To facilitate the exchange of information and bring together the world’s literature on all aspects of agriculture, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1974 created the international information system for the agricultural sciences and technology (AGRIS). It is a cooperative international information system in which participating countries input references to the literature produced within their boundaries and, in return, draw on the information provided by other participants. More than 200 national, international and intergovernmental centres participate.
An assessment of AGRIS in 2000 noted that the network had been partially successful in achieving its goals but limitations were identified in four areas: 1) difficult access to the original documents, 2) incomplete coverage, 3) independent systems and 4) structural and institutional constraints.
To address these limitations, delegates and participants at the first Consultation on Agricultural Information Management (COAIM) in June 2000 discussed the development of a new strategy for the AGRIS network and its participating centres. A paper was presented to COAIM 2002 on what is now known as the new AGRIS strategy, or “new vision for AGRIS”.1
That vision looked to turn the information system into a “resource centre”. The Thai National AGRIS Centre took the challenge, becoming the first in the network to step up to the challenge. In becoming a resource centre, the Thai AGRIS Centre aims to build a national network, deploying WebAGRIS and adapting tools and standards to suit national needs while contributing to the global information resource. This report describes the work and experience of the Thai National AGRIS Centre in adopting the new AGRIS strategy, with the intention that it may serve as a useful reference to other organizations seeking to do the same.
1 For additional information see http://www.fao.org/agris/