Computers in Libraries
Vol. 20, No. 10 Nov./Dec. 2000
Window to the World
by Kathy Dempsey

This month's issue of CIL is a little different, and, we hope, extra interesting. As we come to the close of the millennium (according to the "real" math), we decided that we wanted to take a look around the world and see what was going on.

It's so easy to get caught up in everything that's happening in your own job and your own life, sometimes you forget to look at the big picture. But I happen to be a believer in looking at the big picture in order to gain better perspective about your own little picture. For instance, if you're frustrated that you haven't had time or money to upgrade all 250 of your library's machines to the very latest and greatest operating system, remember that some libraries are just getting a few computers up and running for the first time. If you lament the fact that your favorite database doesn't have every single search parameter you'd like to use, think about the fact that some of the world's greatest knowledge has not even been put into databases yet, and that some people are still searching through card catalogs!

In the stories that we bring you this month in our Library Technology Around the World issue, authors tell the tales of their first steps away from situations like the ones I've described above. If you've forgotten what it was like to automate for the first time or to start building a database, these articles will remind you of just how far you've come. Or, if your library is just embarking on a major computer project, we hope that these articles will give you technical ideas and guidance, and maybe a little inspiration too.

For instance, check out the tale of the last decade in the Bahamas, which describes what librarians there went through to get and install their first automated systems. It was no small feat! You'll also be interested to read about the training that one company offered to people in Singapore. Many of them were not even librarians, so the classes had to morph to fit students' needs as they went along. Lastly, we bring you news of a Greek online database. Turns out that a lot of valuable archaeological data has been published only in print and in various languages, and so has been unable to be shared in the scientific community. But now the ARGOS project is bringing it all together and making it searchable for millions of scholars.

To cap this off, our anchor piece is a roundup that describes a lot of digital library projects that are in progress across Europe. It's fascinating to learn what other organizations are doing as we enter the most technological era the world has ever seen.

And so we want this issue to be your window to the world of today's library technology. As you read about the great strides that are being made around the globe, hopefully you'll gain some perspective about how your own library fits into the big picture.

Kathy Dempsey, Editor

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