INTERNET CHAT:Librarians Lead the (Cyber)way

Article excerpt

THE Internet presents an interesting challenge for librarians. As the guardians of knowledge on our local high street, they have long provided a superb service, hunting down information on behalf of the curious, the misinformed and the deadline-challenged.

Many libraries have embraced the arrival of the internet, treating it as just another source of information, just like books.

In Gateshead, the library team have gone one step further and started a weblog in which they keep a record of their travels and explorations on the internet.

The weblog (refdesk.weblogger.com) is the first of its kind in the UK, say the computer-friendly librarians who started it.

Peter Bolger, Reference and Information Manager at the library, explains: "We've a long track record of web projects here, going back to 1996. Gateshead has a national reputation for innovation in library services.

"We're also responsible for the design and content management of the Gateshead Council web site (www.gateshead.gov.uk). The weblog is really about meeting users at this increasingly important point of need and helping them to make sense of it all.

"We're probably unusual in that we've always had staff who can create websites or who are graphic designers - so we have an existing skills base."

But why did Peter and his team decide to start a weblog, rather than a static site? …