News & Events

CD-ROM Networking

Considering the advantages of CD-ROM products over printed media and On line search, the Central Library, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras recently installed a CD-ROM System on a Local Area Network using Novell Netware Ver. 3.11 consisting of a PC-AT486 file server connected to a CD-ROM tower having 8 high speed internal drives. Three disk-less workstations of PC-AT-386 computers are connected to the system and are kept in an air-conditioned Periodicals reading hall for the users to access the CD-ROM Databases. Further, the service is now available through-out the library working hours including Saturdays & Sundays.

Currently the Library subscribes to two CD-ROM Databases, namely INSPEC(Science Abstracts) containing abstracts from thousands of Journals, Conference proceedings, Books, Technical reports and dissertations, covering all aspects of Physics, Electrical Eng, Electronics, Computers and Information technology from 1989 onwards; and COMPENDEX+ (Engineering Index) containing abstracts from 4,500 Journals, Technicals reports, Books, Conference proceedings, covering Aerospace Engg., Applied physics, Chemical Engg., Civil Engg., Environmental Sciences, Control Engg., Electronics, Energy Technology, Industrial Engg. & Management, Optics, Marine & Ocean Engg., Mechanical Engg., Automotive/Transport Engg., Mining & Metalurgical Engg., and Materials Science.

The advantages of the this system is that it allows multiple users to access all the CD-ROM discs simultaneously from any workstation. the users ae permitted to download the selected records on to floppy diskettes on the workstation. Due to networking, the retrieval speed too has improved significantly and the users now find the service very effective and efficient. The library intends to add more CD-ROM Databases pertaining to Applied Sciences and Engineering in future.

CD-ROM Technology Workshop

A three-day workshop on CD-ROM Technology was organized at National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore, from 22 to 24 February 1995 by National Information Centre for Compact Discs, ICAST, NAL, Bangalore, with support of NISSAT/DSIR, New Delhi. The workshop was attended by 30 members. Inaugurated by Dr. B.R. Somashekar, Acting Director, NAL, the keynote address was delivered by Dr. N.M. Malwad, Librarian, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Dr. A.K. Singh, Head, Materials Science Division and the Chairman, Library Committee, NAL, presided over the function.

While welcoming the delegates of the workshop Mr. I.R.N. Goudar, Head, ICAST, NAL, explained the need for conducting such workshops for the benefit of Indian information professionals and users.

In his inaugural address Dr. Somashekar gave an account of the strong foundation laid by his predecessors to develop the Information Centre at NAL, which has a comprehensive collection and all modern infrastructural facilities. He was happy to note that the Information Centre of NAL has a fully automated and well-maintaind library and has made a name by providing on-line and CD-ROM based information search facilities. He recalled the revolution created by the CD-ROM technology in dissemination of information. He said that the science and technology available in the country can be made available to other countries by exploiting the low cost storage media like CD-ROM to earn sizeable foreign exchange.

In his keynote address ` Changing Scenario of Information Storage Media', Dr. Malwad traced the developments of communication system right from the clay tablets to the latest hi-tech storage retrieval media , i.e., CD-ROM. He said that by the beginning of the 22nd century, libraries would be dynamic information distribution centres through electronic media. However, he felt that the print media would exist despite the developments taking place in storing and dissemination of information through electronic gadgets of information technology.

In his presidential remarks Dr. A.K. Singh hoped that the price of the CD-ROM would drastically come down consequent upon its large usage and thereby even the small libraries would be able harness this new technology.

Shri P.V.R. Prasad of Rajaram Informatics, Bangalore, gave a lecture cum demonstration on Multimedia, which was attended by more than 200 persons apart from delegates of the workshop. Shri Goudar gave a bird's eye view of CD-ROM technology and explained CD-system requirements, developments, advantages, disadvantages and future trends. This was followed by a lecture on CD-ROM database acquisition, issues and solution by Shri N.V. Satyanarayana, President, Informatics (India) Pvt. Ltd. He also gave an account of the latest hardware and software available and their compatibility in setting up of a CD-ROM system in a library. Shri A. Kottai of Software Support and Services, Bangalore, explained the steps involved in installing CD-ROM retrieval software taking the example of on-discs of DIALOG and SPIRS of Silver Platter. Shri R. Chandrashekar, Informatics (India) Pvt. Ltd., while highlighting the trends in CD-Publishing, explained the steps involved and the budgetary requirements of CD. Shri Goudar, in his lecture on' CD-ROM Technology : World Scenario and Indian Experience' gave various statistics concerning CD-ROM and highlighted the number of published CD databases by countries, languages, publishers and their compatibilities to computers and operating systems, etc. He also gave an account of the adoption of this new technology in various libraries/information centres in India. Shri Sreenivasa Ravi of NCSI, IISc., gave an account of CD-ROM standards and explained how these standards have over-come certain problems like their compatibility at various levels such as physical, logical and other applications. In his lecture on CD-ROM Search Software Dr. T.B. Rajashekar on NCSI explained the relationship between retrieval interface, retrieval engine and CD-ROM database and the mechanisms involved in the retrieval process. Smt Poornima Narayana of ICAST, NAL, gave an account of literature sources on CD-ROM technology such as journals, indexing and abstracting services, directories, handbooks, on line and CD-ROM databases, list servers, etc.

