What is the likely shape of the library of the Future?
And how do we build collections for it?
Cape Town
Connecting Global North and Global South: African Perspectives in Scholarly Communications
May 7-8, 2024

May 7-8, 2024
Vineyard Hotel
Colinton Road
Newlands, 7700
Cape Town, South Africa

A collaboration between ITOCA, CLIR, Casalini Libri and Charleston Hub, the 24th edition of the Fiesole Collection Development Retreat Series will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, from May 7-8, 2024.

Host 2024

ITOCA (Information Training & Outreach Centre for Africa) is a capacity building organisation aimed at enhancing information and communications technology (ICT) skills. An international non-governmental organization (INGO), ITOCA envisions an improved quality of life and sustainable development in Africa through enhanced research and education and advocates for the adoption of new technologies that drive development in Africa. Aware of the importance of access to scientific literature in developing countries, ITOCA aims to initiate a recurrent collection development conversation in the African region.

CLIR (Council on Library and Information Resources) champions a world in which information and cultural heritage are preserved, accessible, useful to - and reflective of - all people, cultivating partnerships with an international network of libraries, archives, museums, governmental organizations, nonprofits, and educational institutions to create and preserve a commonwealth of knowledge. CLIR addresses complex shared challenges that transcend disciplinary, institutional, professional and geographic boundaries to achieve its vision of providing a vital legacy of authenically captured, well organized, accessibile and sustained knowledge for future generations.


Last update: January 16, 2024

Programme (PDF)

Tuesday, May 7


08:30 - 09:00
Welcome Coffee
09:00 - 09:15
Welcome and Introduction
09:15 - 10:00
  • Kepi Madumo
    National Librarian & CEO -National Library of South Africa, Gauteng, South Africa
10:00 - 12:30
Session One
Framing current scholarly communications challenges and opportunities for Africa
Our opening session will set the stage for this global conversation, with the African continent as its special focus, as we all continue to bridge the gap between the global North and South. We will begin with two framing overviews of societal challenges for different regions in the African continent, particularly in the sphere of scholarly communication and access to information - challenges that are poorly understood by others in the information chain. We will then hear about two significant efforts aimed at redressing some of these challenges: (1) the building of the African Open Science Platform, which aims to position African countries at the heart of scholarly discourse; and (2) the influence of colonization on access to information and efforts to redress the current, long-lived situation. After a break, there will be a far-ranging discussion between the speakers and the audience.
  • Convener

    Ann Okerson
    Director - Offline Internet Consortium, Tempe, USA
  • Ujala Satgoor
    Executive Director, The Libraries - University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
    Including Africa in Global Publishing, Scholarly, and Research Systems
  • Biliamin Oladele Popoola
    Senior Librarian, Systems & Evidence, Based Medicine - University of Medical Sciences, Ondo City, Nigeria
    An African Researcher's Perspectives: Successes and Challenges
11:00 - 11:30 - Break
  • Nokuthula P. Mchunu
    National Research Foundation, Deputy Director - AOSP (African Open Science Platform), Pretoria, South Africa
    Visions and Opportunities for the African Open Science Platform
  • Acquinatta Zimu-Biyela
    Senior Lecturer - University of South Africa (UNISA), School of Art, Department of Information Science, Pretoria, South Africa
    Decolonisation and re-Africanisation of Libraries. A Necessity for Africa
12:30 - 13:00
13:00 - 14:00
14:00 - 16:30
Session Two
Equity and Inclusion in the Journal Ecosystem: Access, Discovery and Exploration
Journals are a rich source of diverse and up-to-date content. Journals have the potential to be essential information resources for researchers searching for information on minority and marginalized groups and languages. However, journals emanating from minority groups, languages and marginalized populations are often not accessible nor discoverable, and therefore not cited.  In what ways can journals amplify marginalized voices? How can librarians and information centers enable their readers and researchers to discover and use rare journals? What is the role of publishing and hosting organizations in sustaining such journals? This session will examine issues of equity, inclusion, and decolonization as levers in a discussion of mainstreaming marginalized journals. What could be some innovative ways of keeping such journals going? How can small journals of minority languages be profiled and made accessible? This session will explore these and other issues related to discoverability, access, and sustainability of journals from marginalized languages and communities. The session will be led by library leaders, researchers and journals publishing platforms who will address issues of inclusion and equity in the journal ecosystem.
  • Convener

