Information Retrieval By using E- Mail Facilities : A Case Study with Home-grown Agricultural Databases in Uganda

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Addis Ababa University


This study is aimed at designing an improved Information retrieval system (IRS) for the agricultural research sector in Uganda . For this reason, a survey was conducted to ascertain the information retrieval facilities available in the libraries of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) , Uganda as well as the information needs of the users. The survey was necessary as a basis for developing an improved IRS. The Agricultural Ugandan economy. sector is the engine It employs nearly 90% of growth of the of the country ' s population and contributes to over 64% to the government revenue, over 50% of the GDP and over 90% of the total exports. The agricultural research sector, under NARO, has to meet the challenge of developing improved technologies that can be used by the farmers. Findings of this study show that the existing information facilities / l ibraries are not adequate for the needs of the majority of the research sc i entists in NARO, let alone other users in the agricultural sector . In most cases the information needed i s not available in the libraries a t their institutes. Scientists have to search for required informat i on from NADIC, other l ibr aries or use a l ternat i ve sources of information such as the invisible college. On the other hand it was established that there were modest information resources at NADIC which could be shared by allresearch scientists in NARO. For this reason, an Information retrieval system (IRS) that is based on E-mail has been proposed. It will enable the users at remote research insti tutes t o access the information resources that are available at a central facility l ocated at the National Agricultural Documentation and Information Centre (NADIC). The prototype information retrieval system (IRS) comprises of three components: NADISRV, a bibliographic information server which will facilitate the users at remote institutes to search home-grown databases at NADIC without having to travel from their stations; and a Selective Dissemination of Information Service that uses bibserve facilities. By using the databases that are available at NADIC : the E-mail assisted SDI service, will periodically update all registered users about current information in their fields of interest. These services require as a prerequisite the availability of active databases. The centralized home-grown databases that are already existing at NADIC, namely AGRIN, CARIN, AGRINF, and ULIST will be used for this purpose. In addition, two other prototype databases have been established using Micro CDS/ISIS software . The first one is AGREXP , a database of profiles of experts in the broad agricultural field, and the second, is AGRORG, a database of institutions that a r e closely or remotely related to agriculture . The third component of the Information retrieval System (IRS) is, the NADIC SEARCH INTERFACE, a user friendly interface which has been developed using the ISIS Pascal interface. TheNADIC SEARCH INTERFACE will allow both the Information Centre/Library staff and the on-s i te users to int eract with the system in a friendly way, thus making i t easy for the use rs t o conduct searches for themselves. Finally , proposed strategies prototype for implementing and information retri eval managing system , recommendations for further improvements , are suggested.



Information Retrieval