The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) recognizes that the management of information and knowledge is fundamental for improving agriculture and rural life in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Both information and knowledge are essential in decision making, in the fields of education and innovation, and in achieving competitiveness and sustainable development.
Agricultural Information and Documentation Service of the Americas
The Agricultural Information and Documentation Service of the Americas (SIDALC) is an international agricultural, livestock, forestry and environmental information service in which institutions in 22 countries of the Americas share information and services on line. Created in 1999, today it is one of the most important sources of knowledge and information in LAC.
It provides access to information generated throughout the hemisphere and stored in libraries and other related information centers. It contains some two million reference materials including books, magazines and journals, graduate theses, reports, audiovisual materials, maps and photographs.
At present, the SIDALC
information systemis open to the public at www.sidalc.net (no subscription required), which also permits on-line searches of available digital collections, including full texts, audiovisual materials, photographs, etc. Furthermore, SIDALC is linked to other information systemsin a number of countries of the Americas, which provide stakeholders in agriculture and rural territories with access to relevant information and knowledge.
SIDALC’s success lies in the fact that it provides access to the
intellectual capitalof at least 150 national institutions and networks which, acting as intermediaries in the management and dissemination of information, continually expand and modernize their services in light of the new paradigms of the knowledge society.
SIDALC is the result of earlier initiatives aimed at management of knowledge and information, all promoted by IICA, such as the Orton Commemorative Library (founded in 1943); the Scientific Exchange Service (SIC), created in 1958; the Inter-American Association of Agricultural Librarians, Documentalists and Information Specialists (AIBDA), founded in 1965; and the Inter-American Agricultural Information System (AGRINTER), created in 1972.
SIDALC was created thanks to a grant from the Kellogg Foundation, to the technical leadership assumed by IICA and CATIE and to the participation of a number of national, regional and international organizations.
SIDALC is a community of agricultural, forestry and other information specialists located in different institutions of the Americas interested in providing services openly. They collaborate with one another, “sharing a little so that all can have more,” while conserving their identity and their policies on providing specialized services at no cost or for a fee.
That is greatest competitive advantage of SIDALC. With a hemispheric system to which more than 20 national information systems are linked it is possible to provide access to specialized knowledge on agriculture and rural life in the Americas and to share it with the world.
Also, through SIDALC, it is possible to mobilize human and information resources among countries and regions, promoting and supporting national information management initiatives, facilitating the flow of information and promoting the dissemination and transfer of successful experiences.
- Participation in the largest hemispheric information system specializing in agriculture and rural life in the Americas- Linkage to international information system, essential for accrediting the quality of institutional services, such as university majors- Recognition, nationally and internationally, of the networks and libraries and other related information centers- Increase in the demand for services on the part of users, and the positive impact on the reference services of specialized libraries- Access to a larger collection of specialized information on agriculture, the environment, forestry and related areas; the AGRI2000 mega base-
Open accessto tools and methodologies for the management of specialized information- Exchanges of experiences with specialists and institutions, which helps identify opportunities and find solutions to specific problems- International backing of institutional catalogues- Greater visibility, at the international level, of institutional collections through SIDALC.NET and Google.com, without the institute losing its identity.
Products of SIDALC
- A “community of practice” made up of specialists in information management- A directory of national networks, libraries and other information centers in Latin America and the Caribbean specializing in agriculture and rural life- The AGRI2000 mega base, which contains collections specializing in agriculture, environment, forestry and related areas, with references and electronic resources of all types: texts, audiovisual materials, photographs, maps, etc.- A direct link to the National Agricultural Library of the United States, the Agricultural Library of Canada, the Agriculture Network Information Center AGNIC in the United States, the CGIAR
virtual libraryand the AGRIS global system promoted by FAO- Access to different agricultural information systems available via Internet, as well as to resource centers and specialized packages of agricultural and rural information from LAC- A platform for sharing information management services among countries, and contacting directly the units that provide reference services in the most important specialized libraries of LAC.
* [http://www.sidalc.net SIDALC]
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