My first big assignment when I joined the American Chemical Society four years ago was to sell and teach the OPAC--its new integrated online library system--to staff. The main selling point was to be the system's capability to facilitate remote access to the contents and services of the ACS Library. This was going to be the library's first solid attempt at marketing the virtual library concept to its organization. Not a bad idea.
Even then, phrases like "virtual reality," "user-friendly systems," and "information superhighway" were warming up many a librarian's heart. I know they did mine. I also liked the fact that at a time when the majority of comparable libraries in the Washington, D.C. area were yet to become automated, the ACS Library had already launched into a quite ambitious venture of utilizing LAN technology to bring about the virtual library idea in its own organization into reality.
Quite predictably, automation once initiated, progressed rather well at the ACS Library. In barely a year after the OPAC was first introduced, a variety of CD-ROM packages were been acquired as core to a projected growing collection of software in the library.
It soon became apparent that to its users, CD-ROM represented a new high-tech toy, while to the library, it was another useful tool to enhance its service and increase its visibility in the organization.
The Internet at ACS
Members of the ACS Library staff continue to strive to keep pace with all the technological advances in the information industry, to be able to share them with their clientele. Lately, we've added the Internet to library systems and services support. This is revolutionary technological innovation of the last two decades or so. It has hit everybody who has any use for information.
Like most organizations, the American Chemical Society caught the Internet bug quickly, not only as a user but also as a provider of information on the network. Today, local system support is in place and available to all ACS staff to enable them to access the Internet. Help in basic searching is also being given by the library staff to those who are interested. …