A Micro-isis Based Information System for Supporting Research in the Institute for African Studies, University of Zambia.

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Addis Ababa University


The Institute for African studies (IAS) is an interdisciplinary research unit in the University of Zambia. However, it operates as an independent entity. The Institute undertakes research in the social sciences and the current emphasis is on economic development of the country. A study has been conducted to find out the existing information facilities of the Information and Documentation Unit (IDU) of IAS and also the information needs of the research workers. This study was conducted with a view to proposing a computer-based information system to support research activities at the Institute. The results of the study show that: (a) users are not satisfied with the information services offered; (b) most of the information sources available are outdated; (c) users are not satisfied with the subject descriptors used; (d) users find it difficult to locate and retrieve documents from the collection; and (e) poor staffmg. Therefore, a MicroIsis-based information system that will operate in a Local Area Network is proposed. The system in the long run is to be connected to the Wide Area Networks within the country and to the global networks to enable it provide efficient information services. Two prototype databases have been created, (BIAS and FIAS). BIAS database is an integration of bibliographic records of monographs, analytic part from monographs/ collections, and analytic part from serial; and profiles of projects, institutions, experts, and information systems. FIAS is a specialised database containing records on factual information about the exchange rate of the Zambian Kwacha to the US dollar, and about the informal sector. A user interface based on simple menus has been developed to assist users in searching the databases. The system can be implemented after the necessary hardware and software are acquired, additional information professionals are recruited and available professionals are trained to manage the information system. Recommendations have been made for implementation and further improvement of the system



information System