Zim varsities install OKhub widgets

One of the Global Open Knowledge Hub (GOKH) partners, the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), recently held an Open Knowledge and Implementing the OKhub Web Widget workshop. The workshop was jointly offered and co-facilitated by UZ’s Librarian Elizabeth Mlambo, and OKDS’s Information Systems Project Officer Simon Colmer. The main objectives of this two-day workshop (19-20 January) was to improve understanding of the OKhub amongst members of the Zimbabwe University Librarians Consortium (ZULC), and guide participants in creating and installing OKhub widgets onto their respective institutional websites.

Elizabeth and Simon  IMG_7318

Sixteen librarians and webmasters from 13 universities situated all over Zimbabwe converged in Harare for this workshop. The workshop covered aspects of Openness and introduced the concept of Open Knowledge. These sparked rich discussions about the value of and demand for Open Access and institutional willingness to engage in the ‘open’ agenda. ‘There is a need to demystify the myth that Open Access content is of low quality’, said Mlambo.

Participants were introduced to the GOKH programme, the OKhub content and its applications. One of these applications was the OKhub web widget which allows customisable content from the OKhub to be displayed on a user’s website with a few simple lines of website code.

The participants showed a willingness to install the widget on their institutional websites and saw the value in embedding such a widget for their online users. All the participants created OKhub widgets for their university websites. The National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the Lupane State University (LSU) were able to install their widgets onto their live institutional websites during the workshop, as their participants had administrative rights to do so.

NUST widget        LSU widget

Non-technical participants were provided with additional resources to help them in effectively engage their universities’ web/technical teams in the installation of the OKhub widget. Many noted the widget’s potential benefits for their universities’ students and academics.

As well as consuming content from the OKhub, many of the participating institutions showed an interest in contributing to the OKhub. The participants were therefore also taken through the steps of becoming an OKhub contributor.

Going forward the participating institutions enthusiastically advocated the setting up of a ‘Zimbabwean Open Knowledge Hub’ group which they saw as vital for championing the efforts and benefits of Open Knowledge in Southern Africa. A WhatsApp group was also set up for the participants to collate their actions and to provide a platform for peer assistance and learning.