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Presentation of the SIST Device . Table of Contents 1 – General Principles of the SIST Tool 2 – Fast Visit to the website 3 – Technical Composition of the device 4 – Few SIST device key components 5 – Perspectives, evolutions. 1 – General Principles of the SIST Tool.

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Table of Contents

1 – General Principles of the SIST Tool

2 – Fast Visit to the website

3 – Technical Composition of the device

4 – Few SIST device key components

5 – Perspectives, evolutions

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1 - General Principles of

the SIST Tool

Initial Objectives :

  • Improve upon and share knowledge and experiences

  • Value extraction of obtained or on-going findings

  • Build regional research networks

  • Incorporate African research in international mainstream

  • Contribute to the narrowing of the digital divide


  • Fast implementation

  • Operational, simple and pragmatique device

  • Technical, functional and financial autonomy of countries after the project

  • A geometrically variable structure that is transferable to the rest of African countries

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1 - General Principles of

the SIST Tool

SIST in some key ideas …

  • A window of national and regional scientific activity on the Web

  • A catalyst for scientific production

  • A communication tool and an exchange point between research stakeholders

  • An operational workspace for researchers and lecturers

  • A device to capitalise initiatives and co-operation projects

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1 - General Principles of

the SIST Tool

Some Common Sense Rules to be observed

  • Autonomy

    • a tool for the South managed by the South, technically, functionallly and financially autonomous.

  • Simplicity, economy of means

    • Consult the information directly at its source once that is possible

    • If not, minimise the workof the donor body, opt systematically for an automated process of collection.

    • SIST is a system of access to meta data which provide reference to information rather than a centralised reservoir.

  • Complementarity

    • SIST adds value to the devices already existing in the country, it complements them, extracts their value without competing with them.

  • Sustainability

    • SIST relies on sustainable technology which relies on open bases and used by a larger community than that of the.

  • Assistance

    • SIST, an accompaning vector for computarizing African institutions rather than a constraint.

    • Recomending free software for informatisation

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    1 - General Principles of

    the SIST Tool

    Possible functional response

    • Capitalise existing scientific deposits

    • Open access to sources of information from the North

    • Simplify and improve upon the use of new ICTs

    • Facilitate exchanges and communication among research stakeholders

    • Stimulate scientific production, etc ….


    Find the


    (access to electronicresources )


    (Tools Box for Research)


    (Collaborative Work )

    Make it known

    (Publish, disseminate

    on the Web)

    • Which information tool to use?

    • Not really an information system in the strictest sense of the word

    • A gateway, a tools box, a system of publication on the Web: diverse functions but rarely certified under the same tool

    • A simple use, less complicated tools, easy to handle

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    1 - General Principles of

    the SIST Tool

    SIST and modularity





    of partners




    Other SIST





    Local Storage



    of data




    Free Tools



    • Integration of already existing solutions

    • Independent and evolutive block software

    • A « flexible » ground which is adapted to diverse material and software contexts

    • the choice of free software : cost free use of solution, opened up to improvement

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    2 – Fast Visit to the Website

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    2 – Fast Visit to

    the Website

    Guided visit according to different types of user

    • The researcher, the lecturer

      • Find accurate information

      • Get informed on general scientific topics

      • Exchange, share skills

    • The decision maker

      • Access to national overall

    • The student

      • Train himself, learn, discover ICT and STI

      • Contribute to research

    • The project team

      • Present, publish, display results

      • Manage the project and its resources

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    2 – Fast Visit to

    the Website

    Guided visit according to different types of user (« tools » translation of the visit)

    • The researcher, the lecturer

      • Federated search of information

      • On line scientific news and documentary files

      • Discussion fora

    • The decision maker

      • National directories and federated search on institutional directories

    • The student

      • The workstation of the scientist

      • Discussion fora

    • The project team

      • Mini web sites design

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    3 – Technical composition of the device

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    3 – Technical composition of

    the device

    Collaborative Work Space

    Generator of

    mini Websites

    Outline of SIST Website

    Set of partner databases


    Work station

    of the Scientist

    • SIST is a tool to be configured which contains:

