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The development of digital libraries is an important concern in facilitating access, sharing and preservation of content. eIFL believes that the open source Greenstone Digital Library (GSDL) software suite (www.greenstone.org), whose development and distribution are coordinated by the University of Waikato in New Zealand, provides a unique resource to promote the development of DLs in Africa in keeping with our objective of empowering libraries through Open Source solutions.
For this reason, we have agreed to execute the Greenstone Southern Africa Pilot Project on behalf of the Koha Foundation (U.S.A.) which is providing US$50,000 for implementation of the project. The University of Waikato and DL Consulting, a private company in New Zealand working closely with the Greenstone project, will provide consultant staff to the pilot project as support in kind. eIFL has asked Mr John Rose, a retired UNESCO staff member who has been working with the Greenstone team in its efforts to promote Greenstone support and participation in developing countries, to serve as the international coordinator for this pilot project. Additional details of this project will be provided on an ongoing basis.
The Consortium of Electronic Libraries in Kosova, a body under the National and University Library of Kosova, will participate with a session during the “Library Week in Kosova” to be held April 16-21, a week long library event organized by the National and University Library of Kosova and the United States Office in Prishtina.
The Consortium will hold an hour session on the services it offers to the scholarly community in Kosova. The primary audience in this session will be current consortium members, representative from University of Prishtina, representative from private universities, representatives of public and special libraries. In this session, consortium services, how it functions, benefits of becoming a member, joint collaboration in purchasing e-resources as a cost effective measure will be discussed.
Through this session, the Consortium aims to raise the awareness of current and potential members on e-resources usage, benefits from joining the consortium, and planning for joint collaboration of purchasing new e-resources when there will be no donation in a near future.
The eIFL country coordinator for Moldova, Silvia Ghinculov, will deliver the presentation “Electronic resources in the collection development policy” at the annual Moldavian librarian forum on March 28th. In addition, the national library consortium is also planning a training seminar for the researchers of the State University of Cahul for a better use of the EBSCO Data Bases and finally some Consortium representatives will participate at the International Conference "???????????? ?????? 2007"(The Rumeantev Readings) at the Russian State Library in Moscow on April, 10-12th. The name of the report "The Use of the Electronic Resources In Libraries of Republic of Moldova", authors of the report Nelly Turcan and Natalia Cheradi.
Sania Battalova, eIFL country coordinator for Kyrgyzstan, paid a country visit to Tajikistan on February 28-March 4 in order to meet up with the local library community and assist them on a series of consortium matters
Monika Segbert and Nadya Terzieva, eIFL country coordinator for Bulgaria, will pay a country visit to Albania on March 22 to discuss with the local community the way forward for their consortium development
Melissa Hagemann and Susan Veldsman will attend the OAI5 Conference, the 5th Workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, which will take place on April 18-20. Details of the conference are available at oai5.web.cern.ch
Rima Kupryte will attend the kick off meeting of SYReLIB, the European Commission funded project where eIFL is a partner which will provide a sound basis for action towards the development of modern electronic library and information service in Syrian Universities, undertaking pilot projects in Aleppo University and Al Ba’ath University in Homs. The official launch of the project will be in Aleppo on April 21-24. Please see the press release at www.eifl.net
The national Institutional repositories and Open Access for scholarly communication: a sensitization workshop will take place at the State Library, Maseru, Lesotho on April 24-26. Susan Veldsman will attend this important event for the library community in Lesotho and Hussein Suleman and Dale Peters will be the resource people from South Africa
Teresa Hackett will moderate a panel discussion at the Second Annual Access to Knowledge (A2K2) conference to take place at the Yale Law School, New Haven, USA, on April 27-29. Details of the conference can be seen at research.yale.edu
Variation agreements were signed with Emerald and Sage which extends access and include offers for new countries that expressed and interest to have access in 2007. Oxford Reference Online renewal is currently under negotiation. New databases will be added to the current agreement (Oxford English Dictionary and Oxford Premium) namely Oxford Music and Art and Oxford Scholarship Online.
Subscribers to BioOne will be contacted shortly to renew their license agreements for continued access. eIFL is working on a shorter version of the license agreement to make the renewal of access quicker and easier.
We are currently in the process to set up trials for Project Muse, Cochrane and ScienceOnline.
Continued discussions are still taking place with XPLore (IEEE), JSTOR, Sci Fi and ISI Web of Science.
Nature publishing will provide us with pricing soon.
We have been reporting for almost two years, and 20 days negotiation, on a development agenda for WIPO. With no agreement on the 111 proposals, member states were sent back to the negotiating table once more to hammer out an agreement. The first meeting took place in February to discuss the “low hanging fruit” i.e. less contentious proposals.
Progress was made! After five days, the proposals were accepted, including items of importance to eIFL, on the public domain and control of anti-competitive practices. These came under pressure from some countries, especially Colombia, which attempted to spoil the occasion by recording a formal objection in the final agreement. However, as a senior member of the US delegation said, "We sensed a different atmosphere on both sides this time".
Much credit to the spirit of cooperation goes to the new chairman, the Ambassador of Barbados to the UN, who displayed the qualities of a true diplomat: a determination to get the sides talking to each other, a tough, business-like approach to negotiations coupled with a great sense of humour.
