USF assists foreign university’s library

While USF is accustomed to the technology of electronic reserves, a detailed online library catalog, the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia is not quite as lucky. They do not have a digital library.

No remote access information. No E-Reserve. No organization. Locating a journal in the Ethiopian university’s library is close to impossible.

That was until a USF student named Hashim Ahmed approached librarian Todd Chavez with an idea. Ahmed wanted to create a system of organizing and cataloging the library system at Addis Ababa University so the students could have the same advantages as USF, Chavez said

Ahmed spoke to the dean of USF and directors of the library to create some information tools for Ethiopians. Together, they presented the plan to the Ethiopian government and Richard Bernard, computer specialist of the USF Library, and are now in the process of developing a computer system for faculty, staff and students of Addis Ababa University to navigate.

“We are currently in phase one of the project,” Chavez said.

The first phase requires the trio to create a Web-based catalog to establish resources that are available to all Ethiopians.

“This is still a prototype, and will be for the next year,” Chavez said.

In the second phase, the team will travel to Ethiopia to organize a digitization component that will scan books, magazines and periodicals from Addis Ababa’s collection and record them in the catalog. This process, according to Chavez, will probably not begin until next year.

The project also includes a third phase, which will allow the team to train Ethiopians to use and access the system so they can manage the system without guidance.

Chavez said the Ethiopians would be taught how to scan the articles independently, so that they can perfect the technique and contribute to the library as needed.

“We are establishing a library in developing countries, and that in itself is a valuable reason to execute this project,” Chavez said.

So far, there are 100 catalog records on the Web site, and more will be added as the program progresses, Chavez said.