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Access to Government Public Information through Community Libraries

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The Access to Government Public Information through Community Libraries project is being implemented by the National Archives of Namibia under its mandate to preserve all government publications, in collaboration with the Namibia Library and Information Council (NLIC), and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The project works to improve free and easy access to government information through public libraries in order to promote transparency of governance, the promotion of democratic ideals, and general social welfare.

Communication Strategies: 

The first phase of the project, which has been completed, involved the collection of governmental public domain information to be converted into PDF files. This information will be disseminated and distributed to the community libraries so that users in libraries have access to the full-text documents via a model database and a structured repository database.

The second phase of the project involved the installation of a pilot copy of the digital library at the Windhoek Community Library and training of local staff. During the third phase, the data will be made available to the Oshakati Community Library (Oshana Region). As of May 2013, this activity is awaiting the necessary IT facilities to be completed around July, after which installation of the digital library will commence. The fourth and final phase of the project will consist in duplicating this model of access to governmental public domain information in each of the 13 regions of Namibia.

Development Issues: 

Democracy and Governance.

Key Points: 

The importance of free and easy access to government information for the economic and social development of a country has been recognised by the Namibian Government in various national development plans. The current project is part of the implementation strategy of the e-Governance Policy for the Public Service in Namibia, adopted in 2005, which envisages the provision of electronic information via government websites.

UNESCO supports this project as part of its mandate to promote access to information and knowledge aimed at building inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication. As described in UNESCO’s Policy Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of Governmental Public Domain Information, free and easy access to information is of great importance in terms of transparency of governance, promotion of democratic ideals and general social welfare.

Partner Text: 

National Archives of Namibia, Namibia Library and Information Council (NLIC), and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Source: 

UNESCO website on January 17 2011.

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