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ISSN 0971-7102
Vol 21 No 1 March 2002





Directory of Current Research Projects in Food Science and Technology in India. 5th rev. ed. Mysore: National Information Centre for Food Science and Technology, 2001.

Most scientists and technologists need appropriate scientific and technical information before taking up new R & D projects, or even for suitably modifying some of their on-going projects. Food scientists and technologists and other R & D workers in the field are no exception to this. The need for making available such information about the R & D projects undertaken at the institutional level including industries was identified long back, as the completion reports of such projects are normally filed at the institutional level.

So far, there exists no formal system for the communication of on-going research findings to all those who are interested in them, a situation which is in striking contrast to the R & D literature published in learned journals.

The National Information Centre for Food Science and Technology (NICFOS), set up at CFTRI, Mysore, under the DSIR/NISSAT programme of the Government of India, recognized the need for such information on on-going projects way back in 1979, and has been compiling the Directory of Ongoing Projects in Food Science and Technology in India, every five years since then. It has so far brought out four editions till 1994.

The Directory under review is the fifth revised edition and covers the period 1995-2000.

Information on 541 projects obtained from 126 institutions have been included. The entries in the Directory have been sequenced under 25 broad subject areas with sub-headings wherever necessary. Each entry contains the record number, project title, name and address of the organization (with department), cost, duration, sponsor (s), investigator (s), papers published and abstracts. Keyword index, institution index and investigator index have also been provided to facilitate easy retrieval.

Directory of Libraries and Information Centres in Gujarat/ compilers P C Shah and K Bhaskar. 3rd ed. Ahmedabad: Gujarat Granthalaya-Seva Sangh, 2001. Liv, 232p. 28cm. ISBN 81-900 173-1-4. Rs. 300

Since time immemorial, India has been nurturing education and learning. To preserve human knowledge that resulted through the thinking process of many centuries, the ancient Indians wrote books on palm leaves, bhurjapatras, and many other materials. Later on they learnt the art of papermaking from China, and the medium of writing changed for the better. The growth of learning gave rise to universities like Nalanda, where libraries took root and flourished for centuries. With the passage of time, they turned into ruins due to various factors leaving behind indelible information of their fruitful existence, valuable collection, avid readers, and useful services they provided.

The deluge of book production that engulfed Europe in the later half of the 15th century impacted India in the later half of the 16th century through the freak arrival of a printing press at Goa. The continuous inflow of Europeans in India since 1490s gradually sowed the seed of research and European education in Indian soil. This led to the establishment of societies first followed by schools, colleges and finally universities. All these in turn gave rise to libraries. The library of the Asiatic Society started in late 18th century is possibly the first library of modern India. The tempo of the growth of libraries which ensued with the establishment of the aforesaid library never abated thereafter. Rather, it increased tremendously after independence. Today, the situation is this that we do not have any reliable data as to the number of libraries we have in our country, the size and type of collections these libraries have, the rare and costly documents available with these libraries, the personnel manning the libraries, etc.

Attempts have been made from time to time to record data on selected libraries and publish library directories. Possibly, Indian Library Association made the earliest attempt in this regard in late 1930s when it brought out the 1st edition of Indian Library Directory in 1938. Since then quite a few library associations and private publishers have brought out a number of library directories. However, most of the associations have failed to bring out the revised editions of their directories. For example, Punjab Library Association brought out the first edition of Library Service Yearbook and Directory in 1962, which has not been revised even once in 40 years.

West Bengal Library Directory was brought out by Bengal Library Association in 1963. By the time, the new edition comes out it will be 40 years, if not more. Delhi Library Association brought out its Directory of Libraries and Who's Who in Library Profession in Delhi in 1964. And that was the end of it. In such a situation, it is really admirable that Gujarat Granthlaya-Seva Sangh has been able to bring out three editions of the Directory of Libraries and Information Centres in Gujarat in a span of just 20 years . I think, no other library association of India can match this association in this regard. The Directory with beautiful getup, paper and print harbours information on 1,843 libraries and information centres in Gujarat. Chapters A, B, C, and D include respectively academic libraries, public libraries, special libraries and information centres, and stop press entries. It is interesting to note that the directory has recorded 284 school libraries. Circulation, reference and newspaper clipping services are quite common in school libraries. Some school libraries even provide photocopying service. Entries under each chapter are arranged alphabetically by cities/villages, under each city/village alphabetically by the title of the libraries. Each entry provides among others the name of the library, address, name of the librarian, name of the head of the institution, year of foundation, holdings, major subject categories of documents, budget, A-V aids and materials, computerisation of libraries, library services, staff, and library hours. The libraries which did not return the questionnaires have been entered with name and address. Name and location indexes have been provided to easily locate the intended library.

I do not find any significant shortfall in the Directory. However, I feel a personal name index would have been helpful in locating a librarian or head of the institution in Gujarat. Mention of the rare books and collections of the libraries would have added additional value to the Directory. To meet part of the expenditure of production, the Sangh has been able to garner advertisements from as many as 66 firms. Will other library associations of the country follow the great example of this association and try to bring out library directories of their own states or revise the existing directories?

-- Reviewed by B K Sen

Information Today & Tomorrow, Vol. 21, No. 1, March 2002, p.21 & p.32