New Network to Link Up Libraries on the Internet

The Florida Times Union, November 20, 2000 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

New Network to Link Up Libraries on the Internet

WASHINGTON -- A group of public and private libraries from around the world is developing a free online reference service to answer research questions from a public often overwhelmed by the Internet's wealth of information and uncertain about its sources.

A Web site, expected to be available by June, will help direct a query to the appropriate library. That could produce answers, for example, from a library in Australia if the question concerns the history of Aborigines.

"We know the quality of information we have in libraries, and we want to bring that to the Internet. We also know the chaos online," said Donna Dinberg, systems librarian at the National Library of Canada, one of the first participants in the Comprehensive Digital Reference Service.

Rather than watch idly as Internet companies like AskJeeves, Google or Yahoo! fill the void, librarians believe their expertise, research collections and specialized catalogs not available on the Internet enable them to answer questions quickly and completely -- for free.

In a trial that began Friday, about 60 libraries started taking questions from library patrons. Questions must be submitted through a member of the library consortium -- either through a visit, an e-mail, fax or telephone call -- and passed along through the network.

Each library completes a profile that details their its expertise on subjects and languages, its hours of operation and other information. The network uses that information to direct the inquiry to the appropriate library.

Diane Nester Kresh, director of public service collections at the Library of Congress, which is coordinating the project, said she expects to offer the service through a public Web page by June.

The network will not cater just to academics, but also to anyone who needs information a library might provide, including art, music or technological information. The level of detail stretches from preschool to graduate studies.

"We've left it deliberately open," Kresh said. "We're taking the library skills and collections that we have and treating it as a collective that anyone could have access to."

While the consortium is concentrated on English now, it eventually will be able to handle up to 20 languages. Current foreign language partners include the Berlin Central and Regional Library and the Institute of Science and Technology in Hong Kong.

Neighborhood libraries will still have a place in the network.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

New Network to Link Up Libraries on the Internet


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?