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Thu. Nov 30th, 2023

The persevering with progress in science, technical and human endeavors have change into a serious attribute of latest society, as this constitutes the ‘data explosion’. Society wants every kind of data regardless of provenance and kind which may be utilized inside organized social, financial and scientific and technical actions to web site however a number of examples (Usherwood,1989).

In Sierra Leone, nevertheless the issue of data companies entails amongst others the educationist, jurist, economist, industrialist, administrator, well being service officer, agriculturist technician and pupil. This demand face librarians with the issues of set up, course of, disseminate and management data. Essentially the most tough side to this point is that of dissemination of data. If that is to be achieved it’s important to make sure that the appropriate data on the proper time and with the suitable measures reaches the individuals that want to make use of it (Had been, 1990).

Behind this want needs to be somebody liable for defining and maintaining the system going. This requires the gathering and number of information, their discount to suitably temporary however succinctly clear messages, their storage and transmission to the place wanted for straightforward location and use. The belief of such a system wants the companies of a gaggle of specialists in numerous fields and alternatively its use requires that clientele are educated of the working strategies and the principal ideas which the system is constituted. Documentation specialists play an important function on this respect.


The proliferation of various sources of data and the ensuing ‘data explosion’ makes it obligatory for each nation to have well-functioning companies. Data relies on paperwork, which in flip kind the primary keep of documentation facilities. Along with official publications documentation facilities draw upon specialised literature akin to books, collection, journals and different scientific publications. Such paperwork name for systematic, dynamic and extremely specialised evaluation.

The necessity for organizations to supply paperwork associated to their actions is simply one of many elements of their data insurance policies. Paperwork due to this fact, are for customers, an enter of primary significance. The worth of this enter varies on the clientele served. The transmission of concepts via the written phrase and the institution of facilities to prepare these paperwork in Sierra Leone shouldn’t be a brand new phenomenon because it origins may very well be traced from the colonial period. In the present day there are over thirty (30) such establishments sparsely positioned in authorities departments, libraries and non governmental organizations within the nation though most of those are discovered within the capital metropolis, Freetown.

Included are the Ministry of International Affairs and Worldwide Cooperation Documentation Middle, the Ministry of Labor Documentation Middle, the Ministry of Growth and Financial Planning Documentation Middle (MODEP), Nationwide Agriculture Documentation Middle (NADOC), Meals and Agriculture Group Documentation Middle (FAODOC), the Gender and Analysis Documentation Middle (GRADOC), and the Sierra Leone Assortment on the Fourah Bay School library.

Quite a lot of paperwork are housed in these establishments akin to:

i. these involved with varied elements of the group’s inside administration like monetary finances, personnel, infrastructure and logistics;

ii. these involved with the precise functioning of the mum or dad group with the implementation of its targets and applications akin to decision-making, resolutions, suggestions, data of conferences, minutes, experiences in addition to seminar, workshop and convention proceedings;

iii. paperwork offering specialised data however of normal curiosity akin to statistical books, yearbooks, assortment of texts, pamphlets, glossaries and technical literature; and

iv. These supplying data on one explicit side or general actions of the group to a wider public akin to press releases, brochures, folders and periodicals.

The operate of those documentation facilities is five-fold: to assemble related supply information documentation and keep analysis assortment of such paperwork; to comparatively purchase exterior supplies in response to particular wants; to selectively disseminate recorded data in keeping with consumer wants; to categorise, catalogue and index publications obtained; and to avail acceptable supplies for administrative and monetary functions. Staffs managing these facilities vary between one and 5.


Sierra Leone has simply skilled a decade lengthy civil struggle (1991-2001) and the federal government is confronted with quite a few duties; developmental applications are due to this fact, prioritized and below such circumstances documentation facilities rank low in authorities’s precedence checklist. Therefore issues abound within the administration of documentation facilities which vary from lack of a survey to determine the variety of documentation facilities within the nation, restricted area, insufficient employees, incapacity of mum or dad organizations to re-build and exchange destroyed documentation facilities and supplies throughout the struggle.

