Conference Report, Third SCAINIP Seminar And PAIS Workshop, Alafua, Western Samoa, 8–19 August 1994

Joanne Tarpley

The difficulty of accessing information combined with the absence of any means for the utilization of information have been major constraints to agricultural research and development in the Pacific region. More assistance is needed if countries are to develop their agricultural information resources. To address this and other issues, the Third SCAINIP Seminar and PAIS workshop took place on the campus of the University of the South Pacific in Alafua, Western Samoa, 8–19 August 1994. Participants from the ministries of agriculture and other information centers in Fiji, Tonga, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Vanuatu, and Western Samoa attended. Trainers were Peter Walton, Plant Protection Information Officer, SPC; Phil Hart, PAIS Adviser, SPC; and Joanne Tarpley, Reference Librarian, University of Guam. The meeting was sponsored by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), with funding support from the Agricultural Development in the American Pacific Project (ADAP), the Institute for Research, Extension, and Training in Agriculture (IRETA), Institut Française de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développment en Cooperation (ORSTOM), and the South Pacific Commission (SPC).

The Standing Committee on Agricultural Information Networking in the Pacific, or SCAINIP, was the outcome of an earlier seminar held in Western Samoa in October 1988 to examine how regional organizations and institutions could cooperate to improve access to agricultural information in the Pacific Island region. In April 1990 CTA and the South Pacific Regional Agricultural Development Project (SPRAD) funded the Second Seminar held in Suva, Fiji, at the South Pacific Commission’s Plant Protection Service. SCAINIP is an informal coordinating network of regional agricultural libraries and information centers and is now formally recognized as the overall coordinating body of agricultural information services and networks in SPC Member countries. SCAINIP has been responsible for coordinating the development of information tools, products and training done mainly by ADAP, IRETA and SPC.

The purpose of the Third Seminar was twofold. Participants were first offered training in new information tools, including the use of computer information systems, Pro–Cite databases, databases developed by PAIS, CD–ROM resources and satellite communication systems to access global sources of agricultural information on the Internet. Then two days were spent examining the role and objectives for SCAINIP by employing a management tool known as Logical Framework that examines an organization’s problems and objectives in order to create a plan of action. From this, the SCAINIP Technical Committee came up with formal written role and objectives for the group, approved protocols for ongoing work plans and created recommendations for future work plans.

From day three onward, the time was spent in training and demonstration. The workshop was designed to introduce participants to various Pro–Cite and CD–ROM databases and to explain the use and design of each. In this way, the logical relationship between knowing how to use a particular database and knowing how to contribute to the update of that database and how to use those contributions to create a national bibliography was made clear. Databases demonstrated included AGRIS, CARIS, CABPEST, TROPAG, Farmer’s Bookshelf, Plantgro and SCAINIP’s databases using Pro–Cite. Ongoing regional projects include the Pacific Union List of Agricultural Serials (PULAS), a listing of journals held by libraries within the Pacific; Pacific Index to Agricultural Journals (PIAJ), an index to eight agricultural journals published in the region; and the creation of individual databases listing the complete holdings of individual regional agricultural libraries. All of these databases have been created using Pro–Cite following protocols for data entry developed by SCAINIP.

A major component of this seminar was the discussion of the role and objectives of SCAINIP. It became evident during the two weeks that regional coordination is the only answer to assuring uniform continued growth and advancement for agricultural libraries and information centers. Also, regional organizations play an important part in assuring this growth. SCAINIP provides the framework upon which the various far–flung libraries in remote locations working under different political structures can establish common goals and practices. SCAINIP objectives include:

For more information about SCAINIP and its work in the Pacific, please contact:

Peter WaltonJoanne Tarpley
Information Officer/Librarian
South Pacific Commission
Private Mail Bag
Suva, FIJI
Ph: 679–370–733
FAX: 679–370–021
Reference Librarian
RFK Library
University of Guam
Mangilao, Guam 96923
Ph: 671–734–9186
FAX: 671–734–6882

About the Author

Joanne Tarpley is reference librarian at the University of Guam. For biographical information see TWL 4–1.

© 1994 Joanne Tarpley