Thursday, August 20, 2015

IFLA Publishes a Statement on Privacy in the Library Environment

At its 14 August 2015 meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, the IFLA Governing Board endorsed an IFLA Statement on Privacy in the Library Environment. The FAIFE Committee oversaw preparation of the Statement and benefitted from consultation with IFLA units and various Internet civil liberties advocacy organisations. 
This new Statement on Privacy in the Library Environment is intended to give guidance to libraries and information services in an environment that includes mass surveillance by governments and routine user data collection by commercial interests that provide content or services through the Internet. Risks to library users' privacy might arise through their use of search or social media applications on the Web or their use of library platforms and content that collect data on end users.
The statement describes current challenges to the protection of user privacy for libraries and information services, outlines relevant international statements of privacy as a right and identifies related IFLA policies. Finally, the Statement on Privacy in the Library Environment offers recommendations to libraries and information services around both advocacy for privacy protection and practical measures to protect user privacy in libraries. It recognises that libraries and information services have little ability to affect some kinds of data collection about their users, and encourages appropriately adjusting local library data collection practices, considering privacy concerns in procuring platforms and services, informing and educating users of risks and best practices, and participating in community efforts to promote the protection of privacy. 
Read the statement: [PDF – English

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Nuffic Fellowships

The Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education (EP-NUFFIC) offers fellowships to participate in training courses in The Netherlands. The aim is to promote capacity building within organisations in eligible countries via training and education for professionals. This is initiated and fully funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the budget for development cooperation. Nuffic offers NFP en MSP fellowships:

The Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP) for short courses offers scholarships for participants living and working in one of the following 51 countries. For more information about a NFP Scholarship, please see:
The MENA Scholarship Programm(MSP) aims to contribute to the democratic transition in one of the 10 participating countries in the Middle East and North Africa region. It also aims at building capacity within organisations by enabling employees to take part in short courses in various fields of study. For more information about the MENA Scholarship Programme, see:
(Applicants from Egypt and Jordan are eligible for both NFP and MSP Scholarships. You can only apply for one of the two. If you meet the eligibility criteria of MSP, we recommend that you apply for a this Scholarship.)

How to apply for Nuffic Fellowships

A new fellowship application deadline opens 1 September 2015!
By following the steps as outlined below, you will ensure that your application meets the requirements to qualify for a Nuffic scholarship. All these steps need to be taken before the deadline of 20 October 2015!
Please read the instructions carefully and prepare all the documents in advance. There are many applicants for Nuffic Scholarships and only applications that comply with all the prescribed requirements will be assessed. You are personally responsible for the quality of your application!
The following courses are from 1 September open for Nuffic scholarships. More information about the content of the courses will be published soon.
Integrity and Anti-Corruption (7 – 18 March 2016)
Multilevel Water Governance (4 – 15 April 2016)
Citizen Participation and Inclusive Governance (23 May – 3 June 2016)
All supporting documents must be uploaded in PDF format and must not exceed 2 MB. The following instruction can assist you: Instructions to convert documents to PDF(If you encounter problems converting documents, please contact us
Step 1:      Check eligibility
In order to qualify for a NFP Scholarship, you need to meet the following selection criteria. You must:
  • be a national of, and working and living in one of the 51 countries on the NFP country list;
  • not be employed by an organisation that has its own means of staff-development, for example:
    multinational corporations (e.g. Shell, Unilever, Microsoft),
    large national and/or a large commercial organisations,
    bilateral donor organisations (e.g. USAID, DFID, Danida, Sida, Dutch ministry of Foreign affairs, FinAid, AusAid, ADC, SwissAid),
    multilateral donor organisations, (e.g. a UN organization, the World Bank, the IMF, Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, IADB),
    international NGO’s (e.g. Oxfam, Plan, Care);
  • must have an official passport that will still be valid after completion of the training;
  • must not receive more than one fellowship for courses that take place at the same time;
  • English Language skills: The short courses are taught in English. Therefore, it is important that your English language skills (writing and speaking) are good.
  • Work experience: Minimum of 2 years of experience required, working with or for local or regional authorities. It is to your advantage if the work/experience is related to the content of the training.
To be eligible for a MSP Scholarship you must meet the selection criteria mentioned above. Furthermore you:
  • must be a national of, and working and living in one of the countries on the MSP country list valid at the time of application;
  • must have an official passport that will still be valid after completion of the training;
  • must not be over 45 years of age at the time of the grant submission.
Step 2:      Prepare a Government Statement
For some countries, applicants must provide a government statement that meets the requirements of the country in which the employer is established. Please check theOverview Government statements to determine if you need a Government statement.
If you do need a Government statement, you have to provide one using one of the following prescribed formats: NFP Scholarship or MSP Scholarship (MENA)
Prepare this document in advance and convert it to PDF (less than 2 MB). You will need this document when you complete your Scholarship Application in the second phase.
Step 3:           Prepare your Employer Statement
All applicants must provide an Employer Statement according to the format that Nuffic prescribes. Your Employer Statement consists of 3 parts and together this must form 1 (one) PDF document which is no larger than 2MB.
The 3 parts are:
  • Declaration by your employer (Permission to participate)
  • Motivation by your employer and your own motivation
  • Implementation plan (with clear goals and deadlines)
Important notice:
  • If your employer statement misses 1 or more parts, your application will be discarded.
  • Please click see the following Example of an Employer Statement (including guidelines about the quality of the statement).
  • Should you encounter problems converting your Employer Statement into 1 PDF document, please mail us at and we will assist.
Please use the following format: Format Employer Statement (in pdf)
(After you have completed and confirmed your application with The Hague Academy, you will receive an admission email from us including this same Format Employer Statement in Word. You can download this and use it to complete your personal Employer Statement in the Nuffic database called Atlas)

