BytesForAll * June 2004 (from India)

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  • Subject: BytesForAll * June 2004 (from India)
  • From: "Frederick Noronha (FN)" <fred at bytesforall dot org>
  • Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2004 12:01:31 +0530 (IST)
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      _/  B y t e s   F o r   A l l ---
      _/  Making  Computing  Relevant to the  People of  South Asia
      _/ 062004
      Open Access Workshop
      MSSRF ( ), the MS Swaminathan Research Fundation, held
      an interesting event in early May. Sunil Abraham <sunil at mahiti dot org> reports
      that the focus of this workshop is GNU EPrints, a 'Mukt' and 'Muft'
      software. The GNU EPrints has been developed at the Electronics and Computer
      Science Department of the University of Southampton. See Today there are 132 known archives running
      EPrints software worldwide. And the total number of records in these
      archives is 45894.
      Dr Leslie Carr demonstrated the installation of E-Prints software on Red Hat
      7.3. E-Prints requires Apache Web Server, MySQL Relational Database Server
      and Perl Programming Language. After that Prof. Leslie Chan demonstrated
      OAIster [ This is a meta-crawler for Open Archives.
      Today it has 3,163,129 records from 282 institutions. Says Abraham: "This is
      really a *must see* for all researchers, documentalists, archivists and
      information scientists."
      OAIster is based on an Open Archives Initiative - Protocol for Metadata
      Harvesting. See more at 
      In short OAI provides standards, technologies and tools to Open Archive
      projects that wish to publish data in a uniform manner and thus leverage the
      collective strength of the network. This is similar to the Dublin Core initiative.
      Other presentations included one by Dr D K Sahu on Open File Formats and
      design of Meta Data. He is making a detailed comparison of PDF, HTML, XML
      and SGML.
      Low or no Net access
      Jude Griffin <jgriffin at msh dot org> of the Electronic Products Group Management
      Sciences for Health Boston has been visiting India to
      look at the state of innovation for those with low or no Internet access,
      and who is doing innovative work in ICTs in India. Says he: "I work for
      Management Sciences for Health -- an international health nonprofit whose
      audience is health professionals in the developing world. This audience
      spans health workers in Bangladesh to ministry officials in Latin America."
      Their products and courses use a mix of delivery methodologies including
      Web, email, CD rom, print and face-to-face. Says Griffin: "We are looking
      for possible collaboration partners for a variety of ICT initiatives from
      courses to communities of practice which would utilize a range of ICTs."
      Open publishing
      The Journal of Orthopaedics is applying the principles of Free Software and
      Open Source to the publishing world. 
      Open Access has already become the buzzword in scholarly discussions and
      publishing circles. The scholar community, which was denied barrier-free
      access to vital research, has already begun dreaming of the free world where
      exchange of vital research is seamless. The Open Access Movements are
      gaining momentum and public acceptance worldwide.
      Open Access can change the scenario by a multi-pronged approach. Firstly by
      releasing the content in an open access license, which inherently includes
      reuse permissions, will make it available in different forms and different
      avenues free of cost. This significantly improves access. 
      For example, a recent editorial published in Calicut Medical Journal[] was translated to vernacular language and
      republished in a popular health magazine, which made the article accessible
      to a community which had no access to the primary literature.
      Dr.P.V Ramachandran Professor of Radiodiagnosis Medical College Aleppey
      E-Mail: pvr33 at yahoo dot com Web: and Dr.Vinod Scaria of
      Kozhikode in Kerala E-Mail: vinodscaria at yahoo dot co dot in Web:
      made this point very aptly recently. 
      Check out the mailing list for digital libraries, Digilib_India.  To
      subscribe from this group, send an email to:
      digilib_india-subscribe at yahoogroups dot com
      It brings across useful informational nuggets, like the recent one about
      USEMARCON Plus v1.41. USEMARCON is a software application that allows users
      to convert bibliographic records from one MAchine-Readable Cataloguing
      (MARC) format to another.