    • an outline of a Website (tree diagram, sections, menus, pages sizes …)

    • tools available in the tree diagram and reusable at one ’s own leisure time (forum, research, syndication…)

    • a meta search engine and its administrative interface

    • access to a first game of sources data from partners

    • a collaborative work space (a generator of mini Websites within SIST)

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    3 – Technical composition of

    the device

    A template of the SIST site to be completed and personalised

    Delivered :

    • A complete structure of the Web site (Arborescence, menus, sections, articles, browsing…)

    • A SIST graphic charter

    • Web page templates (editorial, article, list, table of contents…)

    • Reusable Tools (forum, form, syndication …)

    • STI resources connected and put at the disposal by partners

      To be accomplished :

    • Personalising the structure according to national needs (themes)

    • Identifying and connecting national or international STI resources

    • Producing and adding contents to the sections of the site

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    3 – Technical composition of

    the device






    Size of SIST Website

    Decision-Making Committee

    National SIST Website


    Changes in SIST Websites

    Computer Scientists


    Diverse Websites











    • a modular device in layers

    • totally open

    • usable for other functions

    • outside the SIST context

    Variable Elements

    Elements of Free Software

    Elements added by SIST to the free Software

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    3 – Technical composition of

    the device

    • A free Software

      • SPIP-AGORA is a manager of «improved» contents

      • SPIP-AGORA is a free project since it is an extension of SPIP

    • A purely non commercial vocation

    • Initiated by the Government Information Service (SIG)

      • Disseminated not only within the State (Prime ministerial, ministerial, deconcentrated administrative Services …) but far beyond: territorial authorities, public institutions, associated sector, private enterprises …

      • Uses expanded technologies: linux, apache, MySQL, Php …

      • Portable and adaptable to all technical configurations of our African partners

      • Governmental sites :,,, yet to come: é,,

    • Recognised partners

      • Braillenet, ANPE, ADULLACT (association des développeurs et utilisateurs de logiciels libres pour les administrations et les collectivités territoriales), ADAE (Agency for development of electronic administration)

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    3 – Technical composition of

    the device

    • The Advantages

      • Free of charge: No licence required, no maintenance charge

      • A multi faceted solution (variable Geometry)

      • Multiple and free Contributions

      • Total Opening up of the device

      • Current IT Standards, no specific skills required

      • Possible multiple uses outside SIST

      • No Computer team specially dedicated during the time of the project

    • The Disadvantages

      • product development linked with community dynamism

      • little or no technical assistance (Installation, changing a version, contextual problems…)

      • less rigidity than it is with a commercial software (quality of IT product code )

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    3 – Technical composition of

    the device

    • Structured choices:

      • compatible with all the browsers (html standard) even the former versions

      • compatible with even the former materials (dynamically reconfigured screens)

      • solution (almost) independent of the material

      • sober, very few pictures, the Html pages are light and adapted to weak networks

      • integrated and user-friendly tools (forum, search engine, forms, syndication of site …)

      • fast manipulation, a site for surfers in hurry! (no expert mode)

      • fast priority and fast response time (principle of federated research)

      • an open solution where nothing is fixed

      • a technical choice according to the standards of current skills in computer science

      • a financial autonomy, organisational, functional and technical device even after the project

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    3 – Technical composition of

    the device

    Web Site






























    x 12



    SIST Project





    x 1

    Gateway +



    • 12 personalizable national SIST

      • A stable common element between every national SIST

      • Possibility to add nationalspecific needs to that common element

    • 1 central SIST

      • Gateway to national SIST

      • Provide with shared and international informations

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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    SIST web site template

    The work station of the scientist

    The federated search module

    Scientific news on-line

    The e-Workspace

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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    A Standardised national web site template with four entry points :

    • SIST : General information on the SIST project and on the way it goes on in the country

      • Information on the SIST project

      • Precisions on the national structures and actions linked to the SIST device

      • Description of the SIST partners

    • STI in XXXXX : summary of the national resources in Scientific and Technical Information

      • The Directory of national institutions and international representations

      • The Directory of national experts

      • Access to databases of national STI projects

      • Access to national scientific production on line

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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    • The work station of the scientist (scientist office) : resources and tools which can be used in the daily work of the scientist.

