Database to be built for African universities’ research

Data CentreA workshop on Institutional and National Digital Repository Collaborative Framework for African Academic and Research Institutions, has ended in Accra.

The two-day workshop which began on Tuesday included delegates from the Association of African Universities(AAU).

Dr Hoba Andoh Pascal, Director of Communications, AAU, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview, that the AAU had been supporting universities in Africa to digitalize their research material and set up a platform containing university research.

The idea is to design a framework where we have a big data base on research by African universities, Dr Hoba, said  adding that by partnering each other, African universities would be able to compile research findings into one data base that could be assessed.

He said the University of Ghana-Legon, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the University of Abuja, were some of the members collaborating with each other.

Prof Etienne Ehouan Ehile, AAU Secretary General, said a programme, dubbed, The Database on African Theses and Dissertations (DATAD), was initiated at a planning meeting organized by the Project for Information Access and Connectivity in Nairobi-Kenya, in 1998.

He said the meeting considered measures for contributing to the creation of capacity in African Universities for the collection, management and electronic dissemination of theses and dissertations

Prof Ehile said the meeting proposed a study to test the feasibility of the idea and acknowledged the centrality of the AAU in coordinating and providing leadership to the project.

He said the report of the feasibility study was approved by the AAU Conference of Rectors, Vice-Chancellors and Presidents in 1999, after which a three-year pilot phase, involving 11 institutions, begun in February 2000.

This phase was concluded in August 2003, and the main database was launched on April 30th, 2003, and was known as DATAD-On-Line.

Prof Ehile said the database had 14,723 records with over 800 institutions that had registered as users of the database.

Today, DATAD has over 100,000 new records, of which more than 30% are in full text. He expressed the hope that the workshop would provide an opportunity for government officials, the academic and research communities, institutions and organisations to share ideas with colleagues, and to inspire wider participation and establishment of Institutional and National repositories.

The workshop is organized by the AAU and funded by the African Capacity Building Foundation.

Source: GNA

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