Participants at the two days AGORA training at the University of Liberia.
The Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA) and the International System for Agricultural Science and Technology (AGRIS) through the Information Training and Outreach Center for Africa (ITOCA) have completed a two-day research information training seminar in the country.
The seminar was facilitated through a special collaboration with the administration of the University of Liberia with the aim to help professionals access to high quality and timely research information via the internet.
The president of the University of Liberia, Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks, told the participants that the seminar is designed to give the professionals a competitive advantage as the country thrives in agriculture, and other science-related fields.
"This program has been in the making for a long time, but we have finally realized as a fantastic opportunity for Liberia," said Dr. Weeks, adding, "this gathering provides us all, especially as an institution [UL] to have access to information that apparently we could not have had without this workshop."
The workshop was characterized by remarks, presentations and practical sessions on how to find journal articles, books and data sets in AGORA.
Additionally, the practical session helped participants understand the procedures of looking for citations, downloading of full-texts and exporting searches on AGORA's platform.
The seminar brought together professionals, including researchers, policy-makers, educators, librarians, graduate students, extension specialist from the Bong Technical College (BTC), Stella Maris Polytechnic, Forestry Development Authority, Ministry of Agriculture, and Environmental Protection Agency.
Professionals who completed the two days training will use the AGORA/AGRIS platforms to access research information from fields including agriculture, environment, and related biological and social sciences. They will use research information to contribute to the improvement of food security around the world.
Also, responding to question to how the University of Liberia (UL) will host the online information for future use, UL-Library Information Technology Focal Person, Tokpah Nushann, said that online research information would be accessible through the University's digital library.
"As you may know, with our current financial situation, we do not have the strength as a library system to acquire print materials to fill our shelves," said Nushann. "But with the transition [to digital library], we are able to have access to billions of information around the world. With this training we now have the opportunity to be able to register for the millions of information the Research of Lab Organization has to offer to institutions like ours."
AGORA program is set up by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) together with major publishers to enable developing countries access outstanding digital library collection in the fields of food, agriculture, environmental science, and related social sciences. Since it establishment, AGORA has provides a collection of more than 13,000 journals and 26,000 books in more than 115 countries, AGORA's website highlights.
Also, the International System for Agricultural Science and Technology, which was also initiated by the FAO, provides access to bibliographic information on agriculture science and technology.
AGRIS through its international collaboration and partnership of a network of more than 350 data providers to approximately 145.