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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: New Library World, Volume 113, Issue 3/4
The Bodleian Libraries now has an important document of Jewish Law available digitally. Mishneh Torah, written between 1170 and 1180, is one of the most important manuscripts of the Bodleian’s Hebrew collection. The digital version is now freely available online in high definition. It has been made possible thanks to George Blumenthal, who said:
I am grateful to the Bodleian for allowing me to pursue my dream of democratising the knowledge of the world humanity for worldwide availability through the internet.
Religious material is widely available in public libraries, but MacDonald and McMenemy report in their article on a study which investigated the availability and organisation of creationist literature in UK public libraries. They investigate procurement and donation and whether such materials were classified as religion or science. They find differences in terms of how these materials are classified, with difficulties evidenced in whether to present creationist and intelligent design texts to the public as religious texts or science texts.
A new digital library has been launched by the British Library for Development Studies (BLDS), which is helping research from developing countries to reach a wider audience. Until now a large part of the BLDS collection was only available to visitors to the library or through its document delivery service, and the new digital library will allow many more people to find and access research in publications from the developing world, which will show up on search engines. The article from Islam and Ahmed provides a report on research into the library services available to rural dwellers in Northern districts of Bangladesh. Their research demonstrates the important role of rural libraries in meeting the information needs of their local communities and that focus groups discussions could be an effective way to assess the impact of rural library services.
Libraries Inspire: the strategic development framework for Welsh libraries 2012-2016 sets out a framework for delivering library services until 2016 and a plan to ensure that effective library services are maintained. It looks at future trends and how new technology will be able to develop new models. The report recognises the need for qualified staff to achieve the goals set out. “Research has shown that library staff are key to providing a good experience for users. The Framework will continue to invest in developing skills of library staff based on a detailed analysis of needs and a workforce development plan.” Hodge and Spoor consider staffing in their article, but from the perspective of hiring committees. They report on the results of a survey which provides both an insight into what hiring committees are looking for and guidance on what candidates can do to make the most of their abilities, knowledge and skills during the interview process.
The Arts Council England and the Local Government Association have announced funding for a series of pilot projects to test ideas from the Future Library Programme. The Libraries Development Initiative will support around ten projects over the course of a year. Chief Executive of the Arts Council England, Alan Davey, said:
[…] we have designed this initiative to draw on the existing strength of libraries, but also to enable them to think creatively about new ways of delivering and developing their services.
The article from Nutefall and Chadwell provides a specific case study on how an academic library can establish and implement a realignment process so as to prepare itself to serve users in the twenty-first century. They point out that there are many reasons why an academic library might undergo such a process and that these are particularly valid when careful planning is undertaken so that realignment is responsive, rather than reactive, to the present and perceived future needs of users.
In an annual competition run by Knovel thousand of engineering students from around the world are set to test their research and library skills. The competition sets challenges and is designed to help students get the most out of their academic library. For the first time this year students can choose the difficulty level and sign up through a Facebook application. Zimerman’s article considers generational differences in searching methods used by persons born before 1980 and those born after 1980. His research finds that millennials largely preferred to use Google and Wikipedia, spent time on library website databases and spent large amounts of time in cyber realms, while non-millennials spent little time on the library resources and used Google and other web search engines almost exclusively.
CILIP Chief Executive, Annie Mauger, commented on a meeting of the Future Skills Programme Board, which is looking at the qualifications framework for the profession. She said that over the year they will consult with members, library schools and educators and employers in a variety of ways about what they need in terms of skills for the future. Garoufallou and Charitopoulou discuss library and information science (LIS) education in their article. They focus on the use of Web 2.0 and they report on research conducted with Greek LIS students. Their research finds information about the students’ knowledge, experiences and expectations regarding the use of Web 2.0 and its potential application in the LIS curriculum.