GDNet/BLDS Scoping Workshop

Understanding the information literacy needs and Exploring how to build Southern researchers capacity to access and use information

In collaboration with the British Library for Development Studies (BLDS), GDNet organized a scoping workshop for its team, including the Regional Coordinators covering its regional windows: Africa, MENA, South Asia, East Asia, CIS, CEE and Latin America. The workshop took place in Cairo, Egypt, from 26 to 28 September.

The workshop aimed at:

  • creating an initial diagnostic tool for assessing the information seeking behaviours and skills of Southern researchers and their ability to locate sources of information;
  • agreeing an approach for collecting this information and promoting the GDNet’s programme materials;
  • improving BLDS’ awareness of the wealth of resources available through GDNet’s knowledge base;
  • aligning BLDS’ approach with GDNet’s vision and future aspirations.
GDNet/BLDS Scoping Workshop

GDNet/BLDS Scoping Workshop

An overview of the GDNet programme and platform requirements was given in day I, with an aim to provide the Regional Coordinators with an update of GDNet’s strategic goals and programme improvements. Enhancements to the website were presented by the GDNet Cairo team, including the launch of thematic windows and the Community of Practice. Regional group discussions took place on how to improve the display of the existing regional windows and the resource discovery.

A full session was dedicated to the “User Personas” concept, aiming thus at building a profile of the target stakeholder (audience) through defining a generic persona (age; ethnic background; occupation; education; home life; lifestyle; professional activities/networks; values) to facilitate the understanding of their behaviours, skills and attitudes to development information and research. The session came up with a list of interesting generic assumptions about the persona in each region, which allowed the Regional Coordinators to close the gaps and uncertainties in their knowledge and explore the best ways of engaging with the personas. Moreover, the session focused on what is known about the attitudes, behaviours and skills of the user persona; with a purpose to identify what can be done to help build their capacity (skills) and change their attitudes and behaviours. Participants worked in groups to build the profile of their target stakeholders, identify the gaps in their knowledge, explore the best ways of eliciting this information while looking at the following elements: digital ICT/IL competencies; frustrations; what kind of development information is hard to find; frequent sources of information; how they find the website; why/how barriers; recommendations for engagement/ease of access to professionals; how can GDNet help; and training needs.

Day II was dedicated to developing an understanding of how to build the capacity of target audience, exploring opportunities to engage with the stakeholders, as well as the use of social media.

The workshop offered a good opportunity for GDNet’s Regional Coordinators to define roles, responsibilities and timescales for taking the GDNet programme forward.

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