Some 130 sovereign states may be termed less developed countries
(LDC). LDCs have many different cultures, economic and social conditions, population
sizes, political structures, and research and development potentials. Communications
problem areas among LDCs include: 1. lack of appreciation by national decision
makers of the role of scientific and technical information in development, 2.
inadequate infrastructure for information storage and processing, 3. inadequate
infrastructure for information use and absorption by users, and 4. economic,
administrative, cultural, educational, technological, and structural barriers
to adequate information flow. Information technology offers limited benefits
to LDCs because these basic problems remain unsolved. Electronic publishing
and delivery may be logical developments within capital intensive economies,
but the required investment and volume of use do not match present capacities
of LDCs. The imposition of modern information technology may polarize developmental
activities and may retard instead of encourage the growth of indigenous resources.
It cannot be assumed that databases available within the industrialized world
are appropriate or adequate for the needs of developing countries.
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