Iryna Kuchma from Ukraine joined the eIFL team, delivering the first ever library intervention in Russian. This was a pleasant surprise for the Russian-speaking delegates who rarely hear NGO interventions in Russian, and enabled eIFL to reach out to government representatives from this part of the world.
The next meeting in June will seal the fate of the development agenda. This will be much tougher, however, because the rest of the proposals are more contentious and many are opposed by the industrialised countries. But the upbeat conclusion of the February meeting gave everyone a sense of optimism for June.
"As [the Indian] delegation, we feel it is a very significant forward movement. The meeting concluded in a spirit of compromise and consensus. This augurs well for future deliberation which may lead to the finalisation of a development agenda for WIPO. It is imperative that member states maintain this spirit in the next meeting of the PCDA".
The eIFL-IP Advisory Board held its first meeting in Geneva with a wide-ranging discussion on the achievements of eIFL-IP, the challenges and the opportunities ahead. Special attention was paid to training and capacity building, including how to develop regional hubs and to strengthen regional support. Growing the Access to Knowledge (A2K) movement in key countries of strategic importance in the global IP debate was also a topic for discussion. The consultation process for the eIFL model copyright provisions was endorsed and ideas for enhancing the proposal were raised.
Under wraps on the day of the meeting, was the announcement that Advisory Board member Winston Tabb, Dean of University Libraries at John Hopkins University, is this year’s recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) International Relations Committee’s award to an individual for significant contribution to international librarianship. Winston received the award for his focus on issues relating to increasing global access to information, particularly in parts of the world where access has been limited.
eIFL extends its congratulations to Winston and is proud that we can count amongst our friends and supporters such internationally renowned professionals.
Press release: www.ala.org
Announcement of the eIFL-IP Advisory Board www.eifl.net
The eIFL Handbook on Copyright and Related Issues for Libraries, launched in January, has been mailed far and wide and has been pressed into the hands of copyright officials from Argentina to Zimbabwe. It sits on a library shelf in Ghana, has been catalogued in Lithuania and has inspired a course for students on library copyright issues in Zambia. Our allies are keen to read it too; it is featured in the February newsletter of the European library association (EBLIDA).
Translations into Russian and Polish (annotated for the Polish legal context) are underway.
Handbook announcement: eIFL.net.
The complete Handbook, as well as the individual topics, is available for download on the eIFL website: eIFL.net/services.
Michael Geist’s blog
Michael Geist is the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa. Michael has a popular blog on legal technology issues which includes “Law Bytes”, a weekly column on technology law that appears in international media outlets, “Must Reads” and tutorials such as “30 Days of DRM”. You can visit it at www.michaelgeist.ca.
During January 2007 eIFL conducted an Institutional Repository survey amongst its 50 members. The purpose of the survey was to:
There were 34 respondents to this survey. There were 15 countries with IR’s currently available in their countries with a total of 50 individual IR’s.
Respondents were asked what the main barriers to development of IR’s were in those countries that currently don’t have them. Respondents indicated an insufficient general knowledge about IRs, insufficient knowledge about appropriate content or about how to integrate an institutional repositories within the culture of the institution. This presents additional educational opportunities and challenges for eIFL.
For countries in which there are currently no IR’s, respondents were asked if they were aware of any plans to set up one or more repositories. A very large percentage indicated that they are aware of plans to develop one or more repositories. When asked when such repositories would be established, it varied from 2007-2009.
When asked if they were aware of any governmental initiatives to mandate Open Access to publicly funded research in their countries, 20% indicated that they were.
The survey assisted eIFL to formulate strategies to take the whole OA initiative forward:
More than 550 delegates from nearly 50 countries attended a major European Commission conference on 15-16 February to discuss the future of scientific publishing in the European Research Area. Held in Brussels, the conference attracted researchers, publishers, policy makers, research funders, and librarians drawn to debate the issues of Open Access of research outputs, dissemination of research and preservation in the digital age. eIFL was represented by Emilija Banionyte, Biljana Kosanovic, Iryna Kuchma and Melissa Hagemann.
Discussion focused on the policies of research funding bodies, especially the European Commission, new opportunities for the research community in widening access to their research outputs, and a debate on the scientific publication market, which saw many publishers react quite defensively to any suggestion that a change was needed. As a result of the meeting, the Commission pledged to undertake specific actions (see below). Of particular importance, please note that the Commission will now include the costs of Open Access publishing as an eligible cost in Community funded projects which is a HUGE step forward. The Commission is also starting discussions with the European Parliament and the Council, thus for the eIFL members who are interested in Open Access, it will be important that we begin to liaise with the Members of Parliament from your countries to advocate for Open Access.
Actions to be undertaken by the EU Commission:
Author Addenda - An Examination of Five Alternatives www.dlib.org.
Radio Interview on Open Access with eIFL/OSI’s Melissa Hagemann: kruufm.com/station.
Nonprofit Scholarly Publishers Call for Exploration of Open Access Models to Improve Scholarly Communications: newswire.ascribe.org.