[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Wellcome Trust report

On 10-Jun-04, at 6:55 PM, T Scott Plutchak wrote:

A colleague of mine has spent the last two years setting up a medical
library in Nepal. Her Internet access was unreliable enough that
electronic only is simply not a viable option -- she HAS to have print
until the third world telecommunications infrastructure has stabilized.

One of my Associate Directors has been serving as an advisor to a library in Ghana -- same situation. When he was there he could possibly email me once a week, depending on whether or not the satellite phone was working.
This isn't just a third world issue.  Canada is the second most connected
country in the world for high-speed internet access, and British Columbia
one of the leading provinces; about half of our population has high speed
internet in their homes.

Yet even in B.C., there are about 168 communities without internet access,
mainly smaller communities in more remote regions.  About 100 of these are
aboriginal communities.  Many of these communities without internet also
have never had access to telephone service.  The B.C.  government has an
ambitious plan to move towards ubiqituous access.  This is not easy in a
province that is geographically huge with many natural divisions
(mountains and water).  One example of where this is working well is in
the Peace region (northern B.C.), where people in communities that have
never had telephone service can now easily videoconference with relatives
overseas.  However, we're not there yet.

Recently, I heard a government librarian explain that even though
documents in the department she works for are freely available over the
internet, the government researchers in the field are not always able to
access them, because their internet connections are not sufficient to
accomodate pdf documents.  In these cases, libraries are having to print
documents from the web, and fax or mail them to their users.


Heather G. Morrison
Project Coordinator
BC Electronic Library Network
Phone: 604-268-7001
Fax: 604-291-3023
Email:  heatherm@eln.bc.ca
Web: http://www.eln.bc.ca