Establishing Digital Libraries in Maghreb region of North Africa

The Fulbright Academy for Science & Technology is hosting an international workshop in Washington, DC, on January 24-25, 2011.  A high caliber group of 45-55 participants from government agencies, libraries, businesses, universities and research institutes are expected and travel grants for additional participants are still available.

The January 24-25, 2011 workshop is a follow-up on the 2007 workshop held in Rabat with major funding from UNESCO, US-NSF and the Moroccan Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research.  At the 2007 workshop, approximately 80 experts discussed issues, processes, requirements and actions needed for the development of a large-scale, dynamic, distributed digital repository of resources on and about North Africa, with a focus on education, science, and cultural heritage. The participants represented government, academia, libraries, museums, and the private sector in the U.S., Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, Tunisia, and other countries. 

Since the 2007 workshop, there have been several important developments in the region. For example, the First International Conference on African Digital Archives and Digital Libraries was held in Ethiopia last year with 160 participants (although none from the Maghreb).  In support of activities in North Africa, the US Civilian Research & Development Foundation was awarded a $1.5 million grant earlier this year to support the establishment of digital libraries in the Maghreb – to fill critical gaps in access to international research, improve the communication of research outcomes and support regional and international collaboration among scientists.  In addition, the European Commission awarded a $1.2 million grant earlier this year to the Free University of Brussels for similar purposes such as trainings for librarians and information management professionals, in partnership with nine universities in the Maghreb. from the US, Europe and North Africa.

The US National Science Foundation has provided funding to the Fulbright Academy to bring individuals with relevant expertise to this meeting. Nominations are invited of individuals with relevant background in fields such as internet & education, internet infrastructure, academic publishing, library science, digital archiving, data management, cultural preservation, and North African government/policy.

 Additional background an contact details are provided here.