    Buhle Mbambo-Thata
    University Librarian - National University of Lesotho, Lesotho, South Africa
  • Susan Murray
    Executive Director - African Journals Online, Makhanda, South Africa
    Attaining global equity in Research publishing. A Pan-Africa Non-Profit Organization's perspective
  • Joseph Torn Poch
    Director, Library & Information Technologies Service - European Institute, Barcelona, Spain
    The Library Response to EUI Policies on Equality, Diversity, and Inclusiveness: A European Experience
15:00 - 15:30 - Break
  • Ismail Rashid
    Professor of History - Vassar College, New York, USA
    Navigating the perils and opportunities of publishing or perishing: Reflections on mentoring rising African scholars
  • Giannis Tsakonas
    Director, Library & Information Center - University of Patras, Patras, Greece
    Big cultures and small languages: a new paradoxography in a shifting research system
16:30 - 17:00
17:30 - 18:15
Transfer for The Boschendal
18:15 - 20:45
Social Dinner
Sponsored by EBSCO
20:45 - 21:30
Transfer back to Vineyard Hotel

Wednesday, May 8


08:30 - 09:00
Welcome Coffee
09:00 - 09:20
  • Charles Henry
    President - CLIR
09:20 - 10:00
  • Vishwas Satgar
    Associate Professor - Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa
10:00 - 12:30
Session Three
North and South Partnering for Academic Open Access Monographs
Though progress has been achieved in the past years, the development of Open Access monographs is still lagging behind the large expansion of Open Access journals. Moreover, most of the initiatives so far have been limited to local and national levels, where international collaboration would be relevant to scale up efforts and expand successes. This session will present collaborative initiatives, followed by a panel discussion including all the speakers as well as a senior university librarian and former IFLA President.
  • Convener

    Julien Roche
    LIBER President; University Librarian and Director of the Libraries, University Lille, France
  • Cécile Swiatek Cassafieres
    LIBER board member; University Librarian - Université Paris Nanterre, Paris, France
    OA monographs projects in Europe, a LIBER portfolio
  • Carlos Gazzera
    Dirección General - Grupo Eduvim, Villa Maria, Argentina
    Title to be announced
11:00 - 11:30 - Break
  • Bastien Miraucourt
    Head of publications – Managing Editor: Africae Books (French research institutes in Africa), CNRS and DOAB, Bordeaux, France
    Publishing in Open Access for African Studies
  • Ros Pyne
    Global Director - Research and Open Access, Bloomsbury Publishing, London, UK
    Enabling open access for African Studies monographs
12:30 - 13:00
Discussion with previous speakers and
  • Ellen Tise
    Senior Director, Library and Information Services - University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa; President of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) from 2009 to 2011
13:00 - 14:00
14:00 - 14:10
To be defined
14:10 - 14:30
The Elsevier Foundation Early Career Research Librarians workshop report
14:30 - 16:30
Session Four
Empowering Narratives: Bridging Gaps in African Research, Knowledge Dissemination, and Cultural Preservation
In this series of talks, thought leaders delve deep into the evolution and challenges faced by Africa in the realms of research, publishing, and cultural preservation. We explore the intricate dynamics of research funding in Africa, advocating for self-reliance and the decolonization of African research paradigms. We showcase the triumphs and hurdles of an African online content aggregator, highlighting the importance of homegrown digital publishing. Finally, we explore how social, scientific, cultural and historical information from Africa and the Global South as a whole is at risk. Countless non-profit and government reports are disappearing and physical artifacts are being lost. We underscore the renewed urgency to safeguard and reimagine Africa's invaluable knowledge and culture. Together, these talks illuminate the path forward for Africa's academic, scientific and cultural resurgence in the global arena.
  • Convener

