The Connected World - Opening Electronic Doors at the National Library of Canada
||Bottomley, Lucy J.; Nancy Brodie
||The Connected World - Opening Electronic Doors at the National Library of Canada
||Proceedings of an ICCC/IFIP Conference "Towards the Information Rich Society" held at the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary 20-22 April 1998/Edited by Fytton Rowland and John W T Smith. Washington D.C.: ICCC Press, 1998, 286 p. ISBN: 1-891365-02-9
||For hundreds of years, libraries have been the custodians of the accumulated knowledge of human civilization - collecting it, preserving it, and making it available and accessible to those who need it or want to use it. This tradition, supported by a variety of legislation, is continuing. With the advent of technology, libraries have changed how they do their work but not why they do it. As we move into the 21st century, the National Library of Canada's basic mandate to collect, preserve and provide access to Canada's published heritage remains unchanged. What has changed over the years is the nature of the published heritage. It now includes electronic publications. Technological progress has expanded (and made more ambitious) our information needs, having placed at our disposal a greater access to national and international information resources. Consequently, the National Library of Canada has broadened its mandate. It not only provides access to the country's published heritage. It also endeavours to facilitate access for all Canadians to world-wide networks of information resources. There are many complex challenges related to providing or facilitating an equitable and universal access to these networks. Creating and managing an electronic collection, preservation or archiving of this electronic collection, and investing in a technical infrastructure required to support a large national heritage collection are the three challenges that will be highlighted. The world becomes connected at an economic expense. Some of the costs are related to the lack of standards, others to the continued inoperability of systems. With digitization costs ranging from $2 to $6 per page and given the ever decreasing support for cultural agencies, other financial solutions have been sought. The National Library has become engaged in various (government and private industry) partnerships for its multiple digitization activities that include digitizing unique manuscript collections, creating electronic versions of its current and past exhibits, and making available in electronic format some unique bibliographic tools. These activities will be briefly reviewed. World Wide Web, the final destination for the National Library's digital information, is gradually becoming the backbone of the National Library's services and operations and many resources are dedicated to making this happen. The Library's publishing program is now driven by technology and more than one format may be used when publishing electronically. Based on user requirements, some publications are retained in print or at least are available on a print-on-demand basis. Some of the web-related issues that will be reviewed are: equitable access, including accessibility for persons with disabilities and bilingualism (English and French).
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