Shri H.S. Subramanya of ICAST gave a brief account of the licensing and copyright issues concerning CD-ROM and suggested possible solutions. Dr. M.S. Mrdhar, Head, ISAC Library, Bangalore, explained the value of CD-ROM applications in libraries with library automation, retrospective conversion, current awareness service, resource sharing, development of local databases, collection development, reference service etc. Shri H.S. Siddamalaiah, Librarian, NIMHANS, Bangalore, gave a bird's eye view of CD-ROM database available in the area of food, agriculture and bio-medical science. Shri T.N. Prakash, Manager, Information Technology, ADA, Bangalore, gave an account of CD-ROM databases in the areas of business and management, standards, patents and their applications. Shri H.S.S. Murty, ICAST, NAL, reviewed various CD-ROM databases available in physical, chemical and engineering sciences and explained in detail their contents and applications. In the post lunch sessions on the second and third days of the workshop, practical demonstrations/hands-on experience in searching popular CD-ROM database of DIALOG, Silver Platter, British Library, TFPL and Ulrich's Plus were arranged for the benefit of the participants. They were provided with lists of CD-ROM databases in their respective areas.

An evaluation and the feedback of the workshop showed that the workshop was very helpful and the new technology should be adopted by various libraries taking the example of NICDROM Centre; most of the participants advocated the organization of five day workshop so as to allow more practical sessions and discussions.

Training Course on Computer Applications to Library and Information Services for
College Librarians of Gulbarga University

A Training Course was organised jointly by INFLIBNET- Gulbarga University during May 18-28, 1995 at Gulbarga University for college librarians of Gulbarga University in the area of Computer applications to library and information services.

The course was inaugurated by Mr. Sudhir Krishna, IAS, Divisional Commissioner with Dr. N. Rudraiah, Vice-Chancellor, Gulbarga University in chair. Mr. Sudhir Krishna emphasised the need for utilizing the latest technology for offering better library services, while Dr. N. Rudraiah highlighted the need for training the college librarians as part of the University's programme to link all the college libraries in the Gulbarga City.

About 25 participants from university library and various colleges participated in the course, Mr. Ravi Gaddagimath served as the course Co-ordinator. Dr (Mrs) N. Parvathamma, Dept. of Library & Information Science, Gulbarga University, and Mr. Paul Pandian and Mr. Mahesh Gohel from INFLIBNET, Ahmedabad served as Resource Persons.

Helecon CD-ROM

The nineth version of HELECON CD-ROM produced by the Helsinki School of Economics Library has been released. The library has developed the databank in co-operation with several European libraries. Considered as the latest international economic and business management information including 7,000,000 references to research reports, books, periodicals, articles and working papers on a single CD-ROM disc, the HELECON is one of the most widely spread sources of information about Europe. The seven separate databases of HELECON CD-ROM contain references to articles, books and research reports published in English, German, French, Spanish and in Scandinavian languages. There is also a considerable number of dissertations and working papers. Most references have comprehensive abstracts.

For more information write to Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration Library, Runeberginkatu 22-24,00100 Helsinki, Finland.

— UNISIST Newsletter. Vol. 22, No. 2


HVNET, a high speed data-cum-voice network using Very Small Aperture Terminals (V-SAT) is being commissioned by Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The network would operate on frequency available on INSAT-IIB satellite transponder incorporating Time Division Multiple Access(TDMA) technology, and will have a speed of 64 kilobits per second(Kbps),claims DoT. By the middle of next year 200 VSAT terminals are proposed to be commissioned in major Indian Centres. A registration fee of Rs. 10,000 will be collected from subscribers. The subscribers will be able to communicate among each other through mediums like voice, telex, fax and e-mail.

A unique feature of this network is that the subscribers can also communicate with other sub-centres of DoT.

— Agrobytes Vol.1 No.1

Legume database

The leguminosae family of plants have important medicinal applications in the treatment of tumours and AIDS. Many ofthe chemical compounds identified in this plant family have found important applications in pharmaceutical and medical research. They also form an important source of nitrogen fixation. This plant family has 18,000 species. Researchers in many countries have pooled information and formed a database, International Legume Database and Information Service(ILDIS). The National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow is the regional centre of ILDIS for South Asia.

