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Entering its 6th year as an independent not for profit organisation, eIFL.net has consolidated as a major advocate for enhanced access to knowledge and electronic information through strong library consortia in developing and transition countries. As 2007 eIFL General Assembly showed, eIFL.net has managed to diversify its work areas and to cooperate with countries in different regions. Now it is the time to build on the many accomplishments further, by revisiting eIFL strategy for the years to come, by undertaking a new wave of geographical expansion in other disadvantaged countries and by continuing to improve its 6 programme areas in order to meet the challenges of the local library communities within the eIFL network.
In 2008 eIFL will keep on providing assistance in the development of national library consortia in many ways, such as country visits, workshops and training material on specific issues of interest locally; will continue to facilitate access to scholarly online content, by signing agreements with world top scientific publishers and aggregators and by renewing existing deals; will encourage more take-up and better usage of e-resources by looking closely at the barriers. Besides, eIFL will continue to play an active role in advocating open access for publicly funded research, by supporting national OA mandates in member countries and by engaging in international campaigns; will promote open access publishing within the network, by raising more awareness on the benefits of open access journals and creation of institutional repositories.
2008 will also be a very exciting year for eIFL IP programme, which besides the support of OSI, has received a major backing by the Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to carry out a range of new activities, including a distance leaning course on copyright for librarians and the organization of the first eIFL IP general conference. Furthermore, resting on a solid network of FOSS coordinators in eIFL countries, eIFL FOSS will enter an in-country phase in 2008, which will result in the implementation of pilot projects and the development of practical documentation about migration and installation of integrated library systems by local libraries.
As usual, the New Year opens with the first of the three advisory board meetings that will help structure eIFL work agenda for the next 12 months. This time, the meeting will be hosted by the Open Society Foundation in London, Britain, on January 25-26 and will be attended by the board members and eIFL staff. On this occasion, in addition to discussing about the developments in all eIFL work areas, a strong emphasis will be placed on the eIFL fundraising campaign, with the participation of the newly appointed eIFL fundraiser, and on visioning process in where eIFL will be in 5 years time. An account of outcomes will be shared in due time and the minutes of the meeting will be uploaded on the eIFL website for members to read.
The board meeting will be preceded with a one day staff meeting and will be closed with a management board meeting.
Moldova is the new eIFL country featured on our Spotlight section of our website. This success story looks into how member libraries of the national consortium eIFL Direct Moldova have managed to establish a productive collaboration with faculty in promoting enhanced usage of e-resources amongst academia and students and in raising awareness at the university administration level of the importance of online content in modern teaching and research. You can read the full story at www.eifl.net
Following the translation of main texts of our website into French, Russian and Spanish, country coordinator for Palestine/West Bank Diana Sayej and her staff in the University of Birzeit have kindly volunteered to prepare the translation into Arabic, for which we are very thankful. By doing so, eIFL intends to reach out its network in as many languages as possible, as a way to show its richness and variety. In the near future, eIFL envisions that the local communities of the eIFL network will be able to contribute actively to website content with news in their native languages, too.
Armenia The Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation in Armenia has granted the Fundamental Scientific Library of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) with a one year grant to develop an Open Access based scholarly communication system for the national academic community. The National Academy of Sciences houses 29 research institutions, including the Fundamental Library, the main and largest repository of scholarly publications in Armenia. Eighteen NAS libraries are members of the eIFL-supported Electronic Consortium of Armenia ELCA, ( www.elca.am), whose main objective is to ensure and enhance access to online scientific journals to libraries, universities, research and other non-commercial organizations.
The grant period will run through the whole 2008 and will look into Open Access publishing procedures, institutional repositories and self-archiving toolsets for the local research community. In addition, the project will publish 12 issues of an electronic journal mainly focused on Mathematics and Physics. Tigran Zargaryan, director of the Fundamental Scientific Library of the National Academy of Sciences, will coordinate the project. You can read the full details of the project at www.eifl.net.