      The work of the scientist can be modelled in the form of situation. Each situation (Searching for information, Publishing, to be informed ....) is described as a real documentary file which brings together the entire necessary means of answering the context of the situation.

    • Collaborative space (e-Workspace) : This part of the Website is meant for the project teams or network of experts who wish to have a platform to work and collaborate. It is a question of real mini Website within the SIST site.

      Without knowledge in computer science, a team is able to develop a communication, exchange and work site with the same tools that like those presented and used in the SIST site.

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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    The workstation of the scientist

    An approach « everything on the table »

    a digital working environment


    methodologies / scenarios for putting in place project and activities

    sources of validated scientific information

    putting at the disposal by SIST partners

    or one selection of web sites strongly identified with scientific contents by the partners

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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    The workstation of the scientist, a first outline

    Sections linked to the research process and illustrated in the following first sections:

    • Researching

    • Exchanging

    • Publishing

    • Training oneself

    • Keep informed

      Offering a definition of the perimeter of the action, sites and reference documents with putting forward aspects linked to the open access and the open source

      A tool box for research, a teaching tool for education

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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    Reminders of some SIST objectives :

    • SIST is a system of increase in value of existing scientific funds in countries where it is established

    • SIST facilitates access to international databases of partners

    • SIST is a simple and pragmatic tool

    • SIST is a system of quick referencing of STI and not a storage system

    • SIST is evolutionary and must be able to quickly take into account the evolution of national scientific production

    • SIST handles STI in a broad perspective : universality and multi themes

      A technical response : the federated search module

    • Address any STI source form whatever its nature, type and format

    • A very simple interface similar to that of «Google »

    • A standardization of results

    • The display of meta data but the possibility to access the information as a whole

    • Short response time

    • A very flexible management, making it possible to add new sources to query

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    4 – Few SIST device key components


    University C

    Research Centre D

    Agency E



    Library F

    Whole Text



    Country A

    Institution A


    Whole Text

    Organ B



    Country B


    Result 2



    Full Text






    Original source link



    Meta Data

    Result 1

    Result 2


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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    A connector per type of data source

    Presently, the SIST has the following connectors:

    • on-line databases

    • Scientific websites

    • Full text storage

    • Other SIST devices

    • « Partner » sources

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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    On-line databases

    • Each database accessible on the WEB and having a questionnaire

    • More generally, any resource located on the Web and which can be found and displayed via a Web form


      1 - Some specific forms (ownership products ) cannot be linked to SIST via this connector.

      2 – Accessible databases can also be the one managed from a central point by the SIST (catalogues, directories…)

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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    Scientific Websites

    • Any scientific Website whose contents are deemed to be relevant to the SIST

      The contents of the identified websites are then periodically indexed by the SIST

      Observation: Do not index outrageously to limit the noise. Make reasonable choices of indexed sites.

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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    Full text storage

    • Any location accessible through an URL and containing documents in most of the classical formats (Word, PDF, Excel …)

      The content of these documents are then periodically indexed by the SIST

      Observation : The same observation as that of the Websites on the need to make reasoned choices of indexation.

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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    Other SIST devices

    • All the national SIST have an entry point that allows them to respond to a query from another SIST

      The search criteria sent by the calling SIST are then transmitted to all resources selected by default on the called SIST.

      Observation: SIST become a NETWORK composed of 12 national SIST and a central SIST

      (sharing of CPU time, possible access to a great number of VALIDATED scientific resources)

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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    Partner sources

    • Within the scope of conventions related to the SIST projects, partners can provide with specific « SIST » access to their resources.

      These forms of access are quicker and more reliable than normal connections and moreover, they generally help to be more specific in the search.

