31 March 2006

Agricultural information and libraries in the Dominican Republic

IAALD Executive Committee member, Barbara Hutchinson, accompanied by her daughter, Sydney, as translator, recently visited a number of libraries in the Dominican Republic. In the country’s historic and thriving capital, Santo Domingo, they saw not only the New World’s first church, hospital, university and the Museo de Hombre Dominicana which documents the early and extensive Taino Indian civilization, but the beautiful and highly electronic new library at the Universidad de Autonomia de Santo Domingo which will officially open in 2006.

They met with Teresa Romero, of the IICA Santo Domingo library, along with Senior Juan Freddy Armando, Director General of the Biblioteca Republica Dominicana.

In addition, they met with the staff of the Information and Communications Division of the Centro para el Desarrollo Agropecuario y Forestal, Inc. (CEDAF), including Senior Cesar Amado Martinez, Gerente de Informacion y Comunicacion, and Gonzalo Morales, Enc. Publicaciones y Audiovisuales.

In particular, the visitors learned of the excellent work of CEDAF in developing and connecting nine regional agricultural research stations each of which include fully-operational information centers. These centers are located in rural areas and are operating much as extension services to the people in these communities. In the past, these services were largely provided through the Peace Corps. In recognition of their efforts, the Dominican government has provided additional funding to CEDAF. Besides supporting research activities, the CEDAF Information and Communications unit also organizes meetings, publishes proceedings, and provides weekly public relations articles to the three major newspapers in the Dominican Republic. These articles are prepared by two university student interns and demonstrate the close ties CEDAF has with the university community as well.

In Santiago, the country’s second largest city, they toured the beautiful library and campus of the Instituto Superior de Agricultura. The Institute’s library holds the largest collection of forestry materials in the country and a significant number of Dominican theses.

Some related web sites are: IICA Office in the Dominican Republic (www.iicard.org); CEDAF - (www.cedaf.org.do); Agora (http://www.agora.org.do) - includes access to the bibliographic database REDIAF; and www.infoagro.com - a web site from Spain with extensive agricultural information.


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