Nyakundi and Mnjama -Part 7
Channels of disseminating patent information to users
The study also sought to find out the specific channels used to disseminate patent information to potential users. The study revealed that some of the channels used include:
- publications, for example the KIPO newsletter The Inventor;
- brochures and leaflets;
- participation at exhibitions such as the Nairobi International Shows, the student congress; and,
- occasional use of electronic media such as the Kenya Broadcasting programmes "The Professional View" and "Good Morning Kenya."
The finding of this study agrees with the study done by Kemoni (2002) on the utilization of archival materials by researchers in Kenya where he found that archival personnel used publications, lectures , exhibitions and occasional use of the media in promoting the use of archival information among researchers.
To further improve the dissemination of patent information in Kenya, KIPO needs to:
- Undertake visits to industries, research institutes and the universities to sensitize them about the functions and services offered by the office.
- Attend shows, exhibitions and trade fairs. The study suggests that the department should participate at national and international shows and carry out technology scouting at all other Agricultural Society of Kenya shows.
- Hold seminars, workshops and conferences with users and inventors. The first one should be internally designed to provide a forum at which the KIPO staff exchange information gathered from various workshops attended locally and abroad.
- Use of mass media. KIPO should use print media to sensitize the public about its functions/services and also the main activities taking place within KIPO. These should take form of supplements and advertisements in the daily papers. On the other hand, KIPO officers should take part in the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation talk shows like the "Professional View" and "Good Morning Kenya," where they will use the chance to inform the general public about their operations. The Office should also make use of the Internet which has proved to be a fast growing medium of transmitting information.
- Participate in students' congresses on science and technology at district and national levels.
- Compilation of a bibliography on patents. The bibliography will be important to the users and inventors since they will know what is available. The bibliography will also act as a selection tool for the patent information and documentation center.
- Provision of Current Awareness Services (CAS) such as photocopying and distribution of content pages of various journals should be introduced at KIPO.
- Apart from issuing documents at the circulation desk, this study recommends that selective dissemination of information (SDI) should be used as a means of disseminating patent information whereby newly or latest received information would be delivered to the users on a regular basis. Also facsimile transmission of patent information and access to databases should be established. These are very fast methods of disseminating patent information and this can ensure that information is always current and up-to-date.
- The study further recommends that translation services be introduced at KIPO. This is because the users need some publications written in languages other than English.
Disaster preparedness and security
Disaster preparedness and security are important activities central to the preservation and protection of patent records. Respondents were therefore asked whether they had a disaster preparedness plan in place. . The respondents were unaware of such plans, arguing that there was limited training about disaster preparedness at KIPO. However, the respondents were aware of the disasters that are likely to befall the department. These included fire, flood, mutilation through vandalism or mob action, and theft from employees and other users.
This confirms the findings carried out in Ghana by Akussah (2001) that most of the institutions did not have disaster preparedness plans. These are pointers that KIPO has to do more to get ready for disaster preparedness. In a patent office where electronic documents are highly used, there is need for backups for electronic information. This study recommends that KIPO records storage areas should be purpose built, taking into account suitable architectural and structural designs and that regular building maintenance inspections should be done in order to detect potential disasters quickly and prevent them from occurring. The use of disaster prevention devices like smoke detectors, fire alarms, intruder alarms, fire fighting devices and fireproof cabinets should be encouraged. There should also be adequate training and orientation for staff and patrons in disaster management and occasional refresher programmes to update staff on new developments and new technologies in disaster management.