— Agrobytes Vol. 1, No. 2

National Symposium and Workshop: Medical Library Association of India

The Medical Library Association of India in Collaboration with All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi is organising a National Symposium on `Educational for Medical Librarinship in the Information Age' in the third week of September 1995 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.
There will be one day workshop on the State of the art in CD-ROM technology along with the symposium. There will be an exhibition of CD-ROM products also.

Correspondence regarding Symposium and Workshop should be addressed on the following address:

Organising Secretary
C/o B.B. Dikshit Library
All India Institute of Medical Sciences
Ansari Nagar, New Delhi - 110029

Asian Bioinformatics Network

The planning workshop of Asian Biotechnology and Biodiversity sub-programme of the FAO held at New Delhi between August 22-26, 1994 prepared the blue print for setting up an Asian Bioinformatics Network. The proposed network will be linking all the participating countries, namely, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Philipines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. It is expected that the network will come into existence by Feb., 1995. The participating countries will develop databases in areas of their forte and share them with other countries through the network. The broad areas in which information and databases will be generated are :

  1. Biosafety Regulations and Bioethics

  2. Biodiversity Conservation and Utilization

  3. Micropropagation

  4. Genetic Engineering-Genome maping, Sequencing, RFLP/RAPD, Immunology

  5. Biocontrol Agents and Biopesticides

  6. Biofertilizers

  7. Genetic enhancement for multiple disease and pest resistance


GISTNIC (General Information Service Terminal National Informatics Centre) provides online information on Traditional Sciences and Technologies of India. Compiled from varied sources such as field surveys, traditional literature, traditional scholars, artisans and other experts in various Indian traditions and integrated into a computer based database, this is now available online.

This database can be searched from any of the NICNET nodes, of course, one needs a user id and password. One can log on to NECS-1000 computer at New Delhi and at `System?' prompt, the database can be invoked by typing VIJN. The retrieval of information can be menu driven or key word based.

The database has been classified into 10 major subject areas and 100 minor subject areas. The major subject areas are :

— Agrobytes, Vol. 1, No. 1

INFLIBNET Newsletter

The INFLIBNET Programme of UGC at Ahmedabad has brought out a quarterly Newsletter to report on the activities of INFLIBNET Programme. Initiated in 1991, the programme carries out training activities to enable librarians to initiate computerisation in University libraries. It encourages database development, software development for library management, Contents with Abstracts of Periodicals in Science & Technology (COPSAT) Service, and start Computer Networks like Ahmedabad Libraries Network (ADINET) which links libraries of 32 important institutions in Ahmedabad. The Network was sponsored by NISSAT/DSIR and inaugurated in March 1995.

Till date 54 Universities have been identified by UGC for participation in INLIBNET.

Libraries and Information Centres as Profit-making Institutions

Since libraries and information centres were seen as conservative organisations with traditional values and time-honoured practices, financial resources were virtually guaranteed in the past. But, this outlook seems to be changing due to pressure from certain environmental factors — pertaining to the nature and provision of income or funds, and the changing perception of information and its use. In other words, funding from traditional sources, such as, direct grants or subsidies from government and/or non-governmental sources is on the way out. Added to this is the government pressure for greater financial accountability on the one hand, and emphasis upon self-supporting and/or "User Pays" principle on the other. Thus, the need of the hour is for libraries and librarians to think of income-earning or resource/revenue generation and/or cost recovery activities. In this context, the Documentation Research and Training Centre (DRTC) is proposing to organise a Workshop on Libraries and Information Centres as Profit-making Institutions at Bangalore from 9 - 11 August 1995.

Papers are invited on any of the following topics:

Note:- Only case studies, including comparative studies, and/or report of actual work done in real-life situations will be accepted. No theoretical papers will be entertained.
Registration Fee Rs. 400 per participant.

Participants are to inform the Convener of the Workshop latest by 31st July 1995.

All correspondence to be addressed to

S. Seetharama, Convener, Workshop on Libraries and Information Centres As Profit-making institutions
Documentation Research & Training Centre
Indian Statistical Institute
8th Mile, Mysore Road
Bangalore - 560 059

IIML/NISSAT Management Development Programme

A Management Development Programme (MDP) on Marketing of Library & Information Products & Services was conducted by the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow (IIML) during April 05-07, 1995. Thirteen senior level library and information managers from all over the country attended the programme which was inaugurated on April 05, 1995 by Dr. J.L. Batra, Director IIML.

The programme was designed to equip the participants with adequate knowhow to that they are able to :

  1. Identify and understand their potential users (internal as well as external) in relation to their resources and facilities;

  2. Understand the information needs of such users more accurately;

  3. Generate information products and services that are tailored to meet the needs of such users; and

  4. Remain cost-effective in the process of generating information products and services.

The training package developed by Mr. Roshan Raina (Librarian) and Prof. Prem C. Purwar (Faculty Member, Programme Director), had been designed around the following themes:

The technical sessions were organised on the following topics : i. Conceptual Framework of Marketing; ii. Marketing Mix; iii.Marketing in Library & Information Context; iv. Marketing Cases in the Service Sector; and v. Building Quality. Sessions on experience sharing and video film were the other enriching components of the programme. Learning through cases was a unique feature of the programme.