Bosnia and Herzegovina National library consortium EICBH plans to organize a series of meetings in the next couple of months to discuss its work agenda for 2008, to present all databases and e-resources that the local community of libraries can access through eIFL and to train library members on EBSCO usage.
Lithuania In December 2007 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania and Martynas Mazvydas National Library of Lithuania signed an agreement whereby Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will grant 15,2 million USD to set up free access to computers and Internet and enable technology training in public libraries in Lithuania. The project is called "Libraries for Innovation" and expects that by 2011 all urban public libraries (including 5 members of the Lithuanian Research Library Consortium-LMBA) and 85% of libraries in rural areas will have PCs and broadband Internet connection freely available for end-users and over 2000 librarians and 50000 users will be trained on how to use ICT. In addition, LMBA consortium expects to increase its membership with more public libraries as a result of this agreement.
On January 13-17, Monika Segbert will pay a country visit to Nepal to meet up with the local community of librarians, NGO's and policymakers to discuss access to e-resources and partnership with eIFL.net. She will also hold a one day workshop on eIFL programme areas.
Susan Veldsman and Rima Kupryte have been invited to join the first DRIVER Summit: Towards a Confederation of Digital Repositories. This major conference in favour of the open access of scientific material and scholar cooperation at international level will take place in Goettingen, Germany, on January 16-17.
eIFL 16th Advisory Board meeting will take place at the premises of the Open Society Foundation in London, UK, on January 25-26. Board members and eIFL staff will discuss the work agenda for 2008, with a special emphasis on strategic planning for the years to come, fundraising issues, and further development of work programmes.
On January 28, eIFL FOSS manager Randy Metcalfe will speak on the significance of FOSS for librarians in developing and transition at an event publicizing the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) at the University of Windsor, Canada, organised by the eIFL-FOSS friend and Advisory Board member, Art Rhyno.
On January 30-February 2, Randy Metcalfe will participate in the Ontario Library Association (OLA) conference in Toronto, Canada. Along with Bess Sadler, eIFL-FOSS Advisory Board member, Randy will provide an update on developments in the eIFL-FOSS program and the role of FOSS in eIFL countries. Also presenting at the event is Nasser Saleh, formerly eIFL country coordinator for Gaza/Palestine and now based at Queen’s University in Canada. You can view additional details of the conference at www.accessola.com.
On February 4, Teresa Hackett and Rima Kupryte will meet with the new Director of the Information Society Division, Miriam M. Nisbet, as well as with Susan d’Antoni, UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning, to exchange information on common programme areas.
On February 12 in Dublin, Ireland, Teresa Hackett will meet Frode Bakken, Norway, member of the EBLIDA copyright expert group to discuss European Partnership Agreements (EPAs) / Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).
On February 26-29, the Greenstone national workshop in Lesotho will be conducted under the leadership of Lebohang Letsie, Librarian of the Lesotho College of Education. This will be the last of the series of national workshops that eIFL has facilitated within the framework of the Southern Africa Greenstone Pilot Project in Malawi, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
eIFL has signed an agreement with the Johns Hopkins University Press Project Muse, a unique collaboration between libraries and publishers providing 100% full-text and user-friendly online access to over 350 high quality humanities and social sciences journals from over 60 scholarly publishers. eIFL members can find the licenses in the MEMBERS ONLY section of the website.
In addition, eIFL is in the process of signing agreements with:
- Ovid technologies, to provide access to over 13 million bibliographic records in IBSS (International Bibliography of Social Sciences, from the British Library of Political and Economic Science of the London School of Economics and Political Science, ISD (International Science Database by INIST/CNRS), ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center by the US Department of Education), Agris database by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Agricola by US National Agricultural Library, and Medline by the National Library of Medicine.
- New England Journal of Medicine, a weekly general medical journal that publishes new medical research findings, review articles, and editorial opinion on a wide variety of topics of importance to biomedical science and clinical practice. Material is published with an emphasis on internal medicine and specialty areas including allergy/immunology, cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology, kidney disease, oncology, pulmonary disease, rheumatology, HIV, and infectious diseases.
