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Workshop D in Bayreuth (10/12/2012 - 12/12/2012)

After the very positive announcement of the extension of the SEED project by two more years, which was approved by the DAAD, Workshop D in Bayreuth was primarily used to analyse the past two years of the project and to define and plan the goals and procedures for the next two years. The main focus was on the further processing of the digitized doctoral theses and the requirements analysis for a common archiving platform.

Together with the archiving group, user groups were identified for the realization of a common archiving platform, and final theses were classified and prioritized. It turned out that in addition to the digitized works, there is a high level of interest in the provision and management of other research materials, especially audio files, interview transcripts, video recordings and photographs of BIGSAS students within so-called IRTPs (Individual Research and Training Plans). Based on these findings, a concept for a jointly usable platform is currently being developed and will be implemented in the next two project years. Primarily, findings and components of the Virtual Research Environment ViATOR developed at the University of Bayreuth will be incorporated. This virtual interface between the universities should significantly simplify the work of the Graduate School (BIGSAS) on both sides in particular.

To improve virtual teaching conditions, various recording and transmission systems of the IT Service Centre of the University of Bayreuth were presented. The technical equipment used to prepare seminars and hold distributed courses was demonstrated. These techniques are of great interest especially for the numerous locations of Moi University, as they offer a special potential for virtual courses due to their large distribution in Kenya. The expertise needed to set up and operate these techniques was acquired by a guest researcher from Moi University, funded by the SEED project, during a one-month stay at the University of Bayreuth.

At the beginning of the workshop, the scope as well as techniques and administrative processes of the University of Bayreuth’s Library were presented. The focus was on the two different library software systems DESPACE (Moi University) and OPUS (University of Bayreuth) and their possibilities to support a common archiving platform. EPrints, an open source system developed by the University of Southampton, was identified as a possible solution for bridging these different systems. EPrints stands out due to its simple plug-in extension, good feed-in of research materials and the possibility of international bibliography. The Electronic Scan Order (ESA) system developed by the University of Bayreuth allows researchers to order digital copies of specific sections after an electronic search of the library holdings. The use of this system would be of great interest for the targeted digitization of theses produced at Moi University before 2005. Based on the abstracts already available in electronic form, academics can commission the rest of the thesis from the Margaret Thatcher Library or the School of Arts, subject to legal constraints.

The classification and prioritization of master's and doctoral theses at Moi University, which is necessary for digitization, is based on the content-related filiation of the School of Arts and the Applied African Studies of the University of Bayreuth.

  • Uncertainty, Innovation and the Quest for Order in Africa
  • Culture, Concepts and Communication in Africa. Approaches through Language, Literature and Media
  • Concepts and Conflicts in Development Cooperation with Africa and Coping with Environmental Criticality and Disasters in Africa

In order to achieve the highest possible quality in digitization and archiving, automated and standardized processes are required. For this reason, the quality, volume and type of research material required by BIGSAS students will subsequently be documented and challenges in data transfer and archiving identified. Finally, a requirements analysis of needed information systems was carried out, whereby coordination processes within the framework of the IRTPs were highlighted in particular. According to this, an improvement of the virtual cooperation between supervisors, reviewers and mentors of both partner universities would be desirable in order to improve the coordination of the final theses. In addition, the current administration of reports, multimedia files and research results during field research as well as their coordination between students and professors proves to be difficult. Here, information systems would be desirable that could be adapted to the respective needs of the field and facilitate the management of data and coordination within so-called workgroups with the help of visual support.

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