The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Groundwater Data and Information\ud Archive, Knowledge Sharing and Co-operation Project, funded by the German Development\ud Cooperation (GIZ) and Department for International Development, UK (DFID), was initiated in\ud September 2009 to identify, catalogue and subsequently promote access to the large collection of\ud reports held in the UK by the British Geological Survey (BGS). The work has focused on a\ud wealth of unpublished so-called “grey” data and information which describes groundwater\ud occurrence and development in Southern Africa and was gathered by the BGS over its many\ud decades of involvement in the region.\ud The project has four main aims:\ud To catalogue and describe the "grey data" documents on SADC groundwater held by the\ud BGS within a digital metadatabase.\ud To identify a sub-set of scanned documents to be made freely available to groundwater\ud practitioners and managers in the SADC region by electronic distribution.\ud To link the metadatabase and digital sub-set of documents via a web portal hosted by the\ud BGS, to enable download of documents by SADC groundwater workers.\ud To strengthen links between BGS hydrogeologists with counterparts in SADC, and\ud provide an example of groundwater data sharing which could be emulated by other\ud European Geological Surveys with substantial data holdings on SADC groundwater.\ud The project has successfully met these aims. The assessment of BGS archived material produced\ud an electronic meta-database describing 1735 items held in hard copy. Of these, 1041 have been\ud scanned digitally to searchable Portable Document Format (PDF) format. A subset of 655 PDFs\ud including partial documents related to groundwater development from the colonial and post\ud independence period as well as BGS internal project reports and reports approved for web\ud dissemination by host countries are now available to download (free of charge) at\ud http://www.SADCgroundwaterarchive.com . Initial results indicate a good deal of interest both\ud from within SADC and elsewhere, accessed by directly addressing the website and via a search\ud engine such as Google. The information presented has already been used by in-region projects\ud such as the SADC Hydrogeological Mapping project and the Malawi Water Assessment Project.\ud This is essentially a pilot project providing an example of how Web delivery of the archive is an\ud important step forward for the well-being of the SADC region. It permits access to documents\ud few even new existed and will, it is hoped, provide a valuable dataset that should inhibit the\ud temptation to waste scarce resources by ‘re-inventing the wheel’
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