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January 18th, 2011 by Admin

Hello and welcome to the partial list of project pages for the UIUC engagement with the National Library, São Tomé and Príncipe.

Meeting with CU-Win 12-6-06

December 6th, 2006 by Admin

We met for the purpose of picking CU-Win’s collective brain regarding the installation of wireless technology on the island of Sao Tome’.

Text of the e-mails sent to Mr. Jorge Coelho 11-30-06:

November 30th, 2006 by Admin


I know you’re on the road (or in the air) but my colleagues and I were hoping that you could provide us with a contact at the National Library with Internet e-mail accesswho can give us further information about the physical space and its dimensions. Also, we’d like to know more details about their software wishlist.


I’m using Jake’s laptop and I’m obviously mouse-impaired :O) – which is why you will be receiving an unfinished message. We’re expecting 6″ – 8″ of snow tonight and the majority of the class is returning to East St. Louis tomorrow to install their computer labs. Martin informed us today that the Internet is imploding so I thought it might be a good idea to write again. We’ve found good (read – free!) software options to install on the initial PCs and we’re excited to discuss it with you.

Thank you for your attention in this matter!

E-mail sent to Portuguese Professors at UIUC regarding Content for eGranary

November 18th, 2006 by Admin

To facilitate the location of Portuguese Language content for the eGranary that will eventually be sent to Sao Tome, the Portuguese Professors at UIUC were contacted. The Following E-mail was sent:


The Graduate School of Library and Information Science and Prairienet are in the first stages of a partnership with the government of Sao Tome. The director of the National Airport of Sao Tome graduated from UIUC with a MBA and a Masters of Library Science. While a student in Champaign, he worked with the East Saint Louis Action Research Project.

ESLARP establishes and nurtures mutually enhancing partnerships between community-based organizations in distressed urban areas, and students, staff, and faculty at the University of Illinois. Through these innovative partnerships, ESLARP promotes the revitalization of distressed areas as well as advances the University’s research, teaching, and service missions. Prairienet and GSLIS work on creating computer labs for non-profits in Champaign County and the East St. Louis area.

Jorge, the director of the National Airport in Sao Tome, has contacted GSLIS and ESLARP looking into the possibility of expanding the ESLARP program to his country.

I am part of a group that is preparing a computer network for the National Library in Sao Tome. We are looking to incorporate eGranary into our network.

The eGranary Digital Library ( provides millions of digital educational resources to institutions lacking adequate Internet access. Through a process of garnering permissions, copying Web sites, and delivering them to intranet Web servers inside partner institutions in developing countries, millions of multimedia documents that can be instantly accessed by patrons over their local area networks at no cost are delivered.

eGranary is run through a group at the University of Iowa. They have worked mainly with English-speaking populations. They are willing to add Portuguese Language content to the program if we find the Portuguese content.

Thus, my question. We are in need of content in Portuguese. Medical journals, academic journals, online encyclopedias, newspapers, digital libraries, or any quality information source would be greatly appreciated. This content would be accessed by government officials, scholars, students, leaders, and other community members in Sao Tome.

We are looking for leads and contacts in the Portuguese-speaking community that would be in a position to donate content. Would any of you have any potential leads or any general advice? No one in our group speaks Portuguese and we have a very limited knowledge of the Portuguese-speaking world. Any help would be appreciated.

Many thanks

As of Dec. 14, 2006, no response has been received. This is a project to continue after break.

Andy’s notes from Nov 3rd phonecon with Mr. Cuelho

November 11th, 2006 by Admin

— Right now they have 2 or 3 PCs, but no computer lab

— Requests recommendations for computer lab guidelines

— Requests databases with specialized info like medicine, etc.

— The National Library is a two-floor building; he would like a 20-computer lab downstairs and then 3-5 upstairs in corners or wherever there is space.

— Windows and Microsoft is everywhere, so most users would be more familiar with it than Linux; the few computers there have WinXP

— Electrical system is 220v; power is considered to be unreliable

— The average user off the street will probably be 18-40 yrs old

— Govt officials will also be users (more education)

— Language support should be in Portuguese

— The current island ISP is a Portuguese company named Marconi; they supply ADSL

— Talks should be prepared for the library staff

— Wants to have a similar computer lab in Principe

— One of the main purposes of the lab is to help further chances of studying abroad for students

— Possible future project is to build computer labs in schools

Text of the e-mail sent to Mr. Coelho on 11-9-06

November 9th, 2006 by Admin


I know you’re on the road (or in the air) but my colleagues and I were hoping that you could put us in touch with someone at the National Library who can communicate with us and who has Internet e-mail as we would like a better understanding of software needs for the initial computer lab.

