Special Libraries and Special Librarians on the Internet

By Balas, Janet | Computers in Libraries, June 1996 | Go to article overview

Special Libraries and Special Librarians on the Internet


Balas, Janet, Computers in Libraries


I began working in libraries when was in high school, and even though I have held varied positions including page, clerk, and finally, systems librarian, all my experience has been in public libraries. I enjoy the varied questions that come up during a stint at the reference desk in a public library, but I sometimes think about how different reference work would be if I were a special librarian working with a specialized collection. Since this month's issue deals with special libraries, I decided to look at online resources for special librarians and visit some special libraries on the Internet.

SLA on the Internet

My search for electronic resource for special librarians quickly led me to a page on the World Wide Web that serves as a directory to the Special Libraries Association mailing lists and World Wide Web home pages. This directory is compiled by Hope N. Tillman and is also available through a gopher server. Additionally, the directory is periodically released through various SLA listservs.

On this page I found a link to the SLA home page on the Web and to the SLA gopher. These resources provide basic information about the organization and its member services. I also found a link to the Web site for this year's annual conference (June 8-13 in Boston) in the directory's listings. This site provided information about the conference, including the registration schedule, information on the keynote speaker, and a calendar of events and tours available during the conference. I explored several of the many links to local information, including interactive virtual maps, a restaurant guide, the online version of the Boston Globe, and a very amusing piece on Boston drivers. If you are planning to attend the conference or are actually at the conference when you are reading this, you should definitely visit this Web page to help you plan your activities while in Boston.

The SLA directory page had links to Web pages for the various chapters, divisions, caucuses, and student sections of SLA. In addition to these Web pages, there are also a number of listservs available. Complete information on these listservs, including subscription information, is contained in a table on the SLA directory Web page.

Some Very Special Libraries

- the Presidential Libraries

I was poking around on Yahoo! looking for some special libraries on the Web when I discovered the menu option for Presidential Libraries. I was immediately intrigued and decided to pay an electronic visit to these libraries. The libraries varied widely in their use of electronic resources, and some of the Web sites were under construction when I visited. I also discovered a gopher for the presidential Library System from the National Archives and Record Administration. This gopher provides information on the mission and background of the Presidential Library System, which includes nine Presidential Libraries and two Presidential Projects, and information on the collections of each of the nine libraries.

The Gerald R. Ford Library stood out from the others due to a collaborative project between the Ford Library and Museum and the University of Michigan's School of Information and Libraries Studies. This project, entitled "A Day in the Life of a President," brings together the documents, photographs, and film generated in the course of one day, April 28, 1975.

The President's Daily Diary is used as the organizing structure for the materials on this site. Full-size pages from the diary for that date are available as images that can be viewed. The schedule for the day is detailed and includes links to text, photographs, and film for the events on the schedule.

As I followed the links, I read the text of speeches, perused the list of attendees at meetings, and viewed photographs. …

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