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Current news on environmental problems frequently emphasizes the totally unprecedented nature of the ecological crises that beset us in this nation and the Western world…
Current news on environmental problems frequently emphasizes the totally unprecedented nature of the ecological crises that beset us in this nation and the Western world as a whole. We are told, for example, that the summer of 1988 constituted “the hottest summer on record” in North America. Similarly we hear mat Boston Harbor has never in its history been so polluted, and in European waters seal populations died of an epidemic in 1988 on a scale never before witnessed by man. By stressing this “never before” aspect of events, it is sometimes argued mat the experience of the past is largely irrelevant for policy planners. Since our circumstances are new, so the argument runs, past experience leaves us with little or no instruction for the formulation of a practical public policy for the environment.
The ecological decline of ancient Near Eastern civilizations and the violent and explosive characteristics of post‐Columbian colonial ecologies might well remain…
The ecological decline of ancient Near Eastern civilizations and the violent and explosive characteristics of post‐Columbian colonial ecologies might well remain comfortably remote from us in our twentieth century world were it not for the disturbing parallels that such case histories seem to evoke as we consider our contemporary global circumstance. Just as in ancient times and in the age of colonial expansion, it is in the “remote environments,” usually quite distant from the centers of power, that the crucial indicators of environmental catastrophe first become apparent within the system as a whole. These regions are frequently characterized by weak economies and highly vulnerable ecosystems in our time, just as they were in the past. Accordingly, the environmental circumstances in these regions constitute for the modern world a kind of monitoring device that can provide early warnings of ecological instabilities in the global ecosystem.
To provide a brief illustration of how the circumstances of economic underdevelopment and ecological decline are reciprocally linked, we can begin by tracing the…
To provide a brief illustration of how the circumstances of economic underdevelopment and ecological decline are reciprocally linked, we can begin by tracing the post‐World War II history of Africa. Political histories of the post‐war period abound for almost all parts of the continent, since it was during this era that many African colonies struggled for and won political independence. Detailed ecological histories of colonialism and the post‐colonial states, however, are just beginning to be researched and written. Nevertheless, several broad patterns and general trends of this history are now becoming apparent, and they can be set forth in rough narrative form even though detailed histories have yet to be compiled.
This article reviews areas of common concern between librarians on the one hand and scholars on the other as they each attempt to pursue their work in an era of electronic…
This article reviews areas of common concern between librarians on the one hand and scholars on the other as they each attempt to pursue their work in an era of electronic information. The issues require the attention of both librarians and scholars, and it is argued that both communities need now to talk more extensively with one another in an effort to re‐think the fundamental role of the university library in the coming years. The function and importance of Integrated Scholarly Information Systems (ISIS) are discussed with examples to illustrate the ways in which scholars are likely to acquire and integrate electronic information in the future. The article concludes with reflections on two contradictory trends that are emerging in scholarly research with the expansion of electronic research systems.
As the amount of information on environmental issues expands rapidly, librarians and researchers require innovative techniques to keep abreast of it and manage it…
As the amount of information on environmental issues expands rapidly, librarians and researchers require innovative techniques to keep abreast of it and manage it effectively. While numerous periodical and annual environmental publications are now available to help in this task, perhaps the most efficient means of gaining access to and managing timely information on the environment now lies in deploying various forms of electronic technology. After mentioning some of the major printed works with current environmental information, this article explores some of the most useful electronic sources for environmental research and describes an Electronic Research System (ERS), called Eco‐Link, that the author devised to conduct global environmental research at the Rockefeller Foundation where he was a Warren Weaver Fellow during 1989–90.
In his apocalyptic book on the environment and public policy, Timothy C. Weiskel warned of the consequences of humanity's intrusion into the biological and geo‐chemical…
In his apocalyptic book on the environment and public policy, Timothy C. Weiskel warned of the consequences of humanity's intrusion into the biological and geo‐chemical processes of the natural world. He said that our intrusions have been massive and thorough; that they now threaten to transform ecosystemic parameters; and that unless responsible public policy directs itself toward moderating our current destructive impact on the environment, we will face ecosystemic collapse and human catastrophe “on a vastly greater scale than has ever been recorded in human history.”
Network resources have become widely used by libraries in recent years. More than ever before, librarians are expected to become familiar with such tools as electronic mail, file transfer protocol (ftp), and Internet‐accessible online catalogs. Many online professionals consider Usenet to be the world's largest computer network and an essential resource to academics, yet it has received little attention from the library community. This article will provide a brief description of Usenet and discuss how it may be applied to library settings.
This article discusses downloading from OPACs in general and from the INNOPAC system in particular. It begins by setting out a brief philosophy of downloading, providing…
This article discusses downloading from OPACs in general and from the INNOPAC system in particular. It begins by setting out a brief philosophy of downloading, providing an introduction to OPAC downloading. It then discusses the practice of OPAC downloading with particular emphasis on tools for capturing and “postprocessing” downloaded flies. Technical and institutional constraints on downloading are addressed and an innovative program for overcoming some of these constraints is described in detail. The article concludes by considering various proposals for improving INNOPAC downloading capabilities.
“Desktop research” encompasses the various tools that a scholar requires in the course of his or her work. The “scholar's workstation” of the future will involve several software packages from a number of developers to accomplish the tasks required in doing research and creating publications. To function effectively, the programs must be able to interact with each other and communicate data. A common user interface will ease the learning of each new addition to the software repertoire. A model workstation is discussed that allows searching of bibliographic databases or library catalogs, the assembly of bibliographies, the ordering and acquisition of documents, as well as the preparation of manuscripts.
Will Florida’s agriculture adapt to climate change? Climate disruptions to agriculture and natural resources in Florida are projected to increase in the future. These…
Will Florida’s agriculture adapt to climate change? Climate disruptions to agriculture and natural resources in Florida are projected to increase in the future. These impacts will be increasingly negative because critical thresholds are being exceeded. This chapter discusses how Florida’s agriculture and natural resources may be affected by climate change in the coming decades.
Agriculture will be affected by invasive alien species, sea-level-rise flooding, and storm surges. A warmer, drier climate will place agriculture in competition with other users for limited water resources. A serious concern for agriculture is that rising sea level will cause coastal groundwater to become more saline and groundwater levels to rise. The loss of coastal wetlands increases the risk of catastrophic damage due to extreme weather events. Degradation of soil and water assets due to increasing extremes in precipitation will challenge both rainfed and irrigated agriculture without the implementation of innovative conservation methods. High night-time temperatures can reduce grain yields and animal-sourced production. Climate change also increases the vulnerability of forests to ecosystem changes due to decreased soil moisture and increased evapotranspiration. The practical implications are that increased innovation will be needed to ensure the adaptation of agriculture and the associated socioeconomic system can keep pace with climate change. Given the difficulties in predicting our future climate, we must develop new risk-transfer innovations that will facilitate damage recovery. Changes in agricultural yields and food prices could have important implications for food security.