      Observation : We tend to gradually generalize these forms of access vis a vis of project partners

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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    Advantages of the federated search device

    • Only one question to cover a large panel of resources

    • Quick « the sooner answered, the sooner displayed »

    • crosses all kinds of STI forms

    • Does not bother about data formats

    • New sources easily connectable

    • Possibility to create new connectors (adaptability)

    • Respects data ownership

    • No necessary intervention from the source owner

    • Work as a network of national SISTs and central SIST


    • No sorting according to relevance

    • A lot of noise (whole text search)

    • Possible “doublons”

    • Potential fragility of connectors « Online databases »

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    4 – Few SIST device key components


    • Regularly inform scientists on news relating to identified topics


    • The scientist seldom has time to browse the net

    • It is not always possible to mandate someone to search for information

    • Information only has value when it is fresh

    • Information only has value for a short period

      SIST response :

    • An aggregator of RSS lines

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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    RSS lines and syndication

    • The term RSS (Really Simple Syndication) indicates a structuring convention of files that guarantees their dissemination, in a greater number, in a comprehensible format (we talk of « syndication of content »)

    • It is a particular text file whose content is automatically generated (except for special cases) according to the update of a website.

    • This content is left to the free choice of the flow producer, but it is generally made up of update titles (for example: « new promotion »), corresponding hypertext links, and the description , in a few lines, of these updates (for example: «  prices sacrificed on the memory for three days. Take advantage of that » ).

      Observation: This mechanism is very popular for dissemination of news by editors and producers of content.

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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    SIST and syndication

    • Identify the subjects of priority according to the needs of countries where SIST exists.

    • Locate RSS lines which can bring a relevant news on the topics (RSS directories like,,, …)

    • These topics are therefore presented in the form of sections in the section “Scientist office>Keep informed>Scientific news”

    • Every topic becomes a “centraliser” of RSS lines which is responsible for gathering the day ’s scientific news and package them in a user-friendly manner

    • Generally, news has a link with the whole article

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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    Web Site A

    Web Site A

    Web Site A

    Web Site A

    Web Site A

    RSS Lines

    RSS Lines

    RSS Lines

    Topic 1

    Topic 1

    Topic 1

    Scientific news

    News 1

    News 1


    News 2

    News 2

    News 3

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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    Objectives :

    • Sharing of knowledge beyond geographical barriers becomes a priority for Research

    • Scientists should be able to benefit from new ICTs

    • The efficiency and fastness of projects or networks of expertise go through a collaborative work space

      Constraints to be tackled :

    • Rapid implementation, limited time for learning, no computer language skills

    • Sites hosting

    • Maintenance and development of the site during the project time

    • Needs become rapidly complex (forum, survey, on line publishing …)

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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    What SIST offers with the collaborative workspace

    • An information space dedicated to a project team at the time of the project

    • A generator of mini- websites who enables the creation of HTML pages developed with any knowledge in computer

    • A tool box enabling, among other things, creation of discussion For a, opinion polls, on line publication of articles, workflows, site syndication, federated research, establishing of electronic libraries...

    • Access to multiples resources made available by the partners

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    4 – Few SIST device key components

    A collaborative work platform that can be personalised to:

    • Present a project on the Internet

    • Display on the web research works and findings

    • Build an electronic project library

    • Establish a resource centre (on line topical news, federated research on identified sources, discussion forum, polls, directory of experts... )

    • Manage the project (planning, agenda …)

    • Exchange (on line publication with validation workflow )

    • Contribute to SIST (creation of databases which can be queried by the SIST)

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    5 – Perspectives, evolutions

    The main developments considered are :

    • Automated dissemination of SIST site contents to other websites ( creation of RSS lines)

    • Device for selective information dissemination (from a recorded research equation, periodic dissemination of results via the message system, via RSS lines, or via the supply of web pages on the SIST.

    • Harvesting of OAI (collection OAI metadata and exploitation via federated research module)

    • Creation of centralised directory of experts

    • Access control mechanism for sensitive database (Hinari, Agora)

    • New connectors to the federated research ( LDAP directory)

    • Improving the federated research module (post research relevant sorting, removal of “doublons”...)

    • Exportation of federated research findings under other formats (XML, Word, Excel, Endnote …)

    • Putting in place Blog and wiki tools in the collaborative work space

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    Questions ?

    Prototype :

    Project website :

    [email protected]

    [email protected]

    [email protected]

    [email protected]