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The IV Pan American Congress on Health Sciences Information - CRICS IV, which will be held in San José, Costa Rica, from March 25 - 27, 1998 follows the pattern and objectives of the previous congresses organized in 1992, 1994 and 1996, respectively, by the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information - BIREME, a Pan American Health Organization Center, located in São Paulo, Brazil, which is the coordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Information System, encompassing 37 countries, with participation of 602 libraries and documentation centers. BIREME is responsible for dissemination of Health Sciences information in Latin America and the Caribbean and for facilitating access to international information sources within the Region. On this occasion, the VI Meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Information System will be held from 23 - 25 March,1998.

The proceedings of the previous congresses and meetings of the System were published in CD-ROM and contributed to share updated knowledge among their counterparts and to start new developments of services and products within the network.

 The IV Congress has, as its main objective, to update information professionals and health specialists through the presentation of the latest development and use of information technology, and how it can contribute to improve their work environment in the Health Sciences field, as well as better their performance and personal skills.

Henceforth, it will pursue the objective of improving the dialog between information agents and health professionals, as well as bringing forward the main changes in the future ahead which will affect environment in view of the progressing use of new processes of information technology. These have revolutionized all applications in the field of information access and transfer of knowledge, as well as educational and training methodologies and will continue to do so.

The Congress will also focus on how health sciences data management for decision making process and research using these new information technologies view the way to new perspectives and joint activities.

For CRICS IV, BIREME/ Pan American Health Organization accepted the kind invitation of the Ministry of Health of Costa Rica and of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social/BINASS to jointly organize the congress in Costa Rica, gathering groups dealing with information and its use in the Americas but, focusing on the analysis and planning for Central America, Andean Region and the Caribbean information networking development.

These organizations are pleased to invite you to join us in this occasion which will, no doubt, prove fruitful to all those interested in the process of dissemination of knowledge in the field of Health Sciences in the Americas.

Celia Ribeiro Zaher
General Coordinator - International Committee
November, 1996 - July, 1997