Monday, March 31, 2003


My occasional colleagues at RAND, Anny Wong and Irene Brahmakulam, have published this new report based on three case studies of USAID programs:

USAID and Science and Technology Capacity Building for Development
December 2002

There is an editorial based on the paper in SciDec.Net

US ‘should promote science within aid efforts’ David Dickson, March 28. 2003.

While surfing the net, preparing a new highlight for the ICT for Development page of the Development Gateway Portal, I came across these:

Economic Fundamentals of the Knowledge Society
Abstract: “This article provides an introduction to fundamental issues in the development of new knowledge-based economies. After placing their emergence in historical perspective and proposing a theoretical framework that distinguishes knowledge from information, the authors characterize the specific nature of such economies. They go on to deal with some of the major issues concerning the new skills and abilities required for integration into the knowledge-based economy; the new geography that is taking shape (where physical distance ceases to be such an influential constraint); the conditions governing access to both information and knowledge, not least for developing countries; the uneven development of scientific, technological (including organizational) knowledge across different sectors of activity; problems concerning intellectual property rights and the privatization of knowledge; and the issues of trust, memory and the fragmentation of knowledge.” By Paul A. David and Dominique Foray, December 2001- Revised February 2002. (PDF, 24 pages.)

General Purpose Technologies and Surges in Productivity: Historical Reflections on the Future of the ICT Revolution
Opening paragraph: “In this essay we reflect on the relevance of early twentieth century experience for understanding the more general phenomenon of recurring prolonged swings in the TFP growth rate in advanced industrial economies. Our discussion builds upon our recent re-examination of the marked acceleration of the pace of total factor productivity growth that occurred in U.S. manufacturing following World War I (David and Wright 1999). After a ‘productivity pause’ of some three decades, during which gross manufacturing output grew at less than one percent per annum relative to inputs of capital and labor, TFP in this sector expanded at more than five percent per annum between 1919 and 1929. This remarkable discontinuity has often been overlooked by modern productivity analysts and economic historians alike; yet it contributed substantially to the absolute and relative rise of the US domestic economy’s TFP residual, and in many respects launched the high-growth era that persisted into the 1970s. By Paul A. David and Gavin Wright, July, 1999. (PDF, 27 pages.)

The Solow Paradox
By Sam Vaknin, 29 July 1999, Central Europe Review

Robert J. Gordon’s website
With many relevant papers.

Growth is Good for the Poor
by David Dollar and Aart Kraay

Human Development Report 2001: Making new technologies work for human development

I don’t think I have anything useful to add to the Blogs on the war in Iraq. Certainly I don’t know how to say anything within the context of “Knowledge for Development” on the war.

I have turned my attention to issues of humanitarian relief, the reconstruction that I hope will soon follow the fighting, and the restoration of that which was destroyed and can be restored. I hope that these processes can be completed in ways that will lead to and enhance the long term social and economic development of Iraq and its region, and the ultimate reduction of poverty.

I have been seeking to build links to information and knowledge resources useful in those efforts on the Development Gateway, which has Iraq: Relief and Recoverya new “” page. I invite you to visit, and indeed become a member of the community building and using that page.

Thursday, March 27, 2003


Where is one to start looking into the Digital Divide, now that the phrase has become so wide spread.

The Development Gateway ICT4D Topic page has a “Key Issue” on the topic. It has more than 200 resources described, but perhaps they are not too precisely related to digital divide.

The Digital Divide Network (of the Benton Foundation) is another starting place:

as is the Digital Divide Organization:

And the Markle Foundation Digital Divide Initiative website:

The big US studies, done by the government are here:

Some online groups and resources for studying the Digital Divide and related topics include:

the Association for Internet Research

The Resource Center for cyberculture Studies

and The IFIP Working Group 9.4

Networked leadership is needed for a networked society.
Ernie Wilson

Complex leadership is needed for a complex society.
John Daly

I have been thinking again about leadership for ICT for development, and Ernie’s insightful aphorism caught my attention. “Leadership” makes me think of the military, and in the military it is clear that leadership is needed at all levels: from the supreme commander setting overall goals and objectives, from the area commander leading in the development and implementation of strategy to achieve those goals, from unit commanders leading in the development and implementation of tactics, and from lower commissioned and non-commissioned officers. Indeed, Iraq suggests that the increasing power of weapons and speed of action requires more distributed leadership than ever before. Considerable attention has been given to the battlefield information systems that provide leaders at all levels of the military with more information, more quickly than ever before. Perhaps less attention has been paid to the probability that leaders all levels will also need more knowledge than ever before. I am using the term knowledge here to refer to information embodied in the person, and indeed in the equipment that surrounds that person, and embodied in the team in which that person works. If people all though the military system are to take leadership, integrate new information, and act appropriately, it would seem that they will also need more knowledge to do so well!

Formal organizations have been characterized as a social invention that prospered because such institutions were able to handle knowledge and information better than alternative available institutions, especially for the accomplishment of large scale tasks. The military and the church have been seen as prototypical large formal organizations. It has been suggested that the development of the Internet and the World Wide Web, together with the growth of the Global Information Infrastructure, have changed the situation. That many large business firms will now downsize, specializing in core competencies, while they outsource goods and services that they formerly produced internally. It has been suggested that this is true because the technology has allowed market institutions to be more effective and efficient in handling the related knowledge and information than would be the business organizations.

I infer that the further implication is that in addition to hierarchical leadership within the business organization, the role for distributed leadership among the firms collaborating through the new ICT intermediated markets will become more important. Again, I would extrapolate to suggest that more widely distributed knowledge will also be necessary for the “new economy” to work well.

I suspect that other institutions also will be potentiated by the technology, such as business communities, civil society, local communities, etc. Perhaps the result will be a realignment of the functions socially allocated to various institutions, and perhaps that will diminish the relative importance of hierarchical, formal organizations as compared with other institutions. Again, this suggests that the “information society” will involve more distributed leadership, information and knowledge than its predecessor.

I would note that when a student in the Graduate School of Administration I had the suspicion that the materials on leadership, power and authority were defined for Dilbertesque organizations in which the pointy headed managers sought to control the engineers and techies. Since my fundamental professional identity is that of an engineer, I knew which side of that battle I favored. I like the idea of a less hierarchical society, influenced by a wider variety of institutions, giving more room for individual initiative and diffusing leadership responsibilities, requiring more general dissemination of information, and broadening the knowledge base of individuals, teams, and communities.

Of course it is hard to predict how such a society will function. Complexity theory offers one area of insights. And thus, I would suggest that a complex society requires complex leadership!

