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Second African Digital Scholarship and Curation Conference editorial
Article Type: Second African Digital Scholarship and Curation Conference editorial From: The Electronic Library, Volume 29, Issue 2
The 2nd African Digital Scholarship and Curation Conference was held at the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, South Africa, from 12-13 May 2009. The main conference was preceded on 11 May 2009 by an e-research seminar for senior researchers. The conference was co-organized by Heila Pienaar (University of Pretoria) and Martie van Deventer (Council for Scientific & Industrial Research, CSIR) on one hand, and Tunde Oladiran & Stephen Mutula (University of Botswana) on the other. The conference was a culmination of two similar previous conferences:
The University of Botswana Digital Scholarship Conference held in December 2007 in Gaborone, Botswana;
The 1st African Digital Curation Conference held at the University of Pretoria in February 2008.
Building on the two conferences efforts were made to organize future scholarship conferences jointly by the two Universities. Consequently, the 2009 and 2010 digital scholarship conferences were planned by the two universities.
The purpose of the 2nd African Digital Scholarship and Curation conference was to identify opportunities, strategies and practical examples for new forms of research and scholarship, and for the management of the digital content of these activities by academics, researchers, scientists, information professionals and IT experts. Deliberate attempts were made to bring together subject expertise and advanced computer skills, as well as information science practitioners to engage with one another. The conference consisted of three parallel tracks and three plenary sessions. The plenary sessions provided an international perspective while the parallel tracks concentrated on practical implementations and ongoing activities, mainly in Africa but also with perspectives from abroad. The first track covered: e-research and e-science; IT infrastructure for digital scholarship; collaboration; open scholarship and e-resources. The second track covered digital preservation; digital data management and digital curation. The third track focused on digital divide; e-learning and distance learning; intellectual property issues; IT adoption and perceptions; information literacy; ethics and trust in the digital world.
During the conference, several international speakers contributed to the sharing of learning and experiences in such areas as digitizing knowledge; investigating the need for a virtual research environment amongst researchers of malaria; intelligent transport systems; cloud computing; e-learning, introducing science and technology to toddlers; mobile technology; use of wikis, gaming and virtual worlds in literacy training; trust in the digital environment; open access and open scholarship; the use of electronic content in special libraries; and “worldmapper” images. Finally, the conference workshops provided hands-on training related to the management of spatial data; making use of Web 2.0 to create second-generation libraries; establishing institutional repositories; and promoting open access for the advancement of science and research.
The conference participants expressed the desire to publish some of the papers in well-recognized outlets in order to share the experiences shared at the conference with the outside world. The Electronic Library (TEL) was approached to consider publishing some of the papers that fitted within the scope of the journal. Several papers were submitted to TEL for possible publication and those that were selected were expanded and revised and went through the review process.
Pelleth Thomas, of the University of Botswana, explores the educational potential of cloud computing and how it could be exploited in enhancing engagement among educational researchers and educators to better understand and improve their practice, in increasing the quality of their students’ learning outcomes, and thus, in advancing the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) in a higher education context.
In another educational paper, the purpose of Paul Laughton’s research at the University of Johannesburg was to identify whether a wiki could be used as an alternative to a popular learning content management system (LCMS) in an e-learning environment. The research attempts to identify what value each of these e-learning components added to the students learning experience.
Ria Groenewald and Amelia Breytenbach, both from the University of Pretoria, investigated the awareness about digital preservation and what must be done towards preserving valuable original digital material. Their paper also discusses the use of metadata principles and the implementation of tools for the preservation of documents stored on personal computers.
Dr Dale Peters (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and Dr Norbert Lossau (Göttingen State and University Library) discuss DRIVER (Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research), which represents a vision of world-wide networks of scientific data repositories. The paper examines the aims of the European Union funded project and explores the development of a distributed infrastructure that enables enhanced interoperability of data, resulting in a global knowledge infrastructure supporting the scholarly communication of the future.
In his paper, Stephen M. Mutula from the University of Botswana addresses issues of ethics and trust in a digital scholarship environment relating to such aspects as accuracy of data, integrity of scholarly research process, electronic publications and communications; intellectual property rights, confidentiality/privacy and data security. The paper raises a number of questions, which the author endeavors to answer.
Stephen S. MutulaDepartment of Library & Information Studies, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana