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7. Capacity building

It has taken a long time for information management to be accorded its value. The Thai AGRIS Centre has learned a lesson and as such has developed strategies and policies that promote management of information as a priority. Studies have been done, all aimed at improving the quality of service the centre offers. This started with improving the database and adding value-added services. The centre also is collaborating with other institutes on many projects that aim to improve the quality of the database and services. Annual requests for more staff, by the centre, bigger budgets and more equipment confirm the need.

The centre’s services are promoted at every opportunity, including in occasional low-cost mediums such as leaflets and small ads in newsletters. Homepage linkage with other related Web sites is also extensively used. Exhibition and demonstration are frequently arranged in national and regional seminars. In addition, the centre invites guest speakers or lecturers on the use of the centre’s agricultural database.

Capacity-building activities

In 2000, Kasetsart provided the Thai AGRIS Centre two servers, which were installed with Linux and WebISIS programs to manage the Thai Agricultural Database with its 20 years of content. Three scanners also were allocated for digitalizing print materials from 1980 to present.

A project proposal for using the Thai agriculture thesaurus and knowledge-based development has been approved with financial support from Kasetsart University’s Institute of Research and Development and in collaboration with FAO.

Developing intelligent tools

The Thai AGRIS Centre envisages the development of a number of tools that will help improve the performance of the database and related information services in the future. These include: intelligent database management system, automatic indexing, automatic subject categorization and machine translator for agricultural documents, and image enhancement tools.

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