Dayana Gielen / Heribert Hinzen /
Gisela Waschek

A Rich Resource for Adult Educators – A New Index for Users of our Journal

The journal “Adult Education and Development” has appeared continuously since 1973. Since then, hundreds of articles on many different topics have been published. Relevance to practice has been one of the most important criteria for selection of manuscripts. The wide variety of documents published are also of more than day-to-day value. Many papers thus have a value for their readers that extends far beyond the year of publication. Interestingly, topics keep recurring, in forms that are adapted to new circumstances and conditions.

Current subscribers are not necessarily the same as those of a few years ago, who generally keep collected copies in their bookshelves. But not everyone has access to all earlier editions via libraries and resource centres. So how are readers to know what appeared in earlier editions, and how can they find this out easily?

An index can be considerable help. In issues 30 and 50 of the journal we produced indexes of all articles published up to that point. We have continued the tradition in the current issue, in which we have listed all contributions to issues 1-62, so that readers can gain a complete overview of what is available.

The index is divided into three. In the first section (author index), articles are arranged alphabetically by name of author, showing title, issue, year and page numbers. The second section (country index) provides a regional breakdown, and section three (subject index) lists contributions finally by topic.

Country Index

The index is sorted alphabetically by continent, and within these by country. The first section under each continent lists contributions that cannot be allocated specifically to one country but are concerned with adult education topics in more than one country or region.

The widest selection of articles are from and about countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where the IIZ/DVV has been most active for longest (in terms of number of projects).

In Africa, Nigeria and Ghana head the list, also having the highest numbers of subscribers, so that readers here do truly become authors as is intended. An appreciable number of papers come from Ethiopia, where the IIZ/DVV has worked since the 1970s and has had a project office for the last decade. Many come from South Africa. It is certainly necessary to build up the French-speaking area of Africa, which is still under-represented.

Similar comments may be made about Asia and Latin America. The majority of contributions are from and about the countries where the journal is most widely distributed and/or where the IIZ/DVV has project offices or works with many different partners. India should certainly be mentioned, where the IIZ/DVV has worked with partners such as KANFED, Seva Mandir, SPARC, PRIA and Nirantar, frequently for many years. There are also numerous reports from the Philippines. In the case of Latin America, we can point to Colombia, Mexico and Bolivia, all three of these countries having project offices; Colombia is also our longest-standing partner country in the continent.

More recently, (from issue 40) other regions have been covered, such as Central and South Eastern Europe, where new examples of co-operation began in the 1990s, so that the Europe region has gained considerably in importance. Within this region, we are often asked to report on adult education in Germany, which accounts for many articles. The focus is particularly on descriptions of the work of the Volkshochschulen (community adult education centres).

The Central Asia region is new, where the first IIZ/DVV project office was opened in 2003. There will without doubt be an increase in reports from this region in future. The IIZ/DVV is currently starting to cooperate with countries in the Mediterranean region and the Maghreb, so that these regions will also be represented in the journal in future.

In line with our target group, the proportion of articles from industrialized countries such as the United States, Western Europe, Japan and Australia is extremely small.

Thematic Index

By far the most complex and time-consuming aspect of compiling the index was arranging contributions by topic. We have often faced the problem that an article could easily have been put in more than one category. We decided nonetheless to place each article in only one, although we fully realise that we could in many cases have made a different choice.

The topics selected reflect the range of emphases in the work of the Institute, from basic education/literacy, via training, gender, international cooperation, poverty, globalization, minorities, intercultural dialogue, conferences and festivals of learning, to the new media, to name but a few.

Many topics have been addressed in the work of the IIZ/DVV for a long time, which is reflected in the numbers of contributions. Mention should be made of literacy and basic education, the many country reports on specific conditions in individual countries and regions, and topics such as health and the environment.

New topics have also arisen in reaction to the new demands placed on society, whether increasing globalization in the socio-political and economic sphere, the strengthening of intercultural dialogue, or the growing importance of the new media. While the use use of flipcharts was still being explained in issue 11, authors are concerned in more recent editions with the use of computers and learning via the Internet.

The journal also provides the service of documenting major conferences in the field of adult education. EFA conferences from Jomtien to Dakar, CONFINTEA V, Statements and Declarations are made accessible to a broad public. Conference papers have been listed under the respective conference itself in the case of declarations agreed there, opening speeches, words of greeting, etc. Papers on specific themes will be found under the appropriate topic, with a reference to the relevant conference (see CONFINTEA V, Vol. 49).

In the second half of the year the index will become available via our homepage as a database, and will be continually updated. Users will then be able to locate the desired information with the aid of a list of key words.

Outlook

The content of the journal reflects the complete range of the work of the Institute. The index shows clearly the breadth of the topics covered and the flexible ways in which the Institute reacts to new demands. By combining descriptions of numerous project activities worldwide with the opportunity to get up to date with latest developments in theory and to gain access to major documents, the journal provides a bridge between practical work and theory, supports project work and illustrates broader issues. The journal will assuredly change as a result of future demands, either by reporting on work in new regions of the world or by responding to the challenges of new topics.

We should welcome feedback from our readers on whether they are able to make use of this service. We should also welcome suggestions as to how we might further improve a new index, and the index on our homepage.