The Sixth Scientific Conference On TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER FOR DEVELOPMENT, Khartoum, 8-10 April 2003: Establishing Basic Levels of Technology Transfer for :Sudan Documentation and Library Services:Challenges and Opportunities /By: Rafaa Ashamallah Ghobrial||
2. IT, ICTS AND TT CONCEPTS
By definition, Information technology (IT) is various technologies, which are used in creation, acquisition, storage, dissemination, retrieval, manipulation and transmission of information. IT (core of technology) includes computers, various telecommunication devices, media, broadcasting, press, audio- visuals, and micrographs, etc. Whereas Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) include electronic networks - embodying complex hardware and software - linked by a vast array of technical protocols. ICT are embedded in networks and services that affect the local and global accumulation and flows of public and private knowledge. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, ICT cover Internet service provision, telecommunications equipment and services, information technology equipment and services, media and broadcasting, libraries and documentation centres, commercial information providers, network-based information services, and other related information and communication activities; quite an expansive definition. It is not uncommon to find definitions of ICT that are synonymous with those of information technology (IT). For example, Foster defines IT as 'the group of technologies that is revolutionizing the handling of information' and embodies a convergence of interest between electronics, computing and communication. Therefore, in this review, the terms IT and ICT will be used nearly synonymously and in a somewhat broad sense. The terms designate the information processing interaction between providers and users of information and also the development and application of information-processing systems that may not be regarded as part of the development of telecommunications/telematics per se. It is important to emphasize that these technologies only provide new mechanisms for handling an already existing resource: information. Therefore, to understand ICTs, one must first understand information practices and needs.
Recently, the term "technology transfer (TT)" has fallen out of favor among many who view the term as outmoded or too narrow in scope, and who prefer terms such as technology collaboration, technology deployment, technology utilization, etc. These are, for the most part, semantic differences, which do little to increase our understanding of these closely, related phenomena. The term "technology transfer" encompasses such a broad range of activities that a general definition brief enough to be useful is impossible to develop. However, operational definitions of technology transfer are easier to devise in a specific context, and are best constructed in terms of specific mechanisms of transfer. A number of different definitions are in use by various institutions and groups, and two of them are included below
· The Technology Transfer Society's brochure defines technology transfer as "a strategy for achieving organizational goals, as "a process leading to actual transfer." and as "a discipline involving a multiplicity of skills."
· The American Federal Laboratory Consortium defines technology transfer as "The process by which existing knowledge, facilities or capabilities developed under federal R&D funding are utilized to fulfill public and private needs." That means "Technology Transfer consists of efforts and activities intended to result in the application or commercialization of Federal laboratory-developed innovations by the private sector, State and local governments, and other domestic users. These activities may include, but are not limited to:
o Technical/cooperative interactions (direct technical assistance to private sector users and developers; personnel exchanges; resource sharing; and cooperative research and development agreements);
o Commercialization activities (patenting and licensing of innovations and identifying markets and users); and
o Information exchange (dissemination to potential technology users of technical information; papers, articles, reports, seminars, etc.)."