      To download the software please visit the the British Library web site at
      Database globally
      A recent advert pointed to the work of Nexus Information Services Company
      Private Limited (affiliated to National Information Services Corporation,
      Baltimore, Maryland, USA). It is one of the foremost database access,
      production and publishing companies in the world. 
      Nexus Information Services Co. Pvt. Ltd is located at Hyderabad, and can be
      contacted via hrd at nisc dot co dot in while their site is at
      Om Gurubhyo Namah 
      Astrology online? Why not, IT creates space for everything -- whether you
      believe in it or not. 
      Pandit S.P.Tata says: "I cordially invite you to visit my  Vedic astrology
      website It is a site based on the authentic Indian
      Hindu astrology tradition.... Vedic astrology is God's gift to mankind so
      that we can know and plan our future. My attempt is to give you a one-stop
      Vedic astrology site that is complete in all respects." Some content is
      free, and the other paid. The latter category includes instant predictions
      via online chat, personal forecasts (not computer generated), and the like.
      With astrology getting into cyberspace, even creditcards work here. Email: sptata at astrojyoti dot com s_p_tata at yahoo dot co dot in
      For the non-profit world
      The Australia-based Malian Foundation is offering non-profit organizations
      free computer software and management tools which can help organizations
      achieve their potential. The foundation, for example, offers "Discover", a
      specialized tool which helps organizations to train volunteers.
      Community multimedia
      UNESCO has just released a handbook on Community Multimedia Centres
      entitled: "How To Get Started And Keep Going: A Guide to Community
      Multimedia Centres". Written by reputed practitioners and researchers
      working on CMCs or ICT for development, it is available in hard copy, CD Rom
      and via cyberspace.
      PCs and Rs 5000?
      When Rajesh Jain <rajesh at netcore dot co dot in> of Netcore spoke about PCs costing
      Rs 5000, some thought this was only in the realm of speculation. Jain
      outlined his plays, in reply: "Here is what we are planning to do: build our
      own thin client for about Rs 3,000 (will support VNC -- a remote display
      protocol). Down the line, it will have a multimedia codec in it also, so the
      client will have full media capabilities. This cost will include keyboard
      and mouse also. A refurbished monitor is available for Rs 2,000 or so in
      India. Thats how I get to the Rs 5,000 figure. We expect the thin client to
      be ready in about two months. We will still need server resources -- that
      cost can vary from Rs 500-Rs 2500 per user, depending on the users."
      Check the software plans on
      Software at a (small) price
      Gaytri Sharma of Shilpa Traders and Exports in Jaipur
      <shilparts at kappa dot net dot in> writes in with an unusual offer. They say they've
      downloaded "very important and informative material" for a child's
      education. Cost per CD Rs 100 plus postage. You pay only Rs 25 as VPP
      charges. "If you think that the CD is not worth, you have the option of
      throwing it out of your window. No question will be asked from my side. If
      satisfied, send in the cost.
      If you feel that CD justifies the cost, you send me money by Cheque in the
      name of Shilpa Traders and Exports.  Just give me your name and address,
      where you want the CD to be sent and it will be sent in next week. If you
      want the CD withut the above offer, a postal packet for VPP Rs 125 will be
      sent at your address without delay. Waiting for your confirmation along with
      Pavi <pavi at aravind dot org> explains the intent of an initiative on the Net:
      "There are so many ways to integrate head and heart, skills and spirit and
      it's always inspiring to find more and more people willing and wanting to do
      just that. was started by a bunch of college techies in
      Silicon Valley who wanted to do (something more). Visit when you have a chance. Incidentally they have a
      chapter in Bangalore that you're more than welcome to join!"
      	From: Abhishek SINHA [mailto:aby_sinha at yahoo dot com] 
      	Sent: Thursday, May 06, 2004 12:07 AM
      	To: bytesforall_readers at yahoogroups dot com
      	Subject: [bytesforall_readers] Volunteer!
      	Hello All
      	I  should by start saying  that I have recently woken up to the
      	world around my cubicle. I am a software engineer working in a
      	Fortune 500 in Bangalore and life for me was code, bugs and tests. 
