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The eGranary: Storing the Seeds of Knowledge Heather Lee, MPHUAB Sparkman Center for Global Health February 6, 2012
OBJECTIVES What is the Widernet Project? What is the eGranary Digital Library Project? What are some of the accomplishments of the eGranary Project? Role and vision of the Sparkman Center How were the portals developed, including the Zambia Knowledge Centre? Finally, the eGranary will be revealed!
WHAT IS WIDERNET? TheWiderNet Project is based at the University of Iowa in the United States
WHAT IS THE MISSION OF WIDERNET? To improve digital communication to all communities and individuals around the world in need of educational resources, knowledge, and training Widernet serves many people who lack internet connectivity and information resources, but their work focuses especially on the needs in developing countries
WHAT DOES WIDERNET OFFER?A holistic approach: computers, needed appliances and educational material Also offer resources and training Training is important because enables people to be self-sufficient with using Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
WHY IS THERE A NEED FOR THEIR SERVICES? Only one out of seven people have adequate access to the Internet In many developing countries, universities may have a direct connection to the Internet, but not enough bandwidth to adequately serve their users Only a fraction of professors and students have access to email and basic computer programs What is your internet experience like at your job?
WHY DOES WIDERNET ADDRESS THESE PROBLEMS? Belief that ICT can empower people, giving them better access to information, knowledge and communication and in that way improve their overall quality of life Strive to make educational resources and training opportunities available to everyone to bridge the digital divide
WIDERNET HISTORY Founded in 2000 by Prof. Cliff Missen and Dr. Michael McNulty After visiting the University of Jos in Nigeria as a Fulbright Scholar, Cliff experienced first hand the frustration of trying to teach with a lack of internet access
WIDERNET ACCOMPLISHMENTS Has donated more than 1,200 computers for use at universities in Africa Has provided training opportunities to thousands of university staff and administrators in programs customized to suit their institutions specific needs Installed the eGranary Digital Library at more than 350 partner institutions around the world
THE eGRANARY DIGITAL LIBRARY PROJECT While at the University of Jos, Cliff created the first version of an off-line digital library after requesting that a UI graduate student send him some Web sites on a CD-ROM Eventually started placing educational materials onto a hard drive
WHAT IS THE eGRANARY DIGITAL LIBRARY? Delivers millions of Internet resources to institutions lacking adequate Internet access Provides lightening fast access to educational materials including video, audio, books, journals and Web sites, even where no Internet access exists
WHERE ARE THE eGRANARIES? Blue dot= 1 eG, yellow= 2-5 eGs, red=10+ eGs
WHAT KIND OF PLACES HAVE eGRANARIES? Primary and secondary schools Colleges and universities Medical schools Engineering schools Hospitals and medical clinics U.S. embassies Churches Prisons Businesses
HOW IS CONTENT IDENTIFIED AND OBTAINED? The eG project looks for Web sites with pertinent digitized academic information (often guided by requests of its subscribers) to add to its ‘wish list.’ Requests the authors’ or publishers’ permission to copy their materials through email communication. If permission is given, materials are copied Creative commons More to come later on the technical details of this!
