Archive for May, 2009

Greenstone workshop in Pohnpei, Micronesia

Ian Witten. Thursday, May 14th, 2009.

Ian Witten has just returned from giving a workshop on the Greenstone Digital Library Software in Pohnpei, Micronesia. He has given workshops before in faraway places, but this was an extraordinary experience. Pohnpei is a capital city that he’d never heard of before (have you)? It’s little more than a pixel on Google Maps, and on the way from Hawaii his plane landed on atolls uncharted even by Google. Organized by the Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, each of the 18 carefully-selected participants received a laptop to take home with them. They came from Palau, Yap, Chuuk, Guam, Pohnpei, Kosrae, Majuro, and Pago Pago. The hospitality was wonderful, laughter rang throughout the workshop — and the students were extremely dedicated, working into coffee and lunch breaks in a manner unheard of in laid-back tropical islands. In five days we all learned a lot.

First Greenstone-Mellon Grant Awarded

John Rose. Monday, May 4th, 2009.

In 2008, the University of Waikato a received a Grant from the Mellon Foundation to promote contributions to the Greenstone Digital Library suite which provide significant benefits to higher education, libraries, museums, arts, or nature conservation. The University is using the award to support the Greenstone community of developers and users, particularly in developing countries (see the announcement below).

The first grant of US$ 8,000 has been awarded to Prodigio Consultores in Santiago, Chile, to coordinate the launching of a sustainable, voluntary, not-for-profit Greenstone support network for Latin America. In carrying out this work by end June 2010, Prodigio will:

  • identify national coordinators for focal points for promotion of the Greenstone Digital Library software in at least 3 Latin American countries;
  • establish contracts engaging each national coordinator to organise a national Greenstone training workshop, provide technical support services for one year and to ensure development and public access to at least one new Greenstone digital library application;
  • create a regional coordinating and evaluation committee composed of representatives of the national coordinators and other Latin American experts;
  • establish a collaborative portal to inform and facilitate cooperation among Greenstone users in Latin America (including announcement of training events, news about and links to Greenstone collections in the region, FAQs, and documentation on Greenstone in regional languages);
  • provide technical assistance to the work of the national coordinators;
  • coordinate the work of the regional coordinating and evaluation committee with a view to formally establishing and consolidating the regional support network.

Additional support has been provided to enable Diego Spano, Director of Projects at Prodigio, to undertake a visit to Waikato to familiarise himself with the latest Greenstone developments and to discuss the development of the Latin American network.

Although Prodigio is a commercial company, it will be undertaking this activity on a totally not-for-profit basis. This work will build on the Spanish-language Greenstone discussion list which has been moderated by Prodigio for the past year. Further information can be obtained from Diego Spano.

The Latin American network will join the Greenstone support networks in South Asia (operating since 2006) and Southern Africa (operating since 2007).

We hope to award the remaining Greenstone-Mellon grants by June 2009 in order to meet the deadlines for the use of these funds. Interested parties are referred to the grant announcement:


Announcement of Prof. Ian Witten of 23 December 2008

I am very pleased to announce that the University of Waikato has been awarded US$50,000 for the Greenstone project within the Third Annual Mellon Awards for Technology Collaboration (see http:// matc.mellon.org/press-release). This competition is meant “to recognize important organizational contributions to open source projects which currently or potentially provide significant benefits to at least one traditional Mellon constituency (higher education, especially the arts and humanities; libraries; museums; arts organizations; and nature conservation).” We understand that the committee was primarily impressed by Greenstone’s impact in the developing world as testified by many users who supported our candidacy online, thanks to all of you who contributed recommendations.

The University intends to use the award to further the Greenstone community of developers and users, particularly in developing countries. This will involve improving the documentation, making tutorial videos, and stimulating the development of Greenstone capabilities and user groups in developing countries.

As part of this effort we invite proposals from the Greenstone community in developing countries for small grants (US$1000 to US $5000) which will be awarded in 2009 according to the following criteria:

  • one-time assistance (not a continuing subvention) for a project which will lead to sustainable follow-up: examples of activity could be organisation of user meetings or training workshops, expert missions for training and advice (particularly exchange of expertise within a given region or country), institutional exchanges or user services;
  • priority to regional networks and to countries and institutions in greatest need (normally grants will not available to individuals, but there could be exceptions);
  • priority to projects which are partially self-funded or partially funded by third parties.

Detailed proposals should be addressed to John Rose, Research Associate, University of Waikato, who will correspond with the submitting parties as needed to refine their proposals. Awardees will be expected to submit a detailed evaluation report at the conclusion of their projects.