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61st IFLA General Conference - Conference Proceedings - August 20-25, 1995

Section of Science and Technology Libraries

Annual Report 1994

Nancy D. Anderson
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1409 West Green Street
Illinois 61801
Fax: (1-217) 2444362
e-mail: ndanderson@vmd.uiuc.edu
is Chair of the Section of Science and Technology Libraries.

Sinikka Koskiala

Helsinki University of Technology Library
Otaniementie 9
02150 Espoo
Fax: (358-0) 4514132
e-mail: sinikka.koskiala@hut.fi
is Secretary.

Standing Committee and Section membership

The Section has 100 registered members: 17 association, 77 institutional, and six personal affiliates. The Standing Committee is composed of 12 members from eight countries, plus one corresponding me mber and two special advisors.


World Survey of Availability of Theses in Science and Technology

Entries have been received from 24 countries, with 10 more expected. Since important contributors are still not included, Dennis Shaw (UK) provided IFLA HQ with an electronic file for putting up on t he IFLANET and on the IFLA Gopher at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in the Netherlands. Announcements of its availability will be made in IFLA Journal, IATUL Newsletter, and various sci-te ch listservers.

Feasibility Study of the Use of Satellite Communication Channels for Electronic Data Transfer

Dennis Shaw is pursuing this project, which was described at the workshop held in Havana. The final report will be widely distributed, possibly through an article in INSPEL.

Electronic Deposition of Full-Text Grey Literature Documents

In 1993 the SC and the Coordinating Board approved funding for a proposal from Andrei Zemskov (Russia) to create an electronic depository of full-text grey literature. A review committee was named to comment and assist in preparation of a more detailed proposal and workplan. In 1994 the SC assisted in preparing a questionnaire and agreed that the final report would be published in a library jour nal as well as serve as the focus for a workshop to be held at the 1996 Beijing Conference.

Survey on the Content and Structure of the Information of WWW/Gopher Services of IATUL and the IFLA Section of Science and Technology Libraries

The Standing Committee approved for funding a project directed by Sinikka Koskiala. Its initial phase will be reported on in Istanbul. The second phase of the study will be carried out in 1995, focus ing on an in-depth analysis of the content and structure of the WWW/Gopher services' information presentations.


The Section's informational brochure has been revised and English, Russian and Spanish language editions were distributed in Havana. A French language version will be prepared during 1995 with a Chin ese language version being explored.

Liaison with IATUL

Regular reports on the activities of IATUL (International Association of Technical University Libraries) will be given during SC meetings during conferences. In addition, the Section and IATUL will s tart sending their newsletters to each other by e-mail.

Future Conferences

Istanbul 1995

The theme chosen for the open session is "The Players in the Archiving of Electronic Journals", which will be an offshoot of the Guest Lecture Series, "The Future of the Scientific Journal", which th e Section is also helping to plan.

Beijing 1996

The theme chose for the open session is "Networking and Document Delivery of Electronic Journals". Co-sponsorship will be sought with the Section on Document Delivery and Interlending. The Section's workshop theme is "Grey Literature". Andrei Zemskov, principal investigator of the Section's project on grey literature, will organize and moderate the workshop.

Havana Meetings

Standing Committee Meetings

Only five of the 12 Standing Committee members attended the conference, the lowest attendance in many years. Even though the SC had a quorum, the small number attending the meetings was of considerab le concern to the members. The Chair reported that she had written to those who had not attended recent meetings. Of those, two had volunteered to serve as reviewers or translators. Those not respond ing and who are due for renomination are being asked to step aside. SC members volunteered to contact individuals to encourage them to be nominated.


The Section co-sponsored, with the UDT Core Programme, the Section on Information Technology, and the Section of Social Science Libraries, an all-day workshop on "Telecommunication Options for the '9 0s". The morning session concentrated on Internet basics. Leigh Swain and Paula Tallim, both from the UDT Core Programme, provided an excellent overview. Marcos Silva (Canada) talked about Internet p rotocols (FTP, SMTP, remote login) and Steve Cisler (USA) gave an excellent presentation on navigation tools (Gopher, Wais, Archie, WWW, Mosaic). In the afternoon, various speakers presented papers o n communications options. One of the speakers, David Price (UK) talked about the Section's project on satellite-based communications (IMARSAT).

Open Session

This year the open session was not scheduled for simultaneous interpretation. This resulted in the lowest attendance in recent memory, since only those librarians who could understand English came to the session as all papers were given in English. Spanish translations were not available at the time of the session even though they were to have been provided. In order to compensate, the local lia ison person, America Santos prepared a Spanish summary of each paper's abstract for the benefit of the Latin Americans in the audience.

The theme chosen for the open session was "Social Barriers to Access of Sci-Tech Information". One of the papers resulted from a call for papers posted on Internet, while the other two came from pers onal contacts. Jagdish Agrawal (Saudi Arabia) was unable to attend the conference, so his paper was read by Martin Kesselman (USA). Barbara Ford (USA) was viewed on CNN several days before her presen tation as she waited to board her flight from Miami. Ms Ford's general talk on information literacy opened the session. It was of interest to a variety of librarians as the creation of a core program me on literacy is gaining momentum within IFLA. Her papers were followed by papers from Mr Agrawal and Jesus Lau (Mexico), which addressed the problem and solutions by non-English speakers to the dom inance of English as the language of choice for sci-tech literature.

Information Literacy as a Barrier

Today most of us have too much information. Computer tools help us manage information but also bring us more information. The changes in formats and organization of information mean that the users ne ed guidance. Information literacy is a concept that has emerged to describe the task ahead. The paper provides background on the concept of information literacy and discusses information literacy act ivities worldwide with emphasis on science and technology.

Linguistic Obstructions to Scientific Information in High Technology Areas

The rapidly advancing high technology area of computer science is dependent on language-dependent tools and techniques. The literature for these tools and techniques is overwhelmingly concentrated in English. Well-recognized bodies that make these standards and techniques (ANSI, ISO, etc.) are heavily influenced by English. Third World countries that import these tools and technology face a larg e problem of technology transfer: training. In Third World countries, where English is not the first language, the methods to filter and control the potentially unlimited flux of information must inc lude methods to deal with the language issue. Universities like ours, through their faculty research and development, are contributing heavily towards developing the methods to deal with the language issue. Our computer science degree programmes have an active track of Arabization. Our student projects in overwhelming numbers concentrate on Arabization. At the R&D level, our faculty colleagues a ctively pursue research in Arabization. Private industry is also contributing to this effort by offering tools and techniques (Arab Windows, WYSIWYG word processors, spread sheets, data management sy stems, etc.). There is also an effort for developing standards for this Arabization. However, the solutions that we share are localized solutions at the national level and do raise issues of portabil ity, interoperability, etc., across national boundaries. There is a need to have multilingual tools and techniques as standards for a better solution, and the Third World countries ought to collectiv ely look at them. These needs are also discussed.

Scientific Information Can Be an Under-Used Commodity: The Mexican Case

Scientific and technical information (S&T) is a must for the development of any country. However, S&T information is not an easy product to digest for countries which lack scientific development. The main limitations are social barriers, such as the lack of a research culture, poor reading habits, a low level of education and a poor information dissemination infrastructure. These factors inhibit S&T information use more than the economic ones in middle income countries. This paper disccuses the social barriers that limit S&T infrmation use in Mexico. Among such barriers are: nationalism, or al culture, and the non-research oriented educational system.