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(by Mila Ramos)

In response to the demands of scholars in this digital age, a new service is now being offered by the Consultative Group on International Research (CGIAR) Virtual Library. Researchers seeking to avail of instant agricultural information, specially those pertaining to CGIAR research outputs, may now use the services of the CGIAR Virtual Library (GGVL) via a social networking tool: Skype. This is envisioned to provide services required for the 21st century and to realize better awareness and usability of the CGVL as a primary information resource for agricultural scientists the world over.

With the Skype name CGVLibrary, users, on demand, will receive instant assistance from libraries of the various agricultural centers. Currently information providers from the Bioversity (Rome), International Potato Center (CIP, Lima, Peru), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI, Los Banos, Philippines), International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT, Hyderabad, India), International Water Management Institute (IWMI, Sri Lanka), International Center for Research on Agroforestry (ICRAF, Nairobi, Kenya), Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR, Indonesia), International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA, Aleppo Syria), and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI , Washington, D. C.) are testing and taking turns in looking after site. Live service through Skype is available 16 hours a day (2:00 AM – 6:00 PM GMT) with the collaboration of 9 centers mentioned above.

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Ron Davies an expert in information systems wrote a review of the CGIAR Virtual Library, which was published in The Electronic Library.

His main Conclusion is that the project was overall a success, and that there are good reasons for creating specialized library portals that pool different resources on specific subjects together in one place alongside institutional portals, which focus more all information concerning one organization or institution. These reasons include reduced risk, faster implementation and reduced maintenance costs. The main challenge, however, remains to find the right degree of integration between the institutional portals of the CGIAR centers and the library portal (the Virtual Library) to increase accessibility and visibility of the resources and keep the maintenance costs and time low.

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This is the Blog of the CGIAR Virtual Library, a global link to leading research on food crops, livestock, fisheries, water resources, forestry, plant genetics, and food and nutrition policy. It can be accessed—by anyone, anywhere, at any time—at http://vlibrary.cgiar.org.

Get instant access to research on agriculture, hunger, poverty, and the environment using a valuable new resource—the
CGIAR Virtual Library. From just one search engine, tap into leading agricultural information databases, including the online libraries of all the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centers. Use the CGVlibrary to discover resources, go directly to the full text of thousands of publications, and stay current on CGIAR research. Customselect databases you want to search or use the topic-based QuickSets preselected by CGIAR information specialists.
The CGIAR is a strategic alliance of members, partners, and international agricultural research centers that mobilizes
science to reduce poverty, foster human well being, promote agricultural growth, and protect the environment.

For further information contact CGVlibrary@cgiar.org.

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