General News of Wednesday, 30 April 2003

Source: gna

On-line database for African universities

A two-day workshop aimed at facilitating the establishment of an electronic database for the collection and dissemination of theses and dissertations from African universities for research purposes opened in Accra on Tuesday.

The workshop being organised by the Association of African Universities (AAU) in collaboration with the University of Ghana, Legon is also aimed at promoting the establishment of a three-year project - Database of African Theses And Dissertations (DATAD) Programme, to improve access to African scholarly work both in and out of Africa.

Professor Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, said the lack of adequate structures for information dissemination remained a major problem in Africa.

"With the advent of information and communication technology, African scholars and scholarly output face a threat of marginalisation, especially in a globalised world, where review of research literature is increasingly being limited to review of electronic literature."

The Vice-Chancellor said the AAU had since 1996, developed a concerted approach to address the problem of production, management and access and dissemination of research information through the establishment of DATAD.

He said the project would, among other objectives, create a central source of information on the continent and improve accessibility to the works of African scholars both within and outside the continent.

Madam Mary Materu Behitsa, Coordinator of DATAD, said 11 universities including the University of Ghana, Zimbabwe and Kenyatta were being provided with computers, scanners and other facilities to help in the formation of a network of information.

Prof Akilakpa Sawyerr, Head of AAU, said it was important to link universities, libraries, students and lecturers together to enhance academic work.