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Problems In Managing Documentation Entries in Sierra Leone

The continuing progress in science, technical and human endeavors have become a major characteristic of contemporary society, as this constitutes the ‘information explosion’. Society needs all kinds of information irrespective of provenance and form that may be utilized within organized social, economic and scientific and technical activities to site but a few examples (Usherwood,1989).

In Sierra Leone, however the problem of information services involves among others the educationist, jurist, economist, industrialist, administrator, health service officer, agriculturist technician and student. This demand face librarians with the problems of how to organize, process, disseminate and control information. The most difficult aspect to date is that of dissemination of information. If this is to be achieved it is essential to ensure that the right information at the right time and with the appropriate measures reaches the persons that need to use it (Were, 1990).

Behind this need should be someone responsible for defining and keeping the system going. This requires the collection and selection of data, their reduction to suitably brief but succinctly clear messages, their storage and transmission to where needed for easy location and use. The realization of such a system needs the services of a group of specialists in different fields and on the other hand its use requires that clientele are knowledgeable of the working techniques and the principal concepts which the system is constituted. Documentation specialists play a vital role in this respect.

DOCUMENTATION SERVICES IN SIERRA LEONE

The proliferation of varied sources of information and the resulting ‘information explosion’ makes it necessary for every country to have well-functioning services. Information is dependent on documents, which in turn form the main stay of documentation centers. In addition to official publications documentation centers draw upon specialized literature such as books, series, journals and other scientific publications. Such documents call for systematic, dynamic and highly specialized analysis.

The need for organizations to produce documents related to their activities is only one of the components of their information policies. Documents therefore, are for users, an input of basic importance. The value of this input varies on the clientele served. The transmission of ideas through the written word and the establishment of centers to organize these journal entry automation documents in Sierra Leone is not a new phenomenon as it origins could be traced from the colonial era. Today there are over thirty (30) such institutions sparsely located in government departments, libraries and non governmental organizations in the country although most of these are found in the capital city, Freetown.

Included are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Documentation Center, the Ministry of Labor Documentation Center, the Ministry of Development and Economic Planning Documentation Center (MODEP), National Agriculture Documentation Center (NADOC), Food and Agriculture Organization Documentation Center (FAODOC), the Gender and Research Documentation Center (GRADOC), and the Sierra Leone Collection at the Fourah Bay College library.

A variety of documents are housed in these institutions such as:

i. those concerned with various aspects of the organization’s internal administration like financial budget, personnel, infrastructure and logistics;
ii. those concerned with the actual functioning of the parent organization with the implementation of its objectives and programs such as decision-making, resolutions, recommendations, records of meetings, minutes, reports as well as seminar, workshop and conference proceedings;
iii. documents providing specialized information but of general interest such as statistical books, yearbooks, collection of texts, pamphlets, glossaries and technical literature; and
iv. Those supplying information on one particular aspect or overall activities of the organization to a wider public such as press releases, brochures, folders and periodicals.

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