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An evaluation of information provision at the Institute for Commercial Forestry Research, South Africa: the findings of an information audit



An evaluation of information provision at the Institute for Commercial Forestry Research, South Africa: the findings of an information audit



Journal of Librarianship and Information Science 33(4): 177-190



Describes the information audit conducted by the Institute of Commercial Forestry Research (ICFR), South Africa, to evaluate the effectiveness of ICFR technology transfer and information provision and to identify areas where these services could be improved. Data was collected via self-administered questionnaires and personal interviews focusing on information sources and information needs in the forestry industry. A pilot project was undertaken in order to test the questionnaire and interview schedules and resolve any problems which might arise concerning the use of these instruments. A group of regular ICFR Information Centre users, who were also all from sponsor organizations, agreed to fill in the questionnaires and be interviewed for testing purposes. As a result of the pre-test it was decided to utilize more structured responses, and to reword some of the questions in order to improve their clarity. The main findings were that IT is an integral part of the forestry industry and that information and knowledge are considered to be important resources which are extensively utilized by those in the industry. ICFR publications and the library are valued and frequently used information sources. Accessibility is an important factor affecting the utilization of information. The ICFR library needs to find innovative ways to improve the accessibility of its collection. Open-ended comments suggested that the ICFR library may have a role to play in adding value to information and helping to overcome information overload. It was recommended that the ICFR should focus on the needs of its sponsoring companies, and adopt a market-driven approach, which includes advertising the products and services which it has to offer.

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