As Seen Through the Eyes of the 2008 IFLA OCLC Fellows
Hello, I'm Janet Lees, Community Liaison for OCLC based in
I recently spent an interesting and enjoyable week with the 2008 IFLA OCLC Fellows in the
The development of the Leiden University Digital Library here provided a state of the art case study of how to cooperatively agree to support a range of metadata standards to develop a local service which in turn becomes part of the Dutch network of Digital academic repositories (DARE) leading one Fellow to comment "I had expected that the US libraries would have been more advanced than the European ones but I find that they are very much on par."
Under whelmed by the availability of 110 OPAC terminals and chip and pin lending stations, the Fellows were more impressed with the 600 internet pcs, the 10am to 10pm x 7days a week opening hours, the walk up and play piano in the entrance foyer, the 2,000 secure bike racks and the roof top restaurant provided for patrons. Does this represent the priorities for future generations of librarians?
We visited two national libraries - the Koninklijke Bibliotheek and the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. In both cases the major issue was digital access to the country's cultural heritage - both onsite and virtually - both national libraries demonstrated exciting projects on how they were tackling the challenge of providing access to their valuable and rich collections via the web. However the most ambitious project we saw was the Europeana project prototype that is planned to launch in November 2008 and aims to provide multilingual access to 2 million digital objects already digitised in Europe's museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections.
Our final visit took us to the University Library Frankfurt am Main where the special collections staff proudly shared some of their treasures from the outstanding Africana Collections, which serve as a national area and subject specialist collection. The Fellows were able to observe the detailed metadata creation process that supports the sub-Saharan
One essential outcome from the IFLA Fellows programme is the networking opportunity it creates and the value of it to all - whilst the Fellows are now back home they are still in contact with us and planning to stay in touch with colleagues on both sides of the pond.