The programme, which was financially supported by NISSAT (DSIR), concluded with a valedictory session. Participants provided the feedback on the programme, with the help of a structured questionnaire designed for the purpose as well as through a report presented in the valedictory function. Going by the feedback, the programme seemed to have achieved its objectives, well.

— Roshan Raina

British Council Specialist Course Marketing & Library Services A new Marriage

This seminar will provide a framework for understanding the key issues of services marketing, and is intended for middle/senior library and information services managers. It will begin with an overview of marketing and an assessment of its relevance to the management of library and information services. Subsequent sessions will examine aspects of marketing mix planning, based loosely on the traditional four `Ps' but supplemented by analysis of issues which are unique to the service sector. The traditional `P' for place is redefined here in terms of accessibility to services, and a fifth `P' for people is added. The seminar will end with a look at the topical issue of service quality.

Topics will cover the following major areas :

Workshop on Modern Information Access Facilities to S&T Business and Industry

The Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT) and National Information System for Science & Technology (NISSAT), DSIR intend to organise a series of workshops on "Modern Information Access Facilities to S&T, Business and Industries". The first workshop was organised in collaboration with IIT, Delhi, TIFAC(DST) and SBI Books from 24th to 28th April, 1995 at the Central Library, IIT, Delhi.

The participants (11 from industries, 15 from Government Institutions) were exposed on a Modern Method of Information Access and Techniques and were given hands-on training on CD-ROM Databases, INSDOC online database and DIALOG ontap databases. Some of the participants had brought specific searches which they were allowed to search on.

Prof. V.S. Raju, Director, IIT Delhi inaugurated the workshop and stressed the need for modern information access facilities. He wished the workshop success and mentioned that modern facilities available at IIT Central Library may be utilized by the Industry. Dr. A.K. Sengupta, Managing Director, FITT initiated the workshop and mentioned the need for Industry-Institute interaction. Mr. Y.S. Rajan, Executive Director, TIFAC(DST) spoke about the needs of such workshops. He introduced the role of TIFAC on value added information.

Besides, lectures and demonstrations, the Workshop also devoted extensively on industry interaction, networks and networking components, information technology, CD-ROM databases, marketing and business information and online databases. Apart from these general discussions, institutional library support to industrial R&D, Local Area Networks, different Library Networks in India, Electronic Information Marketing, Business Information for Small and Medium Scale Industries were also projected in the workshop.

— Vasant Sharma

Damn the IT-deficient?

Even the best-laid information highway is of no value if we do not learn how to use it fully. Hence the need for IT-fluency; fluency in Information and fluency in Technology. And we must be able to translate this fluency into purposeful gain.

To attain information fluency, we must make the Internet available to computer literates and students and encourage them to explore it. The connections must be available freely and cheaply to schools, colleges and universities. Students and teachers must be trained and encouraged to surf the Internet. The tools to navigate through and analyse the vast amount of information available on databases worldwide must be mastered, so that we can quickly discern the relevant from the irrelevant.

Professionals Have a Role

To make India an IT-fluent country, all our technologists must contribute. The elite must volunteer to teach the new-comers in the industry. Mass media must be used more effectively to help more and more people feel comfortable with computers. Common applications must be made available cheaply and easily to end-users; help-lines must be created to enable users to solve their peoblems. E-mail services must be made easily and cheaply available to enable worldwide communication. IT professionals must come out of their ivory towers and become facilitators to create a viable IT infrastructure and popularise IT usage. This movement must include policy makers, industry and professional bodies, infrastructure development agencies and anyone who can contribute towards creating awareness, understanding and opportunity to use IT in the course of work and play. Only then we will be able to join to global information revolution and realise a better impact of IT.

— Computers Today May 1995

Electronic Publications Regulated in China

The Chinese News and Publications Administration of Ministry of Culture recently issued a directive saying that all domestic electronic publications would need its approval to be legal. The directive defines electronic publications as texts or graphics recorded on magnetic or optical media. The Administration has ordered that local news and publications bureaus check and register existing electronic publications. All electronic publications, whether newly published or reprinted, must henceforth use an assigned standard Chinese book number of six digits. All electronic publications must also use bar code labels, with film of the bar code provided by the Barcode Centre under the Administration. Electronic publications not pressed by the approved publishing houses with an assigned number, nor imported with an approval, will not be allowed to be distributed, sold, or rented.

