Libraries in the Digital Age 2006

Article excerpt

Librarians are facing a new task, according to Carol C. Kuhlthau of Rutgers University in New Jersey. As the opening speaker at the Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA) conference from May 29 to June 4 in Croatia, Kuhlthau said librarians will be helping users explore information by eliminating confusion, frustration, and doubt.

The conference, which was held in Dubrovnik and Mljet, hosted 157 attendees: 114 from Croatia and 43 from 24 other countries, including 38 students. Since its founding in 2000, the conference has been devoted to the changing environment for libraries and information systems and services in the digital world. Each conference is divided into two sections: The first part deals with research and development, while the second takes a look at the advances in applications and practice. This year, attendees concentrated on the Cultural, Social, and Institutional Effects and Place of Digital Libraries, along with Building a Digital Library for Children and Young Adults.

While digital libraries have made such a global impact since they were first established nearly a decade ago, technology continues to provide access to new and increasing digital resources and library services daily. As digital libraries grow and reach specific audiences, more resources and services are constantly being developed and accessed to expand the digital offerings. The conference provides players from around the globe with a platform to meet and discuss initiatives, innovations, and ideas. This year's conference also opened the doors to sharing experiences from practice and research for children and young adults.

The global reach of the conference and digital libraries was reflected in the breadth of speakers from all corners of the world. Mariam Ansari from Tehran, Iran, for example, led a discussion on Digital Library in Iran: An Experience in State Management and Planning Organization. While more and more electronic information-related projects are being funded in Iran, challenges remain, such as unavailable or slow Internet access, and developing or improving tools (e.g. OCR) to script Farsi sites.

Likewise, Claire McInerny (Rutgers University) presented a case study of library services in Ireland's Information Age Town, Ennis. With a population of 18,000, Ennis had low technology and industry in 1997 when many people did not even own a phone. The Information Age Town project, funded by Irish Telecom, allowed for ubiquitous computing across town segments.

Ann Carlson Weeks, from the University of Maryland, spoke during the Connecting Children and Books Through Technology session, which described different ways in which the International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) is used all around the world (e.g., ICDL is used in Taiwan as a tool for second-language acquisition). Likewise, Vesna Injac, from the National Library of Serbia in Beograd, presented Serbian Children's Digital Library, which is based on ICDL, and described innovative software that provides easier access for children. The software includes a turning-the-pages model and iconic display, which makes it more accessible to children between the ages of 3 and 13.

LIDA 2006 was sponsored by the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education, and Sport; U.S. Embassy (Zagreb); British Council Croatia; Croatian National Tourist Board; Dubrovnik Tourist Board; Osijek Tourist Board; Osjecko-baranjska Tourist Board; Elsevier; Skolska knjiga; CARNet; Iskon; and Dom zdravlja Osijek.

Libraries in the Digital Age 2007 will be held May 28-June 2, 2007, in Dubrovnik and Mljet, Croatia, featuring the themes of Human Information Behavior and Digital Libraries and Economics and Digital Libraries. For more information on LIDA 2006, visit http://www.ffos.hr/lida/program. …

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