ITOCA (Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa) is Africa’s leading librarians training organization based in Africa.ITOCA is a capacity building organization aimed at enhancing information and communications technology (ICT) skills for African librarians,information specialists, scientists, researchers and students in Sub-Sahara Africa. Formerly, TEEAL Africa Office, ITOCA Albert R. Mann Library TEEAL programmefor Africa. The organization, which has professionals in 3 countries (Nigeria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe) and liaison contacts in 35 was established in Feb. 1999 as a marketing and support office for Cornell University’s African countries, has trained over 1,000 information professionals,in 33 Sub-Sahara Africa countries in the last seven years.ITOCA , with backstopping from the TEEAL and AGORA projects at Mann Library (Cornell University) and FAO, the HINARI project at WHO and ORAE project at UNEP has a mandate to carry out outreach and training activities that promote the successful adoption and use of these three programs throughout Africa.
Issue No 18 July 2011 Tell a Friend Feedback Unsubscribe

Information Retrieval Training for Nurses in Kenya

KEN-AHILA has been involved in a Nurses training workshop that has been ongoing since 2009. These workshops have been organized under the guidance of the National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK) among other stake holders. This is a professional body representing all nurses in Kenya working to promote social-economic development of nurses, excellences in nursing practice and leadership through high standards of nursing education and research in collaboration with others.The trainings have been tailored to guide Kenyan Nurses on E-access to health Information.

KEN-AHILA started with different groups, the groups are trained from the basics in guided continued sessions which are divided as follows:
• Sources of Information,
• Search techniques
• Search Engines
• Online resources and databases, (HINARI and PUBMED being the main databases trained).

“The most interesting training was the last HINARI session on March 25th 2011. We had prepared for a Computer Lab, upon getting to the venue it was not available and had to think fast. We got a slot in the Library Computers and could not project or even lecture loudly. The worksheets came in handy and they were able to do the final HINARI and PUBMED exercises. We covered a lot than we expected and it was good.” –

Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)
P.O Box 54840 Nairobi, Kenya

HINARI Training in Eritrea

Training on HINARI was conducted in Asmara the capital city of Eritrea to medical students at the WHO-Eritrea’s premises. The training had 30 participants representing medical students from the capital city Asmara, Eritrea.
The main objective of the courses was to empower participants to better utilize electronic resources available to them, such as HINARI.
Some of the exercises involved accessing relevant live websites and portals on the internet and others were conducted offline. Each participant had access to a computer during the practical exercises.
The methodology used to conduct the workshop was in the form of lectures and hands-on exercises.
The participants conveyed their sincere gratitude. The course was a great success. Many thanks to ITOCA.


Article submitted by Mrs. Selam Berhane, Library Assistant ,WHO-Eritrea


ITOCA East Africa Office Activities

TEEAL/AGORA Integration Workshop at the University Of Nairobi, 2 – 3 March 2011

The University of Nairobi TEEAL/AGORA Integration workshop was hosted by the College of Agriculture and Veterinary sciences, Upper Kabete. The workshop attracted participants from Human Health, Veterinary, Agriculture and Physical Sciences departments. The course’s main focus was on the effective utilization of e-resources in agriculture and health/medicine with special emphasis on AGORA, TEEAL and HINARI databases, and other databases such as Scopus, Scirus and Web of Knowledge which are available through the Research4Life Participants who attended the ToT course were all from the University of Nairobi’s colleges.

The workshop had 25 participants comprising of a mix of faculty members, librarians, medical technologists and IT personnel. Three colleges were represented at the workshop: College of Health Sciences, College of Biological and Physical Sciences, and the College of Agriculture and Veterinary sciences.

The main objective of the course was to empower participants with skills to better utilize electronic resources available to them and to strengthen knowledge creation and sharing. Through the workshop it is hoped that faculty and researchers present can access up to date scientific literature that will enhance the quality of education and research at the university.

A majority of the participants strongly agreed that the modules on Introduction to AGORA, HINARI and TEEAL had been delivered satisfactorily. Only 5% of the participants reported that they did not know anything about the HINARI programme before this workshop.The most satisfying part of the course was when participants reported the following as the most satisfying part of the course:
How to access Research4Life programmes and TEEAL, learning about other databases available through R4L programmes and Endnote reference management software, understanding how to source for literature through the library services and reference management, getting to know how to search for information and the module on search strategies and copyright issues.

The following are some of the comments given by the participants after the workshop:

“Overall it has been an excellent, in-depth workshop. It was my first time to hear about the Research4Life programmes, and TEEAL”

“Thanks to the course facilitators for giving us this training.”

“The training is very useful to our students and academic staff- it will be good if such training is incorporated into our postgraduate curricula” Prof. Munene, Dean, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (course participant)

ITOCA West Africa Office Activities

Research4life National Workshop at University of Maroua, 26-29 April 2011

It was an unforgettable week of incomparable and memorable moments under the Neems of Maroua which were shielding us from the scorching sun. Someone has said that every day is a dictionary and a year like a library, but this single week was a dictionary.

To Prof. Fawole, I have no words to describe the smile that illuminates your face and which, like a magic wand, removed all our tiredness especially when a telephone rang. Except for that of the bad dancer, Dja… In summary, with you one often lacked words, but there was no shortage of smiles and instructions.

For us, the participants, I hope that each of us will find in our institution an attentive and creative audience, so that we would not have to soliloquize like a drunken bee. I also hope that we will be able to transmit (what we have received) without dissipation and getting lost in administrative formalities. We are called to take control of the risky collective responsibility which we have just assumed as trainers (our network) – and it is also an individual responsibility. What could one say about a trainer who doesn’t train? It would be like a fruit tree without fruits, a well without water…

I would also like to appreciate the simplicity, availability (except during the coffee break “please, they are going to finish…”) of Dr. Cole and particularly his software which asked us to sit down, look through the window and peer at some ingenious object which could save us from tiredness, stretch ourselves, etc.

