Friday, September 08, 2006

Connecting Africa

I am at the ASC-CODESRIA conference in Leiden, the Netherlands. It is a get-together of mostly African Studies scholars/researchers, and for sure the theme of Open Access i.a. has been thrashed around in these past couple of days. And I am most happy to report on the connecting-africa project (officially launched yesterday), which proves what can be done when you have, at base, an already-established network of IRs (institutional repositories). For, what the initiative is, is an aggregator research (material) locator service using OAI-PMH to harvest only African Studies-related research from IR´s the world over. The list of current data providers is available here , and what´s also of interest are not only the indications of the quantity-subset of records being harvested in the aggregate-total number of records in disparate institutional archives, but also the figure indicating the number of African Studies experts for the institutions listed. Now, it will be obvious that the statistical data is more refined with regard to Dutch data providers (I imagine as a consequence of the, at-base, data collection effort of the DARE network), but the aim with the Connecting-Africa project is to expand the list of data providers (and so, in turn, accessible research output) to all such IRs globally which have material of interest to African Studies scholars. Already, and I am proud to see, that the IR at Rhodes University in South Africa, is one of the data providers in the network. Shows what can be done when there is enough interest, enthusiasm, and action!! Well done to the team at the African Studies Centre here in Leiden!


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