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COMESA Information Resource Center has embarked on a five phase programme of reorganization to actualize the virtual knowledge environment and thereby keep pace with fast changing trends in knowledge management.

The first phase has already began and entails collection, reconstruction and audit of the current stock from Member States and from within the Secretariat to determine the inherent gaps. During this phase, the collections will be categorized into easily accessible formats.

All collections have been pulled down for dusting, sorting and categorizing. So far, an audit on the collection has established the need for fresh classification and cataloguing to align it with internationally acceptable standards. About 10,000 volumes are estimated to be in the resource centre. Phase one is expected to be completed within the month of June 2016.

The five phases cover Reference collection; Monographs, COMESA studies, COMESA Flagship Publications, COMESA Reports; Institutional publications, Country reports; Journals and Periodicals; Other media formations including maps, CD-ROMS, DVDs

Phase two will mainly involve classification according to internationally accepted standards of Dewey Decimal Classification, allocation of subject headings according to Sears List of Subject Headings, as well as cataloguing the materials according the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACRII).

The plan for the third phase is the installation of a contemporary information management system; one that caters for current needs of information management being fully web-based, interactive and accessible in system for real-time. The fourth and fifth phases will cover retrospective conversion of vulnerable print copies into digital version and acquisition of a security detection machine.

Once accomplished, the Information Resource Center will be up to date with contemporary research data, information from Member States and from within the Secretariat, readily available online. Such information will be accessed in real-time and the turn-around time for requests reduced. With digital presence, COMESA will be able to share knowledge and information on regional integration with other RECs and this goes into strengthening the Africa agenda 2063.

COMESA Information Resource Center was established in 1992 under the COMESA treaty article 142 with the mandate to collect and documents all information pertaining the organization, as an institutional memory and in support of its programs. The ultimate goal is to enhance achievement of COMESA objectives.

The reorganization will also address concerns raised during past meetings of the Council of Ministers’ meeting on the need to accelerate the speed and the rate of member states contribution of publications to the depository. Key issues that will underpin this transformation will be funding and expanded floor space.

The ultimate goal is to have a complete and seamless documentation of the organization history right from its establishment to the current state. This will be complemented by commercial databases, program relevant information materials and online information repositories catering for COMESA programs and activities.