Monthly Archives: November 2013

Training the trainees – empowering African academic libraries

The University of Eastern Finland (UEF) started the Training of the trainers (TOT) project in 2011. The aim of this program funded and initiated by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (FORMIN), is defined as:

The intention of this programme – Higher Education Institutions Institutional Cooperation Instrument (HEI ICI) – is to create a mechanism through which HEIs in Finland and developing countries can cooperate to produce institutional reforms. The projects are aimed to promote the strengthening of the developing country HEIs’ administrative, methodological and pedagogical capacity, as well as to support their own development plans.

In UEF, the project is managed by the Public Health Department and the Library is one of the partners in it. The second phase of the project commenced at the start of 2013. The African partner universities are still the same as in the first phase: Ain Shams University from Egypt (ASU), CUHAS from Tansania and UEAB from Kenya.

We had our midterm meeting of the project in November 2013 at the UEAB campus in Baraton, Kenya. The campus is situated in the middle of the Kenya’s flourishing nature and it is an excellent example of an ecological campus as it produces its own food in the fields around the campus that are also used in agricultural studies and surrounded by colorful African nature.

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We noticed that a leap towards the modernization of e-teaching and digital information service provision had happened in all the partner universities after the first phase of the project. Each institution had started to plan or even build a modern library premises with digital learning centers. Also the e-learning materials had been implemented both in the academic teaching as well as in the libraries’ information literacy tuition.

Thus from the point of view of the project’s aim, we were able to notice that the mission to “promote and support” each institution in their own goals had started to happen. The training of a couple of trainees into each university had begun to start to build up new possibilities and new ways for the academic teaching and research. In addition, the universities’ top management had been engaged in making the change to happen towards a modern, digital and networked way of conducting academic studies.

There is definitely the talent and motivation to the modernization of the African higher education although one must not underestimate the challenges. The aim is set in several countries to the year 2030 when they want to be an active part in the globalizing world. Education is seen as a crucial part in this process.

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The trainees will be attending the second training session at the UEF’s Kuopio campus in April 2014. We planned the following aims for this: to further develop the expertise of the trainees especially in integrating the modern information resources to the e-learning and courses to be implemented. The know-how and expertise of all the trainees had developed to a point that we also decided to start to conduct some research of the implications of the work done in the project to the library development in the universities involved.


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Jarmo Saarti, Library Director, University of Eastern Finland (UEF)

CCNMTL Launches Websites Dedicated To Edward M. Kennedy Prize-Winning Plays

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services’ Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning is pleased to announce the launch of two new websites dedicated to the inaugural winning plays of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History: Dan O’Brien’s The Body of an American and Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way. The websites showcase the plays’ relationship to United States history and encourage public exploration of current issues grounded in historical understanding.  The award, known as the EMK Prize, was created by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to honor the life and legacy of her brother Ted Kennedy, the late senator from Massachusetts. The prize is administered annually through Columbia University Libraries/Information Services and consists of a $100,000 award as well as an educational website to promote understanding of the works.


Columbia and Cornell Libraries Receive Mellon Grant for Expanding E-Journal Preservation

NEW YORK, October 23, 2013 – The libraries at Columbia University and Cornell University are pleased to announce an 18-month, $150,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to conduct a project intended to expand significantly the preservation coverage of e-journals and to implement strategies that will sustain the initiative beyond the duration of the project.
The project, a joint undertaking of the partnership between the libraries of Columbia and Cornell known as 2CUL, will identify priority content from the perspective of the research library community and make significant progress towards increasing the number of e-journals archived by major preservation programs. Both Columbia and Cornell hold the preservation of, and continuity of access to, knowledge and culture as a core aspect of their mission, and they bring to the work a wealth of experience and substantial resources.

“The main objective of this project is to increase the number and range of e-journals that will be preserved, but it’s equally important to develop and promote methods that can be broadly adopted to expand our work,” said Oya Rieger, associate university librarian for digital scholarship and preservation services at Cornell University. “Making sure that the vital content in e-journals is available to scholars and researchers is an essential part of the process.”

Electronic serials originate in all regions of the world, with the libraries of Columbia and Cornell each providing access to well over 100,000 titles. They are very significant as a record of scholarly research but also have importance as they contribute to cultural expression, report current events, and convey scientific, economic, legal, and governmental information.  In many fields, e-journals have become the predominant means of access for current research and, as libraries, concerned about space, act to consolidate their print collections, users increasingly rely for access on the digitized versions of historical titles.

“Preservation initiatives such as CLOCKSS, LOCKSS, and Portico have been successful in preserving thousands of important journals, yet there are still at least twice as many that are not preserved anywhere,” said Bob Wolven, associate university librarian for bibliographic services & collection development at Columbia. “Libraries are eager to see more progress, and this project is an important step towards engaging more parties in a broad effort.”

The transformative 2CUL partnership began in 2009, with an initial grant from the Mellon Foundation that allowed Columbia and Cornell to join forces in addressing budgetary challenges posed by the economic recession and improve library efficiencies, promote innovation and meet new and emerging academic needs.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 11 million volumes, over 150,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 500 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources:

Cornell University Library’s rich collections, expert librarians, responsive services and welcoming spaces inspire and nourish scholarship and learning throughout the university. In the class of 2012, 85 percent of students reported that the Library contributed to their academic success and efficiency. Its world-class collection — around 8 million print volumes, nearly a million e-books and 5 million journal article downloads per year — covers incredibly diverse fields, such as hip-hop and punk, East and Southeast Asia, labor, agriculture, hospitality and Liberian law. Thanks to a 24/7 chat reference service, helpful librarians are always just a keystroke away. To learn more, visit

Source: Columbia University