Update to WordPress 2.0

No one has noticed but ICTlogy has been running on WordPress 2.0 since… some posts ago.

  • Upgrade is easy. The WP Themes thing was such a good idea.
  • New admin is much better, a good improvement. Admin’s home page is great with lots of shortcuts and the preview feature is really cool.
  • The rich editor does weird things with relative links. I switched it off.
  • Akismet does not seem to be working, but WordPress Hashcash 2.3 does (this doesn’t apply for WordPress Hashcash 3.0 beta, that just don’t allow to post any comments at all – maybe my fault, don’t know…). Comment spam will someday cause mortal casualties near the Tannhauser gate.
  • Login page has some bug not remembering you when you come back. The solution is switching the link from /wp-login.php (the file) to /wp-admin/ (the directory).

Course: Development and the Internet

My colleague Mònica Vilassau points me to the Berkman Online Lecture and Discussion (BOLD) series.

There is a lot of interesting stuff there, mainly about Internet governance and Law vs. the Internet related issues (cybercrime, intellectual property, human rights, etc.).

In the field of ICT4D there’s of special interest the online course entitled Development and the Internet (it appears also under the name Internet for Development). I uploaded it to the ICT4D Courses repository as Development and the Internet, where it can be downloaded as a ZIP file or just browsed as usual.

ICT4D Bibliography

When I prepared my master’s dissertation, I — just as much people — happen to gather quite a good bunch of bibliographic resources: why not share them?

ICT4D Bibliography is my collection of books, articles, reviews, journals, institutions, authors, etc. in the field of Information and Communication Technologies for Development and other related subjects such as e-learning, knowledge management, free/libre open source software, online volunteering, nonprofits, etc.

The resources are filed under two main subjects: projects (the titles of the books, articles, reviews, etc.) and contacts (people and institutions that are related to the projects). A second filing method is categories (i.e. subject), type of author (author, editor…), type of project (article, blog…), language (in which the project is written) and country (of the contact).

You’ll see this is no formal way of categorizing at all but my way. Feel free to suggest improvements.

Powered with BibCiter

When I started with this bibliography I really needed a database and really needed I could use it not connected to the Internet. Another thing I was interested in having in my references database was that it created a bibliography — yes, that part at the end of a paper so tough to write. I found it easier and quicker to program it myself and the result was BibCiter, being the most interesting part of BibCiter — for me ;) — that it generates automatically the “correct” bibliographical citation according to the APA standards. The workflow is the following:

You log in as administrator and maintain a list of contacts and projects. The admin site does hold more information than the one that is open to the unlogged visitors, so you can have personal data for your contacts or assign to a project a typology or a state of reading. You can also “include” works one into another. The easiest example is a collective work under a unique title and an editor, but with multiple articles and authors within. Creating the “includer” and “included” projects, authors, editors or compilers, and linking included with includer makes it possible to cite (and browse) them afterwards with no chance of error (except programming errors, of course ;)

Once a contact and a project (or projects) are created (and linked one to each other) you can assign them to a “bibliography”. You can create as much bibliographies as you like: one for my master’s dissertation, another one for my Ph.D. Thesis, another one for that paper that I have to write for that journal, etc. It’s easy, then, to assign projects (articles, books, etc.) to a bibliography, so, at last, you can browse your selected bibliography and have a list of all the references perfectly cited, ready to be copy and pasted at the end of your paper. All in all, assigning a bibliography is kind of assigning a category to the project. Nevertheless, an independent system of categories is build and assignable both to contacts and projects.

As administrator, then, you can browse three lists or reports: contacts, projects and bibliographies. You can assign categories and bibliographies to the first two. And maintain the list of categories, languages, types of authors, types of projects and countries. Concerning the look, I’ve tried to make the whole thing compatible with WordPress themes, but some recoding is always necessary.

The first database I programmed was in MS Access. Actually, I still work with it because it is easier for me (specially when there’s no connection near) to work with it from my USB pen drive. Then, I upload from time to time the updated content to the one in the server. But MS Access is quite difficult to make it work for a web browser (I’m but a programmer). My personal (but not professional) interest in programming and LAMP made me try to recode what I was using in MySQL+PHP. BibCiter is the result. My intention is, once 90% of the bugs and horribly bad code is translated to just bad code I’ll open it and give it away to the public domain under some free license. If you are really really interested in helping me out, just let me know.

