Social intelligence for developing countries: the role of grey literature
journal contributionposted on 01.11.2005, 15:01 by R. Paul Sturges
The necessity for social intelligence, broadly defined, to inform decision-making in developing countries is apparent as globalization places increasing demands on governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), parastatals, and business corporations. Yet the existing information systems of developing countries suffer from a range of problems which afflict all three main elements: documentary services (libraries and information centres), statistical services, and management information systems (including records management and computerized systems). Grey literature is vital to each of these three systems, either as the partially-processed product of the internal information generating capacity of the country itself, or in the external scanning process. Information professionals have tended to concentrate on the technical problems of acquiring, listing, indexing, retrieving and alerting potential users to documents. this largely ignores questions about the capacity and propensity of the targeted users to absorb information, however well it might be organized by information systems. An examination of the decision making process in a selected country (Malawi) and a case study of planning for technology transfer (from Kenya) are used to illustrate these problems and the role of intelligence. A range of structural and nonstructural constraints on the absorption of information is identified. The conclusion is that the problems of existing information systems can only be relieved by information professionals further processing and refining the information content of grey literature so as to present it to the decision-makers in the form of intelligence reports.
- Information Science