    Stephen Rhind-Tutt
    President at Coherent Digital, USA; CLIR Board member
  • Julius Kirimi Sindi
    Researcher - Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), Montpellier, France; Program Manager - African Population and Health Research Center, Nairobi, Kenya
    Empowering Africa's Research Landscape: Navigating Challenges and Charting New Horizons
  • Rosalind Hattingh
    Managing Director - Sabinet Online
    Scholarly Publishing in the Global South: a commercial view
15:30 - 16:00 - Break
  • Mpho Ngoepe
    Associate Professor, Department of Information Science - University of South Africa (UNISA), Pretoria, South Africa
    "It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark," safeguarding and reimagining Africa's scientific and cultural information at risk
16:30 - 17:00
17:00 - 17:30
Closing Remarks
  • Gracian Chimwaza
    Executive Director - ITOCA; Executive Council Chair - Research4Life
17:30 - 19:00
Au Revoir Cocktail
Sponsored by CLIR


Join leading publishers and librarians in Cape town to contribute to the discussion around themes of both local and international importance as we seek strategies to reflect, protect and preserve the heterogeneity and richness of the world’s scholarly information channels and the cultural heritage collections for the future.


Registration is now open. Register here.


Conference Venues and Events

The  Vineyard Hotel, situated on the Eastern slopes of Table Mountain in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, will be the venue for the 2024 conference. One of the most environmentally-friendly, progressive hotels in Cape Town, and home to a diverse range of fauna and flora, the hotel is also close to the world-famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and a range of attractions celebrating Cape Town's cultural scene and heritage.

Participants will have the opportunity to enjoy the variety of Vineyard's kitchen during the conference lunches and breaks, and can look forward to relaxing with a selection of local wines and drinks at our cocktail reception on the eve of the conference (May 6th). The cocktail reception and all other conference refreshments are included in the conference fee.

Gala Dinner

This year's gala dinner will be held on May 7th in the stunning setting of the Olive Press on the Boschendal estate, where good food meets breathtaking views of the stunning Simonsberg and Drakenstein mountain ranges. A free bus service from the conference venue to the restaurant will also be provided.
The three-course dinner, which is also included in the main conference fee, will be prepared with fresh ingredients sourced from Boschendal's farm and local suppliers and will be accompanied by a selection of local wines.

Practical Information


Vineyard Hotel

The Vineyard Hotel offers a range of rooms looking out onto the lush, tranquil courtyard garden, or overlooking the lawns and gardens of the hotel, as well as partial views of the eastern slopes of Table Mountain.

Special rates are available to conference participants:

  • Courtyard-facing double room, including breakfast 2.835R (approx 145€)
  • Mountain-facing double room, including breakfast 3.555R (approx 182€)

Book before April 15th, 2024, to benefit from these special rates. To reserve your room, contact reservations@vineyard.co.za mentioning Fiesole Retreat in your request.



  • Gracian Chimwaza - Executive Director ITOCA, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Michael Levine-Clark - Dean of the University of Denver Libraries, Colorado, US
  • Buhle Mbambo-Thata - University Librarian at National University of Lesotho, Lesotho
  • Ann Okerson - Director, Offline Internet Consortium, USA
  • Stephen Rhind-Tutt - President at Coherent Digital, USA; CLIR Board member
  • Julien Roche - University Librarian and Director of the Libraries, University Lille, France; LIBER President
  • Pep Torn - Library Director, European University Institute Library, Fiesole, Italy
  • Giannis Tsakonas - Director, Library & Information Centre, University of Patras, Greece
  • Anthony Watkinson - Principal Consultant at CIBER, UK


  • Barbara and Michele Casalini - Casalini Libri, Italy
  • Rebecca Lenzini - Charleston Hub, USA
  • Katina Strauch - Charleston Hub, USA


  • Antonio Cordola - Casalini Libri, Italy
  • Leah Hinds - Charleston Hub, USA
  • Aurora Taiuti - Casalini Libri, Italy


Listed in order of program schedule