Wednesday, March 26, 2003


Ian Foster has a very good article in the current issue of Scientific American (April 2003) on the topic of Grid Computing. I was especially impressed by his table of 17 major grid computing initiatives, including one in Singapore, as well as several in Europe and one in Japan.

Ian Foster’s Website
Foster wrote in Nature in 2000, “Internet computing and Grid technologies promise to change the way we tackle complex problems. They will enable large-scale aggregation and sharing of computational, data and other resources across institutional boundaries. And harnessing these new technologies effectively will transform scientific disciplines ranging from high-energy physics to the life sciences.” He went on to note that, “There are over 400 million PCs around the world, many as powerful as an early 1990s supercomputer. And most are idle much of the time. Every large institution has hundreds or thousands of such systems. Internet computing seeks to exploit otherwise idle workstations and PCs to create powerful distributed computing systems with global reach and supercomputer capabilities.” Grid computing is currently established in scientific and academic community, among power users of computers, but offers potential for e-commerce and many other activities. Indeed, it may well be that grid computing will lead to information processing utilities, and away from dependence on the personally owned or business owned computer. Foster’s website includes not only a link to the Nature article, and a number of other general articles on the promise of grid computing, but links to a large number of more technical resources on the subject. The Digital Divide in Grid Computing is almost certainly as large as that in any ICT field, while the approach would offer developing countries great efficiency in ICT investments.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003


I have been updating my home pages. This is something I have to do from time to time. I have perhaps 50 items posted, and the majority of them are on other websites – in which the owners have been kind enough to make space for things I have worked on. But people keep changing the URLs for these postings. That of course breaks all the links to them. This Blog entry is to fulminate against such practices.

I have been contributing to the Development Gateway Portal, seeking to develop a resource for others to help them find useful materials on the development topics that interest me. Basically, this is sharing a little of the information I have gleened over time with others. I have now posted some 3,500 resource descriptions. While I am doing this, people are moving the useful resources that I have described, indexed, and linked!

Creation of new information is admirable. I would suggest that perhaps even more important is organization and systematization of information, as well as storage of the information in ways that it can be found and utilized. The Web is a potentially great medium for this organization and dissemination of information. But not when people are moving it around.

One of the key problems in factories making complex machines, like airplanes, is keeping track of the many parts that go into each plane. If you have thousands of parts, manufactured in different places, and used at different times, you have to have huge warehouses to store them all. Keeping track of the stored parts is a big problem, one that is being attacked by having each pallet of parts record its own description, and broadcast it by wireless. But the World Wide Web is an much larger space, with a huge number of pieces of information, to be used by a huge number of people.

Moving the information from place to place is a big disservice to the community! If you are tempted, don't do it!

Friday, March 21, 2003


If this Blog is about “Knowledge for Development”, and if “Development” is mostly about the reduction of poverty, then I ought to do some things about poverty, knowledge about poverty, and the role of knowledge in reducing poverty. So here are some readings:

THE LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES, 2002 REPORT - Escaping the Poverty Trap
Highlights: “The least developed countries (LDCs) are a group of 49 countries that have been identified by the UN as "least developed" in terms of their low GDP per capita, their weak human assets and their high degree of economic vulnerability. This Report is the first international comparative analysis of poverty in the LDCs. It is based on a new set of poverty estimates constructed specifically for the Report. The new estimates enable empirically based analysis of the relationship between poverty, development and globalization, and thereby the elaboration of more effective national and international policies to reduce poverty in the LDCs. The Report shows that extreme poverty is pervasive and persistent in most LDCs, and that the incidence of extreme poverty is highest in those LDCs that are dependent on primary commodity exports. The incidence of poverty is so high because most of the LDCs are caught in an international poverty trap. Pervasive poverty within LDCs has effects at the national level that cause poverty to persist and even to increase, and international trade and finance relationships are reinforcing the cycle of economic stagnation and poverty. The Report argues that the current form of globalization is tightening the poverty trap. With improved national and international policies, LDCs can escape the poverty trap. Indeed a central message of the Report is that there is a major, but currently underestimated, opportunity for rapid reduction in extreme poverty in the LDCs through sustained economic growth. However, the new Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), which are currently the focus of national and international efforts to reduce poverty in poor countries, are not grasping that opportunity. The Report proposes an alternative approach to improve the design of poverty reduction strategies. It also shows that effective poverty reduction in the LDCs needs a more supportive international environment. This should include increased and more effective aid and debt relief, a review and recasting of international commodity policy, and policies which recognize the interdependence between the socio-economic marginalization of the poorest countries and the increasing polarization of the global economy.” Published by UNCTAD, 2002. (PDF, 320 Pages, 3790Kb; the report can also be downloaded chapter by chapter from this site, or purchased in hard copy.)]

MIGRATION AND CHRONIC POVERTY“This paper provides an overview of conceptual understandings of, and methodological research issues on, the relationship between chronic, or long-term, poverty and processes of migration. The paper presents a framework to enable an analysis of social relations and processes of exclusion, and the ways in which these are structured around poverty-related capitals.” GRADE posting on the Development Gateway.

Regional Overview of the Impact of Failures of Accountability on Poor People
“This paper provides a regional overview of the impact on the poor people and disadvantaged groups of the failures of accountability of institutions of governance, and the different kinds of actions taken and policy options discussed in order to improve accountability. Part Two of the paper presents a theoretical framework within which interests of the poor and disadvantaged people could be reflected in the decision-making processes, ensure accountability of the institutions of governance, the promotion of sustainable human development and the eradication of poverty. Part Three of the paper focuses on the impacts of accountability failures on poor and disadvantaged peoples in Africa. Part Four reviews the various measures taken to enhance accountability of the institutions and mechanisms of governance. The evolution of a global and African consensus on the importance of peace, security and good governance as precondition for human development and the eradication of poverty is discussed in Part Five. The paper concludes with a brief discussion on the ‘virtuous circle’ of good governance creating the enabling environment for the promotion of human development and the eradication of poverty, which in turn reinforces the importance of good governance.” Quoted from the Dev-Zone email alert. By Ahmed Mohiddin, Human Development Report Office, United Nations Development Program, Occasional Paper, (Background paper for HDR 2002), 2002/10.

Thursday, March 20, 2003


For reasons I won’t go into, I was following a line on the web, and came across:

OECS Telecommunication Reform & Modernization Project
The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) through this project seeks to analyze the issues and options for Information & Communication Technology (ICT) to become a lead sector of the economies of its member states: Grenada, St Vincent & The Grenadines, St Lucia, Dominica and St Kitts & Nevis. The project website has the project documents, including those describing plans to develop e-government. The website also provides a number of online regional studies, plus many online country studies. The “Links” section provides an extensive set of links to ICT for development sites in the countries of the Eastern Caribbean as well as links to materials on e-commerce, e-learning, regional organizations and programs, and reports.