      	Till one day i woke up to the utter uselessness of my skills and my
      	way of making the difference.
      	Then i found bytesforall and started reading some of the articles. 
      	Simputer made me swell with pride since it was something *we* 
      	-- considered mostly third world inexpensive labor --  made all by
      	ourselves. Now i firmly believe that we need to look at technology,
      	more than anything else to bring out a social change or atleast
      	create awareness about it.
      	I would want to volunteer my time and effot to bytesforall, But
      	currently I have no direction as to how can I can spend my time
      	doing something that helps social change with technology. Being a
      	techie at heart, this appeals more to me and keeps me motivated.
      	Can someone tell me in what way(s) i can contribute! Either to the
      	newsletter in perparing case studies..etc etc...  I would be really
      	grateful.! Regards, Abhishek
      Coming... from California
      Joyojeet Pal <joyojeet at sims dot berkeley dot edu> is part of a research group at the
      University of California at Berkeley and they're are in the process of
      developing new technologies that can be used to make infrastructure and end
      user devices less-expensive in the 'developing regions'. Says Pal: "We are
      planning a trip to India in June, when we would like to meet with potential
      partners to test our technology and consider working together with. Ideally,
      the partners should have the following (not restricted to - except item 4):
      * need for an infrastructure solution * need for faster connectivity * need
      for regionally-relevant solutions * existing infrastructure or something
      very close to deployment. Contact Pal if interested.This is a research group
      at Berkeley, mainly interested in unexplored research areas in cost
      reduction for infrastructure.
      Virtual Academy for the Semi-Arid Tropics
      Balaji, V  <V.Balaji at cgiar dot org> of ICRISAT indicates that the project for
      the Virtual Academy for the Semi-Arid Tropics (VASAT) is going ahead soon.
      VASAT-Asia has recently advertised for a project manager (Hindu, April 21)
      to be based at ICRISAT, Patancheru, just outside Hyeradabad (Andhra
      The VASAT is a strategic coalition of partners with dryland farm communities
      and intermediaries as its core focus. The coalition includes international
      agricultural research centers, advanced research institutes, national open
      universities, national agriculture and extension systems, international
      development organizations, civil society organizations and community-based
      groups. The VASAT is led by ICRISAT, an international organisation for
      science-based agricultural development. ICRISAT research focuses on farming
      systems and crop Improvement, management and utilization of sorghum, pearl
      millet, pigeonpea, chickpea, and groundnut in the semi-arid tropics.
      For those in the field
      If you'd like to get a CD containing a decade-and-half of archives related
      to the world of agriculture get in touch with ILEIA
      ILEIA Centre for Information on Low External Input and Sustainable
      Agriculture PO Box 2067 3800 CB Amersfoort The Netherlands or contact Anita Ingevall, the director
      <a.ingevall at ileia dot nl>
      Agri and IT
      A consultiation related to agriculture and ICT.
      ICTs in Indian languages
      Dr. U.B. Pavanaja <pavanaja at softhome dot net> recently asked if anyone has
      information about any course (diploma, degree, correspondence) being
      conducted by any Indian university about ICT (information and communication
      technologies) in Indian languages? He was interested particularly in courses
      on ICTs run in any Indian language. Said he: "I need the structure of the
      course, syllabus, number of lectures, practicals, etc. Any pointer,
      web-sites may also be given." Dr Pavanaja is a member of the Board of
      Studies for the Kannada University which is currently looking at making the
      structure, syllabus, etc., for a course on ICT. The medium of instruction
      will be Kannada, says he. He's also editor of Vishwa Kannada, the first
      Internet magazine in Kannada (
      bYtES For aLL is a voluntary, unfunded venture. CopyLeft, To join an active
      discussion list, send a blank email to
      bytesforall_readers-subscribe at yahoogroups dot com
      Frederick Noronha * Freelance Journalist * Goa, India
      f r e d @ b y t e s f o r a l l . o r g 
      Ph 832.2409490 / 832.2409783 Cell 9822 122436
      784 Near Lourdes Convent, Sonarbhat, Saligao 403511 Goa