Computerised information networking: a survey of information centres in Nairobi
Ng'ang'a, Edward Muchai
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This study sets out to investigate the state of the art concerning computerized networks between information centres in Nairobi. Several information centres were visited and data collected on various aspects of computerisation and computerised networks. Centres that were founds to be computerised were mainly those with international status. Most of the local centres were found to be in the process of being computerised. Micro computer was the only type of computer that was found in all information centres. Even those planning to be computerised were hoping to acquire a micro computer. Many centres had obtained their computer through donation while a few had purchased. Mini micro CDS/ISIS was the most popular software. Other softwares included Procite, In magic, and Smart Library System (SLS). Software, like hardware was also obtained mainly through donation though some centres had either purchased or copied. Hardware and software compatibility as well as standards plays a major role in computerised networks. Subject headings in use included Library of Congress Subject Headings (SLCH), Sears List of Subject headings (SLSH), Medical Subject Headings (MESH), and Thesauri. All the centres were using Anglo American Cataloguing Rules (AACR). Various databases were found to be existing with cataloguing being the most common. Others included circulation, serials, and acquisition. Some centres were in the process of converting their manual database into computer form. Very few centres were maintaining any kind of computerised networks. Off-line network was more common than on-line. Local Area Network (LAN) was found to be operating in a few centres. Some centres were offering CD-ROM facilities. Several problems were being experienced by those centres with computerised networks. Nevertheless, several advantages were cited that accrue out of the networks. Several conclusions were arrived at out of the study. Recommendations were made to the following, government, planners and policy makers, information workers, and finally to researchers and scholars. There is a great need to computerise information centres so as to be able to form computerised networks in order to be in a position to share resources especially during this times of information explosion, dwindling budgets and skyrocketing costs of information.