Providing Access to Knowledge in Africa: the Need for Capacity Building in Classification, Indexing & Abstracting Skills
Imo, Nwabuisi T.
Igbo, Harriet U.
The realities of the present era of globalization and information and communication technologies (ICT) culminating in the African Virtual Library and Information Network (AVLIN) have made it expedient that African information professionals should be able to develop, showcase and make accessible African indigenous information to the knowledge world. This literature-based opinion paper has tried to identify with the view of the conference organizers that “Major digital initiatives involving African content are currently being undertaken by non-African organization without widely accepted protocols and agreement”. The paper argues that there is a serious need for a theoretical and policy framework necessary to provide a basis for systematic training of library and information science professionals to place African knowledge on a pedestal that will make it accessible to the world of knowledge. It was found that the library schools in most African universities are ill-equipped to train professionals to handle information in the new digital era. This is exacerbated by the fact that professional associations are not doing enough to retool the existing workforce for the task ahead. The paper recommends, among other things, that much emphasis should be placed on the training of cataloguers and indexers in African research institutions and universities to be able to organize African knowledge and produce information surrogates that will help researchers locate them on the internet.
ICADLA, conference, digital library, archive, Africa, Nigeria, capacity, indexing, abstracting