And look at some of the resources I found there:

Cultivating Technological Innovation for Development
Abstract: “This paper essays the viewpoint that the development or innovation in society of technologies, such as information and communication technologies, should be self-cultivated rather than imported. Ideas are drawn from multiple research disciplines to inform the elaboration of this perspective. A behavioral notion of development, based on the notion of structural conditioning of behaviors of social units, is discussed and adopted. Concepts of change from cybernetic theory are then delineated, to be used analogously later on for illustrating behavioral aspects of technology adoption and societal development. Subsequently, current theoretical formulations in the economic literature on technological change are reviewed, to muster key insights for furthering an understanding of the behavioral notion of development. The paper then recruits principles and ideas from current developments in sociotechnical systems (STS) theory. The applicability of these ideas for promoting understanding of macro-phenomena in national development systems is discussed. Finally, the paper integrates these various strands of theoretical formulations into the assertion that it is more important to invest in the cultivation of the patterns of behavior that underpin the various technological innovations of modernization than it is to invest in the pervasive uptake of information and communication technologies. By Stephen Corea, date not given. (PDF, 16 pages.)

Telecommunications in The Caribbean
“Revolutionary changes in information technologies have left few economic sectors untouched and the much-touted global information village has brought the earth's inhabitants closer. Access to, and control of, information is replacing access to natural resources as a determinant of the socio-economic position of nations. Although this holds great promise for eradicating poverty and under-development, the dichotomy between rich and poor, the metropolitan and the peripheral, the developed and the underdeveloped instead could be widened by these same technologies.” (quoted from the OECS site) By Felipe M Noguera, undated. (HTML)

And from there:

Virtual Institute of Information
V.I.I. is an on-line research facility for independent research in telecommunications and mass media. Its website has archives of papers, events, and publications, news, and industry information. The website is at Columbia University.

When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind: it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science.
-- William Thomson, Lord Kelvin

Kelvin may have overstated a bit, but knowledge for development starts with statistics, in the original meaning, of quantitative infomration about the state. In my career, many years ago, I had the opportunity to work with the Center described below, and they did a great job not only in developing software, but in helping developing nations build the capacity to collect, organize and analyze statistical data.

International Programs Center, U.S. Census Bureau
The IPC conducts demographic and socioeconomic studies and strengthens statistical development around the world through technical assistance, training, and software products. Its work has been commissioned and funded by U.S. federal agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, private businesses, and other governments. The website is a useful source of demographic information. Information resourcs include the “HIV/AIDS Surveillance Data Base” among others. Microcomputer software and applications that can be downloaded free include: “Census and Survey Processing System (CSPRO)”, “Integrated Microcomputer Processing System (IMPS)”, “Population Analysis System (PAS)”, and “Rural/Urban Projections (RUP)”.

And while I was looking for the Kelvin quote above, I found this very useful site:

Counting the Numbers
Judith Axler Turner’s “Editor's Gloss” from The Journal of Electronic Publishing December 2000, Volume 6, Issue 2. The website has links to the following: “Tenure and Promotion: Should You Publish in Electronic Journals?” by Aldrin E. Sweeney; “How Scientists Retrieve Publications: An Empirical Study of How the Internet Is Overtaking Paper Media” by Bo-Christer Björk and Ziga Turk; “Consortia vs. Reform: Creating Congruence” by Margaret Landesman and Johann van Reenen; “How Much Information?” by Peter Lyman and Hal R. Varian; “When Shall We Be Free?” by Peter Singer; and “Q.A.: Access Code Redux” by Thom Lieb.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003


The following news is order of increasing world importance, and decreasing relevance to me.

I have accepted a role as one of the editors of the Information and Communication Technology for Development Topic of the Development Gateway Portal. I have also withdrawn from the role of advisor for the Knowledge Economy Topic. I continue as an advisor to the Development Gateway Foundation.

The Foundation has announced the first ICT Development Forum to be held in the Petersberg in Bonn, Germany. The Foundation, in collaboration with German donors, has decided to award a Petersberg Prize of 100,000 Euros for leadership in ICT for Development. Nominations will open in May, and the first prize is to be awarded next year.

Millennium Challenge Account: A New Compact for Global Development
This is an edition of "Economic Perspectives", a journal of the U.S. State Department, on the Millennium Challenge Account. The MCA is the major development assistance initiative of the Bush administration (so far). The issue includes materials by Colin Powell, Paula Dobriansky (Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs), Andrew Natsios (Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development), and E. Anthony Wayne (Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs). The site also has university and thinktank contributions, as well as links to materials more fully describing the MCA.

Connected to the Future: A Report on Children's Internet Use from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
This is a report on children’s use of the Internet in the U.S. by the Corporation on Public Broadcasting. It indicates the pervasiveness of use, thereby challenging developing nations to catch up. It also indicates continuing equity problems, challenging developing nations to define equity maximization strategies. According to the report, “65 percent of American children ages 2–17 now use the Internet from home, school, or some other location — a 59 percent growth rate since 2000, when 41 percent of children went online from any location…… almost as many family households have Internet access as have a home computer — 78 percent of children live in homes in which either they or a parent use the Internet from home, a 70 percent growth rate from 2000….. children ages 6–17 reported using the Internet on average 5.9 hours per week in 2002, up from 3.1 hours per week in 2000…… teenagers claiming an average of 8.4 hours per week online at home, children 9–12 reporting 4.4 hours, and children ages 6–8 reporting 2.7 hours per week online.” However, “Significantly more Caucasian children use the Internet at home compared to Hispanic and African- American children……More than ethnicity, the income of a child’s family is a significant determining factor on whether or not he or she has access to the Internet at home….. School Internet use of African-American 2–17 year-olds surged 158 percent, from only 12 percent in 2000, to 31 percent in 2002. Low-income children’s school use grew 60 percent over the two-year period….. Nonetheless, Caucasian (38 percent) and high-income (47 percent) children’s school access still significantly outpaces other populations….. In 2002, 37 percent of families with home Internet access reported a broadband connection. In 2000, that number hovered somewhere around 10 percent….. since getting broadband: 66 percent spend more time online; 36 percent watch less television; 23 percent get better grades……Our study shows that families who are choosing broadband come from higher income groups.” (PDF, 8 pages)

Plus another treat:

Search Engine Referrals Nearly Double Worldwide, According to WebSideStory“As of Thursday, March 6, 2003, search sites accounted for more than 13.4 percent of global referrals, up from 7.1 percent the previous year,” according to this story from StatMarket.

