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Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR)

The aim of ROAR is to promote the development of open access by providing timely information about the growth and status of repositories throughout the world. Open access to research maximises research access and thereby also research impact, making research more productive and effective.

National Library of Ireland William Butler Yeats Exhibition

Enter exhibition here. Enjoy the elaborate virtual reality exhibition, and follow Yeats development as a poet, a playwright and writer of prose. The National Library of Ireland has the largest collection of Yeats manuscripts in the world, many contributed over the years by his widow and by his son.

Gates Foundation Funding International Library Program at UI

The Gates Foundation will help the University of Illinois train librarians from around the world. The two-year $484,000 contract with the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will support a training program for public librarians in other countries.

The Mortenson Center has already worked with librarians from more than 80 countries, and the money will expand that work to two more nations selected by the foundation, said Barbara Ford, director of the Mortenson Center. Report from The News Gazette.

The Global Libraries initiative works with countries that demonstrate a need and a readiness to help public libraries provide free access to computers and the Internet, and training on how to make use of these tools.

For the current project, the foundation is looking at Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Chile, Mexico and Botswana.

The Mortenson Center for International Library Programs is the only one of its kind in the world and was established in 1991. It is a nondegree program that seeks to strengthen international ties among libraries and librarians, regardless of geographic location or access to technology.

In Afghanistan, our boys are reading from the front

The Times has an interesting article today on British soldiers in Afghanistan who read stories to their children back home. December 15, 2009. "In Afghanistan, our boys are reading from the front;
Fighting overseas doesn’t stop British soldiers telling their children bedtime stories." by Helen Rumbelow.

This is the story of a struggling librarian from Uganda

The incoming chair of the Petroleum & Energy Resources Division [DPER] of SLA dropped us a link to an interesting librarian.

Necessity Was the Mother of this Phone Box Library

A resident dreamed up the idea when the tiny village lost its phone box and mobile library in quick succession. But fortunately, a traditional red phone box has been recycled into the Westbury-sub-Mendip (population of approximately 800 in Somerset) Library, stocking a total of 100 books.

British Telephone has received 770 applications for communities to 'adopt a kiosk', and so far 350 boxes have been handed over to parish councils. Westbury-sub-Mendip Parish Council bought the phone box from BT in a national scheme for a token £1. More from the BBC...

...and yet another article from BBC Local.

Making Online Possible Offline

In the midst of the Ubuntu Developer Summit for the forthcoming long-term support release named Lucid Lynx, a new issue arose. This was an issue of intense partisanship perhaps. The GNU Image Manipulation Program, otherwise known as GIMP, was proposed for removal from the default installation on the distributed live CD.

Documentation for this is skimpy at the moment. The desktop team's blueprint does not explicitly state that this will happen. The Internet Relay Chat log for that particular session has barely any details except that the popularity contest package for measuring usage ranked GIMP on par with F-Spot. Although the session was filmed, the relevant Ogg Theora video file has not tumbled down the podcast distribution chute yet for review. A blog post at fan site unaffiliated with Canonical is what broke word for those not attending the summit.

Opinions on Identi.ca were across a bit of a range from being okay with the change to opposition through thoughts of counter-proposal to sadness. One user on Identi.ca noted that it is a big difference between stripping something from a live CD and removing something from repositories.

This whole matter presents concerns from the perspective of the Ubuntu NGO Team's blueprint. One of the areas of work enunciated in that plan was that the team would work on offline documentation. Offline repositories are something also considered in a discussion paper on the team's wiki site.

How can the GIMP be made available for those with sub-optimal Internet access? A case might be made that stripping GIMP off the live CD would reduce access to the package for those with less than optimal access to the Internet or no access at all. Unfortunately such is anecdotal at present and there is no hard data to properly back such a notion up.

The first tool to surmount this issue is the Ubuntu Customization Kit. At present that package's own project site shows examples of use in creating localized editions by language. For putting GIMP back into a live CD while stripping out other packages would create a derivative version of the distributed disc images which can over time create things like Linux Mint, CrunchBang Linux, and Katian.

A different work-around that may work better would be to go the route of APTonCD. APTonCD is one option for off-line movement of packages that does not require access to the Internet for installing anything. A similar tool for a command-line world would be AptZip that instead may allow shifting the download burden elsewhere such as to perhaps run on a public access computer at a public library.

As an overarching shift in live CD design, the inclusion by default of APTonCD would alleviate any worries like this in the future perhaps. Backers of GIMP and other packages that might not fit on the disc but still have strong communities can make images of APTonCD discs available. This is a short run solution, though. Increasing the availability of repository mirrors in public access Internet service settings would be a far more preferable solution in the long run.

Within the Ubuntu project, this would be a matter of liaison between the NGO Team and the Desktop Team, perhaps, as it touches upon the matter of trying to make the Ubuntu experience as equal as possible between the industrialized West and the Global South. Outside the Ubuntu project, this remains a matter of knowing what is going on with what you use. Just as it may seem simple to drive an automobile, quite a lot is going on under the hood. Compared to Windows or MacOS, Linux in general is the hotrod that you can upgrade and change just as drivers in the 1960s and 1970s could fuss over vehicles from manufacturers like AMX.

Creative Commons License
Making Online Possible Offline by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at erielookingproductions.info.

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