An Academic Resource Centre in the University of Malawi: It’s Need and a Plan for Its Development, Together With Prototype Databases

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Addis Ababa University


The Academic Resource Centro (ARC) discussed in this thesis is an information facility designed to provide information support for the efficient and effective performance of the statutory and public service functions of the University of Malawi and its associated institutions and organizations including related government departments, pastorals, research centers etc. It is conceived as an information center forming an integral part of the university college and institutions associated with higher learning and research in Malawi. The ARC will utilize viable information technology in conjunction with manual methods. Pr-planning studies undertaken include: a review of trends in information technology (IT), a survey of a accessibility to IT in \ Malawi, an assessment of the existing information support systems of the University of Malawi and their inadequacies in relation to the information and data needs of the variety of users of the academic and research community and the related government and para statal organizations . Based on the findings, plans to develop the ARC and steps to implement the plans are proposed. The ARC is conceived as a networking of -viiinformation systems within the university and the associated institutions as well as of appropriate institutions in the country and abroad. The ARC plan outlines the requirements in terms of manpower, systems design and implementation. Libraries and information centers which could participate in the ARC network are mentioned. A set of integrated databases consisting of : bibliographic records; information on . \ curriculum development, academic prospectus etc; profiles of experts and institutions; of databases and information systems; of ongoing projects and researches in the university of Malawi, Government and other selected research institutions, is presented as prototypes for the databases to be developed at the ARC. Data entry guidelines are also provided. Training facilities for IT personnel are not adequate in the country and it has led to under utilization of equipment and heavy reliance on vendor service support for the systems. Some suggestions are made in overcoming this problem. Introduction of IT in libraries, documentation and information centres in the country is slowly gaining ground and currently is largely being applied in special -viiilibraries and to a certain extent in academic libraries as well. However, IT applications to generate information products and services is currently limited to word processing and in-house bibliographic database management. Emerging its, such as CD-ROM, networking and desktop publishing, are yet to be widely used in Malawi. The need for developing national databases to capture and disseminate information generated in the country is emphasized.



Information Science