I also think respectfully of the coordinator “Where is Oumarou…”. Like Prof pointed out, “he is wonderful”. Thank you.

I also express gratitude to my director who gave me the permission to attend the seminar and who so much dazed and impressed us all by preaching, for example, simplicity, modesty, ingenuity, sobriety and cordiality.

Article submitted by Hayatou Oumarou Bouba,University of Maroua,Cameroon.

CEPD- Library Marketing and Web2.0 for Professional Development

ITOCA ran two back to back short courses in Library Marketing and Web 2.0 for professional development for a group of professionals from University of Venda. The following is feedback from two of the participants:

“Just thought I should let you know that I have recently used some of the knowledge I gained there during the workshop to include in my presentation for the Head of Reference Services interview. I included the strategic use of ‘Google Docs’ as a collaboration tool for students who do group assignments where the lecturer can correct them as they are still busy with the assignment. It also helps the lecturer see who contributed to the assignment and how much they contributed. The lecturer does not have to be on-campus either as he can access their group assignment from any location

The information on social bookmarking was also dynamite for my presentation. As a librarian I (and other students) are able to tag useful information for the consumption of others; this is useful in that social bookmark can be embedded on the reference blog or library website where a wider community can access it. This is also a way of partnering with academics to ease their ‘tension’ when doing research as info can be easily located. The trend today is of course, that of ‘partnering with academics in research’.

So thank you guys, you contributed to my powerful presentation.” – Anna Matodzi, Subject Librarian, University of Venda

“I attended Information Literacy course from 23-26 November 2010, Library Marketing and Web 2.0 training from 12-20 April 2011 offered by ITOCA. Information Literacy and Marketing are some of the big terms used in libraries nowadays. We need library users who are Information Literate. Libraries are starting to market their services to the users and Web 2.0 tools are some of the useful tools to market our library services to customers.

ITOCA trainings really opened my eyes and met my expectations. Their presenters are always well prepared and offer interactive classes. There are always activities or assignments accompanying each lesson in order to bring everyone to the same level of understanding. There are both individual and group activities which make trainings very interesting. ITOCA trainings are very open in that we learn from each other.

I also like the fact that during training we go out to lunch together which brings that spirit of togetherness and unity. I also enjoy the library tours as part of training; we visited University of Pretoria and University of South Africa libraries. There are evaluation forms at the end of each training for ITOCA to make changes according to customer demands.

Knowledge shared is an asset and knowledge not shared is wasted. It is therefore of great importance to share the knowledge gained with colleagues within the library through talking (community of practice) and applying what I learnt. I’m sharing what I learned from these trainings with my colleagues so that we improve our service.

The trainings were worth attending because I learnt new ways of Marketing Library services to customers. I got to understand what Information Literacy is and the importance of Library Marketing. My understanding of the fields is enhanced. I learnt what to look for when performing tasks and, the criteria I should use in marketing the library. I also learnt of strategies to train library users on information literacy and use of networking systems and other technologies for Marketing.

Studying towards a particular qualification is impossible without the library because it is the heart of an Academic Institution. When the library is not well marketed, it will be impossible for the students to know that there is a library that can provide them with information that will ensure their retention and academic success. If used effectively, the library contributes positively to the throughput of the institution. It is therefore of utmost importance that the library be marketed to the clients. Students need Information Literacy training to acquire knowledge in conducting information searches from internet and prescribed databases in order to do their research. This is where we, as librarians, need institutions like ITOCA to provide us with necessary skills to satisfy our customer needs.

Thank you very much ITOCA for doing such great work.” – Mr.Maropene Tommy Ramabina, Subject Librarian, University of Venda

TEEAL (The Essential Electronic Agricultural Library) program is an innovative scholarly scientific database developed specifically for agricultural and natural resource scientists, lecturers and students in developing countries by Cornell University in association with the Rockefeller Foundation, NY, USA. TEEAL, available on CD-ROM and on a hard disk that can be put on your Local Area Network, gives access to full-text literature from the world’s leading publishers.

AGORA (Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture) is an online program that gives educational, government departments and not-for-profit organizations, in selected developing countries instant online access to over 900 journals in agriculture and related sciences for free. Led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in collaboration with Cornell University, WHO and the Rockefeller Foundation, the goal of AGORA is to increase the quality and effectiveness of agricultural research and training in low-income countries, and in turn, to improve food security. Researchers, policy-makers, educators, students, technical workers and extension specialists now have access to high-quality, relevant and timely agricultural information via the Internet.

The Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI) is part of the United Nation’s Health InterNetwork (HIN) project, and is coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the lead agency. It is a collaboration between the WHO, publishers and other health care content owners intended to provide biomedical and health care research and guideline information to non profit academic and research institutions, governmental and policy making departments in low income countries. Access to this information will generally be provided at low cost or in most cases free by the Publisher, to institutions in many countries with a Gross National Product (GNP) per capita of US $1,000 or less according to the World Bank Report, December 1999.

Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE) an international public-private consortium coordinated by by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Yale University, and leading science and technology publishers, enables developing countries to gain free access to one of the world’s largest collections of environmental science literature. Over one thousand scientific journal titles owned and published by over 200 prestigious publishing houses, scholarly societies, and scientific associations are now available in 70 low income countries. Another 36 countries will be added by 2008. Research is provided in a wide range of disciplines, including biotechnology, botany, climate change, ecology, energy, environmental chemistry, environmental economics, environmental engineering and planning, environmental law and policy, environmental toxicology and pollution, geography, geology, hydrology, meteorology, oceanography, urban planning, zoology, and many others.