Agreements are also close to being reached with Nature Publishing Group and Royal Society.
There is a long list of publishers that we are at a various stages of negotiations and we will keep you informing when agreements will be reached and signed.
Variation agreements are prepared to be signed for the period 2008-2010 with the Institute of Physics, Oxford Journals and Emerald.
In addition, eIFL plans to renew agreements with Sage, Wiley/Blackwells, GALE (with a new product mix) and AMP package as existing three year agreements will be expiring this year.
In 2007, capacity building and providing support to the eIFL-IP network remained a priority. Throughout the year, we helped members with a wide range of legal information questions, as well as with the preparation of conference presentations on copyright and libraries. In 2008, the eIFL Handbook on Copyright and Related Issues will be available in Arabic and Chinese and the eIFL model copyright provisions will be published.
Our hard work at WIPO, a key policy forum for eIFL, paid off when Member States reached agreement on a Development Agenda and WIPO commissioned a landmark study on library copyright exceptions. eIFL will assist Member States to implement the Development Agenda with policy support and advice on access to knowledge, exceptions and limitations and the public domain.
A successful year fundraising means that eIFL-IP now receives support from the Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, as well as the Open Society Institute (OSI). We are therefore moving ahead on exciting new projects: creating unique resources such as the distance learning course on copyright for libraries, in collaboration with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School; building a collection of copyright laws for eIFL countries to improve our advice; organising the first global eIFL-IP conference in April in Istanbul. Two new colleagues joined the team for these tasks: Margo de Groot, conference organiser and Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, Research Fellow at the Berkman Center.
We are very grateful to our funders, friends and colleagues and to the eIFL-IP librarians for their support and cooperation. We look forward to a fruitful 2008!
When eIFL members meet up at the annual General Assembly and other events, one often learns about interesting or important facts during the coffee breaks or over dinner. Talking remains one of the most effective methods of communication! This is why we are introducing skype/telephone calls with Teresa Hackett, Programme Manager and eIFL-IP copyright librarians, currently being scheduled by Margo de Groot. These informal chats will help us to learn more about national copyright issues on the agenda, opportunities to raise awareness amongst local librarians and policy makers, and to assist with questions or problems with regard to copyright and libraries. We are looking forward to speaking with everyone to learn more and to better assist.
The author of the WIPO study on copyright and libraries, Professor Crews, a copyright professor and university administrator based in the USA, has asked eIFL members to contribute their experiences to the study, which is examining the exceptions and limitations in copyright law applicable to libraries and archives. The relevant statutes usually permit libraries to make copies of copyrighted works for purposes such as a user's private study, preservation or security, or other library services including "interlibrary lending."
An important part of the study will be the case studies that examine the practical implementation of the statutes. The report will include studies that demonstrate challenges in working with the law, and any innovative solutions developed by libraries, copyright owners, or other interested parties.
eIFL members contributed to the 2006 WIPO study on exceptions for blind and visually impaired people. We would like to ensure that eIFL countries are represented in this study as well, which will guide international and national copyright policy over the coming years. Please check www.columbia.edu and for more information, contact Teresa Hackett (teresa.hackett [at] eifl.net).
In October 2007, we began the search for a name for the eIFL-Berkman library copyright course that would accurately describe the different elements: it’s about copyright, from the perspective of libraries, it’s a training course and it’s delivered remotely. We received lots of creative and thoughtful acronyms and descriptive titles from eIFL members and colleagues. After much mulling over, we went back to basics and adopted the motto “simple is best”. The title selected is "Copyright for Librarians: a Distance Learning Course".
We offered to send an eIFL A2K t-shirt and the complete course on CD-ROM to whoever made the selected proposal. In the end, the final version came from a brainstorming at the Berkman Center involving all the ideas, a real collaborative creation! So, we will award our fabulous prizes to Diana Sayej-Naser from West Bank, Palestine and Irina Razumova from Russia whose suggestions closely matched the selected title.
