French-speaking countries in West Africa. We hope to have contributed to establish a critical mass of "digital librarians" in the region," he adds.

Read more:

Full program of the school and a copy of the presentations

About Invenio

UNESCO's International Basic Sciences Programme


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