A CD-romance: CTA's CD-ROM project for the ACP States
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CTA. 1991. A CD-romance: CTA's CD-ROM project for the ACP States . Spore 35. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45593
The spectacular progress in information technology in recent decades has not always reached Third World countries which need access to scientific and technical information (STI) which is vital to their agricultural and rural development. The use of...
The spectacular progress in information technology in recent decades has not always reached Third World countries which need access to scientific and technical information (STI) which is vital to their agricultural and rural development. The use of electronic systems which access information sources directly and the dissemination of this information are particularly difficult, both technically and financially, for these countries. Now CD-ROM (Compact Disc Read-Only Memory) technology offers an attractive solution: the hardware is simple and relatively cheap, and, unlike other systems, does not depend on telecommunication networks which in developing countries are frequently inadequate, over-crowded and sometimes simply do not work. CD-ROM, allows several databases (the equivalent of a 20-volume encyclopaedia) to be stored on one disc. It is sturdy, easily transportable and reliable, resistant to heat, damp, dust, magnetic fields and power cuts. CD-ROM is therefore an obvious means through which CTA can fulfil its mission, and its raison d'etre: to facilitate ACP countries' access to STI. CTA took part in CAB International's pilot evaluation scheme in 1986 and, encouraged by the very positive results, launched its own CD-ROM project in 1989 which is implemented by the Netherlands' Royal Tropical Institute/ Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen (KIT). In two years 21 selected agricultural information services in ACP countries have benefited from the project (see table). CTA has provided personal computers, disc drives and printers, as well as the principal databases currently available on CD-ROM. The hardware comes with a word-processing program which allows other uses such as the updating of catalogues, indexes, etc. CTA also funds two-week local training courses for the potential users. These courses are run by experts from KIT. During the two years this scheme has been running the value of CTA's support programme has been confirmed. The programme will be extended in the future. A brochure entitled Compact disc technology for agricultural and rural cooperation is available from CTA in English