Computer-Aided Information support system for the Management of Forestry in Zambia
Mwamba, Augustine Kabwe
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The study is aimed at designing a Computer-based information support system for the management of forestry in Zambia. For this purpose, a survey was conducted to ascertain the information flow structure in the industry and the information seeking pattern of the various categories of forestry personnel. In addition, the study was directed at examining the current practices relating to collection, processing, storage, dissemination and retrieval of pertinent information in this national economic sector. The forestry sector is an important sector in the economy of Zambia. But, due to some historical developments, the sector has been given a superficial attention on the national economic priorities. However, for the purpose of developing the forestry sector, several institutions have been established under the auspices of the Forest Department to conduct research in forestry and to produce forestry personnel. The major forestry research institutions include; (1) the Division of Forest Research, (2) the Division of Forest Products Research, (3) the Bee-keeping Division, the Zambia Forest College and several research stations scattered around the country. This study was therefore, undertaken to gain understanding on how information is coordinated among the forestry institutions. The findings of this study show that the existing manual operated information system in the forestry sector is inadequate to respond to the information needs of the forestry information users. The majority of information users indicated that the current information facilities could not meet their requirements, especially when the information needed was not available at the local information unit. For this reason, the computer-based information support system for the management of forestry in Zambia has been proposed. The proposed information system is to have an information retrieval system with a central database located at the Forests and Timber Research Library in Kitwe. The central database will be fed by the various information units of the forestry information network. Two types of prototype database using Micro CDS/ISIS have been designed. The first one is an integral database comprising bibliographic records and profiles of experts, forestry institutions, information systems and the profiles of research projects. The other one is a set of specialized databases comprising two databases of FOVEG and TSPE. These databases are intended to provide information on the types of forest vegetation found in Zambia, names for tree species, location of specific tree species, and their description. To facilitate the search of these databases, the ISIS Pascal interface has been used to write an application program for the user interface that would allow both the IS staff and the end-users to interact with the system in a friendly way. Finally, a measure for implementing the prototype system and for its further improvements are suggested.
Information storage and retrieval systems
- Library