Documentation Center for Wetlands and Coastal Zones in Mesoamerica
Volume 1, No. 1
One of the difficulties researchers face in developing countries is accessing information. This is particularly true for specialized subjects, such as the conservation and sustainable development of wetlands and coastal zones. Obtaining printed information in a bibliographical listing is as difficult as obtaining a copy of the documents themselves.

The Wetlands and Coastal Zones Documentation Center ("CEDOHUM," for its initials in Spanish) was created to help researchers surmount these difficulties. First, the center offers a simple way of obtaining basic information that would otherwise be unavailable. Second, CEDOHUM provides a quick and effective way to disseminate unpublished information generated in the Mesoamerican region.

When CEDOHUM began functioning in 1990 its database consisted of approximately 1500 reference works. Now it has around 9000 articles on topics related to wetlands and coastal zones, including both published and unpublished works. These are stored in a MICRO-ISIS database that is updated daily.

Main Objective:
Contribute to the systematization of information on wetlands and coastal zones that is generated at the world level, and support research, training, and communication activities.

Specific Objectives:

  • Carry out electronic distribution of bibliographical data in the general CEDOHUM collection
  • Create a network of specialist users comprised of experts with technical capacity in the area of wetland and coastal zone management
  • Contribute to the dissemination of research findings and the results of wetland and coastal zone management, through exchange of published and unpublished information among interested institutions in and outside the region

To achieve these objectives, CEDOHUM focuses its activities on the following:

  • Consolidating a specialized collection of documents on wetlands and coastal zones
  • Maintaining an updated bibliographic database
  • Producing new bibliographical and reference databases
  • Creating value-added information products and services

Information Products and Services


  • DOCHUM: specialized data base comprising the CEDOHUM computerized document information system, which makes it possible to provide services and put together specialized information products.
  • REFHUM: reference database for a mixed reference information system that provides information on institutions and experts working in the area of wetlands and coastal zones.
  • Bibliographical publications prepared at the request of individual users.
  • Catalogue of periodical publications: listing of magazines and bulletins at CEDOHUM.


  • Consultation: provides users with access to the CEDOHUM collection
  • Photocopying: photocopies of documents ($US .10 per page)
  • Reference: rapid responses to specific queries about institutions, programs, cases and experts related to wetlands and coastal zones


  • IUCN members in the Mesoamerican region: 51 academic, government and nongovernmental and local organizations
  • CEDOHUM user network: approximately 400 persons, including wetlands and coastal zone specialists, students, various types of organizations and the general public
  • Groups of wetlands and coastal zone specialists in each country of the region: their collaboration facilitates CEDOHUM training and advisory activities
  • Other documentation centers and libraries in the region: these special types of users assist with information transfer and updating to and from CEDOHUM

Strategic Alliances:
In order to join forces with institutions carrying out academic work in mutual areas of interest, CEDOHUM is working to establish strategic alliances with other document centers, libraries and similar institutions for information-sharing purposes. These formal alliances allow CEDOHUM and its partners to work together in promoting and supporting activities to disseminate existing information.

For example, thanks to the letter of understanding signed between IUCN-ORMA and the Regional Program for Wildlife Management, at Universidad Nacional (Costa Rica), CEDOHUM and the university's "BIODOC" center benefit from various types of cooperation.

Online Access:
CEDOHUM information products and services can be used at the following website: