The SIG-III Blog

Notes from the ASIS&T special interest group in international information

Archive for July 2009

Mapping the Arabic Blogosphere: Politics, Culture, and Dissent

It’s a little over a month old, but I’ve not yet posted about the following report by Bruce Etling, John Kelly, Rob Faris, and John Palfrey, so I will do so now. It is titled Mapping the Arabic Blogosphere: Politics, Culture, and Dissent, and is published by Harvard’s Berkman Center for the Internet and Society.

Arabic Keyboard

Image by dweekly, used under the Creative Commons license.

I’m being kicked out of my office this afternoon while some of my university’s tech people work on my Internet connection. While I am without my computer I will work on SIG-III’s annual report, but I hope to be able to steal a bit of time away to read this report as well. If you’ve read it and have any thoughts or reactions, leave a comment below — I’d love to hear what you think.

On the same topic, I’ll also point to Nasrin Alavi’s We Are Iran. As with Etling et al’s report, I’d love to hear any thoughts you have on Dr. Alavi’s book. She’s even put a sample chapter online as well.

Contributed by Aaron Bowen

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Written by sigiii

July 21, 2009 at 1:53 pm

In the news this week: the Question Box

Chalk drawing of a question mark

Image by SlinkyDragon, used under the Creative Commons license.

Ken Banks at IT World writes about the Question Box — a service allowing a person to ask a question through a telecom box placed in a village, and then receive a response from someone on the other end of the line who has a computer in front of him/her. Banks explains:

It works like this: A villager presses a call button on a physical intercom device, located in their village, which connects them to a trained operator in a nearby town who’s sitting in front of a computer attached to the Internet. A question is asked. While the questioner holds, the operator looks up the answer on the Internet and reads it back. All questions and answers are logged. For the villager there is no keyboard to deal with. No complex technology. No literacy issues. And during early trials at least, no cost. Put simply, Question Box, as it’s called, provides immediate, relevant information to people using their preferred mode of communication, speaking and listening.

You can see photos of the Question Box and of people using it on the Question Box Project’s Flickr photostream.

Banks also notes that the Grameen Foundation this week launched its AppLab initiative in Uganda. (AppLab stands for application laboratory, and is essentially a project to get people in different locales around the developing world building information access applications for mobile devices such as cellphones. Their about us page has more detail). Kiwanja posts an insider’s view of the project’s rollout in Uganda to his blog.

Written by sigiii

July 16, 2009 at 6:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

August message from the SIG-III Chair in July

Hello everyone,

Yes, I realize I’m very early with this message, but enough has been going on over the past week that I want to share it with you all now.

The most important piece of news is that we have three winners for the International Paper Contest. Please congratulate Muhammad Rafiq, Muhammad Arif, and Saima Kanwal on their winning papers! I have announced them over the SIG-III Blog.

This post provides the perfect transition to my next topic: the SIG-III Blog’s new look. You will see that I’ve updated the layout and graphical content of the blog. I’m very excited about its new appearance, and I hope you all will stop by, leave a comment on one of the posts, and/or subscribe to the blog’s RSS feed.

Last but not least, InfoShare Officer Sarah Emmerson and I have developed a Facebook page for the SIG, which will serve as a useful compliment to the blog. If you are on Facebook, we would love to have you join our group! You may find it here.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thanks everyone, and enjoy the weekend!

Aaron Bowen
Chair, SIG-III

Written by sigiii

July 9, 2009 at 2:33 pm

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International Paper Contest winners

Muhammed Rafiq

SIG-III is pleased to announce two winners for the 2009 International Paper Contest. The first place award goes to Muhammad Rafiq (pictured above), from Pakistan, who will be awarded a two-year membership to ASIS&T, as well as funding to travel to this year’s annual Meeting. His paper is titled “[The] LIS community’s perceptions towards open source software adoption in libraries.”

The second place award goes to Muhammad Arif and Saima Kanwal, both from Pakistan as well. Their paper is titled “Acceptance of digital library among female students and effects of limited access of digital library on their performance in research work: a case of International Islamic University.” As principal author, Dr. Arif will be awarded a two-year membership to ASIS&T.

Both papers will be considered for publication in the International Information and Library Review.

Please join me in congratulating our 2009 Contest winners! We hope you will come meet them at the International Reception at this year’s ASIS&T Annual Meeting.

Contributed by Aaron Bowen

Written by sigiii

July 8, 2009 at 5:53 pm

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SIG-III panels at the 2009 ASIS&T Annual Meeting

Written by sigiii

July 8, 2009 at 5:07 pm

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We're on Facebook!

Facebook

Image by LaughingSquid, used under the Creative Commons license.

Just a quick announcement that InfoShare Officer Sarah Emmerson and myself have created a Facebook page for SIG-III. If you are on Facebook and are interested in international information issues, please join us!

Contributed by Aaron Bowen

Written by sigiii

July 8, 2009 at 4:48 pm

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Ajit Pyati, SIG-III Officer, in First Monday

Ajit Pyati

SIG-III’s Ajit Pyati (above) has just published an article titled “Public library revitalization in India: Hopes, challenges, and new visions” in First Monday. Here is the abstract:

With India’s growing economy and status as an emerging world power, a new consciousness is developing in the country about the need to reinvest in public services. The National Knowledge Commission (NKC) is an advisory body constituted by the Prime Minister to provide recommendations for improving India’s knowledge infrastructure. As part of this Commission, a set of recommendations has been developed to improve India’s long neglected library system. This article explores the implications of these recommendations, with a specific focus on India’s public library system and the social development gains that are often associated with public libraries. The potential of India’s public libraries to serve as community information centres (CICs) is highlighted, as well as the challenges that lie ahead in implementing a new vision for public library revitalization. The article serves as an invitation for concerted action, reflection, and dialogue with regard to this important and pressing issue.

The full article may be found here.

Article by Ajit Pyati. Blog post contributed by Aaron Bowen.

Written by sigiii

July 8, 2009 at 4:47 pm