Digital Dilemmas and Solutions by Peter Limb (Auth.)

By Peter Limb (Auth.)

This day, all librarians face daunting demanding situations posed by means of traits in expertise, publishing, and schooling because the impression of a globalising info economic climate forces a reconsider of either library strategic instructions and daily library operations. This publication brings jointly the most matters and dilemmas dealing with libraries; the booklet in actual fact indicates how one can care for them, and offers a best-practice advisor to the solutions.

  • Provides research of modern developments and proper and conceivable suggestions to difficulties dealing with all librarians
  • Written by way of a hugely an expert and well-respected practitioner within the field
  • Draws at the author's overseas and useful adventure in libraries and adventure of modern advancements within the field

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Who will do all this reference work, and who will pay for it? The evidence so far suggests that many queries directed to virtual reference services tend to be rather basic and thus more appropriate for automated search machines or general reference librarians. Coffman (2002) notes that CDRS received only 2,000 questions in its first two years, despite the participation of 260 libraries. There have been occasional problems with the automatic routing of questions (as when an algorithm error sent a query to the wrong library halfway across the world), reminding us that the efficacy of such automated services relies heavily on the accuracy of data from submitting libraries and the profiles of answering libraries.

If not done selectively then this could lead to extensive cataloguing backlogs, though the level of immediate cataloguing and even the decision to catalogue at all could depend on the extent of interest among users or selectors. Some libraries have already undertaken pilot projects in this field and in web archiving (see Chapter 4). If these projects become permanent, the tasks surrounding this innovative collection building, such as locating relevant websites, could become an integral part of operations.

More generally, librarians responded to the chilly economic climate by adopting wholesale the ‘access over acquisition’ paradigm. This resulted in the trimming of the acquisition budget and thus a cut-back in collection building. The response of users was not always positive. While many of the younger generation sat transfixed and temporarily satisfied by the shift to e-journals and the promotion of web pages with ‘bells and whistles’, others were more sceptical. For instance, the National Library of Australia in the 1990s was engaged in an acrimonious argument with some scholars, particularly in the humanities, who bemoaned extensive periodical cancellations as short sighted and an erosion of the national heritage and valuable intellectual resources.

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