The authors present the results of the workshop ‘E-info discovery & management for institutes in the South' organized by Hasselt University Library for VLIR-UOS at Antwerp University. The workshop brought together the practical experience in the South with the technical expertise in the North. This paper gives a summary of the presentations of the workshop. It also presents an overview of tools and software for information management and discovery in the context of usability in the South. Finally, this type of workshop helps to define the role of libraries and librarians. Libraries are moving from an acquisition management to an access management role. The debate about the relevance of discovery tools and library catalogues is only starting. Other challenges are the result of changes in scientific communication and evaluation. Which role can librarians play in the upcoming scientific social networks? Which role can they play in the research information systems that universities and other research institutes are installing?
Goals And Program Of The Workshop
When it comes to making higher education more research-oriented, access to scientific information is one of the main challenges, especially in the South. Such accesscan be very expensive and difficult to organize. When resources are available through programs like PERIof INASP, Research4Life or EIFL, institutes often don’t have insight into the available resources and how to subscribe to them, let alone how to make access easy and effective.
In modern western libraries there are several solutions, e.g. ‘link-resolvers’ that help to find the full-text of a document found in the catalogue, a database or a search engine. (e.g. LinkSource by EBSCO). Other solutions are the (very expensive) all-comprehensive discovery systems1 offered by the major library system providers (e.g. Primo by Ex-Libris). Some open source software are being developed, e.g. VUFind, Blacklight, the ‘LibreCat’ tools at UGent. Can they deliver the same services as the commercial products? How can websites like Mendeley, Zotero, CiteULike or Research Gate with their social platforms be used to access, manage and share resources on the institute level?
There is a lot of experience in Flemish academic libraries with these different solutions and a high need in the South to learn about it. The project brought together the experts in Flanders, project experts working in the South and information managers from institutes in the South.
The information managers invited for the workshop needed to have expertise or at least relevant experience in the domain. In that way the workshop was different from a classic training. Therefore, the members of the selection committee decided to take into account the following elements when they made the selection of the participants:
The candidate has expertise/experience with one or more of the following topics: open access resources, special collections like Research4Life or INASP, discovery systems, social media in the Library and/or local management of e-content.
The candidate presents a complete, precise and clear report on their activities when applying.
The candidate should preferably have a good knowledge of English as well as being communicative.
The committee also took into account the following criteria: the candidate is from a country with a VLIR-UOS country strategy, the candidate is from a university involved in an actual or former VLIR-UOS project, the candidate took part in a Stimulate or Lib@Webinternational training programme and there should be an even distribution of candidates over as many countries as possible.