WHAT’S INSIDE THE eGRANARY? Library that is fully indexed and searchable using built-in search engine Websites, journals, videos, textbooks, audio files, articles, instructional manuals and much more The tools to allow you to add local content
WHAT TYPES OF INFORMATIONCAN BE FOUND IN THE eGRANARY? The information stored inside the eGranary covers dozens of topics, including: Math and science Engineering Medical, nursing and public health resources ICT resources Atlases, almanacs and other reference materials Education and teaching materials History, sociology, psychology, economics, religion and other social sciences Agriculture and horticulture Literature, art and music
EXAMPLES OF MAJORCONTRIBUTORS TO THE eGRANARY DIGITAL LIBRARY Wikipedia Columbia University Hesperian Foundation World Health Organization Khan Academy OER Africa
WHAT HAVE eGRANARY USERS HAD TO SAY THUS FAR? “The eGranary Digital Library concept is the solution for creation and distributing online content challenges currently facing most African countries.”--Mr. Jacob Mtui, Research and Development, University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania “The eGranary Digital Library has helped our students and lecturers in accessing academic materials which were not easily accessible due to limited bandwidth. The concept is very good for those with limited or no bandwidth and should be supported. It has become part and parcel of our e- learning platform.” --Nyaga Gacheru, Network Administrator, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya
MORE COMMENTS FROM eGRANARY SUBSCRIBERS “It was a fantastic success; both the students and faculty were amazed and delighted by even a small taste of the eGranary content.” --John Frediani, eGranary Donor, Jos, Nigeria “The idea is simply GREAT! We are trying to promote it in Bangladesh, especially educational institutions providing higher studies in remote areas.” --Mr. Mizanur Munna, Positive Bangladesh Initiatives
COMMENTS FROM eGRANARY SUBSCRIBERS IN ZAMBIA “The eGranary can help or can easy the job of a librarian by giving direct subjects and topics to the information seeker. It gives access of information to the users. The eGranary does not consume much time as compared to the internet.” --Workshop Participant, University of Zambia “I think the eGranary digital library should be introduced to all the libraries, even in public libraries for the users to access information as quickly as possible.” --Workshop Participant, University of Zambia
WHAT IS THE SPARKMAN CENTER? Founded in 1979 by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Based at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
WHAT IS THE OVERALL VISION AND MISSION OF THE SPARKMAN CENTER? Alleviation of health problems in less developed countries by building capacity We work collaboratively with academic institutions, international agencies and health ministries within host countries We also work to enhance the capacity of the UAB community to engage, prepare and support current and future professionals
WHAT KINDS OF THINGS DOES THE SPARKMAN CENTER DO? Distance education Support international internships and other educational activities for UAB students Work with partner institutions in other countries to enhance medical, nursing and public health education
WHAT IS THE SPARKMAN CENTER’SROLE IN THE eGRANARY PROJECT? Sparkman Center Director, Craig Wilson, heard about the eGranary at a conference in Lusaka in 2007 Previously had been carrying over heavy textbooks each visit Was particularly interested in adding health related materials And that’s where I came along…
EVOLUTION OF THE PROJECT Significantly expanded health science resources Have seen eGranary increase from 750GB capacity to 4TB Formed a partnership with VVOB Will be hiring an in country eGranary support person
SPARKMAN SUPPORTED INSTALLATIONS IN ZAMBIA The University of Zambia School of Medicine Chainama Hills College of Health Sciences Lusaka School of Nursing Copperbelt University School of Medicine Chikankata Mission Hospital Lewanika General Hospital Lusaka Apex Medical University (LAMU) Cavendish School of Medicine Zambian Forum for Health Research (ZAMFOHR) Supported the purchase of 4 eGranaries for the Colleges of Education in Zambia
WHAT IS THE SPARKMAN CENTER’S VISION FOR THE eGRANARY? To see the eGranary used widely in Zambia, particularly in remote areas with no or very limited internet access For every training institution in Zambia have an eGranary To continue to work with our partners to enhance the eGranary Digital Library
WHAT IS A PORTAL? Custom portals highlight resources in certain topic areas Portals are built by consulting with teachers, librarians and government ministries to create portals that best match their information needs Portals enable teachers and students to quickly access information identified by experts in the subject
ZAMBIA HEALTH INFO PORTALS The long journey of creating the first portal And then two more…
THE GLOBAL DISABILITIES RIGHTS PORTAL (GDRL) The purpose of the GDRL is to help users find resources they can put into action to improve the lives of people with disabilities around the world United States International Council on Disability (USICD) developed the portal with funding support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID)
HOW THE GDRL WAS DEVELOPED During its first year in 2010, the GDRL Project focused on identifying partners as well as gathering and cataloging resources for the library Librarians at USICD and Widernet particularly emphasized practical toolkits and training manuals as well as reports on the status of disability rights and “best practice” examples around the world
GDRL DISSEMINATION Inmid 2011, four organizations received a “pilot” version of the GDRL to test the library and made recommendations for improvements ZAMISE was one of the sites chosen to pilot the GDRL This year, the project will continue to expand the library to include local content from end users A total of 60 locations will receive a free eGranary via the project
THE ZAMBIA KNOWLEDGE CENTRE PORTAL Idea initially developed at Zambia Knowledge Centre think tank meeting in April 2011 Participants agreed eGranary was the perfect tool for the ZKC Team of Zambian educators was formed to identify resources for the portal
A SNEAK PREVIEW OF THE CONTENT ON THE ZKC Khan Academy Flexbooks Free High School Textbook Project (FHST) TESSA Instructional guides for Microsoft Office applications We will look at these tomorrow in more detail!