Researchers are not only relying more on libraries, but they seem to be reading more, according to Donald W. King, distinguished research professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill. King addressed an audience at the Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA) 2007 conference, held from May 28 to June 2 in Dubrovnik and Mljet, Croatia. He replicated a previous study he did with Carol Tenopir from the University of Tennessee, explaining that this increased usage was caused by a decrease in personal collections, more articles being read than can be identified by online bibliographic searches, along with broadened access to articles through electronic collections. King surveyed 6,000 households for the study, titled "The Cost and Use of Electronic and Print Journal Collections."
The LIDA 2007 conference hosted 128 attendees (29 students) from Croatia and 14 other countries (including Australia, Austria, Finland, Germany, Italy, Russia, and the U.S.). This year's conference was sponsored by the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport; the U.S. Embassy (Zagreb); the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST); Blackwell Book Services; Pro-Quest; Springer; Elsevier; the Croatian National Tourist Board; the Dubrovnik Tourist Board; the City of Osijek; the Osijek Tourist Board; the Osjecko-baranjska County Tourist Board; Belje 1967; and Pivovara d.d. Osijek.
In opening remarks for the conference, co-organizer Tefko Saracevic from the School of Communication, Information and Library Studies at Rutgers State University of New Jersey said that "although it is a relatively small conference, LIDA has covered, in 8 years of its existence, a large number of issues related to digital libraries." He emphasized that "digital libraries and digital age do not mean abandoning library traditions and values but application of true and tried principles and values to new situations and developing new ones." He stated that "because of constant changes in the digital world, all of us need a constant update of professional knowledge and competencies."
Saracevic introduced LIDA co-chairperson Tatjana Aparac-Jelusic from the Department of Information Sciences at the University of Osijek in Croatia and noted that she was selected for the Thomson ISI/ASIST Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award in 2006.
The conference focused on two themes: Users and Use of Digital Libraries and Economics and Digital Libraries.
Users, Use, and Usability
Karen E. Fischer from the Information School at the University of Washington-Seattle reported in the session Seattle Public Library as a "Place": Community Building and Impact that 54 percent of people come to the Seattle Public Library in company with other people and that the public library still serves as a site of social interaction and community building.
Barbara Wildemuth, from UNC, discussed issues in the session about Bringing Digital Libraries into View on an Individual's Information Horizon. Using different information-seeking issues by the same person (professional and medical), she showed how libraries could facilitate more effective information use through various services, including the reuse of existing information, the creation of new information objects, and supporting people helping people.
In Usability of Digital Libraries, Borchuluun Yadamsuren and Sanda Erdelez, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia, noted that the digital libraries usability evaluation is not a single thing or a single event but a process integrated with all the stages of development and maintenance. They described their Information Experience Lab (http://ielab.missouri.edu), an innovative research-and-usability testing facility whose mission is to improve the users' information experience in Web-based information systems through research methodologies that blend traditional usability evaluation with human information behavior research. Saracevic and his doctoral student Ying Zhang, who spoke on Criteria in Evaluation of Use and Usability in Digital Libraries, found that evaluation is a neglected area. The reasons for this neglect included the complexity of digital libraries, no real interest in evaluation, inadequate or no funds, and the fact that evaluation is not a part of research and operations. Although evaluation is still in its formative years, it is necessary for understanding how to build digital libraries better. They quoted UNC professor Gary Marchionini, who said that "evaluating DL [digital libraries] is a bit like judging how successful is a marriage!"
Economics and Digital Libraries
The "top-down" approach to studying the economics of library activities and the application of an analytic technique called Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) was presented by Paul B. Kantor from Rutgers University in the session on Two Views of Library Economics. Kantor explained that DEA mathematically identifies the best benchmark cases among the comparable set of libraries and emphasized that the extension of DEA to digital libraries will require the definition of a new collection of inputs (e.g., hardware, programmers) and outputs (e.g., annotated outward links, volume of use).
Information literacy, the importance of the local library, academic or professional success, social inclusion, and the financial value of library services have been identified as indicators for library impact/outcome by Roswitha Poll from the University and Regional Library in Muenster, Germany, in the session titled New Measures for New Services: Indicators for Quality, Cost, and Impact of Electronic Library Services.
Robert M. Hayes, professor emeritus from the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), gave a progress report on his research project "Libraries in the Information Economy of Croatia," which has been sponsored by the IREX program of the U.S. Department of State.
Guest of Honor
Christine L. Borgman, professor and presidential chair in Information Studies at UCLA and LIDA 2007 Guest of Honor, spoke about her educational path in diverse but related areas of mathematics, library science, and communication as well as her new book, Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet. She encouraged prospective Ph.D. candidates to seek the top journals for placement of dissertation work. She also emphasized the role of professional associations, in particular ASIST, in her life.
Of 19 exhibits, the best research poster was awarded to Marina Putnik and Anamaria Malbasi'c from the Zagreb City Libraries in Croatia for the presentation on Journey via Web Toward Printed Books: Digital Library as a Useful Web Guide for Promoting Library Services for Young People and Encouraging Them to Read. The winning poster showed that library Web sites can facilitate the creation of virtual worlds for young people with virtual guides through the library and with open contents. They concluded that virtual and traditional public libraries do not exclude each other.
Student Poster Session
Creating Digital Repository: Students Practical Placement, the winning student poster, was developed by students (Merein Gracek, Kristina Feldvari, Ivana Knezevic, Goran Vuckovic, and Filip Horvat) at the Department of Information Sciences at the University of Osijek in Croatia under supervision of their teachers (Boris Badurina, Boris Bosanci'c, and Kornelija Petr).
Panel Discussion: The I-School Caucus
Panel chair Gustav W. Friedrich, dean of the School of Communication, Information and Library Studies at Rutgers, gave a brief overview of the formation of the I-School Deans' Community and presented the guiding principles of the group. Panelists Borgman, Fischer, Wildemuth, and Olivia Frost (from the School of Information at the University of Michigan), who are all members of the project (www.ischools.org/oc), discussed education, training, and research in library and information science in I-School programs, as well as internationalization of the movement and its relation to professional organizations such as ASIST, the Association for Library and Information Science Education, and the European Association for Library and Information Education and Research.
LIDA 2008 will be held June 2-6, 2008, in Dubrovnik and Mljet, Croatia, focusing on the themes of Education and Training in Digital Libraries and Reference in Digital Environments. Preliminary themes for LIDA 2009, when the 10th anniversary of LIDA conferences will be celebrated, include Heritage and Digital Libraries-Digitization, Preservation, Access and Reflections: Changes Brought by and in Digital Libraries in the Last Decade. Information and papers from all LIDA conferences are located at www.ffos.hr/lida.
Sanjica Faletar Tanackovic (email@example.com) and Maja Krtalic (firstname.lastname@example.org) are research assistants for the Department of Information Science at J.J. Strossmayer University in Osijek, Croatia. Send your comments about this article to email@example.com.…