International bibliographic Information System for the AGRicultural Sciences and technology (AGRIS)

International bibliographic Information System for the AGRicultural Sciences and technology (AGRIS): AGRIS is the International bibliographic Information System for the AGRicultural Sciences and technology. It was created by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1974, to facilitate information exchange and to bring together world literature dealing with all aspects of agriculture. It become operational in 1975 as an international initiative aiming to build a common information system for science and technology in agriculture and related subjects, based on a collaborative network of institutions. AGRIS uses computer configuration and software packages located at the Vienna, the INIS centre.

a) Organization: AGRIS is a cooperative system in which participating countries input references to the literature produced within their boundaries and, in return, draw on the information provided by the other participants. The bibliographic references forwarded by participating countries are collected and processed in the AGRIS Processing Unit Vienna, which is hosted by the Division of Scientific and Technical Information of the IAEA. AGRIS is managed centrally by the WAICENT/FAOINFO Dissemination Management Branch of the Library and Documentation Systems Division (GIL) of FAO, Rome.

b) Members: To date 159 national and 31 international and intergovernmental centers participate and submit about 14.000 items per month. To date, 240 national, international and intergovernmental centres participate.

c) India’s participation in AGRIS: The Agricultural Resources Information System (AgRIS) is the Central Sector Scheme for Strengthening / Promoting Agricultural Information System in the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation (DAC), Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. AgRIS is “a Needed Domestic Strategy for Sustainable Agricultural Production and Sustainable Rural Livelihoods in India”. It is an e-Government Programme for fostering agricultural growth, poverty reduction and sustainable resource use in India at grassroots level and also “a step towards establishing a location-specific e-Government model for the poor”. The implementation of component AgRIS will facilitate development of typology specific agriculture development plan in the country. This Project is being executed by Agricultural Informatics Division of National Informatics Centre.

In July, 1974 India formally decided to participate in AGRIS programme on a national basis through Agricultural Research Information Centre of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). After an initial experiment carried out in November, 1974 the Agricultural Research Centre of ICAR has been participating in the AGRIS programme since 1975. From May 1975 the Agricultural Research Information Centre (ARIC) began sending bibliographic data on AGRIS on a regular basis. The database is maintained in Viena. On an average India passes on about 4000 bibliographic entries to AGRIS every year. Previously the input was sent on Optical Character Recognition (OCR) sheets but now for economy and speed the input is being sent on Worksheet only. In return, India receives every month updated AGRIS Magnetic Tape, and AGRINDEX- a printed monthly service.

i) Objectives of AGRIS: The major objectives of AgRIS will include among others:

* “Development of Decision Support Systems (DSS) on Production Practices and Systems”. It facilitate farmers in adopting appropriate agricultural production practices;

* “Creation of Metadata” to become the Country’s initiative of “National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) on Agriculture”, and

* Preparation of Guidelines on standardized methodology/best practices to be used for building Agricultural Resource Information System in similar districts of the Country.

ii) Services: The Indian Centre of AGRIS provide the following services

* Training on AGRIS methodology, indexing, abstracting and AGRIS Classification Scheme.

* Provides training for the use of AEROVAC.

* Provides training to information and documentation personnel from developing countries.

* SDI services.

* Retrospective services.

d) Conclusion: The AGRIS network of Centres formally has 201 participating centres. Of these, over half have contributed material to the central database at some point in the last 6 years, but only 35 contributed in all of the last 6 years. Some AGRIS centres in developing countries have already expanded from the original role of centralised “Input Centres” for an entire national system, to focal points for a more decentralised system. Some are also covering not only the documentation of scientific and technical literature, but are working in the development of agricultural information management more generally. More than 60 of the centres participating in AGRIS already have their own website, and many of them publish their bibliographical databases on the web.