— Computers Today May 1995

Workshop on Internet

Internet has acquired immense importance in the recent years for information professionals. It is now a veritable treasure-house of information resources in science & technology. Researchers all over the world are mounting pre-prints of their papers, even databases of them on the network and are exchanging information through network discussion forums or electronic mailing lists making invisible colleges electronically visible. Today it is essential for an information professional to learn the skills of surfing the Internet and to know the tools and techniques for locating and exploiting the information resources in order to provide better information services. This Workshop on Internet for Information Professionals is being held with these objectives in view. The workshop aims to provide a guided tour of the Internet, oriented towards the needs of a science information provider by giving hands-on experience right from e-mail to World Wide Web browsers.

The workshop covers a range of topics :

The workshop is open for science librarians and information professionals. The participants are expected to have good familarity with personal computers. Knowledge of e-mail and UNIX is desirable. Obviously the workshop will be very useful for those who are likely to get an Internet connection in their organisation.

The registration fee for the workshop is Rs. 1000/- per participant, payable through demand draft in favour of Secretary, Organising Committee, IfIP. For registration, please fill up the enclosed form and mail it alongwith the registration form to :

Organising Committee, IfIP
National Centre for Science Information
Indian Institute of Science
Bangalore - 560 012

Sam Pitroda to Chair WorldTel

Advisor to Indian Prime Minister on Technology Missions, Mr.Sam Pitroda, has been appointed as Chairman of WorldTel, the newly launched bank and venture capital fund to finance telecommunications in the Third World.

"The WorldTel, like the World Bank, is meant for funding telecommunication projects in the underdeveloped nations where the telephone density is less than one per cent," Mr. Pitroda noted. "It is important to set up a separate institution to fund the telecom projects and it is a difficult task. The US based consultancy firm McKinsey and Company was asked to prepare a study before the formation of WorldTel at a cost of $ 2 million and after it was tabled, things started moving".

Mr. Pitroda said in the first phase of the WorldTel's programme, "and investment of about $ 10 million will be needed and in the second phase, an investment of $ 500 million is envisaged."

— NAM S &T Newsletter April-June, 1995

Asia-Pacific Human Rights Information Centre

The Asia-Pacific Human Rights Information Center (APHRIC) launched on 1st August, 1994 started its operation on 7th December, 1994 at Minato-ku, Osaka. The Center is managed by the Foundation, chaired by Prof. Kinhide Mushakoji. The Director of the Centre is Prof. Kim Dong-Hoon, an expert in international human rights law. APHRIC is planning to have people from other countries in the Asia-Pacific region on his staff.


  1. To promote human rights in the Asia-Pacific region and to realize the spirit of international human rights instruments such as the Universal Delcaration of Human Rights in the Asia-Pacific region;

  2. To convey and reflect Asia-Pacific perspectives on human rights based on different cultural, social and economic conditions to the international community;

  3. To ensure that human rights principles are included in Japanese economic and other activities in the Asia-Pacific region and to work for the inclusion of human rights considerations in Japanese business and other private activities abroad and also in official development aid policies; and

  4. To raise human rights awareness among the Japanese and increase their understanding and acceptance of different cultures and different people.


  1. Information handling
    APHRIC will collect and distribute the following information :

  1. Research
    APHRIC will conduct research on a range of human rights issues in the region in collaboration with experts in Japan and in the region as a whole. The research may include themes such as :

  1. Education and training

  1. Consultancy

Consultancy services will be provided on human rights issues. This includes a referral service to other source of information, for example introductions to similarly concerned organizations.

  1. Publications

The Center will publish a regular newsletter, and an annual report and produce audio-visual and other materials.

— APINESS Newsletter No. 17

Database Society of India : First National Conference

The Database Society of India is organizing its first Annual Conference at Bangalore during 23-24 Sept., 1995 on Indian Databases & National Distribution Networks. The Conference Theme :

Time Schedule for Papers :

Database Introducer

Sustainable utilisation of plant resources can improve the quality of life for millions who live in dryland areas. Sepasal (the Survey of Economic Plants for Arid and Semi-Arid Lands) is a major economic botany database on useful plants of drylands, developed and maintained at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The database is used to provide development organisations and individual research workers with information on useful plants and to target species for germplasm collection and storage. An extensive upgradation and expansion of the present database is underway.

Arid and semi-arid environments occupy approximately one-third of the world's land surface, including about 50% of the surface area of developing countries. Of the one in six (850 million) people who live in arid and semi-arid lands, more than 80% live in rural areas and are dependent upon agriculture and/or animal husbandry. Many also rely on local plant resources to supply a range of basic commodities, such as food, fodder, fuel and medicines. Proper utilisation of plant resources is a critical factor in preventing damage to the environment and helping people live a better, healthier life.

However, information on useful plants of drylands is often patchy and scattered, and traditional knowledge on the value or management of plant resources varies from place to place. The value of a plant species for a particular purpose may, for example, only be realised in a small part of its geographic range. The Sepasal database brings together diverse traditional and academic knowledge on useful plants of drylands to enable evaluation and assessment of plant species, and to help transfer knowledge between areas and disciplines and facilitate development and improvement of people's lives.

