UNESCO supports Caribbean E-Librarian Workshop
Librarians and information professionals from nine Caribbean countries attended the Caribbean E-Librarianship Workshop in Belize City, Belize, from 20 to 22 February 2008. It was organized by UNESCO and the Belize National Library and Information Systems. The Workshop reviewed contemporary ICT concepts, platforms and their applications in the library system via lecture-type presentations and demonstrations.
At the ceremony, Raphael Marin, Chief Information System Officer from Belize Telemedia Limited, gave a brief overview of the existing and emerging technologies in the telecommunications industry and encouraged the librarians to incorporate these innovations into their libraries. The Workshop facilitators covered ten areas to the captive audience of thirty two participants. Selected highlights included hybrid libraries (libraries that use Web 2.0, RSS, streaming media, wikies and blogs). Other presentations focused on the following topics:
- Web 2.0 meets Library 2.0: Digital resources in libraries;
- The impact of ICT on the organization of libraries and staffing requirements;
- Delivering reference services by means of the Internet;
- Free and Open Source Software: Building electronic communities;
- Professional profile and skills of the e-librarian;
- CDS-ISIS application software (CISIS, WWWISIS, IAH and ABCD).
The Workshop concluded that hybrid and digital libraries will require digital librarians who are open to using the technology in order to provide access to services and content specific to the Caribbean, and that greater priority should be given to libraries by the region's governments. Libraries must be repositioned as the storehouses of national treasures that each country possesses, which can be digitized and shared online.
Participants were challenged to begin the process of information-sharing using a Web 2.0 application. They created a <a target="_blank" href="http://digitallibrarians.wikispaces.com">wiki</a> and a <a target="_blank" href="http://cariblib.blogspot.com">blog</a> to facilitate collaboration and communication. They were also tasked with testing Greenstone Digital Library, a user-friendly and flexible free and open source software developed by the University of Waikato, New Zeeland, for managing digital collections.
The thirty two participants represented libraries in Belize, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Bahamas, Dominica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia.