1. Introduction: The word UNISIST was never meant to be an acronym but rather to connote phonetically the part that U. N. Agencies particularly UNESCO should play in the promotion of an international system for information covering science and technology. UNISIST stood for the study of the conference and for the programmers launched thereafter. So UNISIST is an international project sponsor by UNESCO.
The two organizations UNESCO and ICSU jointly formed a UNESCO / ICSU central committee in January 1967 to carry out a feasibility study for a world science information system. The feasibility study continued for about 4 years and in 1970 the report entitled UNISIST study report on feasibility of a world science information system by UNESCO and ICSU was published and widely distributed. The feasibility report was prepared by Jean Claude Gardin. This report and a synoptic version became the working document of the UNISIST inter governmental conference held in Paris in October 1971.
A second conference, the inter-governmental conference on scientific and technical information for development was held in Paris in 1979 to review development since UNISIST conference of 1971. This was known as UNISIST –II.
2. Aims and Objectives: The ultimate goal or keynote of UNISIST is the establishment of a flexible and loosely connected network of information services based on voluntary cooperation. UNISIST aim to coordinate existing trends toward cooperation and to act as a catalyst for the necessary development in scientific and technical information and to develop the necessary condition for system interconnections and to facilitate access to world information resources.
The UNISIST study report made twenty two recommendations which are focused on five main objectives of the UNISIST programme. The may be summarized as follows:
a) Improvement of tools of system interconnection (recommendation 1-6)
b) Strengthening the role of institutional components of the information transfer chain (recommendation 7-10)
c) Development of specialized manpower (recommendation 11-14).
d) Development of scientific information policies and structure (recommendation 15-19)
e) Assistance in developing countries in the development of scientific and technical information infrastructure (recommendation 20-21)3. Organization: In the last i.e 22 no of recommendation of the feasibility report recommended three interrelated managerial body for the organization of UNISIST.
a) An intergovernmental conference responsible for approving UNISIST’s programme and reporting on their progress.
b) An international scientific advisory committee.
c) An executive office serving as permanent secretariat of UNISIST.
4. Activities: Under the UNISIST programme, standards rules, principles and techniques for the processing and transfer of information are adopted and applied internationally.
a) Standardization of Bibliographic Description: The UNISIST/ICSU AB working group has prepared a draft manual (Reference manual for machine readable bibliographic description).
b) Control of Serials and Abstracting / Indexing Periodicals: To have a complete control over the periodical publications a computer based system of data bank has been established under the name of International Serial Data System (ISDS).
c) Broad System of Ordering (BSO): In view of the great diversity of classification schemes that are the existence the B.S.O has been conceived as a switching mechanism to link different individual classification and thesauri in the process of information transfer.
d) Handbook and Manual: A comprehensive handbook for scientific information and documentation services in developing countries has been planned. The handbook has been published in 1977.
e) National Focal Point: Emphasis has been given to the creation of a focal point to scientific information agencies in each country.
5. Publications: UNISIST published their newsletter quarterly.
6. India at UNISIST: The NISSAT advisory committee functions as the national committee of UNISIST in India.