The quantity of research information being made available on the World Wide Web in various disciplines is increasing tremendously. This study examined the coverage of animal health information published on the web from Africa or about Africa. Challenges and opportunities of publishing and disseminating animal health information online in Africa were also examined.
Websites and online databases which offer agricultural information were included in the analysis, but the main focus was on research, education and extension information in the core areas of animal health. Content analysis method was used to determine what agricultural academic indexing and abstracting databases have in terms of quality researched animal health information published from Africa or about Africa. Well-known databases, such as AGRICOLA, AGRIS, CAB Direct, PUBMED and Cochrane Library were investigated.
The criteria used to determine the African animal health information included the content of research animal health information available on the website, how easy it is to locate information once the site has been located, the usefulness of the information, and how current and up-to-date the information is.
It was found that the representation of African animal health information on the web is generally low. The poor coverage of animal health information on the web emanates from many factors: poor ICT (Information Communications Technology) infrastructure in many African countries, lack of ICT literacy, awareness and mindset, lack of recognition of all the values of information services, poor state of African indexing and abstracting services, inadequate funds, and perceived misconceptions of actual causes of the problem. Thus, this situation has led to the web being dominated by the animal health information from developed countries.
Despite the challenges faced by African researchers in publishing their research findings on the web, most animal health scholars collaborate well with some international organizations in disseminating animal health information on the web. It is recommended that the researchers in Africa should fully utilize Internet services to publish and disseminate the animal health information on the web.