Monday, March 17, 2003


In a previous Blogs (January 1, 10, and 18 I discussed Blogs, and especially those related to K4D. Well I am doing it again!

Peter Thomas' riptari filter

Peter West's SynapShots: Citings for Knowledge Workers

Kieran Healy's Weblog

Amitai Etzioni’s Blog

Jacob T. Levy

Mitch Kapor’s Weblog

Corante has a number of weblogs, some providing news for specific industries, and some for columnists.


Dan Gillmor’s E-Journal

The Scobleizer Weblog

Best Blogs

Forbes magazine picks the following best Tech Blogs:

and best Media Blogs

Some articles about weblogging and its potential benefits:

Are You Blogging Yet?: Web journals could have business value.

Blogs open doors for developers

Terra Lycos Adds Blogging

New biz on the blog

I mused a couple of days ago about space, dimension, and distance metaphors for the Internet. The Economist has done me one better. In the March 13, 2003 edition it has included an article titled “The Revenge of Geography”. The article deals with various efforts to map linkages between geographic space and cyberspace.

Sometimes the value of information decays rapidly with distance. If you are hungry and in a strange neighborhood, information about the local restaurants – kind of food, price, quality, service – may be quite desirable. But you are only willing to go so far for a meal, and information on restaurants outside your area of interest may be not only of no use, but actually annoying, interfering with the search for the information you really want.

There are much more serious examples, and examples relevant to developing nations. It has been found for example, that crop research from Agricultural Research Stations is primarily used within a few tens of miles of the station. Crop variety selections are apparently often quite sensitive to local conditions of insolation, temperature, humidity, soils, etc. Similarly, epidemiological information on diseases of people, livestock, wildlife, and crops can be quite location specific. People in developing nations often have more Internet access to such information developed in (and most relevant to) rich countries than they do to information from their own countries. Perhaps worse, there is little chance for people in a developing nation to access information relevant to their own needs generated in another developing nation. Thus parts of Mozambique and parts of Brazil are sufficiently similar that information generated in one could be very useful in the other; and indeed both are Portuguese speaking nations. Yet the ability to share such information on the Internet is quite limited.

MetaCarta, a company financed by In-Q-Tel, the venture-capital arm of the nearby Central Intelligence Agency sells “geo-parser” software which examines documents and looks for geographical references -- including country, city and state names, postcodes, Internet addresses, and the names of famous landmarks. The results from a gazetteer look-up are then combined using natural-language processing. The system estimates the document's corresponding location, and applies a “geotag” to it. Since, around 80% of text documents contain geographical references, according the Economist’s informant, the system can be quite helpful in linking web content with specific geographical locations.

The Economist also describes the “Geosearch” search engine which determines the geographical scope of a page by looking at the locations of pages that link to it, as well as its content. While some websites are global in scope, websites relevant to a particular state, city or region are less likely to have links from pages outside that locality.

According to the Economist, “a number of companies, including Quova, Digital Envoy, NetGeo and InfoSplit, offer ‘geolocation services’ that enable websites to determine the physical locations of individual users. This is done using a database that links internet protocol (IP) addresses of users' computers to specific countries, cities or even postcodes.” These could be useful for a Country Development Portal to develop directories of in-country development agencies and other linked organizations.


The cultural aspects of time seem fascinating to me. For example, hours of standard lengths are a relatively new phenomenon, and in Roman times the day and night were divided into a set number of hours; the daytime hour got longer in the summer and shorter in the winter. What would it be like to live with ever-changing hours? Attitudes towards punctuality, appropriate times for specific activities, specific foods, all change from culture to culture. Before the advent of railroads, there was little need to synchronize times of various localities (except for a few people, such as astronomers.) Indeed, as Deva Sobel describes in her book, “Longitude,” clocks were incapable of keeping such good time anyway. Of course, once trains started approaching each other from different direction on the same track, it became important to know that if they communicated (by telegraph) their times of arrival, their clocks would be synchronized. Factories invented “shifts”, and the idea that all the workers in a shift started at the same time and ended at the same time. Cultural changes followed the invention and widespread utilization of good cheap clocks, railroad timetables, and factory work schedules.

The Internet introduces new issues. Of course the most visible is the increase in speed of so much of our communication, as email replaces snail mail. But there are other effects. I was involved Friday in a synchronous chat room with people from several Central and Eastern European nations, as well as with several others from the Washington DC area. We were working in the early morning, while our European colleagues were working in the afternoon. What does that do to the communication process?

There is also the idea of a “Flow” state that people (including this blogger) sometimes reach in surfing the Internet. It occurs when you get so immersed in the pleasurable experience of following a track on the Web that you forget to worry about time and you concentrate to the point that distractions from outside are few and far apart. I think of a cat watching a mouse hole as typifying a flow state. Thus the psychological perception of time can be influence by surfing the Internet.

The time pressure incident to use of the technology may also have affective impact. The assembly line required people to do assembly tasks fast, and on schedule, and increasingly these are computerized. Workers get stressed, especially when the line speed increases. I assume just-in-time approaches to manufacturing have similar effects. When computers are relatively expensive and shared, there will be similar time pressure to complete work; when Internet costs are relatively high, completion of searches may be under time pressure; both would be stressful!

The asynchronous nature of email introduces another element into the equation. What does it mean when asynchronous email has become so much a part of business communication, substituting for and complementing the synchronous telephone and face-to-face communication of the past.

Economic development has been very much a process by which people leave agriculture and take up other work in manufacturing, transportation or other services. This transformation only is possible when farmer productivity increases, so that each feeds more people. Similarly, ICTs are increasing productivity for some economic activities in some countries. In some cases, a smaller labor force can produce all that is wanted, freeing people to work on other things. In some cases, more efficient work makes the task more attractive, and more labor is applied. Thus ICTs have taken a lot of the drudgery out of time-keeping and payroll in businesses, but people are doing much more data mining than in the past. Thus the time per task is an important concern relating to ICTs.

Einstein, I understand, included time as well as space as dimensions of the universe. It seems certainly a dimension of our psychological universe, and perhaps we should see it as a dimension of cyberspace. The time to download a website might be quite significant; So too, whether content is fresh or dated. William Gibson, author of Neuromancer, is a visionary on the psychological perception of cyberspace, but let me suggest that psychological time is clearly a dimension of psychological cyberspace. And let me suggest that reengineering time will be one of the important cultural adaptations to the developing Global Information Infrastructure.