What is the Sepasal database?

Sepasal began in 1981 with funding from Oxfam and more recently, the Clothworker's Foundation.

At present, the database contains information on approximately 6,000 useful drylands species, excluding major crop species. Data currently held in the computer database include :

Scientific name (including synonyms); Geographical distribution (to country or state level); Life form and life cycle; Habit; Uses (linked to plant part used); Site and climate tolerances (e.g. soil moisture, pH salinity, moisture, rainfall, frost tolerance, altitudinal range). Additional information is also stored in manual files.

Alongside the Sepasal database, Kew maintains an Economic Botany Bibliographic Database which currently contains citations to more than 150,000 references dealing with plants of economic value (including those of arid and semi-arid lands). From these and other resources at Kew we can also provide additional information on species cultivation requirements, management, harvesting, yields, preparation, processing, economic importance and development constraints.

When making enquiries of the database, please state clearly what information you would like, and give as much detail as possible, including the reasons for your interest in the subject.

For further information contact:

SEPASAL, Centre for Economic Botany
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond
Surrey TW9 3AE, U.K.

Data goods being set on shelves

A database training workshop for the nodal agency staff of Immedplan was held at a few months ago National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Darshan Shankar, Director, FRLHT.

Mr. Shankar's introductory speech likened the Immedplan network to a supermarket where various goods were available under a single roof : the user can access Immedplan and get multi-disciplinary information on medicinal plants. To make such a reality possible, each nodal agency must take on the roles of data producer, data generator and promote distribution of its data through viable outlets. The Immedplan secretariat could become one such viable outlet, and being a supermarket, there would be a value addition for the data goods of any single data producer.

Mr. Shankar stressed that only information which the nodal agencies want to make available to users should be put on the network. He urged the following three points be considered :

  1. The database designer should have end-users in mind;

  2. Pricing of the data should be at an affordable rate, and

  3. Each database should steadily grow so that users perceive change in both the quantum and quality of data.

Mr. Shankar pointed out that medicinal plants and traditional medicine are a national treasure which the country can use to improve its public health services, enhance production of herbal remedies and create income and employment for tribals, farmers and industrial workers. Today, the potential of traditional medicine is hardly being tapped, unlike China which has a comparable traditional heritage but is putting it to far more extensive use within the country and also for exports.

Mr. Shankar advised Immedplan to explore avenues for exchanging data on plants common to India and China with Chinese database holders.

The nodal agencies in addition to their database services should also think of preparing products (in the form of CD-ROMs etc.,) which could be marketed.

Action plans

A joint Immedplan database project : A list of 100 of the clinically most important medicinal plants has been prepared for which all Immedplan nodal members will compile data and send in to the network secretariat. The nodal agencies will send in the data in floppy form. The network secretariat will put all the data together to form a consolidated Immedplan database product.

The network secretariat will liaise with Chinese medicinal plants databases to exchange their data through Immedplan. Data for plants common to India and China is likely to be provided through this exchange.

Capturing Biblio Data straight from INSPEC Database

Using the NS-CONVERT software developed by NPL, New Delhi, you can now capture bibliographical data from INSPEC CD-ROM database straightaway and store it in a database format which you can process on dBase, FoxPro, FoxBase.
This software runs on DOS platform and requires no other software to support this function. It is user friendly and can be used without any special training.

At present the software does not capture data stored in the abstract field of INSPEC database.

The software can be used for a variety of applications such as creation of specialised databases, compilation of data for bibliometric studies, manipulation of search output in any preferred sequence.

Software for capturing data from other databases can be developed on demand.

The NS-CONVERT software costs Rs. 500/-.

For more details contact :

Library, National Physical Laboratory
New Delhi-110 012.

Bhava-A 17th Century Database

The Bhavaprakasa Nighantu is a compendium on medicinal plants written in the 17th century AD by Bhavamisra who was an Ayurvedic scholar of the period. Along with the data on 450 medicinal plants he has described the usage of metals & minerals and animal products. In his work, medicinal plants were classified in such a way that their identify could be easily understood by the student. Bhavaprakasa Nighantu is now being studied in most Ayurvedic Colleges.

CIMH (Centre for Indian Medical Heritage), an Immedplan nodal agency, has now computerized the Bhavaprakasa Nighantu. The package is named "BHAVA" and can run in any system equipped with a "GIST" card which will assist the user to read the data in any Indian language.

"BHAVA" is also available in English for non-GIST users.

On the user front there is around 450 medicinal plants and one can search the data based on Sanskrit synonyms or botanical names which has been tentatively correlated.

To minimize the difficulty in understanding Sanskrit terminologies of Ayurveda, approximate English translations are given in every case. The options range also has multiple search facilities to locate particular medicinal plants.

CIMH is now working on developing different database packages for medicinal plants related data in the lines of "BHAVA".

