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Behind every technological advance there is a provider who has to organise and disseminate the information provided. The role of the future of information managers must be considered as they are needed to act as intermediaries who can access, assimilate, reformulate and package information to meet end‐user needs.
Modern information provision is making increasingly unique demands on existing providers. At Lilydale Adventist Academy, a small and conservative secondary college near…
Modern information provision is making increasingly unique demands on existing providers. At Lilydale Adventist Academy, a small and conservative secondary college near Melbourne, we have had to confront a limited budget, greatly increased demand and even greater expectation with a system that offers flexibility and the greatest degree of automation. The system is a fully integrated one accessing all forms of current and expected media with a minimum of teacher‐librarian intervention. Student workstations have access to all materials and to all available programs at the same workstations. Cost effective set‐ups allow reasonable control and some degree of cost recovery as regards consumables. Throughout this exercise students have been actively encouraged to provide input both as regards their needs as well as actually performing some of the establishment work. The whole exercise has been a serious effort to establish a system which reflects expressed needs as well as implementing some degree of future capacity. In its attempt to meet such a wide variety of needs it is not unlike that mythical beast slain by Ulysses. His Hydra with its many heads is very much like the technology installed at Lilydale to cater for the many needs.
In recent times there have been occasions when information providers have voiced concerns regarding their permanency. Modem technology appears to be threatening their existence. ‘Why employ an expensive information professional when I can simply connect my employees directly to the Internet and they can get the facts for themselves?’ And there are places where this is happening. However, I would suggest, on the basis of some considerable research, that this development is limited and likely to be of short duration. As soon as the first time and motion studies are carried out on this situation, it will be realised that it is very wasteful to allow specialists in a particular field to search for data they need via the Internet, when Internet specialists could do it faster and more reliably. By its very nature the Internet is vast, somewhat confusing to the less experienced and often very, very distracting.
Australia is set outside the usually perceived information technology development areas of Europe and North America. Despite this its technology needs are the same as in…
Australia is set outside the usually perceived information technology development areas of Europe and North America. Despite this its technology needs are the same as in any other developed country. By reason of its relative isolation, a number of local solutions to needs have been found Lilydale Adventist Academy (LAA) has chosen to build a single platform network, utilising readily available software where possible but integrating it with a fully multimedia library/data system. This has necessitated some very flexible software adaptation, as well as some fairly creative thinking regarding development of the total system and the way it meshes with school functions and connected sister schools. An integrated multimedia electronic library system has so far proved an ideal solution to the challenges of LAA. We also see a fully integrated multimedia system as the way of the future and are presently developing a seamless front end which totally integrates the Internet with our existing materials. Administration difficulties and perhaps a touch of conservatism will see these innovations develop faster at several other sites using the same library software, but the principles remain the same. The key to the system as it is being developed at each site is very much user‐oriented: what does the customer want? how can we provide it in the most available and cost effective manner? The entire process is an attempt to provide data for users in the most useable form, utilising the best of available technology, without letting that technology become an end in itself.
One of the sessions at Online Information 96, held in London in December last year, looked at the future of the librarian's profession in this age of disintermediation: a…
One of the sessions at Online Information 96, held in London in December last year, looked at the future of the librarian's profession in this age of disintermediation: a term defined by one of the speakers, Helis Miido, as the process whereby information providers bypass traditional librarians and offer their services directly to the end‐user. What new roles will change create for the information professional? Do librarians take a back seat or should they lead the information revolution into the 21st century?
This chapter presents a case study research over three years into the operation of a distance education program using Web 2.0 tools to create an online collaborative…
This chapter presents a case study research over three years into the operation of a distance education program using Web 2.0 tools to create an online collaborative project environment for trainee teacher librarians. Charles Sturt University in inland Australia specialises in distance education. The entire School of Information Studies operates on this basis. To achieve high standards and truly global learning, use is currently being made of Web 2.0 technologies — particularly wikis and blogs as part of this program. One particular subject requires collaborative construction of a Blog or PowerPoint via wiki negotiation by teams of geographically separated students worldwide. This is a very practical exercise in distance communication and collaboration and one that is very relevant to students in the course, most of whom will become the only staff of widely separated library establishments. One intention in using technology to build ‘communities’ and encourage collaboration across traditional boundaries is to grow confidence among future teacher librarians in the use and power of technology as a means of developing their own learning communities — to better prepare them for the workplace. Built on a student portal developed over many years, the new technology is currently used by several hundred students from many different nations and cultures who meet as small workgroups on their wikis in order to negotiate and construct a team project. Based on this three-year case study, it does appear that collaborative projects can be moderately successful over distance, and that they can play a useful part in the pre-training of educational practitioners — teacher librarians in this case. There is strong evidence that this process works very well in terms of encouraging positive attitudes towards distance collaboration and interactive web technologies. It also appears to encourage a feeling of ‘global’ community reaching beyond traditional library boundaries.