One interesting paper on time and ICTs is:

Time And ICTs
By Leslie Haddon, Paper presented at the workshop ‘Researching Time’, ESRC Centre for Research on Innovation and Competition (CRIC), University of Manchester, September 19th, 2001. (HTML)

Saturday, March 15, 2003


Del sitio web de la Oficina Regional de Ciencia de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura.

Documentos de Trabajo

Declaración de Santo Domingo. La ciencia para el Siglo XXI: Una nueva visión y un marco para la acción

Declaración sobre la Ciencia y el uso del Saber Científico

Programa en Pro de la Ciencia: Marco General de Acción

Information Society: Can America's developing countries have seats in "business class"?


Chile: Hacia la Sociedad de la Información

Weather Radar Technology for Water Resources Management


Desarrollo de la Sociedad de la Información en América Latina y el Caribe
Presentación del Ing. Cláudio Menezes a la Tercera Cumbre sobre la Información del Agua, USA, 3-5 de noviembre de 2000

Also in English as: Development of the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean
Cláudio Menezes, III Water Information Summit, Miami, USA, 3-5 de noviembre de 2000

La Comisión Económica para América Latina (CEPAL) es una de las cinco comisiones regionales de las Naciones Unidas y su sede está en Santiago de Chile. Se encuentra sus publicaciones aqui.

Educación, comunicación y cultura en la sociedad de la información: una perspectiva latinoamericana
Resumen: "Los acelerados cambios que impone la sociedad de la información en el ámbito productivo y comunicacional obliga a los nuevos medios a una rápida y ágil adaptación para la transmisión de conocimientos, la comunicación a distancia y el uso de información. En el área educacional, más que contenidos curriculares, se requiere generar una disposición general al cambio en las modalidades de aprender, comunicarse y producir. En este marco, es urgente mejorar la calidad y pertinencia del sistema educacional a fin de que éste cumpla una función estratégica en el tránsito de las sociedades nacionales hacia un orden global, competitivo y altamente interconectado, centrado en el paradigma de la sociedad del conocimiento. Es necesario, además, armonizar los progresos educativos con otro pilar de la sociedad de la información, a saber, el acceso al intercambio comunicacional por medios audiovisuales e interactivos, donde no sólo se juega la competitividad sino también la identidad cultural y, cada vez más, la participación ciudadana. De allí la importancia crucial de las mediaciones entre educación, industria cultural y las nuevas tecnologías de la información y de la comunicación (TIC). Educar con estas tecnologías implica educar para imprimirle al uso de las TIC sentidos que compatibilicen las nuevas formas de producir y trabajar con los actuales estilos de ejercer derechos, afirmar culturas, informarse, comunicarse a distancia y formar parte de redes." Por Martín Hopenhayn, Enero de 2003, (PDF, 352KB)

Los caminos hacia una Sociedad de la Información en América Latina y el Caribe
Documento preparado para la Conferencia Ministerial Regional Preparatoria de América Latina y el Caribe para la Cumbre Mundial sobre la Sociedad de la Información, que se realizó en Bávaro, Punta Cana, República Dominicana, 29 al 31 de enero de 2003.

Sistemas de cobro electrónico de pasajes en el transporte público
Resumen: “La implementación de un sistema de pago electrónico de pasajes no se reduce solamente a un asunto tecnológico. Elegir una tecnología de pago podría ser relativamente simple, dada las distintas ofertas existentes en el mercado. Las dificultades surgen en la operación e integración del sistema, ya que la decisión tecnológica puede determinar fuertemente el proceso de operación del sistema, haciéndolo a veces inviable o insuficiente para las necesidades que se desean satisfacer. En consecuencia, junto con la decisión tecnológica, se deben analizar tanto aspectos operativos, como la velocidad de procesamiento, la logística de venta, el proceso de clearing de los fondos resultantes, la seguridad que ofrecen los equipamientos, como también aspectos relativos al entorno sociológico de la ciudad donde se desea implementarlo, de modo de adaptar el sistema y el equipamiento a las características y necesidades de los usuarios, logrando de este modo que el sistema sea sustentable en el tiempo. Existe en América Latina un importante número de iniciativas, tendientes a dotar de mayor seguridad y versatilidad al transporte público, mediante sistemas de pago electrónico de pasajes, con resultados, hasta el momento, bastante dispares. La razón parece ser que muchas veces existe un divorcio entre el equipamiento seleccionado y las condiciones de venta y funcionamiento que esperan los usuarios del transporte público. Una implantación exitosa no se debe solamente a la tecnología que ésta utiliza, sino a la creación de un sistema integral que logre satisfacer las necesidades de los usuarios y operadores del transporte público, considerando las características de los agentes involucrados y las del entorno en que se desenvuelven." Por Gabriel Pérez, Julio de 2002. (PDF, 1.172 Kb.)

Las nuevas tecnologías de información y las mujeres: reflexiones necesarias
Resumen: "El documento fue presentado como uno de los estudios bases para el debate durante la Reunión de expertos sobre "Globalización, cambio tecnológico y equidad de género" (Sao Paulo, Brasil, 5 y 6 de noviembre de 2001), organizada en conjunto por la Unidad Mujer y Desarrollo con la División de Comercio Internacional de la CEPAL y el Núcleo de Estudios de la Mujer y Relaciones Sociales de Género de la Universidad de San Pablo. El texto deja claro que las nuevas tecnologías nos introducen en un tiempo de vértigo y de nuevas exclusiones, y que además de ser una realidad material son también una producción discursiva con efectos en las instituciones, las políticas públicas y las personas. El estudio revisa una importante literatura teórica, así como la mayor parte de las investigaciones que dan cuenta de la inserción y relación de las mujeres con las nuevas tecnologías de información y conocimiento." Por Gloria Bonder, Junio de 2002. (PDF315 Kb.)

América Latina y el Caribe en la transición hacia una sociedad del conocimiento. Una agenda de políticas públicas
Documento preparado por la Secretaría de CEPAL para la Reunión Regional de Tecnología de Información para el Desarrollo, Santa Catarina, Brasil, 20 y 21 de junio de 2000. El sitio web tambien tiene enlaces con: Presentación del Secretario Ejecutivo de la CEPAL, Sr. José Antonio Ocampo, ante el segmento de alto nivel del Consejo Económico y Social sobre Tecnologías de Información para el Desarrollo Nueva York, julio 6 de 2000; Declaración de Florianópolis; La Transición hacia una sociedad del conocimiento (Columna de Opinión preparada por Jorge Katz y Vivianne Ventura-Dias directores de las Divisiones de Desarrollo Productivo y Empresarial, y de Comercio Internacional, respectivamente.)