Thank you very much for your attention to this request

Conference Call 11-03-06

November 3rd, 2006 by Admin

Proposed site for computer lab: The National Library of Sao Tome’, a two-story building where currently the staff has two or three PCs for their business use, loaded with Microsoft Windows XP (confirm). We do not know what software applications are currently installed or whether the PCs are networked together (requested additional information 11-9-06).

The library staff would like to have three to five PCs in each corner of the library’s second floor for a total of 15 – 25 in addition to a lab located centrally on either the first or second floor.

Proposed users: People between the ages of 18 – 25 who are seeking information about education abroad, available scholarships and financial aid, government officials and others searching for specialized information. Sao Tomeans and Principeans are understandably curious about the world beyond their borders.

Proposed software: for the library staff, applications to provide indexing, cataloging and classification guidelines, a relational database, some method of accessing the Web, multimedia (more detail needed here – what do they want to do?) and specialized information on a variety of subjects (e-Granary!). The preferred operating system is Windows.

Power: 220 volts with European-style, two-prong outlets. The power itself fluctuates unpredictably and there are frequent cuts. There is currently no UPS for the PCs.

Service Provider: a Portuguese company (CSTTC) provides telephone and Internet service (DSL – find out top speed currently available). Jorge also mentioned Radio Marconi (context).

Eventually, Jorge envisions computers in every school, every town and every plantation, no matter how remote, to balance services between the urban population and the interior. He also stressed that there must be parity between Sao Tome’ and Principe – if there is a computer lab on Sao Tome’, eventually there must be a computer lab on Principe’ (but is this necessarily ESLARP’s responsibility?)

Jorge reminded us that he will be out of the country for a month, beginning next week (11/6 – 11/10) and returning on December 29th. He will be traveling to South Africa, Mozambique and Lisbon but told us that someone would be available to answer questions in his absence.

Conference Call 11-1-06

November 1st, 2006 by Admin

When he made the appointment for our meeting, Sr. Coelho had forgotten that November 1st is All Souls’ Day in Sao Tome’. He was at the cemetery with his brothers and sisters to honor their mother’s memory when we called (we were mortified). He was apologetic. He suggested another call on Friday morning to which we quickly agreed.

Current Issues 10/28/06

October 28th, 2006 by Admin

— What do we do with the Dell Optiplex Sx260s?  We were considering using them as diskless members of a Linux Terminal Server arrangement, but are now undecided.  The Linux Terminal Server Project page said that there wasn’t noticeable improvement when computers faster than a Pentium 133 were used.  LTSP Min Specs (no longer active)

— We are waiting for Mr. Coelho to call us.  We think that will be the morning of the 30th or the 31st

— Are we going to use Ubuntu or Windows?  We have computers that have Win2000 licenses, so that is an option.  Which has better documentation in Portuguese?  What do we need to do to customize these machines for Portuguese users?

— While we wait for Mr. Coelho, we can begin to use the Ultimate Boot CDs (located in P’net’s basement) to run Lucifer.  This program will run hardware tests to give us an idea of whether there are any weak links that need to be addressed before the trip.

Meeting with Cliff Missen 10-24-06

October 24th, 2006 by Admin

Met with Cliff Missen at Prairienet following his presentation on Widernet and e-Granary in 129 GSLIS.

Mr. Missen is an experienced traveler, having gone to Africa regularly for the last 22 years. To curtail the rampant corruption associated with importing goods, he works with one company and the same employee each time, paying a $2,000 fee to the company for its services in expediting shipments. To keep operating costs low, he rents a shipping container which is delivered to the University of Iowa by truck. Mr. Missen and his volunteers fill the container over the course of a weekend with donated, refurbished computer equipment, leaving the area around the inner outside edge free. They then fill this space with donated books which protect “the breakables” during the voyage. The books are given away when the container reaches its destination.

It was generally agreed that Mr. Missen’s product, e-Granary, would serve the Sao Tome site very well and plans were made to request funds to purchase it. Mr. Missen stated that Portuguese language software such as Wikipedia could be added to the product in time for the proposed January 2007 deployment.