More on how to blog

Here's a neat introduction to blogs and blogging - a slideshow by my colleague Telly Onu.

For another one go to my earlier post on Blogs


MDG indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2009

The Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2009 annual statistical data book has just been published by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). It presents the latest available economic, financial, social, environmental, and Millennium Development Goals (MDG) indicators for regional members of ADB. Data are grouped under MDG and Regional Tables, together with nontechnical explanations and brief analyses of the MDG achievements and developments.

This issue includes:
Part I: A special chapter on “Enterprises in Asia: Fostering Dynamism in SMEs”
Part II: Millennium Development Goals
Part III: Regional Tables

View the full document PDF: 13,383 kb | 324 pages ]

The special chapter in Part I looks at the impact of the economic crisis on workers and enterprises, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It also discusses how to foster greater efficiency in SMEs once the crisis has played out. A key channel through which the economic crisis has affected enterprises is through the reduction in Asian exports. While SMEs tend to work for the domestic rather than export markets, some of the most dynamic SMEs export or supply inputs to larger export dependent enterprises. Moreover, many SMEs will be affected by the fall in domestic demand as unemployment rises and household incomes contract. In the short run, government efforts at boosting aggregate demand, as well as specific policy initiatives to assist SMEs’ access to finance, should help enterprises cope with the crisis. But over the longer-term, policies must help SMEs adopt modern technologies and raise their productivity. Above all, governments should avoid creating incentives for small enterprises to remain small and operate with outdated technologies. Fostering dynamism in SMEs will not only help their owners, but also workers at large. In this way, a dynamic SME sector can play an important role in the rebalancing of the economies of Asia by raising household incomes and thus domestic demand.


Reminder: Open Access Week, October 19 – 23, 2009

I just want to remind everyone that October 19 – 23 is Open Access Week.

This annual event presents an opportunity to broaden awareness and understanding of Open Access to research, including access policies from all types of research funders, within the international higher education community and the general public.

Open Access Week builds on the momentum generated by the 120 campuses in 27 countries that celebrated Open Access Day in 2008. Event organizers SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition), the Public Library of Science (PLoS), and Students for FreeCulture welcome key new contributors, who will help to enhance and expand the global reach of this popular event in 2009: eIFL.net (Electronic Information for Libraries), OASIS (the Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook); and the Open Access Directory (OAD).

This year’s program will highlight educational resources on Open Access that local hosts can use to customize their own programs to suit local audiences and time zones. OASIS will serve as the centerpiece of the 2009 program, delivering resources for every constituency and every awareness level. The Open Access Directory will again provide an index of participants on five continents, as well as their growing clearinghouse for all OA resources. Through the collaborative functionality of the two initiatives, OA videos, briefing papers, podcasts, slideshows, posters and other informative tools will be drawn from all over the Web to be highlighted during Open Access Week.

The organizers will also work with registrants to develop a variety of sample program tracks, such as “Administrators’ introduction to campus open-access policies and funds,” “OA 101,” and “Complying with the NIH public access policy” that take full advantage of available tools. Participants are invited to adapt these resources for local use, and to mark Open Access Week by hosting an event, distributing literature, blogging — or even just wearing an Open Access t-shirt.

For more information about Open Access Week and to register, visit http://www.openaccessweek.org.


The Participatory Web - New Potentials of ICT in Rural Areas

The most noticeable development in terms of e-tools is what is known as "Web 2.0", in which social software is used to facilitate collaboration and sharing between users. This computer-mediated communication has become very popular with sites like MySpace and YouTube. These tools encourage self-publishing or online journalism, where people express their points of view on their websites. Whether you are sharing your words, video-sharing or photo-sharing, the most important aspect of Web 2.0 is the control it gives to any user to publish whatever they want to the web. Internet users are no longer passive recipients of information placed there by organizations and institutions. Instead they are active contributors. Web 2.0 tools have levelled the playing field.

Web 2.0 tools offer people in rural areas a platform for networking and knowledge exchange. The brochure, "The Participatory Web - New Potentials of ICT in Rural Areas" published by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), provides a systematic overview of Web 2.0 experiences in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It serves as a practice-oriented introduction to the theme and discusses both the potentials and the possible limitations to the participatory web.

The Participatory Web pdf, 1.8 MB (English)


Clouding distinctions in higher education

I recently came across a thought-provoking volume - The Tower and The Cloud: Higher education in the Age of Cloud Computing - published as a free e-Book by EDUCAUSE. It examines the impact of IT on higher education and also on the IT organization in higher education. But it isn't intended as a book just for IT specialists or for higher education administrators (though it should be compulsory reading for these groups of people) - it is intended for all those with an interest in higher education and more broadly in societal structures in the networked information economy.

The book's description says: "The emergence of the networked information economy is unleashing two powerful forces. On one hand, easy access to high-speed networks is empowering individuals. People can now discover and consume information resources and services globally from their homes. Further, new social computing approaches are inviting people to share in the creation and edification of information on the Internet. Empowerment of the individual—or consumerization—is reducing the individual's reliance on traditional brick-and-mortar institutions in favor of new and emerging virtual ones. Second, ubiquitous access to high-speed networks along with network standards, open standards and content, and techniques for virtualizing hardware, software, and services is making it possible to leverage scale economies in unprecedented ways. What appears to be emerging is industrial-scale computing—a standardized infrastructure for delivering computing power, network bandwidth, data storage and protection, and services."

"Consumerization and industrialization beg the question "Is this the end of the middle?"; that is, what will be the role of "enterprise" IT in the future? Indeed, the bigger question is what will become of all of our intermediating institutions?"