Proposal for setting up an ENVIS Centre in Biogeochemistry was submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Forest in December, 1993. After extensive discussion and at the request of the Ministry it was agreed to include in addition to Biogeochemistry, certain aspects of Environmental law, policy etc. Accordingly, the approval was given by the Ministry and the funds were released in July 1994. As a part of the initial establishment the ENVIS unit was given funds for procuring a computer. A PC 486 with more than one gb memory was installed in November 1994 with provision for modem for Email and fax as a part of the national networking envisaged by the ministry. After the computer became operational, a very versatile library package (Papyrus) was procured which is described in the later section of this newsletter. This package helped us save a lot of time in designing suitable storage system. However we are continuously modifying the package to suit our specific requirements. Already in the limited period of functioning so far we have been able to enter a very large number of key references available in international and national literature on diverse aspects of Biogeochemistry as well as certain aspects of environmental law. We have also categorised our entry in terms of number of key words and combination of key words which are discussed later. At present over 5000 references have been computerised. Not all of them are actually available with us in JNU but we have access to most of the references in storage. Our storage system is a continuous process of upgradation and revision. With these in mind while the procurement of the computer was being done a circular was issued to nearly 500 scientists in India for soliciting their opinion regarding the mode of functioning of our ENVIS as also the topics and sub-topics that should be included. In response to our circular we received a good number of suggestions from across the country. Accordingly, we have taken then into consideration while surveying the references and then choosing keywords required for search. In addition Prof. V. Subramanian as well to other members in the ENVIS unit namely Dr. s. Annadurai (Research Associate) and Shri C. Chatterjee (Technical Assistant) visited a number of ENVIS centres in operation in the country. Their visit helped them to understand the functioning of the other units in the country as well as some of the problems faced by them. All these aspects are being taken into consideration while designing the day to day operation of our unit. A workshop conducted by the Ministry in Bombay was attended by Dr. S. Annadurai where the networking aspects were discussed in detail. It is also expected that our unit will very shortly be networked in the country for easy access to other libraries. Already in JNU we have a Bio Informatic Centre through which we have access to a large number of references in Envronmental Biology. We are also making use of the storage system in the National Informatics Centre as well as the NCSI at Bangalore.
It will not be possible for us to photocopy a large number of requests for full papers too often. However if a person certifies that he or she does not have the journal in the nearby locality then we will make an effort to supply the full papers requested. The reference list itself will be distributed free of cost based on key words to be supplied by the user. The School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University also has been given a DRS - Project in Biogeochemistry by University Grants Commission(UGC). A number of latest books are being continuously procured by us and in each issue of this Newsletter, we will endeavour to critically review one or two books. Many student Thesis, at M.Phil and Ph.D. Levels, dealing with topics of interest to Biogeochemistry are available for reference purposes in Jawaharlal Nehru University Library. Effects will be made to include a short summary of work being done in our School by other Teachers. A list of our Faculty, with their specialisation is given elsewhere in this Newsletter. Also, each issue will contain an invited Scientific contribution from across the Country on key topics of relevance to our ENVIS Project. Please do not hesitate to contact me on any matters dealing with our ENVIS Unit. Our Fax, email, Telex and Telephone numbers are given elsewhere. Finally we welcome further suggestions from interested scientists in improving the functioning of our unit.
V.Subramanian, Co-ordinator, ENVIS Project