For further details contact :

Dr. S.N. Venugopal, C.I.M.H.
P.B.No.7102, Ramanathapuram P.O.
Coimbatore-641 045

UNDP and UNEP Agreements on Desertification and
Computer Networking Programmes for Sustainable Development

Two important partnership agreements signed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will help combat desertification and increase the flow of information on sustainable development and the environment in developing countries.

"Both of these agreements address urgent areas of concern - the serious challenge of desertification and the growing need for computer networking information systems in developing countries."

— UNDP Update Vol.8 No.9


Organized by University Kebangsaan Malaysia (APINMAP National Node for Malaysia), the 4th APINMAP Management Board meeting held recently.

Focused discussions on the development and marketing of APINMAP information products and services and set a variable pricing policy to ensure competitiveness in the world market and general sustainability of the network. A marketing drive will be launched to target. A marketing drive will be launched to target prospective clients, which include scientists, researchers, technologists, health professionals and extension workers, industrialists and entrepreneurs.

Aside from existing products, APINMAP will undertake ventures including the one it has already started with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) supported project on CD-ROM on Health & Environment. The network will also embark on new products like subject oriented publications. A series of training courses will be organized to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the technical staff of the national nodes and consequently improve APINMAP's overall delivery of services at all levels.

— UNISIST Newsletter, Vol.22, No.3

NISTADS Contribution to Information Systems and Archival Resources

NISTADS has created databases on journals covered by SCI, impact factors of journals, Indian research output 1988-1992 and the CSIR staff.

TRISHNA A software package of Devnagri Version of CDS/ISIS 2.3 and CDS/ISIS Pascal Interface has been developed. This package is being distributed by NISSAT. It is also given to Nepal and Bangladesh.

— CSIR News, 30/4/95

Kalinga Award : 1994

Dr. Nikolai Nikolaevich Drozdov, Associate Professor of Biogeography at Moscow State University, has been awarded the Kalinga Award for science popularisation, for the year 1994. The Kalinga Prize was instituted by UNESCO in the year 1951 for outstanding work in the area of science popularisation. The one thousand pounds sterling prize is based on a grant to UNESCO by India's Shri Biju Patnaik, Founder and Chairman of the Kalinga Foundation Trust. The prize is awarded every year to a person who has, as a writer, editor, lecturer, radio/TV programme director, or film producer, made exceptional contribution in the field of science popularisation, and who also has an understanding of the role of science and technology and general research in the solution of problems of humanity, enrichment of the cultural heritage of nations and improvements in the welfare of the common people.

1994 award winner, Dr. Drozdov is a prolific writer. His publications include 23 books and 183 research papers in biology, geography and nature conservation as well as text books and educational manuals for school children, students and teachers. For the last twentythree years Dr. Drozdov has been presenting a bi-monthly television programme called "In the world of animals".

AMU Refresher Course in Library and Information Science

The Department of library & Information Science, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh has once again been selected as a centre to conduct subject oriented Refresher Course in Library & Information Science in the session 1995-96.

Date Theme Closing Date


Modernisation of Library Services and Operations 10.06.95


Information Management in Libraries 27.11.95

Prof. Mohd. Sabir Husain and Mr. S. Husan Zamarrud and Messers Shabahat Husain & Mustafa K.Q. Zaidi will be the Course Coordinator respectively. The application form obtainable either from the Director, A.S.C. or the Chairman, Department of Library & Information Science, may be sent duly completed bearing the recommendation of the sponsoring authority to the Director, Academic Staff College, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh-202 002 by the closing date of the concerned course.

Biotechnology Technical Information Service for Thailand

The National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (NCGEB), a centre for information exchange and transfer of technology between academia and the private sectors in Thailand has set-up a Biotechnology Technical Information Service (BTIS).

BTIS provides computerised SDI service to enable registered subscribers to keep abreast of the most recent developments in the field of bio technology. The service pays particular attention to bio technology developments in ASEAN region and the information needs of developing countries. The information disseminated is mainly in the form of technical reports, conference papers, magazine and journal articles covering about 50 topics from ten main categories namely, General issues; Industrial applications; Agricultural applications; Plants - General issues; Animals-General issues; Health application; Energy & environment applications; Genetic resources; Fundamentals; Micro-Organisms. The service provides current and selected information systematically matched to the subscribers specific requirements. The service is to be offered free of charge initially.

For further details contact :

Technical Information Service
P.O.Box-28, Ratburana
Bangkok-10140 Thailand.

IASLIC Annual Conference

The XX All India Conference of the Indian Association of Special Libraries & Information Centres (IASLIC) will be hosted by the Department of Library & Information Science, Lucknow University, Lucknow, U.P. during 26-29 December, 1995. Full particular of the same will be announced in duecourse.


