In its 60 years of existence, UNECA has created and holds a vast quantity of information and Knowledge in a variety of formats, including printed and electronic. These represent the corporate memory, providing historical evidence of its actions and decisions. The information resources include published materials such as flagship publications, journal articles, conference proceedings, technical reports, mission reports, annual reports, working papers, speeches and other grey literature, all which outline important research or decisions that have been made on the economic and social developmental aspects in Africa. The ECA Institutional Repository of the Economic Commission for Africa offers unique knowledge and information not available elsewhere pertaining to regional programmes, decisions and resolutions promoting social and economic development in Africa.
The ECA Institutional Repository built on Dspace is continuously undergoing further development to enhance its functionality in response to users’ changing information needs as well as the need to adopt new emerging technologies for better knowledge services and products. The repository is interoperable with other repositories and supports discoverability and re-usability of the content by complying with Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) standards. The ECA Repository uses a qualified Dublin Core metadata set namely AGRIS Application Profile which is a rich metadata that maps MARC21 metadata to Simple Dublin Core, and MODS metadata sets exposed through the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) protocol.
Since its implementation, various enhancements have been added on the ECA IR, including Software upgrades as well as developments to overcome challenges of repository development and sharing of content in low bandwidth areas such as Africa. One significant development is that of ECA IR replicates or mirrors to enable participation by the Sub Regional Offices (SROs) of ECA in the five regions of Africa namely, SRO-Eastern Africa in Kigali - Rwanda, SRO - Central Africa in Yaoundé - Cameroon, SRO-West Africa in Niamey - Niger, SRO Southern Africa in Lusaka - Zambia and SRO Northern Africa in Rabat - Morocco. The replication project implemented in 2012 in collaboration with @mire Company, a leading Dspace Committer was necessary to overcome the bandwidth challenges across the African continent as it facilitates offline update of content and synchronization of data across the 6 sites of the Economic Commission for Africa.