Solomon Islands Information Network

Moderator: Professor Clive Moore
The University of Queensland

During discussions at a workshop at Université Leval, Canada, in September 2007, the participants with Solomon Islands’ interests felt that it would be opportune to create an email network of scholars interested in the Solomon Islands. There are many existing Pacific networks, however in our discussions we realized that many of us find interesting items/links relating to the Solomons, which we send on to one or two colleagues, but no further. We decided to try to develop a simple email list, to make it easy to pass information onto a wider group. The list below started small but has grown to over 150 names. Initially, SIIN was oriented towards the social sciences, but recently many science names have been added. Discipline boundaries are a Western, not a Solomon Islands concept, and have been ignored.

What developed from this is fulfillment of a desire that we all have: to be able to pass information back into Solomon Islands. Because access to Broadband is limited in the Solomons, SIIN will give staff and students at SICHE or USP, and public servants in the Government, the Opposition, or NGO or Church employees, an easy way to access outside materials. The intention is to make Solomon Islanders less reliant on aid agencies, projects, and embassies and allow them to choose from a larger pool of material. It will be up to them to use or reject what information members of the list might provide, and to spread information more widely.

The only other development since then is that The University of Queensland has developed a UQ Solomon Islands Partnership, which is aimed at linking staff and students and associates of UQ interested in Solomon Islands. Previously, the SIIN list of names and interests has not easily available to members. We have decided to use the UQ website to post the list so that access is easier for anyone wanting to check on the expertise available.

The SIIN format is through email, not a chat line or a blog. Perhaps SIIN will move to more sophisticated technology in the future, but at the moment is it very simple. The list will also enable members to discuss issues that concern Solomon Islanders. The Iu-Mi-Nao network served as a useful link between interested people in the 1999–2003 years, but has since lapsed. If anyone wants to begin a separate chat line, all encouragement would be given to them, but they would have to ask individual SIIN members if they wanted to participate.