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African librarians come to CERN to complete their training on Digital Libraries

The second part of the CERN-UNESCO School on Digital Libraries took place at CERN at the end of June

Participants of the CERN-UNESCO School on Digital Libraries 2018 at CERN
From left to right: Winfreda Nalwimba (EvelynHone College, Zambia), Peter Otuoma (Karatina University, Kenya), Timothy Sukya (University of Nairobi, Kenya), Parul Pant (CERN), Jens Vigen (CERN), Daniel Mwashivya (Mzumbe University, Tanzania) and Benedetta Nirta (CERN) (Image: CERN)

Following one week of general training in Nairobi, Kenya, the second part of the CERN-UNESCO School on Digital Libraries took place at CERN this year, from 17 to 28 June. This in-depth training saw the participation of four African librarians invited to CERN to complete their training after attending the Kenyan School in early October 2018.

Now on its fifth edition, the CERN-UNESCO School on Digital Libraries aims at making African research more visible, by familiarising librarians with open-access and open-science principles, introducing them to new web technologies and services, such as Invenio, and advising them how to further develop their own digital libraries.

Throughout their two weeks in Geneva, the participants attended conferences at the United Nations, met advocates of open access and created new professional networks.  “It was my first time in Europe, and we had the opportunity to meet new people, make connections with founders and delegates around the world”, says Peter Otuoma, from Kenya, who is a systems librarian at Karatina University.

Most importantly, during this follow-up training, they had the chance to work hands-on on open-access technologies with CERN experts, which helped them come up with solutions for their own professional challenges.  “The solutions for open access I discovered here were quite helpful. Now I feel confident I will be able to test my knowledge back in my home institution”, says Timothy Sukya, systems librarian at the University of Nairobi.

When asked about what the future had in store, Daniel Mwashivya, from Tanzania, had no doubts he would help spread and share the knowledge learned at CERN: “The role of librarians worldwide is constantly changing. We are no longer just sitting on shelves and this is why we need to familiarise ourselves with digital libraries.”

Winfreda Nalwimba, from Zambia, the only female participant who was able to attend the training at CERN, hopes that by sharing her experience at CERN, she can inspire more girls in her home institution to be involved in science.

The CERN-UNESCO School for Digital Libraries is an Education & Outreach project supported by the CERN & Society Foundation. The 2016 school in Ghana, the 2018 school in Kenya and their follow-up training at CERN were possible due to the kind donation received from Ms. Margarita Louis-Dreyfus.

Download the 2018 CERN & Society Foundation Annual Review, to learn more about the Nairobi CERN-UNESCO School on Digital Libraries.