Anticipating documentation specialists to boost the present standing of their establishments requires satisfactory monetary help. The price of supplies, gear and knowledge switch is rising attributable to escalating international trade and the rising dependence upon costly know-how (Patridge,1994). It turns into due to this fact, all of the extra pressing to get satisfactory monetary help from mum or dad group operating these establishments. That is but to be finished.

The effectiveness of documentation companies relies not solely upon the gear used but additionally on the standard of employees manning these establishments, who within the strategy of their work ought to pay attention to the newest developments in science and know-how in addition to the wants of the nationwide financial system. The crux of the matter is that solely certified and competent data specialists that may guarantee a fast, complete and up-to-date data service to clientele, thus contributing to the success of many analysis and developmental applications.

Regrettably there’s a dearth of educated and certified employees to run documentation facilities within the nation; most documentation facilities are run by both para-professional or non-professional employees, a few of whom have solely on-the-job expertise. The situations of service of such employees are appalling with bleak future for self-advancement. Therefore there’s huge employees turnover as certified employees at all times go away unceremoniously for higher paid up jobs.

Documentation facilities could make efficient financial contribution to nationwide improvement plans by selling schooling and analysis at totally different ranges and by supporting financial and social endeavors of assorted varieties (Isaak, 2000). Nonetheless, to be efficient these establishments needs to be organized inside an integral system, which is conceived in return to, and as a part of nationwide plans for financial and social developments. Authorities is but to provide you with a nationwide coverage on the function documentation facilities ought to play within the improvement of the nation, particularly within the submit struggle period.

Many documentation facilities have been destroyed throughout the civil struggle and useful paperwork have been misplaced. Though a number of live on most of those are comparatively small in dimension with restricted supplies. The shortage of appropriate infrastructure particularly designed to function documentation facilities is a serious impediment in offering satisfactory companies to the group. Additional documentation companies are hampered by lack of such bodily services as appropriate furnishings and lodging, stacks, good lighting and spacious studying rooms to be used by clientele particularly throughout peak durations.

Documentation specialists ought to settle for the truth that lately the speedy improvement of science and know-how calls for brand spanking new methods of classification, processing and retrieval and dissemination of data and that what they’ve achieved over time in operating their respective facilities is insufficient. The acquisition and dealing with of supplies is one in every of a collection of issues envisaged by employees. This is because of lack of satisfactory bibliographical management instruments, advanced collection, distribution delays and the large amount of supplies produced yearly for which the variety of employees in these facilities shouldn’t be commensurate.

Additional there are issues with the group of paperwork in these establishments attributable to employees’s lack of technical know-how. The doc assortment shouldn’t be stored in categorised order in a number of the facilities; the place a doc image exists it’s used for shelving significantly so for paperwork of governmental and non-governmental organizations. In some publications the image used shouldn’t be proven on the catalog entries and this makes it tough for clientele to find wanted paperwork with out employees help.

In different phrases the image system in use in a number of the documentation facilities is advanced for clientele’s understanding as non-specialists. Most clientele are baffled whether or not a doc labeled RESTRICTED or FOR LIMITED DISTRIBUTION ONLY is so finished as a result of the fabric is indirectly confidential or somewhat as a result of the finances allocation doesn’t allow greater than a restricted variety of copies to be acquired.

As well as some documentation facilities akin to NADOC and FAODOC have automated companies however the rising complexity of data know-how is typically creating issues for clientele. The place as some clientele are laptop literate and do perceive what to do with printed materials no such acquaintance or competence exists for computer-readable data packages for a overwhelming majority of non laptop literate clientele. Since clientele are those served by data companies a well-organized laptop schooling system is indispensable. To achieve this requires a relentless examine of consumer wants and their habits, which documentation employees are but to do.


The nation’s reinstated democracy has an obligation to its residents of offering a constant and managed circulate of data failing which it deprives them of their spirit of initiative. Invariably it stands to purpose that the management of the assets of data, its storage and dissemination can change into a actuality provided that there’s exact political dedication. The know-how of data should have a spot within the nation’s planning actions, extra so on this submit struggle period. Authorities ought to set up a nationwide coverage reflecting the data wants of teams in respective departments and of the nationwide group.

