Library automation and development initiatives
Library automation and development initiatives are considered as a priority for programme-wide thematic initiatives. A VLIR-UOS Library development &information management expert group consisting of experts in library management& automation, access to scientific information, repositories, digital libraries, etc., The library expert group has been composed in order to meet and provide programme wide expert services. It comes up with project proposals for funding that arise from mainly IUC programme needs. A number of these proposals are funded as Library crosscutting initiatives projects.
Libraries are indispensable components of the universities - a good functioning library can lift the quality of education and research in every university – and in the digital world, the functioning of libraries is changing. Information management and access to scientific information needs to be reorganised. In several IUC programmes, the library and information management is a significant component of institutional action and support.
Within the Library expert group a number of initiatives are steadily developing and some resulted in Library crosscutting projects:
- Access to scientific information
- training programme on the development of institutional repositories
- or acces to repositories in universities in developing countries
- STIMIUC: Scientific and Technological Information Management Training Course for IUC
- DOCBIBLAS: Development of Capacity Building in ISIS-based Library Automation Software (ABCD)
Only in the case of our DR Congo (Universitic – library component) and Cuba (Network ICT in development – component on access to scientific information) programmes this thematic approach was translated into a VLIR-UOS activity at national level. With the recent country strategy approach the challenge will be to link up national projects as is the case in DR Congo and Cuba with regional initiatives. The library crosscutting projects could prove to be a significant seed budget to realise this.
Already in the case of the DOCBIBLAS- crosscutting library project the activity of the expert group was geared up to international scale provoking impact at level of more than 25 universities in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Through this project VLIR-UOS contributed to bridge the digital divide and to the achievement of the UNESCO's Information For All Program (IFAP) goals and the education-related MDGs through the creation of new education opportunities. Information and knowledge are a crucial element in building a working Knowledge Society. Libraries are the channel to high-quality information. In an age of overflowing information, systematic and organized access to selected and quality-approved information is especially crucial in building up human capacity.