Thank you to everyone who contributed and congratulations to Diana and Irina!
With the sponsorship of eIFL and the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, South African Regional Universities Association (SARUA) hosted an Open Access leadership summit in association with the African Access to Knowledge Alliance (AAKA) in Botswana on November 20-21, 2007.
The Chair of SARUA, Professor Njabulo Ndebele of the University of Cape Town, the Botswana Minister of Education, J D Nkate and the CEO of SARUA, Piyushi Kotecha, opened the conference with strong statements on the value of Open Access in their respective constituencies
At the conference, the comments of these opening speakers seemed firmly embedded in a recognition of the need to create equity for the developing world in its contribution to global knowledge. What emerged was a vision which could move SARUA universities on from the current post-colonial reliance on the North for standards for research competence, to a situation in which they could promote their own competence as knowledge producers.
Universities in the southern African region need to explore open research and open science in order to become research intensive in the next 10-20 years, making a contribution not only to global scholarly communications, but also creating links between research, teaching and learning, and ensuring the contribution of universities to socio-economic development in the region.
eIFL provided funding for Alma Swan of Key Perspectives, Leslie Chan of Bioline International and Jasper Maenzanise of Zimbabwe Open University Library to participate in this conference and was represented by Susan Veldsman. Presentations can be found at: www.sarua.org
After heated debates and continued hard work, President Bush signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2007 (H.R. 2764) in December. The Act includes a provision directing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to provide the public with open online access to findings from its funded research. This is the first time the U.S. government has mandated public access to research funded by a major agency.
The provision directs the NIH to change its existing Public Access Policy, implemented as a voluntary measure in 2005, so that participation is required for agency-funded investigators. Researchers will now be required to deposit electronic copies of their peer-reviewed manuscripts into the National Library of Medicine’s online archive, PubMed Central. Full texts of the articles will be publicly available and searchable online in PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication in a journal.
For more information, and a timeline detailing the evolution of the NIH Public Access Policy beginning May 2004, visit the ATA website at www.taxpayeraccess.org
OSI has been working with the Shuttleworth Foundation (South Africa) to develop a declaration around open educational resources. A soft launch of the site took place recently www.capetowndeclaration.org. The hope is that the declaration will spur the development of a movement around open educational resources as the Budapest Open Access Initiative did for Open Access to research literature.
The declaration will be formally launched on January 22. Individuals and organizations interested in the further development of open educational resources can show their support for the declaration by signing on, www.capetowndeclaration.org/sign-the-declaration so that they could be listed as an early signatory to the declaration.
A big thanks goes out to the eIFL community for assisting in the translation of the declaration into many languages of the network ( www.capetowndeclaration.org/translations).
Further developments on the federated eIFL repository (eifl.cq2.org) have been taking place in the last two months resulting in:
Different scenarios will be submitted to the eIFL Advisory Board in January for discussion of next steps of this project.
On January 16-17, the European project DRIVER (Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research) will hold the First DRIVER Summit in Goettingen, Germany, to present results of the initial test-bed phase and pave the ground for a confederation of digital repositories.
DRIVER responds to the vision that all relevant scientific content should be easily accessible through internet-based infrastructures. Achieving this vision reaches beyond technology - it is also the organisational dimension that allows a stable and trusted network of content providers. DRIVER is working with repository federations in Europe, and reaches out to further international communities (for example in the US, China, India, and Africa) in order to determine the practical requirements for a confederation of digital repositories.
The theme for International Conference on Electronic Publishing ELPUB2008 is “Open Scholarship: Authority, Community and Sustainability in the Age of Web 2.0” and the conference will focus on key issues of the future of scholarly communications resulting from the intersection of semantic web technologies, the development of cyber-infrastructure for humanities and the sciences, and new dissemination channels and business models.