Such a nationwide data coverage needs to be applied via the preparation of nationwide plans for the event of documentation facilities. These plans ought to kind an integral a part of the over-all nationwide plans for socio-economic improvement and needs to be carried out by a central physique established at acceptable governmental degree with clear duty and authority for planning on this subject (Line, Mackenzie and Prytherch, 1994).

In view of the truth that an intensive data of the present state of documentation facilities and library companies is crucial for nationwide planning for the event of nationwide data infrastructures, a complete survey of those establishments within the nation is crucial. The survey ought to cowl the monetary and legislative foundation of the operation of those data companies along with all elements of their construction and capabilities, employees provision, technical companies and co-operative agreements. Information for the survey may very well be used to forecast future wants and the preparation of long run plans for the event of acceptable data infrastructure.

Accountability lies with the nation’s politicians, these males of presidency and public directors for the analysis of the benefits that may be accrued from such an innovation and for the elaboration of obligatory insurance policies and applications, and for the funding wanted to maintain and improve these facilities. Subsequently, long-term planning can’t be evaded. If doable a Fee needs to be created to analyze the selections to be taken. This physique needs to be supplied with adequate diploma of autonomy and funds though working in instant management with authorities authorities.

Departments operating documentation facilities ought to critically re-think of enhancing the standard of employees manning these facilities. Present developments in science and know-how name for well-trained and competent employees in a variety of disciplines in order to construct up self-confidence and train authority over the facilities they handle. These calls for due to this fact, requires coaching in various routines in data processing akin to gathering, classifying and cataloguing, indexing, retrieval strategies, thesauri and topic evaluation.

To achieve these the coaching of employees needs to be central in mum or dad organizations’ developmental plans. Employees needs to be allowed to attend seminars, workshops, and conferences and pursue examine programs in related fields. On this gentle the nation’s library college ought to introduce particular programs in documentation and encourage college students to make it a profession. Graduates needs to be awarded certificates and accorded comparable standing and situations of companies as these accorded to professionals of equal instructional ranges in different fields.

To alleviate the issue of technical processing every documentation heart ought to preserve in good order an entire assortment of its paperwork with environment friendly indexing and cataloging procedures akin to cumulative and topic indexes. Given the scattered nature of data wanted by documentation specialists of their acquisition procedures, they need to contemplate the manufacturing of a frequently up-dated handbook that would come with a listing of bibliographical management device, checklist of libraries, reference items and knowledge techniques with a sign of their holdings, insurance policies and protection of personal paperwork, phone quantity, e-mail tackle, if any, description of trade agreements, lists of advisable requirements and entry rights to those organizations. Such a publication may very well be a helpful medium wherein to promote new publications. For the reason that nation is confronted with Data Expertise challenges critical ideas needs to be given to automate documentation companies for elevated effectivity (Inglis, Ling & Josten,1999).

Orientation to selective use of documentation facilities is crucial. The current under-utilization of the facilities is brought on by an absence of behavior to seek the advice of them. A consumer schooling service in these establishments is due to this fact, important. Elevated consciousness via this schooling will result in two outcomes: allocation of larger funds and assets to enhance procurement, choice and use; and a larger benefit from accessible documentation. By so doing there can be enchancment in strategies of doc retrieval by clientele.

To be able to avail assets to clientele co-ordination of all elements of documentation facilities and libraries within the nation via networking is essential. Such elements as cooperative acquisition of supplies, trade, manufacturing of union catalogs, interlibrary loans and if doable centralized processing particularly for documentation facilities present in authorities departments, needs to be explored to supply each employees and clientele a foundation for entry to those facilities. Help needs to be sought from donor companies and worldwide organizations like UNESCO and Worldwide Federation for Documentation (FID) for materials, human and monetary assets, capability constructing and knowledge dissemination strategies.


Documentation facilities could make environment friendly social and financial contributions to nationwide improvement plans by selling data dissemination, schooling and analysis at totally different ranges. Nonetheless to be efficient these establishments needs to be organized inside an integral system that’s itself conceived in relation to, and as a part of nationwide plans for financial and social improvement. It is just via this manner that such service establishments could make significant contribution to nationwide targets and acquire monetary help for his or her improvement and sustenance.

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