Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
This issue interestingly and almost mysteriously positions us for a season of professional meetings that are full of technological creativity, challenges and economic uncertainties. The need to do more with less always encourages new ideas about how processes can be done more efficiently and in less costly ways while serving a more inclusive population of users and reducing the digital divide. We look forward to meeting many of our contributors and soliciting new writers at the meetings we will attend now and through our summer. It is hard to plan out every detail but we want to cover the major meetings and those that may not have been included in the past but which have appropriate content that stretches the sensibilities of how libraries function technologically in this competitive and exciting environment.
In this issue we have a conference report from the annual meeting of the Coalition of Networked Information (CNI), still among the most visible coming together of leadership in academic libraries, academic computing and scholarly publishing. We are waiting for the spring and summer meeting schedule to provide more meeting updates.
Three interesting and very different features are found herein. A team of writers from Tap Information Services writes a status report on "InfoEyes: A Virtual Reference Service for the Visually Impaired". It is a fascinating way for those print-impaired readers to conduct reference queries and use the latest technologies in digital reference to access information. This multi-state prototype service is a "leading edge" probably soon to be replicated on a wide scale, allowing those with visual difficulties to participate in an online community.
A.A. Oduwole writes about the impact of Internet usage in Nigerian agricultural universities and draws parallels to other applications of ICTs both within and external to the academic context. For growing institutions in developing regions, learning how to expand connectivity and the value of the Internet is what the future will focus on.
James Lin offers interesting insights about how to create an organizational culture for college-wide Web sites development. This is an important direction, with the proliferation of Web-based information being generated on campuses, and for much of it that is the only method of dissemination. There are lots of ideas for future applications and directions. This is only the beginning in this area.
We have an "Around the World" column that takes us to Tanzania, and specifically to the University of Dar es Salaam. With an emphasis on collection development of e-resources it is clear to see how universal collection planning and management is with local constraints and opportunities posing different challenges. The list of new books will provide good professional reading and the News & Noteworthy column will update you on industry and trade developments, and the Calendar will tell you what to have your antennae up for in coming months with a full schedule of upcoming conferences. We hope you enjoy this issue.