Telemática: un nuevo escenario para el transporte automotor
Resumen: “Los profundos cambios que el advenimiento de Internet, el comercio electrónico, la globalización de los mercados, así como los graves problemas para gestionar adecuadamente el transporte urbano, están provocando un nuevo escenario para el transporte, donde la tecnología se alza como una de las herramientas que permitirá mantenerse en un mercado cada vez más competitivo, tecnificado y profesionalizado, siendo la exigencia de información dinámica entre los componentes de la cadena productiva y logística, una de las principales preocupaciones de los nuevos clientes. La tan comentada brecha digital, no solamente tiene una arista social, sino que también comercial, donde el no acceso a la tecnología, puede dejar fuera a muchas empresas, con repercusiones sociales y económicas, tanto o más importantes que proveer del acceso a Internet a todos los sectores de la sociedad. Esto porque su adquisición, no es una opción, es una exigencia de los mercados, si las empresas nacionales no son capaces de satisfacer las necesidades de sus clientes, sin duda alguna habrá más de una empresa extranjera, dispuesta a satisfacer sus demandas. Para adquirir tecnología, es necesario saber qué tecnologías existen, conocer las implicancias de la adquisición de una o de otra y decidir cual es la que mejor resuelve el problema, ajustándose a la realidad y presupuesto que se dispone. Esto sin duda, no es una tarea fácil, es por ello que el presente documento muestra de manera muy resumida, para lectores no especializados en tecnología, el estado actual de la telemática, algunas aplicaciones ya implementadas y evaluadas, además del principio de funcionamiento de las principales tecnologías presentes en estos desarrollos.” Por Gabriel Pérez, Agosto de 2001. (PDF, 1.53Mb.)

E-Commerce and export promotion policies for Small-and Medium-Sized Enterprises: East Asian and Latin American Experiences
From the Abstract: “In Latin America, the term, 'E-commerce', has meant basically consumer-oriented on line retail commerce, in comparison to East Asia where it is increasingly involved in a broader range of ICT-enabled business transformations including intranets, extranets, 'closed' and 'open' EDI, virtual private value-added network, and business applications of networked interactive multimedia. From this perspective, the longer term prosperity of E-commerce in Latin America will require a diversification in a number of directions, including the diffusion of E-commerce capability among SMEs in order to reduce the 'digital divide' among enterprises. SMEs should to be an integral part of local knowledge-intensive business networks with large national firms and TNCs and clusters among themselves, to promote web-based entrepreneurship, and to apply networking based on interactive ICTs. In doing so, SMEs can be key beneficiaries of the Internet and E-commerce. The expansion of ICT should facilitate the catching-up or even leap-frogging of Latin American SMEs in the area of export promotion, by easing the traditional constraints that they face in the area of market access, information, human resource development, venture capital and credit etc..…. To promote exports by way of ICTs, the governments should address the SME programs on E-commerce that cut across traditional support fields (market intelligence, finance, technical and human resources, etc.), in a global and integrated manner. Chapter I compares the 'export-orientation' of SMEs between Latin America and East Asia and calls for a new approach for SME policy making for Latin America, in light of new challenges and opportunities created by ICTs. The second chapter examines the 'E-readiness' of Latin American countries with that of East Asia, describes the use of ICT by SMEs, identifies the inhibiting factors for such use, and delineates E-commerce potentials for SME export promotion. The following chapter examines how a range of ICT-enabled business transformations including intranets, extranets, 'closed' and 'open' EDI, and other business applications are changing the modes of inter-firm relations of SMEs with transnational companies, large national enterprises and among SMEs themselves. Chapter V provides policy actions, at three levels: the private, public and regional/multilateral.” By Mikio Kuwayama, October 2001. (PDF, 488 Kb.)

Friday, March 14, 2003


I have been reading Mamphela Ramphele’s autobiography, “Across Boundaries”. For those of you who are not acquainted with her background, Dr. Ramphele is a truly remarkable person -- Physician, Anthropologist, and anti-Apartheid Activist, who overcame prejudice against her race and gender to rise from a country girl in rural South Africa to become a Managing Director of the World Bank. The autobiography is an interesting and inspiring read.

In the book she mentions having learned that geographic space can be a very useful metaphor in many fields: psychological, social, economic, etc. She describes it as a significant insight. The terms “space” suggests dimensions, and my dabbling in multivariate statistics suggest that there may be a lot of dimensions to a space, and they need not be mutually orthogonal.

Perhaps similar to Dr. Ramphele’s was my insight many years ago in discovering that there are many kinds of distances. Even on a city map, the distance “as the crow flies” and the “city block distance” if you have to follow the grid of streets or sidewalks can be very different. To the degree that one measures space in terms of distance, then the metaphors are complementary.

One might utilize the metaphor to say, “The Internet changes the distances between people, and thus the form of the spaces in which they interact.”

I think in the Dr. Ramphele’s usage in the book, the term “space” has the context of ownership or control. Thus when one talks of psychological space or social space, I think the context is one of an individual’s or community’s area of relative freedom of action, relatively unaffected by the control of others.

I recall that there is a story of the clash of cultures, when the British took control of the what is now Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka was an irrigation culture, based on water impoundment tanks. Each villagers owned a portion of the available water. The number of acres cultivated by the village depended on how much water was available. In wet years, a lot of land would be farmed; in dry years, much less. The allocation of land to farmers changed from year to year, according to how wet or dry it was. In dry years, all the farmers shared the land close to the irrigation tank; in wet years they shared a much larger area around the tank.

This struck the English as totally unintuitive. In England people owned the land. There was none of this stuff of using different bits of land in different years. So they outlawed the traditional Sri Lanka system, and instituted land ownership. So the people who got land close to the tanks got good harvests every year, and those who got land at the margin of the irrigated area got crops only in the wet years. The distance water traveled from the tank to the farm became a gradient for wealth.

I wonder whether the traditional people of Sri Lanka would have found “water share” to be a useful metaphor in psychological, social and economic thinking?

So what is the segue from these musings to the topic of this Blog. One seg. is surely that space metaphors can be very useful in “mapping” knowledge. For example, some theorists have discussed, usefully I think, people as thinking with their minds and their surrounds. That is, thinking not only with what is in their heads, but with the means that are in the immediate space that they command. In my case, that would include this computer, and a library that I keep in my office. This metaphor clearly involves the idea of spatial access to the computer that automates some of “my thinking” and the books that store “my information”.

