International Journal of Libraries and Information Services
Vol 56 (2006), No 4, pages 201-274
ISSN 0024-2667

Table of Contents


Closing Digital Divides: The United States' Policies

Abstract. Since the emergence of information technology, the gap between information 'haves' and 'have-nots' has been broadening: the information rich become richer, while the information poor are poorer. This situation contributes to various issues related to individuals and society. Interestingly enough, although the United States is one of the leading countries in the information and communication technology (ICT) field, according to many studies, the digital divide still exists in many layers and from different perspectives. This paper critically discusses how the US anticipates these issues as well as how national information policy is emerging to close the digital divide.

Serving Culturally Diverse Communities in South African Public Libraries

Abstract. This article presents an overview of the multicultural nature of South Africa including the meaning of multiculturalism and multicultural public libraries in the South African environment. An empirical survey was conducted to determine the status quo of the collections and services being offered by South African public libraries to culturally diverse communities, and to determine if these are representative of South Africa's culturally diverse communities. The findings suggest that public libraries in South Africa often do not recognise the diverse nature of the communities they serve. Causes for the current situation are identified. Finally, suggestions for the development of multicultural library services and collections are also given. The results show the importance of training in cultural diversity issues for libraries.

Multiple Cultures, Multiple Intelligences: Applying Cognitive Theory to Usability of Digital Libraries

Abstract. Digital libraries are increasingly serving a worldwide audience. Persons of different cultural backgrounds can hold diverse perceptions of what constitutes an effective, efficient and satisfying information-seeking experience, and digital library design therefore grows more complex when its user population traverses cultural boundaries. This paper reviews the state of research on cross-cultural digital library usability and identifies reasons for lack of progress in the field. An improved framework is proposed to support the discussion and evaluation of subjective cultural factors in a deeper, more systematic fashion. The cognitive theory of Howard Gardner, multiple intelligences theory, is explored as one potential framework for exploring cross-cultural digital library usability. Each component of Gardner's theory is introduced, placed in a cultural context, and then briefly reviewed in terms of its potential application to digital libraries. Alternative frameworks, particularly the cultural dimensions theory of Geert Hofstede, are also introduced. Multiple intelligences theory is found to be helpful for under standing the nature of cultural variables, but not readily translatable into operational design principles for digital libraries. Combining multiple intelligences cognitive theory with cultural theory and global HCI design principles may prove a useful direction for future research.

Scholarly Communication in Scientific Research Practice - A Study of Computer Sciences Faculty

Abstract. This study explores computer scientists' modes of communication within scientific inquiry. Situated in a socially constructed research practice, the findings provide a focused view of the collective use of two sets of communication mechanisms - electronic information mechanisms and interpersonal communication channels - within a technology-intensive field. These results are theoretically and pragmatically interesting for both scholarly communication research and library and information professionals. They suggest that to understand scholarly communication, exploring social cues embedded in the real world practice will yield valuable information, while the detailed examination of research practice may provide a resource for the general design of systems to support collaborative scientific work.

Libraries as Scientific, Educational and Cultural Institutions in the Ottoman Empire (XIVth - XVIIth Centuries)

Abstract. Libraries are social institutions that have existed in Turkish cultural and scientific life for 800 years. During this long period, they took an active part in preserving, reproducing the sources of knowledge, and making them available to different levels of the society. By analysing the functions and characteristics of the libraries in the Ottoman Empire between the XIVth and XVIIth centuries, one can see that without any doubt the book and the library tradition played important roles in the scientific, social and cultural formation of society in a nation nearly 600 years old. The establishment of important libraries, library types, their collections, their employees and their goals and functions show that libraries held an important place in the social, scientific and cultural life of the Ottoman Empire.

Conference Report

Second library conference organized by the Library of the Technical University of Lodz: Some perspectives in Poland