Agricultural libraries and information centres in China : cooperation, resource-sharing and networking
This research is aimed towards the design and planning of an agricultural library and information network in China. Systems approach is applied to the construction of descriptive, mathematical and hybrid (logical) models in the design phase of the system development cycle. Four major conventional network functions are chosen as core functions to be designed in detail. A number of procedures and issues are identified for both overall network and individual function design. The embodiment of the design is based on the particular context to which it relates. The results of the design arc presented by either descriptive, or mathematical or hybrid (logical) models, decided by the categories of issues (quantitative or qualitative, or hybrid). The impacts of new technologies are explored and three alternative programmes, dependent on the technologies to be applied, arc defined. The cost-effectiveness-benefits of the services as overall criteria, and AHP (Analytical Hierarchy Process) as an processing tool, help determine 1) which program will be run, computerized or non-computerized (by cost-benefit analysis}; and 2) for a particular program, the resource allocations (mainly budgets) among co-operative activities and the resource allocations within the activity, i.e. two-level allocations. Zhejiang province, one of 29 provinces in the country, is taken as an example of regional (provincial) network model. Twenty-eight nodes Iron: five sectors and three levels, plus more potential nodes, will be configured hierarchically within the respective sectors and, in decentralised mode among sectors, in terms of network management. But, in terms of information flow and transaction, the configuration will be a mixed one. The purposes of data collection arc identified at four stages of network planning, i.e. investigation of situation, theory-testing, explanation of model and prediction. A number of investigations were made to fulfil the objectives of data collection. The descriptions of those investigations are given and the results arc discussed. The barriers to data collection confronted in Chinese circumstances are presented. Statistical analyses are carried out for certain types of data 1) to seek the conformity with the empirical assumptions, 2) to help set objective measures, 3) to estimate parameters and co-efficiency, and 4) to derive some mean, average and unit values. The research has focused on the organisational aspects of networking. However, the macro-consideration of technology is inevitable since it is a time of technological change. The latter stages of mathematical modelling, i.e. optimisation, prediction and validation are left until more empirical data become available. Nevertheless, it is possible for the author to make recommendations about the development of agricultural library and information networks in China.