Training Documentalists in the Caribbean
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CTA. 1989. Training Documentalists in the Caribbean. Spore 20. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45030
training courses on sources of agricultural information. In 1988 the third course took place in the Caribbean, in conjunction with CARDI (the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute), in Trinidad November 21 to December 3
As part of its overall mission to strengthen ACP national and regional information and documentation centres, CTA has set up a series of training courses on sources of agricultural information. In 1988 the third course took place in the Caribbean, in conjunction with CARDI (the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute), in Trinidad. The course, from November 21 to December 3, aimed to develop national and regional capabilities for the improved dissemination of information by adopting a specific regional approach The main focus was the identification and availability of agricultural information for the users - these being primarily the information officers, librarians, and documentalists in the anglophone Caribbean ACP countries. The principal objectives of the course were to acquaint participants with appropriate sources of information on tropical agriculture, to provide the training necessary to exploit these sources and to promote techniques relevant to local requirements and conditions in information networking. There were important secondary objectives also: to help the 27 participants obtain a better understanding of the information needs of the end-users: to assist them in analyzing the problems they face in their work; and to gear them to formulating programmes or activities to solve these problems. Throughout the course the participants were set to work solving these - their own problems. The course was divided into three sections. In the first, each participant introduced himself and his particular situation by means of a country report. This highlighted problems common to the region, helped the course organisers to orient the course from one anothers situations, problems and solutions. The second part of the course concentrated on how to find the bibliographic and nonbibliographic sources of information relevant to the region. Dr S. Parasram gave an overview of the agricultural literature in the Caribbean, and S.Keenan introduced potential end-user problems and suggested how to identify end-user needs. There followed practical sessions and lectures, including a presentation by CTA's Thiendou Niann on directories. Participants worked on three special projects tailored to the course to give them a better working knowledge of the region's resources, and the first week closed with project reports. The second week started with a consideration of non-bibliographical source of information - personal contacts and resource persons, and the role of information officers as intermediaries between the producers and consumers of information. This aims to clear up an any misconception that documentalists are merely passive providers of information A.Lebowitz introduced the AGRIS/CARIS system (see SPORE 19), and Thiendou Niang outlined CTA's own information services The final part of the second section was given over to a study of the use of computers based on bibliographic services, and a resume of secondary services - abstracts and bibliographies. The third part of the course was devoted to document delivery, including Library planning within the context of universal availability, Union Catalogue vis-a-vis document delivery, library acquisitions and inter-library loan and photocopy services in the Caribbean. A discussion of networking rounded off the course After the formal training part of the course there was a three-level evaluation - by participants, lecturers, and the coordinator - of the content, materials, lecturers and organisation of the course. This was carried out by means of a questionnaire and a round-table discussion At the end the follow-up strategies suggested by those involved included more training on the CAGRIS database, on-site training in a library, a follow-up course two years on to see what has been accomplished, and reports to be submitted on information systems. In the meantime, the network established at the course was to be maintained Other suggestions were the mounting of a course on the management of agricultural information systems at institutional, regional and national levels and addressing the problems identified in the initial country reports by providing assistance such as training at local level. This would include helping library associations with marketing strategies (how to sell themselves to the public and impress finance ministries which supply funding). Finally, a truly cooperative relationship between libraries, CAGRIS, and CTA was to be pursued. The composition of foods commonly eaten in E.Africa