Information Technology Products of 1990 and Library and
Information Centres: Issues for Consideration

  1. Information Technology as Media

11    Computer-Communication Media
12    On Line Databases
13    Optical Media-CD-ROM and their varieties CD-ROM Application Technology
14    Multimedia and Hypermedia Products
15    Telecommunication Products (Satellite Information Access)
16    Network Communication Systems
17    Virtual Library Access

  1. Computer-Software Information Products

21    Information Processing Systems
22    Full Text Processing Systems
23    Information-Modelling Systems
24    Pattern Recognition Systems
25    Knowledge Base Systems
26    Network Software
27    Image Technology

  1. Information Seeking Behaviour and Information Technology Products

31    Intellectual Format/Cognitive Formats/Cognitive Styles
32    Data Compression Formats/Indexing Formats.

  1. Infrastructural Facilities Needed for Utilisation and Maintenance of Information Products

41    (a)    Computer-Facilities
        (b)    Building Facilities
        (c)    Telecommunication facilities
        (d)    Work Station Facility

  1. Economic Feasibility Studies of Information Technology Products

51    Acquisition Costs
52    Utilisation Costs
53    Maintenance Costs
54    Products Evaluation
55    Finance for I T

  1. Legal Implication to Utilisation of Information Technology Products

61    International Legal Rights
62    National Legal Rights
63    Institutional Legal Rights
64    Libraries' Legal Rights
65    Individual Legal Rights
66    Intellectual Property Rights
67    Copyright

  1. Competence in Utilisation of Information Technology Products Knowledge and Skills of

        71    (a)     Library and Information Processing
                (b)     End Users of Infotech Products

Birth of an Idea

The Indian Medicinal Plants National Network of Distributed Databases (Inmedplan), is a national initiative to develop an information resource on medicinal plants to cater to the needs of various user groups.

The network has been developed in consultation and collaboration with several specialised agencies involved in plant related research and information and is being serviced by the Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT)

The prime objective of the network is to help users access medicinal plants data pertaining to botany, ecology, agrotechnology, ethnomedicine, pharmacognosy, pharmacology, phytochemistry and traditional systems of medicine. The Inmedplan newsletter will hopefully boost user interface of Inmedplan. It will cover developments within the network, highlight related news both in India and abroad, and generate interest in medicinal plants themselves.

Inmedplan is right now at the natal stage. A remote user can request for data of his specific interest from off-line database, i.e. nodal agencies. Alternately, the network secretariat at FRLHT forwards user request to the appropriate nodal agency. FRLHT can be accessed via E- mail and the user can utilise this facility to request for data.

Inmedplan will endeavour to provide "on-line" access to users as soon as user demd grows to a viable level.

For further details contact :

J. Ravi Chander, Program Officer, FRLHT.

Wisdom, Knowledge and Information

"Where is the wisdom that we have lost in our knowledge? Where is the knowledge that we have lost in our information?"asked the poet T.S.Eliot. Recent developments abroad and at home make us pause to ponder these lines in a world where the scholar is increasingly expendable. According to reports, in New York, the 226_year Encyclopaedia Britannica, the oldest English language compendium of knowledge, is up for sale and that it might fetch U.S. $500 million. A Chicago-based company which now publishes the Encyclopaedia with help from experts in the Universities of Chicago, Oxford, Cambridge and London, claims its losses are heavy and the sales dewindling.

— Times of India 14 June 1995

NISIET Training Programmes

There are 6 short-term specialised, highly intensive training programmes on the following themes being organised by the Small Enterprises National Documentation Centre (SENDOC) located at NISIET in Hyderabad as per the dates mentioned.

S.No. Title of the Program Duration & Date Eligibility Fees (Rs.) Contact Persion

Library Automation through CDS/ISIS

2 weeks
21 August - 1 September, 1995
Librarians & Information Officers who are not familiar with CDS/ISIS 10,000 V. Vishwas Rao
2. Marketing of Information 1 week
4-8 Sept., 1995

Information personnel engaged in communication, Information transfer and dissemination

5,000 (Mrs.) Mary H. Powell
3. Office Automation 1 week
4-8 Sept, 1995
Executives, Office Managers,  O & M personnel from industries, and commercial and govt. organisations 5,000 Ch. V. S. Murthy
B. Chalva Rai
4. Management of Libraries and Information Centres 1 week
11-15 Sept, 1995
Personnel from Library and Information Centres responsible for collection development, budgeting and personal management 5,000 M. Ramachander
5. Technology Data Base 1 week
16-20 Oct, 1995
Personnel from science and technology and R&D information centres. Technical consultancy organisations, public and private sector organisations and national research laboratories 5,000 (Mrs.) I. Vasantha Kumari
6. Computer Applications in Library and Information Sevices 2 weeks
6-17 Nov, 1995
Librarians, Information scientists, subject specialists responsible for providing services or managing library and information systems 10,000 K. S. Dutta Reddy