University of Aberdeen School of Medicine: Digital Libraries and Evidence in the Developing World Context

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Ferguson, Jon 

Health Information for All" has been asserted as a prerequisite for meeting the Millennium Development Goals [1]. Much work is focussed on lowering the barriers of access to published information by free access journals, publications and through collaborative web-based publication. Can open-source digital-asset stores such as DSpace provide an effective way to enhance this initiative - especially within the context of poorer African countries where internet connectivity is not yet that reliable?

The Initiative for Maternal Mortality Programme Assessment (IMMPACT) is directly involved in evaluating maternal mortality interventions in 3 developing countries: Burkina Faso, Ghana and Indonesia. As part of this work we are building an evidence-base of direct and indirect causes affecting maternal mortality rate (MMR). This will become a platform to enable our researchers in 6 countries to reason and discover links between different data, papers and analyses. DSpace is providing an excellent bases for this project due to its low-cost, out-of-the-box deployment and ease of enhancement. Thus it has the potential to double both as a digital-library within the project and country partners but also enable us to investigate the use of web-ontologies for studying and sharing knowledge about this domain.

[1] Godlee, F., Pakenham-Walsh, N., Ncayiyana, D., Cohen, B., Packer, A. (2004) "Can we achieve health information for all by 2015." The Lancet 364: 295-300.

open source, health, IMMPACT
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