Improving Access to Online Multilingual Resources by Adopting the My Language Portal in the City of Greater Dandenong Libraries
Bogdanovic, Marijana, Johanson, Graeme, The Australian Library Journal
This paper reports on the implementation of 'My Language Portal' in the City of Greater Dandenong Libraries (CGDL), Melbourne, Victoria, through the development of a 'My Language Portal Project Plan' in 2006. It discusses how the aims of the designers of My Language Portal (MLP) are fulfilled in the exceptional, changing demographics of Dandenong. It provides a rationale for the adoption of MLP, by evaluating census and library statistics, and through local assessment of usability features. Wide consultation led to the creation of a user guide in the form of a fact sheet for users of CGD Libraries, and collaborations with IT and marketing staff are strongly recommended to facilitate smooth implementation. MLP offers a powerful online multilingual resource that bridges the inevitable gap in collections caused by an inability to immediately provide in-house appropriate resources for recently-arrived and diverse migrant communities. Analysis of service provision in Dandenong highlights the need for extra resources, for improved information literacy training, and marketing, and for increasing the number of public access terminals.
This report investigates practical considerations involved when a decision was made to encourage My Language Portal (www.mylanguage.gov.au) usage among patrons of the City of Greater Dandenong Libraries: www.greaterdandenong.com/index.asp? Section=7&ID=1456&Title=Library
The main aim was to improve information literacy and enable patrons to meet their personal and community needs through resources offered online.
The project aimed to answer the following questions:
Who are CGDL's users? How well do the Libraries relate to users' needs? Will the changing community profile affect service provision in future? In what ways will improved accessibility to MLP online multilingual resources complement all CGDL services?
The approach taken in this study involved an analysis of the technology (MLP), a study of the potential user population, and wide consultation with the staff of CDGL about their expectations of the impact of the technology. In short, process design, information management and relationship management were brought together in this project (Rowsell-Jones 2006).
What is My Language Portal?
My Language Portal is a joint project of seven state and territory libraries with the aim of creating a national multicultural portal which provides access to over six million information links, mostly for multilingual communities. MLP provides access to search engines, web directories and websites in more than 60 languages. It was inspired about five years ago by the need for access to multilingual information, the fact that libraries are main gateways to it, and that information and communications technologies are growing in importance for emerging online and offline communities (My Language Consortium [MLC], 2006). MLP is a valuable tool for increasing information literacy levels, and enhancing social and personal networks. It provides many useful links for libraries through a number of gateways providing information on user community profiles, selected bookshops and suppliers, support services and language collections.
We describe briefly some features of MLP. One of the MLP arms is a link titled 'For Libraries' that provides access to guidelines, articles, reports and research on various aspects of multicultural library service provision, as well as a Multicultural Events Calendar, publications, activities and services of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (MLC, 2006). Another link through MLP, 'How To', is a guide from the State Library of Victoria on how to install fonts in many languages, as well as the State Library of Victoria's list of font types (MLC, 2006).
The guide indicates which language will work with which version of Windows, and provides information on appropriate keyboard layouts. Another MLP arm, titled 'Training,' maintains access to fact sheets 'Six Steps to Using Internet Explorer' on Internet basics in English, and 22 other languages which are provided by Vicnet. These are all printable. (MLC, 2006). In most languages MLP provides links to the Google search engine in a corresponding language, the Immigration Department website, Centrelink, and Wikipedia.
In 2006 MLP was a finalist for the Stockholm Challenge Award, among 1,100 participants from all over the world. Stockholm Challenge is a global networking program which recognizes innovative information and communication technology projects which significantly improve living conditions and enhance economic growth (Stockholm Challenge, 2006).
City of Greater Dandenong Libraries (2006)
The City of Greater Dandenong Libraries (CGDL) provides service to 127,230 residents across an area of 129 square kilometres with high population density. The Library has two branches, technical services, and one mobile library which covers 12 service points. According to the Annual Survey of Public Library …
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Publication information: Article title: Improving Access to Online Multilingual Resources by Adopting the My Language Portal in the City of Greater Dandenong Libraries. Contributors: Bogdanovic, Marijana - Author, Johanson, Graeme - Author. Journal title: The Australian Library Journal. Volume: 56. Issue: 2 Publication date: May 2007. Page number: 135+. © 2008 Australian Library and Information Association. COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group.
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