Librarian, Blogger, Dreamer…
International Conference on Academic Libraries, ICAL begins today (05 October 2009) at the University of Delhi. In the inaugural session Chief Guest, Dr. Sam Pitroda, Chairman, Knowledge Commission boosted the confidence level of gathered professionals by announcing the Commission’s recommendations on libraries to the Goverment, which he said is going to be a reality soon. The recommendations were the institution of the National Library Commission, National Census on Libraries and the establishment of Indian Institute of Library and Information Science. If these things become a reality, needless to say, that will change the entire scope of Library and Information Science in India. Let us hope for the best.
(The ICAL-2009 Proceedings with photographs are available at LibraryNext )
The pre conference session was a tutorial on Virtual reference by Ms. Susan McGlamery, QuestionPoint Senior Product Manager, OCLC. QuestionPoint is a virtual reference software under the 24/7 Reference Cooperative aims to provide quality information to the communities served by the cooperative network of member libraries in the most efficient manner possible.
This service provides online reference assistance to the primary users of the participating member libraries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ( Ref: QuestionPoint, 24/7 Reference Collaborative Policies and Procedures)
The said software integrates all the virtual reference services such as chat reference(qwidget), e-mail reference, social networks,blogs with user friendly librarian interfaces. One difference between the freely available chat widgets (e.g. Meebo) and the Qwidget is that we will get session transcripts and survey responses of the users in the later one. Every session can be recorded and be evaluated with periodical reports. The idea of local and global databases is great. This will help to realise the global reference librarians network. The software is new in India. OCLC is running pilot projects in the University of Delhi, Gulbarga University and Indian Institute of Social Sciences.
Ms. Susan also mentioned about the participation of school library networks in using the software. It is better to include a school from India as a pilot project. Anyway it was a very good presentation which gave insights into the emerging trends which will help the librarians to reach the users where they are.