Dr Shamprasad Pujar, Deputy Librarian at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR) in India, held a Commonwealth Professional Fellowship at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, in 2008.
‘I have had a unique opportunity to grasp several novel things through the Commonwealth Professional Fellowship and the whole experience was enlightening and a great learning experience.
‘At the Institute of Development Studies, I worked with different teams within the Information Department responsible for running a group of Knowledge Services, in order to find out more about these services and explore the possibility of collaboration and implementing similar services at my home institution.
‘From working with these groups, I learnt how to map, monitor, evaluate, and market an information product. I was also taught how to undertake a SWOT analysis of one of our services, the Open Index Initiative – a database of Indian social science literature in the public domain. I also gained a good insight into various aspects involved in portal design, sourcing of content and application of editorial policies.
‘In addition to my work at IDS, I attended training programmes and conferences and visited other institutes and libraries, in order to learn about their services and best practices and to explore the possibility of collaboration and funding. Theses events enhanced my knowledge and also helped in networking with fellow professionals.
‘As far as the outcome of my Fellowship is concerned, collaboration emerged for a metadata exchange of articles published in selected Indian social science journals between the IGIDR library and the British Library of Development Studies at IDS. Additionally, I have been enrolled as a member/core member of the IK Mediary network initiated by IDS, which is an emerging global network of organisations that play a knowledge and information intermediary role in development.
‘My training in Web 2.0 has enabled me to train fellow Library and Information Science professionals in India to implement a few of these technologies, as well as showing library users how to make use of these services to undertake research and enhance collaboration.
‘In a nutshell, the experiences gained during my Commonwealth Professional Fellowship were very rewarding and the impact will be felt in a lifelong manner.’