ICTlogy: ICT4D personal portal

When this blog started, my intentions (as stated in About ICTlogy v1.0) were rather simple and were no more than sharing knowledge and experience in a very concrete area of ICT4D under a focus of content and services, mainly e-learning, online volunteering and knowledge management.

Then came the ICT4D Wiki and even after came the ICT4D learning objects repository, two other ways of sharing more knowledge that I gathered here and there – only the blog brought new knowledge to the whole thing.

Somewhere in time I decided to upload the articles – most of them untranslated – and communications – actually just a list, any of them yet uploaded – I made. Good or bad, that was new knowledge and thus I hoped to correct the unbalance I face towards human kind in general, and the blogosphere in particular ;)

This new phase I’m just starting will be reflected also here. I’m in the process of reorganizing the site as sort of a “personal portal” – is it an e-portfolio? a personal knowledge environment? who cares. Some changes are already visible in the header of this page you’re reading. Some I hope will be not that noticeable but deeper in content and concept.

To do this, under the general concept/domain of ICTlogy I’ve set up the following contents:

  • ICT4D Blog, with news, links and reflections about ICT4D in general and, specially, about e-learning, e-volunteering or online volunteering, intranets and networking, knowledge management, the digital divide(s)…
  • ICT4D Wiki, with all “static” data I gather around: people, institutions, resources…
  • ICT4D Bibliography, a good bunch of bibliographic citations on ICT4D or closely related issues
  • ICT4D learning objects repository, with courseware in the field of nonprofits and development
  • This is all followed by an about section where all this is repeated.

On the personal side, an about me section

introduces the articles and communications sections, a contact form and a disclaimer that says that (usually) everything found here is under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Creative Commons License.BTW, since yesterday this blog is powered by WordPress 2.0 and things seem to be working cute. Kudos to the WP team! :)

Public policies for development and digital divide

For those few reading these lines besides me, I do hate make you lose your time with stuff not strictly related to this blog’s purpose – and your purpose in reading it.

BUT

I wonder if some news lately might not be of “public” interest, even if they’re just to contextualize this and everything. Excuse me too for the catchy title of this entry – read on to see where does it come from.

Since December 1st I left my responsibility leading the Cooperation for Development Programme at the Open University of Catalonia. This is something we had been cooking since… almost February 2005 together with one vice-president and the CEO of the University. The reason of it all was that the Cooperation for Development Programme was leading some projects that should be lead within the framework of an academic strategy, say, from a Faculty. These projects where the direction of two masters in development, three (and a half) knowledge transfer international projects, research and innovation (almost)projects, etc.

After some internal benchmarking we found that the Faculty of Law and Political Science was deeply interested in launching an area of knowledge centered in Public Policies for Development (including ICT4D). The who’s and how’s were debated since April 2005 until October 2005, when the University decided I would become professor at the Faculty of Law and Political Science leading this new “area”, which would include the academic projects that were formerly run by the University’s Cooperation for Development Programme. Just because of bureaucracies it all was officialized last December 1st.

This means that this blog will, presumably, turn into something more academic and be shifting from e-learning and online volunteering to issues more centered in policies and the digital divide. Previous subjects will not be – of course! – forgotten, but my (somehow) new professional interests seem to be joining my late personal interests and thus scope would be a little bit wider and a little bit deeper at the same time. I guess in the following posts that’ll get some clearer.

BTW, (at least) two other ICT4D people are trying to face new challenges this new year. Jayne Cravens and Andy Carvin are leaving their actual projects and are available – the former I know, the second I guess – to share their valuable knowledge. Have good luck in your quests!

Maplecroft maps: Global map of digital inclusion

Maplecroft maps is a highly visual web-based resource which contains detailed country information for over 200 states and maps key social, economic, environmental and political issues and their significance to business and society.

This map features 178 countries coloured in green, pink, purple and red according to one of four distinct levels of digital access as presented in the ITU Digital Access Index (DAI) – high, upper, medium and low. Red and purple shading indicates lower levels of digital access and pink and green shading indicates higher levels of digital access.

Related links:

[via Andy Carvin]