One can also define dimensions of knowledge in to map a knowledge space – for example a dimension that goes from popular to professional, or one that measures the credibility, or the precision. We can differentiate the space of chemical knowledge, from that of physics, from that of mathematics.

I have suggested before that it is helpful to think of knowledge as socially construed. One might then use a space metaphor to think about the space for the social construction of engineering knowledge, or legal knowledge, or bureaucratic knowledge.

The metaphor of distance might also be useful, for example in terms of the space in which legal knowledge is constructed one might think of the distance between legislators making the law, the judiciary interpreting it, officers enforcing it, and different groups of people subject to it.

How does one measure such distances? I don’t really know, but it seems reasonable that there may be very great “conceptual distance” interpreting the diversity of species through Darwinian science and those seeking to do so via Creationism, even when they are in the same room.

Space, dimension, and distance metaphors seem very common among people talking about the Internet and the World Wide Web. I suppose, I am going to chicken out, and just comment that an image is not the object it represents, and a metaphor is not the reality is seeks to illuminate. And maybe we should be looking for water resource metaphors rather than spatial ones as we talk about K4D.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003


I suggest that one of the key factors interfering with the application of knowledge for development is war and armed conflict. Most people are surprised when they see a count of the number of such conflicts in the world; there are many more than there should be. Here are a couple of sites showing how many conflicts there are in the world:

The Armed Conflicts Report
I think this is the best known global report on the armed conflict, presenting country specific data as well as an overview.

INCORE Internet Country Guides
These Guides provide information about internet resources on conflict and ethnicity specific to particular countries and regions.

A couple of organizations that might be of interest:

Set up in 1993 by the University of Ulster and the United Nations University to undertake research and policy work that is useful to the resolution of ethnic, political and religious conflicts. I hope they help in the Irish Peace Process.

The Center for International Development and Conflict Management, in which I hold an appointment (albeit not on the topic of Conflict Management).

And here are some links on the topic:

Monday, March 10, 2003


There is an interesting article about water in deep aquifers in today’s Washington Post:
Water Scarcity Prompts Scientists to Look Down

Among other things, it mentions:

The World Water Development Report : Water for People, Water for Life
For the first time, 23 United Nations agencies and convention secretariats have combined their efforts and expertise to produce the most comprehensive and up-to-date report on the state of the world's freshwater resources. The World Water Development Report (WWDR) will be officially launched at the occasion of World Water Day, March the 22nd, during the 3d World Water Forum. The website has links to online versions of The WWDR Table of Contents; The WWDR Executive Summary (7 languages); and The WWDR Facts & Figures.

UNESCO Internationally Shared Aquifer Resources (ISARM) Project
That is part of the World Water Assessment Program:

UNESCO’s International Hydrological Program

The Global Water Policy Project
Sandra Postel's book "Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Last?", (1999) from this project is described by the Worldwatch Institute at this site.

See also:

The UNESCO Water Portal
This website is intended to enhance access to information related to freshwater available on the World Wide Web. The site provides links to the current UNESCO and UNESCO-led programmes on freshwater and will serve as an interactive point for sharing, browsing and searching websites of water-related organizations, government bodies and NGOs, including a range of categories such as water links, water events, learning modules and other on-line resources.

It seems to me that a lot of people working for donor organizations see money as the only incentive. In the scientific community, recognition by peers and by the larger community are seen as powerful incentives. The Nobel Prize is perhaps the most famous form of scientific recognition. In the development community there are also prizes that carry a lot of prestige. Two of their websites are linked below.

It has been noted that markets are institutions that must be understood in terms of knowledge. Prices provide information on the supply and demand for goods and services. Markets also work best when the information provided by buyers and sellers is warranted to be true. In the scientific community, professional societies also institutionalize such information. Thus publication of results in a respected, peer-reviewed journal warrants their validity. I suppose the prize process to some degree helps institutionalize such trust. The Prize warrants the credability of the laureate, and indeed the short-lists of distinguished nominees also warrants their importance.

The World Food Prize
The World Food Prize is an international award recognizing -- without regard to race, religion, nationality, or political beliefs -- the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The winner of the Prize currently receives US$250,000. The 2002 World Food Prize Laureate was Dr. Pedro A. Sanchez. One or two prizes per year have been awarded annually since 1987.

The King Baudouin International Development Prize
The Prize for outstanding efforts in the field of International Development was established to help foster mutual support throughout the world both for ethical reasons and to contribute to world stability. The recipient of this Prize, with a value of € 150,000, and awarded every other year since 1980, is chosen by the Board of Governors of the King Baudouin Foundation.

THE RISE OF NETPOLITIK: How the Internet Is Changing International Politics and Diplomacy
From the press release: This timely report....reflects the insights of top-level leaders from the worlds of politics, diplomacy, finance, high technology, academia, and philanthropy who met at the Aspen Institute to consider new ways of understanding how information technology is changing the powers of the nation-state, the conduct of international relations, and the very definition of national security." A Report of the Eleventh Annual Aspen Institute Roundtable on Information Technology by David Bollier, 2003. (pdf, 72 pages.)

Understanding Others, Educating Ourselves: Getting More from International Comparative Studies in Education
This is an advanced copy of a report by the Committee on a Framework and Long-term Research Agenda for International Comparative Education Studies, of the U.S. National Research Council. 97 pages, 2003. It is available online for browsing in the National Academy Press format, and paper copies should be forthcoming for sale.

The CRS publishes Briefs and Reports for the Congress that are intended to provide apolitical background information for legislators as they deliberate on policy and appropriations. Many of these studies bear directly on the topics of interest to this Blog. While the focus is on U.S. experience and needs for U.S. legislation, the studies will be of interest to those persons in developing nations deliberating on similar policy issues.

Some of the Briefs are listed below. These can be obtained by clicking on the address above, going to "Issue Briefs" and clicking on the number next to the title:

Africa: U.S. Foreign Assistance Issues

Agricultural Export and Food Aid Programs

AIDS in Africa

Global Climate Change

Global Climate Change: Market-Based Strategies to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

Technology Transfer: Use of Federally Funded Research and Development

Telecommunications Discounts for Schools and Libraries: The "E-Rate" Program and Controversies

U.N. System Funding: Congressional Issues

Among the CRS longer reports, one may find those listed below. To read, follow the hot link above, click on "Long Reports" and then on the number next to the title.

Biosafety Protocol for Genetically Modified Organisms: Overview

Broadband Internet Access and the Digital Divide: Federal Assistance Programs

Critical Infrastructures: What Makes an Infrastructure Critical?