Step 4:           Prepare a copy of your passport
You need a passport that will still be valid during the period of the training you are applying for. Prepare a scanned copy in PDF (not exceeding 2MB).
Step 5:           Apply for admission with The Hague Academy
  • Please read the Obligations for NFP and MSP applicants carefully before you start your application
  • Apply with The Hague Academy by completing the online application form you will find via the following link: will be available from 1 September 2015!
  • After completing this form, you will receive a registration code, a link and instructions to complete the final stage of your application.

Step 6:           Registration for a Nuffic (NFP or MSP) Scholarship (final step)
After completing your course admissions with The Hague Academy for Local Governance, you need to apply for a NFP or MSP Scholarship in the online Nuffic database called Atlas.
  • You will have to answer amongst others the following 3 questions in Atlas:Question 1: What is the issue or problem you want to address in your country?Question 2. How will this training course enable you to address this issue?Question 3. How will you address this issue with your position within your organisation?
  • Please read the Quality Guidelines for your motivation in Atlas’
  • Pay careful attention to the formulation of your answers. Be specific and base your answers on factual information. Through the various stages of the application, the answers to these questions will be closely scrutinized.
  • Upload the supporting documents that you prepared in Steps 1-4.
  • Please note: It is not possible to temporarily save once you have started your scholarship application. You need to complete it in one session. Therefore it is important that you have all the supporting documents ready.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Smithsonian Launches Public Access Plan for Research

The Smithsonian has released its Plan for Increased Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research, based on the principles outlined by the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Through the new plan, all applicable publications and supporting data resulting from federally funded research will be available through the Smithsonian Research Online (SRO) website or CHORUS, a nonprofit membership organization that helps federal entities increase public access to research. The plan will take effect Oct. 1 and apply to articles submitted to publishers on or after that date.
In addition to its many museums, the Smithsonian is world renowned for its research programs. Scientists and researchers at the Smithsonian study a variety of topics across disciplines as varied as art history, cultural anthropology, astrophysics and biodiversity and endangered ecosystems.
The public will be able to access qualifying manuscripts through either SRO or CHORUS after a designated waiting period. SRO will archive accepted manuscripts collected under the plan. It will also archive PDF copies of final publications when permitted by publishers. If the publishing journal is a member of CHORUS, both SRO and CHORUS will link to the publisher’s public access version of the article.
“The Smithsonian considers public access to be an extension of its mission to ‘increase and diffuse knowledge,’” said Scott Miller, the Smithsonian’s Deputy Under Secretary for Collections and Interdisciplinary Support. “We’re proud this plan allows us to make these publications available to everyone.”
“CHORUS is honored to work closely with the Smithsonian Institution and be part of their public-access solution,” said Howard Ratner, executive director of CHORUS. “Our agreement formalizes a collaboration that will soon begin to yield benefits for the public. By leveraging existing infrastructure with new services and technologies, CHORUS helps minimize the Smithsonian’s administrative compliance efforts and maximizes identification, discovery, access and monitoring of that content.”
This first phase of the plan outlines the policy for public access to publications resulting from federally funded research. In the second phase of the plan, the Smithsonian will develop policies for providing access to data that is generated from federally funded research.

