GNA Library Meeting Announcement

Joseph Wang (joe@MIT.EDU)
Tue, 12 Jul 94 20:57:06 EDT

To the GNA Mail handlers:

Sorry to do this to you, but could you create an automated mailing
list gna-library (should be archived but not HTML'ized)? I know that
we are running short on room to run automated GNA mailing lists, but
the library is a basic GNA service, and do think that the list will
have enough traffic to justify the list.

To everyone else:

Just a reminder that there will be a Globewide Network Academy Library
meeting tomorrow at 1800 GMT (1400 EDT). The topic for immediate
discussion will be revamping the meta-library and the consultant's
list under the aegis of the GNA Library system. We may also get
into general discussion about the GNA Library Strategic Plan that posted earlier.

To attend as a guest:

telnet 8888
connect guest
@go #2896

Brief overview of topics to be discussed.....

The GNA meta-library and consultant's lists are useful prototypes
which suffer from some serious problems. They are run using a
postgres database which is prone to breakdown. More seriously, the
indexing system that they are using are labor intensive to catalog and
hence the entire index is seriously out of date.

The consultant's list suffer from a lack of use. Most likely this is
due to a difficulty in use and a psychological block in e-mailing a
question to a stranger's personal e-mail address. Also, the nature of
the interaction seems to work against the "sense of community" which
is necessary for an educational initiative to work. Also, the
consultant's list duplicates the GNA Reference Librarian system and
the two should be combined.

Finally, we will need to discuss how the meta-library and consultant's
list fits into the GNA library's long term strategic plans. Within a
year, GNA should be in a position to apply for grant monies and
possibly hiring a staff of librarians. We will need to discuss how to
fold the meta-library and consultant's list projects into these long
term goals.

As I see it there is a definite need for an Internet Library. There
are a lot of collections of materials on the internet. There are even
some sorted collections of materials on the internet. But thus far,
there is nothing on the net comparable to a typical university
research library. There aren't any places which are run by a
professional library staff where LC call numbers are assigned and
holdings are classified and sorted in a way that makes materials
accessible to researchers and browsers.

I think much of the reason for this is in order to make something like
that work, you need a partnership between professional librarians,
computer hackers, and funders and thus far this partnership hasn't
occurred on the internet. Thus far, internet catalog systems have
been designed by computer hackers, and the internet has grown to the
point where those systems are getting overwhelmed. Meanwhile, the
internet complexity has grown to the point that some paid staff is
necessary to make it all work.

Trying to sort all of this out will be the purpose of the meeting