Digital Television: An Overview

Endangered Species Act: Consideration of Economic Factors

Federal Aid to Libraries: The Library Services and Technology Act

Foreign Aid: An Introductory Overview of U.S. Programs and Policy

Foreign Students in the United States: Policies and Legislation

Information Technology and Elementary and Secondary Education: Current Status and Federal Support

Internet Statistics: Explanation and Sources

Science and Technology Policy: Issues For the 107th Congress, Second Session

Telemarketing: Dealing with Unwanted Telemarketing Calls

Voting Technologies in the United States: Overview and Issues for Congress

Sunday, March 09, 2003


Brookings is a U.S. think tank that has been very influential. Its Books Online page links to a large number of recent publications on topics such as: General Economics, Education, Government & Politics, International Affairs, and International Economics.

Some of the books relevant to the topic of this page are linked below. Books may not only be browsed online (in the Brookings format), but may be purchased in paperback (or in some cases hardback) form.

New Perspectives on Economic Growth and Technological Innovation (1999) F. M. Scherer

Deregulation of Network Industries: What's Next? (2000) Sam Peltzman, editor, Clifford Winston, editor

Unseen Wealth: Report of the Brookings Task Force on Intangibles (2001) Margaret M. Blair and Steven M. H. Wallman

The Computer Revolution: An Economic Perspective (1997) Daniel E. Sichel

Going Digital: A Guide to Policy in the Digital Age (1998) Robert E. Litan, William Niskanen

Conflicting Missions?: Teachers Unions and Educational Reform (2000) Tom Loveless, editor

The Logic of Economic Reform in Russia (2001) Jerry F. Hough

Brazil's Second Chance: En Route toward the First World (2001) Lincoln Gordon

Privacy in the Information Age (1997) Fred H. Cate

New Markets, New Opportunities?: Economic and Social Mobility in a Changing World (1999) Nancy Birdsall, editor, Carol Graham, editor

The 2002/2003 report is subtitled Competing through Innovation and Learning. It is the first in a new series. The chapters highlights of the report are linked to this site, and full chapters may be downloaded in PDF format.

Saturday, March 08, 2003


The Department for International Development of the Government of the UK provides this site which while labled "Statistics on International Development: 1997-2001/02" also includes more complete information, organized by country.

Pacific Regional Information SysteM - PRISM
A broad range of statistical indicators, including those for the Millennium Development Goals, is soon be available in a regional Internet-based information system maintained by the National Statistics Offices of the Pacific Islands.

Friday, March 07, 2003


The following has very nice, short discussions of some key topics of concern for this Blog.

Three Papers for the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioural Sciences
The three papers are: "Research and Development" by Keith Pavitt, "Economics of Science" by Ed Steinmueller, and "Science Funding: Europe" by Jane Calvert and Ben Martin. October 2001, (PDF, 30 pages.)

Tuesday, March 04, 2003


The research website of the Science Policy Research Unit of the University of Sussex is really great. Its research themes are: "Systems of Scientific and Technological Innovation in a Globalising World", "Firm and Industry Innovation in New Technologies", and "Markets, Governance and Sustainability". SPRU has a very strong program, with a strong record of work with developing nations. The website provides descriptions of projects, with links to their websites. SPRU's publication pages can also be reached from the site, and a large number of relevant publications are available online.


The European Institute of Japanese Studies Working Papers have not only a lot of good economics papers on Japan, but also papers on other Asian countries. Some of the recent working papers dealing with Innovation Systems are listed below:

Learning Technological Capability for Vietnams Industrial Upgrading: Challenges of the Globalization












Monday, March 03, 2003


This Blog focuses on socially constructed knowledge, and its applications to development. One of my main interests is in scientific and technological knowledge, that is knowledge constructed by the professional science and technology community. As I have suggested, there are many other kinds of knowledge.

One classification that proves useful in some contexts is whether the knowledge is constructed by an indigenous community, by a local community (that may or may not be self-defined as indigenous) or by a larger community. Some people use the term “local knowledge” as a euphemism for “indigenous knowledge”; others use the term to recognize that local communities may socially construct knowledge even when they do not see themselves as indigenous communities – for example, local Hispanic communities do in countries which have both Hispanic and Native American communities. I find the term “local knowledge” useful also in thinking about knowledge systems and processes that occur in limited geographic areas.

I would point out that some “indigenous” knowledge may be “professional” knowledge, i.e. knowledge limited to an occupational subgroup in a larger indigenous culture, transmitted via specialized training for that subgroup, etc. Thus the Kallawaya in Bolivia and Argentina maintain knowledge of medicinal plants -- plants which they sell over much of South America. This knowledge has roots in pre-Columbian times, and is held within a group of people who grow and gather the plants, and who sell them as remedies. Thus, one might consider the Kallawaya knowledge indigenous botanical and medical knowledge.

A few useful points of reference on indigenous knowledge and its use in a development context follow:

Indigenous Knowledge
This is a topic page of the Development Gateway on indigenous knowledge. There are also topic pages on Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous Rights.

NUFFIC Indigenous Knowledge Page
This site created by a development agency of the Government of the Netherlands has addresses for a large number of centers working in the area of indigenous knowledge, including links and/or email addresses for most.

Handbook of CIDA Project Planning and Indigenous Traditional Knowledge
From “the Purpose of the Handbook”: “This handbook is a preliminary summary of practical information to guide CIDA project planning and implementation when indigenous peoples are affected directly or indirectly by a project supported by CIDA….. The handbook does not attempt to treat the subject exhaustively. A comprehensive work on the subject is needed, and many people in the world are vigorously addressing the problems in many different ways. In fact, CIDA recognizes that the handbook is really a single step in a program of change that will require many steps. Nonetheless, it is an important step forward and emphasizes the commitment to indigenous peoples and the many policies and conventions to which CIDA adheres.” Appears to be dated 2000.

This is an NGO, with support from the Ford Foundation, concerned about the future of the world's biological, cultural, and linguistic diversity. Within this broad focus it has two main aims: (1) supporting the perpetuation and continued development of the world's linguistic diversity; and (2) exploring the connections between linguistic, cultural and biological diversity, through a program of research, information, applied work, and advocacy.

International Workshop on SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND SUSTAINABILITY: Harnessing Institutional Synergies
This workshop was organized by the Third World Academy of Sciences and held in Trieste, Italy, 6-9 February 2002. The website includes the report of the meetings and also an extensive set of papers that were recommended by the participants and may be downloaded without charge. One of the interesting themes of the meeting was the integration of indigenous knowledge and scientific and techological knowledge from professional sources.