On Tuesday, May 26th 2009, Dr. Siro Masinde the Regional Coordinator for Africa conducted a JSTOR/Aluka training workshop at Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD), Dakar, Senegal. The half day workshop was organized in collaboration with UCAD and the Senegalese Association of Librarians, Archivists and Documentalists (ASBAD) and was attended by 23 participants from universities, government departments and international organizations such as IDRC.
The workshop was opened by the President of ASBAD, Dr Adama Aly Pam, an information management specialist at the Central Bank of West Africa (BCEAO), Dakar.The workshop program consisted of introductory lectures about JSTOR and Aluka databases followed by practical sessions on using these databases. There were lively discussions on how Africa can play a more prominent role in knowledge production and dissemination.
It was noted by participants that French speaking West Africa needs to do more to utilize online resources of which the majority are in the English language. It was emphasized during discussions that knowledge transcends language, geography, race and other trivial barriers that make people not utilize or underutilize resources. Participants resolved to play an active role in disseminating information about JSTOR/Aluka in West Africa so as to enhance usage and encourage new sign ups. At the end of the workshop, participants felt confident in using JSTOR and Aluka databases and were very impressed about features such citation exportation in JSTOR as well as book and image viewers in Aluka. Participants wish list included, inclusion of journals on library and information/knowledge management and the reduction of the moving wall to shorter periods, and where possible making current issues available.
Participants were all very grateful for the African Access Initiative that has enabled users in Africa to access all JSTOR collections at no cost. Workshop participants are expected to host training workshops at their respective institutions or departments in coming weeks so as to ensure that skills shared by more persons. The participants were given information materials and a training CD and also shown where to find other training materials on the JSTOR website. Additional images from Dr. Masinde’s training and visits across Africa are available on our Flickr page.