Cape Town Declaration (IFLA WLIC 2015)

Cape Town, South Africa—14 August 2015
Ministers and country representatives from Angola, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote D’Ivoire, Lesotho, Guinea, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan and Swaziland met to discuss the status of libraries and implementation of access to information agenda at a meeting on 14 August 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa—just ahead of IFLA WLIC 2015.
IFLA President Sinikka Sipilä, African Library Associations & Institutions (AfLIA) President and national librarians were also present.
The group deliberated on the status of libraries on the African continent and the progress required to meet the global sustainable development goals.  
The resulting document is the Cape Town Declaration.
We thereby commit to: 
  • Provide the necessary resources for the development of African libraries to respond to modern day challenges and provide access to emerging technologies; 
  • Support the establishment of a Pan African library organisation to provide a platform for networking and resource mobilisation; 
  • Encourage the establishment of institutional partnerships between libraries in the continent for exchange of knowledge and experiences; 
  • Fast-track implementation of continental innovative strategies to improve ICT and knowledge management;
  •  Encourage the implementation of fair and balanced copyright laws to facilitate access to information for all; Fast-track the implementation of the outcomes of Library Summits held in 2011, 2013 and 2015 respectively; 
  • Support the work of the African Library and Information Association and Institutions (AFLIA); and National Libraries, National Library Services, National Library Associations and Councils; Encourage the use of e-books and virtual libraries more effectively to facilitate cultural and scientific exchange and encourage a culture of reading in the continent; 
  • Promote library policies on access to information as part of a universal human rights approach as well as rights of people to knowledge; 
  • Encourage the development and promotion of local content in African libraries as part of the promotion of African Renaissance and Pan Africanism;
  • Encourage the sharing of skills, collection and preservation of African stories from our own communities; Commit that the African Ministers responsible for arts and culture, libraries and access to information will meet regularly; Adopted In Cape Town, Republic of South Africa on 14 August 2015.
Read the full text: [PDF–English]

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Poem: "We All Came"

Commemorative of the four-week stay in Pretoria with Librarians from Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa (the warm host) in the Carnegie CPD4 programme, the Poem "We All Came" is a memoir of a grateful grantee. Being my first publicly read poem, the rendition may not be the best you will expect with some minor errors in the reading but certainly you will enjoy a bit of it.
Thanks Edward for the coverage.

A Jubilant IFLA Conference Opens in Cape Town


The Mzansi Youth Choir of Soweto performs at the opening session of the 81st International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ World Library and Information Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, August 16, 2015.
The Mzansi Youth Choir of Soweto performs at the opening session of the 81st International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ World Library and Information Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, August 16, 2015.
Storytelling, dancing, and rousing songs by the Mzansi Youth Choir of Soweto set the stage for the 81st International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) in Cape Town, South Africa, August 15‒21. Some 3,000 library delegates from more than 100 countries were present for this year’s event, themed “Dynamic Libraries: Access, Development, Transformation.” This is only the third time that IFLA has had an African venue for its WLIC—Durban, South Africa, in 2007 and Nairobi, Kenya, in 1984 were the earlier locations.
Storyteller Gcina Mhlophe (left) dances with delegates.
Storyteller Gcina Mhlophe (left) dances with delegates.
The opening session on August 16 began with a dynamic performance by South African actor, poet, and author Gcina Mhlophe, one of the few women storytellers in the country. Against a backdrop of images of African scenery and wildlife, Mhlophe described how creativity and musical rhythm were born long ago on the continent, and people used ancient wisdoms to develop and grow. But as they left their homeland, “people forgot what Mother Africa felt and looked like,” Mhlophe said. “But all peoples of the world will find their way back to Africa—like sea turtles traveling back to where they first hatched. Welcome home! You are no strangers here.”
The Mzansi Youth Choir, a troupe of young men and women ages 12‒24 who have sung and danced at music festivals worldwide, followed with a rendition of the late South African singer Miriam Makeba’s 1967 hit “Pata Pata,” accompanied by some dazzling choreography that had delegates rising from their seats and swaying with the rhythm.

Cape Town Declaration

There was indeed much to celebrate, because just two days earlier, IFLA President Sinikka Sipliä joined ministers and cultural representatives from 13 African countries in Cape Town to discuss the status of libraries and access to information on the continent. These talks resulted in a document known as the Cape Town Declaration, which includes resolutions to:
  • Provide the necessary resources for the development of African libraries to respond to modern-day challenges by offering access to emerging technologies
  • Encourage the use of ebooks and virtual libraries to facilitate cultural and scientific exchange and encourage a culture of reading on the continent
  • Promote library policies on access to information as part of a universal human rights approach
  • Encourage the collection and preservation of stories from indigenous African communities
  • Require the African ministers responsible for arts and culture, libraries, and access to information to meet regularly.
The signatories to the declaration were the countries of Angola, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Lesotho, Guinea, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan, and Swaziland.
On hand at the opening session to talk about the declaration was South African Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa, who compared it to “hosting our own World Cup.” He said that libraries do “make a difference” as spaces that can “revolutionize and transform our people’s lives for the better by promoting social cohesion across international borders.” The Cape Town Declaration, he said, was in part inspired by the principles enshrined in the 2006 Charter for African Cultural Renaissance, and the ministers welcomed IFLA’s perspective on the United Nations’ ongoing efforts to develop a post-2015 framework for future global development—an agenda in which “everyone has access to and is able to understand, use, and share the information that is necessary to promote sustainable development and democratic societies.”
Mthethwa said the declaration’s intention was to make sure that “libraries do not get left out of this international agenda.” The goal is to create a global information society “where the culture of reading is the way of life.”

