First IKM Interactive workshop


On June the 2nd and 3rd the first of a series of IKM interactive sessions was held with the information managers  of 11 Organisations working in Francophone Africa. The workshop in Dakar, Senegal, was hosted by CODESRIA at the AUF Campus Numérique.

The meeting focused on the use of new opportunities provided by the Internet and Web2.0 as well as on  the obstacles to publishing, promoting, aggregating and finding  African research outputs. The participants worked together on a wiki platform where they could get access to a series  of modules and provide feedback. The modules examined which new approaches showed promise both for searching , dissemination and promotion.
In the video below Benoît Diouf, a University librarian in Saint-Louis de Senegal, talks about his expectations of the workshop:

After the workshop  Benoît reports in this blogpost about the  outcomes.

Although the workshop was practical with an emphasis on hands-on work very lively discusses emerged, both spontaneously and because they were planned in the program.

Some of the key findings included:

1. The bias produced by Google’s PageRank does not favour many of the research institutes represented at the meeting. Instead it puts emphasis on publications by  larger international bodies.

2.  Other scientific  search engines (Scirus, Pubmed, Scholar) do not index much of the research material published on the web. More active steps can and should  be taken to ensure these indexes and sources like Google books include African research. One of those steps is digitization of existing resources.

3. For delivery and creation of information one needs to take into account the realities of developing countries such as limited access to computers and the net. Paper and offline version of products are necessary to avoid excluding people.

4. There was much concern about the quality of information. It is necessary to develop new measures for this quality in an electronic environment.

5. African scientists have long been deprived of access to relevant resources. Access has been improved recently but these opportunities will not be used to their full potential unless they become part of the daily way of working. There is an urgent need for capacity building, both for information professionals and scientists. Information literacy should be part of curricula.

6. Intellectual property rights are an important issue in this context. There are doubts what one can do with the information provided by others (and for that reason it is sometimes decided not to use it). Likewise it is unclear what others can do with the information that one provides.

7.  Folksonomies and traditional controlled vocabularies were discussed extensively as approaches to make information easier to be found.

[We will extend this post when more materials and videos become available]

5 Responses

  1. Excellent to hear about this first ‘IKM Interactive’ workshop.

    It sounds like you had excellent discussions on the realities of mobilising and sharing the multiple knowledges that we dream of…

    Am really encouraged to see the blogs you link to ( and on to

    Any chance some of these folks will be at the KM4Dev africa meeting in Brussels – ?

  2. Hi Hugo

    How great that you could put a report of this workshop onto the blog so quickly. Terrific. I look forward to the other photos and videos etc when they are ready.

    As you will have seen, I have now embedded the video from bliptv. I’m afraid this took a few minutes of puzzling and at some point I uploaded another video – I couldn’t find the permalink for the other one – but going by the pictures it was a environmentally sensitive band and nothing offensive (thank goodness!) This caused me some palpitations!

    For those of us who are not fluent in French, I have used Google translate to translate the blog posting by Benoît Diouf. You can see the link here and although it is automatically translated, it is possible to understand:

    I don’t know if Peter told you but I had a brainwave – well, I thought so – a few weeks ago about creating a web interface for providing the aggregated information and knowledge management for development blogs so this is a really great example, of course. Something for Working Group 2?

    Best wishes


  3. This is so cool!. I will share it with my CARE colleagues. We started years ago our first CARE wiki.. and now is growing so fast!. Take a look. It is a GLOBAL wiki about our shift to a program approach. Good and successul KS at CARE (finally!)

  4. I’m finally catching up. These observations about the use of social media in science research outside of the “big” institutions is very relevant to a new page on the –>

  5. […] media. The first was held in Dakar last year, organised by Olivier Sagne of CODESRIA and reported in the Giraffe by Hugo Besemer.  We have also reported here on the Digital Diving sessions that were organised in […]

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