There are many databases in ORI, but we are particularly proud of our long term data sets, some of which go back nearly 40 years. These data sets reside on dedicated servers, and are managed, updated and maintained by a skilled and dedicated team. ORI offers data from these data sets to bone fide researchers, in the form of a data report, to ensure quality control. Some of the larger datasets are listed below:
- Recreational inshore invertebrate and commercial oyster catches in KZN (39 years)
- ORI linefish tagging programme database (29 years)
- National Marine Linefish System (29 years)
- KZN crustacean trawl database (20 years)
- 9 mile reef environmental monitoring station (19 years)
- Coral monitoring programme (18 years)
- Marine Protected Area surveys (11 years)
- KZN Boat launch site monitoring system (9 years)
- KZN Coastal aerial surveys (6 years)
- Geo database of raster and vector data for KZN and the east coast (Various)
David Davies Memorial Library
The success of several decades of ORI research can in part be attributed to our generous access to information which is primarily achieved through maintaining the David Davies Memorial Library. This library and documentation centre was established in 1963 and named in recognition of ORI’s first director, the late Dr David Davies. The library is considered to house one of the finest collections of marine biological information in the region, including journals, books, charts, images, audio-visuals and a plethora of scientific reports and reprints. In addition to its collection, the library has national, regional and international links for accessing information. Through good relations made by ORI staff to various organisations in the world, the library can borrow material for use by the scientific staff. These considerably widen the scope of the library and its services at ORI.
ORI allocates a substantial amount of priority funding to the library each year. Most of the funds cater for subscription costs of international journals. The library subscribes to close to 35 journal titles, carefully selected and reviewed often by our scientists. Funds are also allocated for local and African journals. A significant figure is set aside for book purchases which are done twice every year. Apart from buying books and subscribing to journals, the library also receives books, journals, DVDs and electronic documents from exchange partners, donors and from local and international organisations that support the dissemination of scientific information on the conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity. A special kind of donation is done by ORI scientists who donate books to the library in which they have contributed.
A total of 795 new entries were added to the collection in 2011. These include 645 journal entries, 82 books and 68 reprints. Ten data reports and seven unpublished reports were also added to the ORI publications list. As a result of the increased use of electronic documents, the library has continued to acquire e-books, e-journals and articles. So far 32 e-books, 21 e-journals and 405 articles (most of these were kept as reprints) are accessible on our database management system. A number of reprints were digitized including all articles published by ORI scientific staff. All ORI Investigational reports and special publications are available online and on the website. ORI Unpublished and Data reports are also available electronically; access to these reports is controlled.
The library and documentation centre is a unique asset to the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The library provides essential services not only to ORI scientists’ but also to many external users, especially researchers and students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. In addition, the library is available to a larger audience which includes a wider group of users such as tertiary students, scholars, teachers, consultants, guides and external institutions such as Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife and other statutory organisations. The library is also used by the general public including fishermen, aquarists, the media and artists. The library is staffed by expert personnel who attentively provide relevant and current information to the scientific staff and the public. Library staff have developed a close relationship with the scientists and provide specific needs as requested and also notify them when new information of interest is available in the library. They work closely with library personnel from organisations such as Gilchrist Marine and Coastal Management Library, CSIR and SAIAB to share ideas and best practices as they house similar collections.