The conference will be hosted by the Knowledge Media Design Institute and the University of Toronto on June 25-27. Leslie Chan, a close friend of eIFL, is the General Chair of the Organising Committee. Organisers welcome a wide variety of papers from members of the community whose research and experiments are transforming the nature of scholarly communications. Topics include but are not restricted to new publishing models, tools, services and roles, new scholarly constructs and discourse methods, innovative business models for scholarly publishing, multilingual and multimodal interfaces, interoperability, semantic web issues, data mining, text harvesting and dynamic formatting and many more. You can check all topics and author guidelines at www.elpub.net.
In late October and throughout November 2007, the eIFL-FOSS programme set about building the cohort of eIFL-FOSS country coordinators. There are now coordinators from 28 member countries. Joining the coordinators are invited FOSS experts from across the globe and, additionally, librarians in member countries who are keen to participate in the eIFL-FOSS ILS project evaluating and developing support documentation for the Koha and Evergreen integrated library systems. A standing invitation is issued to any country that has not yet nominated an eIFL-FOSS country coordinator.
Also formed in November 2007 was the eIFL-FOSS Advisory Board. Irakli Garibashvili of the Georgian Library Association was elected Chair of the eIFL-FOSS Advisory Board.
At the end of November, Randy Metcalfe participated in the Open Translation Tools event in Zagreb, Croatia. The event brought together FOSS developers working on localization and automated translation software with open content authors in need of translation applications. As with much of the activity within the eIFL-FOSS programme, Randy has blogged about his experiences and encounters at this event. You can follow the eIFL-FOSS blog here www.eifl.net.
Randy has gradually been adding content to the eIFL-FOSS area of the eIFL.net website. Attention is drawn to a page describing the role of the eIFL-FOSS country coordinators www.eifl.net
January 2008 got off to a quick start with Tigran Zargaryan, Project Coordinator for eIFL-FOSS, reporting that the Armenian translation of Koha’s interface had been completed. Congratulations go out to Tigran and his team for this excellent contribution to FOSS localization.
Early in 2008 the eIFL-FOSS ILS project will hold a focused training event on Koha and Evergreen for potential pilot institutions in the project and others considering migration to a FOSS ILS.
The first two national Greenstone and digital library workshops were run successfully by the Bunda College of Agriculture in Lilongwe, Malawi (November 26-29, 2007) and by the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (December 3-5, 2007). The former workshop trained 21 Malawian library/information specialists and one each from Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, while the latter trained 18 from the host country and one from Swaziland. Thanks to complementary support from the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) for the Malawi workshop and from UNESCO for the workshop in Bulawayo, the pilot project is within budget and planning to terminate in July 2008. The trainees have now started to develop their own institutional Greenstone applications, and those from outside the workshop host countries will also be provided with technical support to begin their own national Greenstone support networks.
The final national workshop will be organised in Maseru, Lesotho, on 26-29 February 2008 under the leadership of Lebohang Letsie, Librarian at the Lesotho College of Education. The lecturers will be Renate Morgenstern, the sub-regional project coordinator at the University of Namibia, and a staff member of the Digital Imaging Project of South Africa (DISA) project in Durban, South Africa. It is hoped that several trainees from other African countries will participate, in addition to 12 national trainees who will also attend a one-day introductory session prior to the formal workshop. Full support is available for at least two and hopefully three of the international trainees who are expected from Botswana, Mauritius and South Africa. Applications from self-supporting candidates and for the above three funded places can still be considered, and interested African information specialists are invited to contact the eIFL project coordinator, John Rose, as early as possible and in any case during the month of January.
Following the Lesotho workshop, it is expected that the Greenstone support network in the southern African countries will further develop through cooperation and self-help among the participating information specialists and institutions, and that discussions will begin on how to continue the sub-regional Greenstone and DL support activity after the pilot project terminates. You are referred to the project website at www.sagreenstone.unam.na for updated information on the project.