“This is all about sharing”
By Sebastiaan Ter Burg, CC BY-SA
Aris Maro on the power of networking, librarians, and sharing African knowledge with the world
Aristarik Hubert Maro is the CC Tanzania Public Lead, an executive secretary at the Tanzania Library Association, and a PhD candidate at University Dar es Salaam. In advance of the Creative Commons Global Summit, we’re gathering the stories of humans working around the world to shape the Commons’ future. We want to share your story, too – drop by the “Humans of the Commons” listening lounge at the Summit to get interviewed and add your voice. Here’s an edited transcript of Aris’ story:
I was part of the team that founded Creative Commons in Tanzania. Since that time, we’ve created a large network and come to know so many people. To me, that’s the greatest strength of my involvement with CC; I’ve gotten to connect not only with people from Tanzania, but also people from around the world.
I now have friends in places like South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria – and colleagues in South Korea and Canada, where I attended previous summits. If it weren’t for Creative Commons, I wouldn’t have met these people. The success is the power of networking.
Creative Commons has become a big part of my life, especially when I’m talking about issues of shared data and licenses. That’s why I’ve decided to focus my PhD research on Creative Commons licenses. And why it’s a big honor for me to be able to represent Tanzania at the Creative Commons Summit in Toronto.
Librarians as “masters of learning”
When I first started organizing trainings and events about Creative Commons, people wondered: “Why is this librarian talking about sharing and licenses and the like?” Most people used to think that librarianship was just about books, books, books. But today, Creative Commons has helped people perceive librarianship as part and parcel of technology.
Creative Commons has helped me change people’s perceptions about librarianship in the country.
You can’t separate librarianship today – or library teaching or information science – from technology. People are coming to realize that libraries are where this knowledge is stored, and that if you want to access knowledge on just about anything, whether through old technologies or new, the library can provide that.
This is all about sharing. Librarians are becoming more like “masters of learning.” And if you empower librarians with high-tech skills, it’s a completely different story. This is the direction we are going. My work with CC has helped bring us to that level.
Sharing local knowledge and skills globally
One of the biggest challenges we face in Tanzania is knowledge around how best to utilize technology – especially when technology is moving and changing so fast. Each night when you go to sleep, you wake up to find that everything you knew has changed completely. This has been the biggest challenge in my work: getting people access to the knowledge and know-how they need when the pace of change is so fast.
You cannot talk about a better world today without talking about technology, and about the sharing of technology.
One of the greatest challenges to the Commons that I see is understanding of the licenses by the majority of the African continent. If we are able to reach out to all of the creators – the artists, the musicians, the writers – in the grassroots, in different places, in the rural areas, that will be a great opportunity for Creative Commons.
I want to ensure we aren’t leaving out the potential creators and creative people in the grassroots. There are so many new platforms where we can share their viewpoints and demonstrate their skills and knowledge. Creative Commons has a big part to play to make sure that all of the achievement of these people, their creativity and skills, can be shared globally. We need to reach out to ensure African knowledge and skills are shared globally.