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Attached file: pdf file
September 22, 2006
eIFL General Assembly
Amman, Jordan, 10-12 September 2006
eIFL.net country coordinators met in Amman, Jordan from 10-12 September 2006 for the annual eIFL jamboree of learning and networking. The gleaming white houses of the old town of Amman and the beautiful call to prayer echoing from the minarets dotted around the city provided a striking backdrop for this year’s General Assembly (GA).
Hosted in the ultramodern Language Centre at the University of Jordan, participants spent three days deepening their knowledge of eIFL programs, honing their technical skills with community building tools such as blogs and wikis and sharing best practices for marketing their library consortia.
One of the ambitions of eIFL.net is to inform its members about cutting-edge issues and to attract top quality innovators from the information world. This year Anurag Acharya, Google Distinguished Engineer, explored the creation of union catalogues and offered his brainchild, Google Scholar, as a means for eIFL libraries to increase the visibility of their vast repositories. With the motto “Standing on the shoulders of giants”, Google Scholar aims to make the world's scientific literature universally accessible.
The Scholar project results from Acharya’s experience as a student in rural India when material in his local library was typically out-of-date. “I understand the problems facing students and researchers in developing countries,” said Acharya. “That is why I welcome the opportunity to engage with the eIFL community. I believe that Google Scholar can help to make masses of valuable research material accessible. Wouldn’t it be a superb achievement if the next scientific breakthrough comes from a researcher in an eIFL country?”, enthused Acharya.
New participants learnt about eIFL licences and activities on open access, institutional repositories, open source software and intellectual property in the Newcomer’s Session. Lidia Chiotha, recently appointed coordinator for the Malawi Library and Information Consortium (MALICO) said, “I found my first General Assembly really interesting and educative. It is a great forum for exchanging ideas and sharing experiences. I see there is a lot to learn and do but I know that if I have any problems I can ask”.
“The GA is an excellent opportunity to interact with colleagues from all over the developing world and to learn about new trends in our work”, echoed Rehab Ouf from the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt.
The vendor sessions enabled face-to-face discussion with eIFL members to ensure they are making the most of the licensed products and services. “Following talks with publishers at the GA, we have ensured that we are getting the best deal for Palestinian universities”, said Diana Sayej-Naser from Palestine’s West Bank.
Maintaining a discreet distance, but capturing the whirlwind of discussions, languages and emerging friendships amongst the eighty participants from sixty countries was Eighty Days Production, commissioned to make a promotional film about the unique eIFL community.
The GA received generous sponsorship from the American Chemical Society, Cambridge University Press, EBSCO Publishing, Elsevier, John Wiley & Sons, Open Society Institute, Oxford University Press, Sage Publications, Wiley InterScience Journals and hosts at the University of Jordan, National Center for Human Resources Development and the Center of Excellence for Public University Library Services.
The warm welcome, varied program, expert speakers and the enthusiastic participation of members made the eIFL General Assembly 2006 a memorable and productive occasion.
Rima Kupryte, Director
Electronic Information for Libraries (eIFL)
c/o ADN Kronos, Piazza Mastai 9
00153 Rome, Italy
Notes for Editors
eIFL.net is an international foundation which supports national library consortia in fifty transition and developing countries to negotiate and advocate for the wide availability of electronic resources to education, research and professional communities as well as governmental organisations and civil society. This global network embraces millions of users in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East.