CABI opens to all countries
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CTA. 1986. CABI opens to all countries . Spore 5. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/44518
CABI Information Services
Imagine you are a scientist within a government research station. How do you: - obtain abstracts of recent research articles on sugarcane diseases-and get copies of the original articles? - identify and introduce a parasite to control the spread of a mite that is devastating coffee crops thereby creating economic disaster in an entire region? - identify an insect that is causing a disease of cattle in your country-and establish the effectiveness and environmental effects of a pesticide you intend to use? The answer for scientists in many parts of the world is to call upon the extensive resources of CAB international, a non profit-making international organization funded by 29 Commonwealth countries and based in the UK. Through its four institutes, ten bureaux and field stations in Trinidad, Kenya, India, Pakistan and Switzerland, CABl's mission is to serve the information and scientific needs of a broad cross-section of agricultural research specialists. CABl's mandate extends across the whole spectrum of agricultural endeavour - CAB Abstracts cover the world literature on subjects ranging from: animal breeding to plant production; pigs to rice; forestry to agricultural economics; human nutrition to parasitology; rural development to travel and recreation. There is a Pesticide Databank, and a database covering the world's largest mycological culture collections. Other databases are being added, with the goal of creating a major resource on all aspects of development - not just agriculture, but public health, population and other topics. CABI'S HISTORY Founded in 1929, following the Imperial Agricultural Research Conference in London, and with origins going back as far as 1910, CABl was known as Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux until January 1st this year. A new constitution was drawn up in 1985 by a group of international experts, was approved by the Quinquennial Review Conference in September of that year, and is now in the process of being ratified by member governments. A copy of the document will be deposited at the United Nations who will recognize it as a Treaty; this will give CABl the status of an Inter-Governmental Organization., The change of name reflects a fundamental change in the nature of the organization and a definite commitment to increase outreach to all countries of the world. Membership of CAB International will be open to nonCommonwealth governments for the first time, and preliminary discussions are now being held with several countries who have expressed interest in joining CABI. Beginning in December 1986, the Editorial Units of CABllnformation Services, at present located at 10 sites in the UK, will be brought together in a new building, along with the headquarters of CABI, in Wallingford, midway between Reading and Oxford. This will reduce costs and lead to improved efficiency and flexibility, vital for the tasks ahead. Under Don Mentz, the Australian Director General of CABI, the organization is becoming increasingly active in the international arena with both its information and scientific services breaking new ground. A new Development Services division has been formed to coordinate a new range of specialist advisory and consultancy services drawing on the expertise within CABI which will extend the current mission of the organization. THE INFORMATION SERVICES All agriculturalists know how frustrating it can be when essential information is unavailable. The CAB Abstracts database of almost two million abstracts of articles from the world's scientific literature is a powerful resource for improved agricultural research and development. Over 14,000 journals and many other scientific publications are scanned regularly and 130,000-140,000 records are added to the database each year. The original products of the Information Services-a series of abstract journals-are used by about 30,000 subscribers in nearly every country of the world. Recently, special arrangements with development-financing institutions and International Agricultural Research Centres have made it possible for crop-specific journals (eg. Rice Abstracts, Wheat, Barley and Triticale Abstracts, Maize Abstracts, Lentil Abstracts and Faba Bean Abstracts), to be made available free of charge to specialists in developing countries. Though used mainly as the source of records published in abstract journals, the database is now increasingly used to provide customized responses to specific information requirements. The database can be searched online directly with CABI, or through online hosts such as Dialog, DIMDI, CAN/OLE, ESA (back to 1973), and BRS (back to 1980) SDI (Selective Dissemination of Information) services are available from CABI and online hosts giving weekly, monthly or quarterly updates on pre-ordained search criteria. Output is available as hard copy, on microfiche and on floppy disk. CABI is working with several international research organizations to provide sectoral or geographical services using monthly tapes of the new records on the database. CSIRO in Australia, for instance, provides information from CABI tapes to the South Pacific region; and ILCA in Addis Ababa runs numerous SDls on livestock production for distribution throughout Africa. National systems in the UK and USA provide vast numbers of monthly SDls to research establishments in their national networks. New arrangements are being negotiated to provide distribution of the database on regional and subject lines in various parts of the world. As a particular response to the needs of areas where communications lines are unavailable or too expensive, the database is being tested on compact disc (CD-ROM). The disc and search software test is being run in thirty sites around the world and funding agencies are being approached to enable pilot projects to be run in a number of developing countries. The goal of this development is to provide local access to the resources of CABI. The aim is quite simply to respond to the information needs of the agricultural scientist and to provide the most comprehensive, most responsive agricultural information retrieval system in the world. As a part of the overall mission to improve information transfer, CABI recognizes the need for training agricultural librarians to improve access to research results in developing countries and its annual training course 'Information for Agriculture' held in Oxford. UK. is now in its eighth year. The course has also been given in Sri Lanka and Fiji under the auspices of the Commonwealth Foundation, and the possibility of taking the course to a number of African countries is being explored. Furthermore CABl's Document Delivery Service can provide copies of most articles abstracted for its database. Thus the information system is becoming fully integrated and is performing the vital service of transfering information on a global scale. SCIENTIFIC SERVICES The staff at CABl's Institute of Biological Control, and at CIBC field stations in Europe, the Caribbean, Africa, India and Pakistan, have built up considerable experience and expertise in biological control, which is applied to research on such pervasive pests as the cassava mealybug in Africa, sugarcane borers in India. and cotton whitefly in Sudan. Notable successes have been achieved and the Institute is involved in contracted projects in many parts of the world. The expertise gained by staff is passed on to others in a series of training courses, many held in developing countries, to enable integrated pest management programmes to be established at a local level. CABl's Institutes of Entomology, Mycology and Parasitology operate similar training courses catering to the needs of Third World scientists which are undertaken by staff involved in the primary, work of identification. The institutes offer a unique world-wide identification service for insects, mites, microfungi, plant-pathogenic bacteria, plant-parasitic nematodes and animal helminths. Over 20,000 identifications are made each year and over 140 countries have used the service in the past decade. Each institute has access to unrivalled reference collections and its scientists are world authorities in their fields. These staff are available for consultancy and advisory work. Assistance can be given to countries wishing to complete surveys of pests or diseases of crops in particular regions and advice on control mechanisms can be obtained. CABI is entering a new and exciting phase of its history. The needs of developing countries to increase agricultural production can be helped enormously by the information and scientific resources CABI has available. The organization is looking to a future where the urgent need for agricultural information in the developing countries of the world can be matched with the desire of bilateral and multilateral funding agencies to improve the availability of information outside the industrialized world. CABI is actively seeking collaboration with governments, organizations and research institutions to make the global transfer of agricultural knowledge and expertise a reality bv the end of this century.