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[liberationtech] News from TASCHA - October 2016

Melody Clark melclark at
Thu Oct 27 16:39:53 PDT 2016


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TASCHA in brief
From the Director
What is the contribution of information access to the Sustainable Development Goals<>? In answering this challenging question, TASCHA has been working with IFLA, UNESCO, ITU, and others to come up with a model and set of indicators that will provide countries with insights into how they fare. TASCHA’s interest also stems from its work on public access ICTs (libraries, cybercafes…) where we have assessed the impact of this form of access on individual well-being. Clearly, information (or ICT) access is important across most of the SDGs, but how to capture this in a meaningful and reliable way is a steep climb. Read on to find out more about our work in this area and others.

- Chris Coward, Director of TASCHA

Myanmar's information transformation
Myanmar information symposium paves the way for change
Myanmar is undergoing unprecedented changes — politically, culturally, digitally — all while moving from a highly-censored information environment to embracing openness and freedom of information. The country’s digital revolution includes leaping over numerous “digital divides” propelled by the widespread use of smartphones and growing pervasiveness of the internet. TASCHA co-sponsored a Myanmar information symposium just days before the country inaugurated its first elected parliament. The event, From Scarcity to Overload: Finding “Good Enough” Public Information in Myanmar’s Transition, sparked lively discussions about complex topics such as information scarcity and the public’s trust in their government, freedom of expression vs. personal privacy, transparent information solutions for democratic practices, and more.

Read the key takeaways >><>

Development and Access to Information
TASCHA project will highlight the role of libraries and access to information in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Access to information is a critical tenet of successful community and international development, and in many places around the world, public libraries play a vital role in providing access that is universally and freely available. With this in mind, TASCHA and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) have launched the Development and Access to Information (DA2I)<> project. The project focuses on access to information (A2I) as it pertains to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the contributions libraries make to the achievement of development goals.

Continue reading about the DA2I project here >><>

New research report
TASCHA finds major successes and challenges in first evaluation of Namibian libraries
Three regional libraries – officially called Regional Study and Resource Centers (RSRCs) – designed to promote a “learning culture” through services and activities, opened two years ago in regions across Namibia as an outcome of the Compact between the Government of Namibia and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). TASCHA has designed and implemented an evaluation to investigate the performance of the libraries as part of the Regional Study and Resources Center Evaluation project<>. The newly released report, Namibia RSRC Activity Performance Evaluation: Component 1<>, covers the planning and implementing of activities prior to the libraries’ doors opening.

Download the full report to learn more >><>

Future of Libraries
The future of libraries in the US & around the world

TASCHA’s work with public libraries is well-known among the global library community, ranging from the Public Access Landscape Study<>, which was the first attempt to identify and describe public libraries and other internet public access centers and their services in 25 countries, to the Global Impact Study<>, which looked at the effect of libraries and other public access centers and their services on the users and non-users in eight countries. But with the selection of TASCHA as one of the three Legacy Partners by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries Program, along with the United States Public Library Association (PLA<>) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA<>), more work by TASCHA in the United States will be seen in the coming years.

Continue reading the update here >><>

Quick updates

·        Attending Look for TASCHA folks at MozFest October 28-30, 2016 in London.
·        Teaching TASCHA is holding a Research Seminar during Winter Quarter 2017 for University of Washington students to get involved in our research.
·        Participating Dr. Maria Garrido has been busy participating in numerous forums about the role of access to information in the SDGs, as well as presenting findings from the MOOCs research at various conferences.
·        Joining MSIM student Erin McAweeney joined TASCHA in Fall 2016 as a Research Assistant supporting our communications activities.
·        Adapting TASCHA's Melody Clark and Chris Rothschild will be in Kenya in November to learn how we can best adapt our Mobile Information Literacy curriculum for Kenya public libraries.
·        Evaluating Dr. Araba Sey is currently in Namibia kicking off survey data collection for the evaluation of Namibia's regional libraries, also called Regional Study and Resource Centers.

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