12.12.2003 -

Interfaces Forum: Twenty years of experience in Library Automation

The University of Colima, Mexico, has been tightly linked to the technological development during the last two decades. It has been a priority for this institution the managing and application of New Information Technologies, and because of this, the University of Colima is nowadays recognized as one of the most important public schools in Mexico. In the year of 1983, the first Meeting of Library Automation took place in the university, when automation was not a common word as it is now.

Twenty years later, the Interfaces Forum 2003 (an event also about library automation and information technologies) took place at the same place, but with a different view, a new perspective of information technologies. The concept of Libraries has changed, and the University of Colima knows it; therefore, it has been developing a huge project called Digital Library of Iberoamerica and the Caribbean (now El Dorado), in collaboration with the Unesco. During the Interfaces 2003 Forum, the following activities related to this Digital Library were done:

    1. Workshops about Digital Library, on November 24th and 25th, with the participation of 24 people from Mexican, Cuban and Nicaraguan institutions. The participants knew and made practices of metadata registers, digitization, as well as administration and exchange of information of the Z39.50 protocol. At the end of the session, the participants received a copy on CD-ROM version of the installation and administration software, as well of the methodology of this Digital Library. 2. Participation on the Digital Libraries Panel, with other two speakers from Mexico and Brazil. This presentation shows the current stage of this project, as well as the new image of the Digital Library. It is important to point out that the project is supported among ten institutions: the University of Colima, the National Libraries of Panama, Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Colombia, Peru, and two more institutions of Mexico and Panama. One of the main topics on the panel was the presentation of the new image of the Digital Library, called "El Dorado, Virtual Library of Iberoamerica and the Caribbean", located temporarily on the site siabuc.ucol.mx/dorado/. This is a useful interface for users; options are diversified in order to access full texts. Searching for institution, country, metadata, author's catalogues, titles and topics are made through the Z39.50 protocol. Service of chat and forums for message exchange, between users and the administration people, is also provided. 3. For the first time, a meeting with all participants of this project took place (on November 26th). During this session, the digital library project was shown, as well as its development and improvements along three years of hard work. Many topics were discussed, as those of other similar projects of information storage, indexing, digitization and information exchange.

One of the most important characteristics of this digital library software is its advantages: it is totally free for those institutions that would like to install it. The project is also open to receive cultural collections in order to increase its general contents. To know more about this Digital Library, please visit our site, or contact Javier Solorio Lagunas at <a href="mailto:solorioj@ucol.mx">solorioj@ucol.mx</a>.

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