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close this book Expanding access to science and technology
close this folder Session 3: New technologies and media for information retrieval and transfer
close this folder Computerized front-ends in retrieval systems
View the document Abstract
View the document 1. Introduction: The information environment
View the document 2. Definition of front-ends in retrieval systems
View the document 3. Taxonomy of front-ends
View the document 4. Examples of front-ends
View the document 5. Evaluation of front-ends
View the document 6. Directions for research and development
View the document 7. Conclusion: Implications for developing countries
View the document References

7. Conclusion: Implications for developing countries

Keren and Harmon [20] suggest that nearly all publications that deal with information work in the developing countries cite one or more of the following problem areas: "lack of appreciation by national decision makers for the role of STI in development; the absence of an adequate infrastructure for information storage and processing; the absence of an adequate infrastructure for information use and absorption by users; and economic, administrative, technological, cultural, educational, and structural barriers to an adequate information flow." Given this context, it is necessary to ask what role computerized front-ends might play in overcoming barriers to information access and use in developing countries.

A key lesson is that there is the possibility with front-ends of accommodating some differences (e.g., language spoken) among users of information systems and of providing some guidance in the use of information systems tailored to the needs of particular user groups. As the telecommunications infrastructure gradually develops, making possible access to remote information resources, it will be necessary to investigate how best to design front-ends to meet the needs of particular user groups in specific countries or regions. In addition, as indigenous information sources are developed, front-ends have a role to play in integrating access to indigenous and external information sources where both are relevant to the users' needs.