Expanding the information universe

IFLA opening session keynote speaker Rob Adam
IFLA opening session keynote speaker Rob Adam
Another way that the global information society is being created is through the acquisition, storage, and analysis of Big Data, especially in the physical sciences. Opening session keynote speaker Rob Adam gave delegates an update on what he calls “one of the greatest scientific endeavors in history”—the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project being constructed in the deserts of South Africa and Western Australia. SKA will become the “world’s largest radiotelescope,” Adam said, and will “involve the world’s finest scientists, engineers, and policymakers” from at least 10 countries in its design over the next 10 years.
Adam is a South African nuclear physicist who, after being imprisoned in Pretoria for 10 years as an anti-Apartheid activist and member of the African National Congress, went on to become a leader in scientific development for the new democratic government. He lobbied vigorously to have his country be a primary partner in the SKA project, and at the end of 2015 he will become SKA’s South African director through 2020.
The SKA will involve a connected series of radiotelescopes with a combined surface area of one square kilometer, hence its name. It will have the imaging resolution of the Hubble telescope, require high-performance computers faster than any in existence in 2015, and “generate data traffic at a comparable level to the current global internet,” Adam said. All this will require a Big Data storage and retrieval plan that is currently under development.
Phase One of the project is scheduled to be fully operational in 2020. What kind of data will SKA be providing the scientific community? Adam listed five priorities:
  • Exploring Einstein’s general theory of relativity to its limits
  • Detailing how stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang
  • Testing models of dark energy, a still-unknown form thought to permeate the entire universe
  • Discovering the origin and evolution of cosmic magnetic fields
  • Searching for signs of extraterrestrial life
Adam said that current radiotelescopes can detect planets orbiting other stars, but Phase One of SKA will be able to “detect radar signals from those planets” and Phase Two (scheduled for 2025) will be able to “detect television broadcasts from those planets” (should any exist).

How data sharing transforms lives

OCLC's Dénelise L’Ecluse and Erik van Lubeek
OCLC’s Dénelise L’Ecluse and Erik van Lubeek
Storytelling and data sharing were also featured in OCLC’s Industry Symposium, held on Monday, August 16. Erik van Lubeek, vice president and managing director of OCLC’s Europe, Middle East, and Africa region (EMEA), explained that OCLC has a long history of working with libraries to build national bibliographies, but that today’s vision extends beyond national borders. “Library networks see the value of working globally,” he said, “because their users are asking for it” and benefiting by it.
This is the basic concept behind OCLC’s new branding effort for its WorldShare platform, the web architecture that provides access to its WorldCat data. Introduced in July, the trademarked catchphrase is that knowledge knows no bounds “because what is known must be shared.” OCLC Director of Sales and Marketing for EMEA Dénelise L’Ecluse explained that advances in technology “changes how libraries and OCLC collaborate.” The new goal is to “bring libraries together to share the world’s collective knowledge,” and this session explored several stories about how this sharing has led to breakthroughs in people’s lives.
Ebinumoliseh Ifeoma
Ebinumoliseh Ifeoma
Perhaps the most poignant was provided by Ebinumoliseh Ifeoma, a postgraduate student in chemistry at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa, who fought for many years for her right to an education. A Nigerian national, Ifeoma had to apply to a South African university to obtain a bachelor’s degree because universities in Nigeria “have outdated books, no internet access, and few of the right chemicals and equipment” she needed. “The South African government,” on the other hand, “makes it easy to study,” she added.
One major factor in her quest to earn a postgraduate degree was UKZN’s vision to become a first-class institution of African scholarship. In order to do this, the university asked OCLC and Sabinet, a South African provider of online documents and journals, to get the library up to speed with scientific publications on the WorldShare platform. Sabinet Managing Director Rosalind Hattingh told the group that WorldShare data migration and staff training was implemented in a record four months, allowing the platform to go live on January 6.
Ifeoma said that this year’s “access to repositories of high-quality scientific information” is making all the difference in her current research on the causes of cancer and diabetes. By using these resources she said she was able to submit an article of her own for publication and is well on her way to an advanced degree. From a student’s perspective, she said, “only when we work together do we advance faster and further.”