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66th IFLA Council and General

Jerusalem, Israel, 13-18 August


Code Number: 110-136-E
Division Number: VII
Professional Group: Continuing Professional Education
Joint Meeting with: -
Meeting Number: 136
Simultaneous Interpretation:   No  

Developing an electronic textbook for continuing professional education of librarians

Olga L. Lavrik
State Public Library for Scientific and Technical Literature with the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences Novosibirsk, Russia
Victor A. Gloukhov
Institute on Scientific Information for Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences Moscow, Russia
E-mail: vglukhov@inion.ru


This paper presents principles of composing and managing as well as the aims and the structure of an interactive textbook on electronic document delivery (EDD) first of all destined for the continuing education of library personnel using the method of distant training. The main tasks of the textbook proposed are to describe and demonstrate the work of operating EDD-services, to train librarians in main operations and to introduce and show basic principles and technological schemes for EDD-systems designing. The textboob is to become an easily accessible and practical tool to implement this information technology in any library in Russia. Moreover, the textbook is composed in such a way that its readers could get necessary consultations from leading experts on EDD, specialists of EDD-services in Russia, to establish partner contacts and to solve tasks on organizing EDD-services in libraries. The content model of the textbook is the structure of the activity and different aspects of this activity. In the textbook use is made of Internet-technologies. It represents an educational and methodical complex, each 9 chapters of which consists of textual, demonstrating, illustrative, instructive, training blocs, blocs with questions for self-control and a feed-back bloc. The textbook is accessible at: http://www.spsl.nsc.ru/lisa/index.htm and http://www.shpl.ru/docdeliv/list/



One of the problems of continuing professional education of librarians is developing textbooks, methodical guides, special lectures and reviews. Their peculiarities are determined by the fact that they are designed for those who have higher education, have mastered main library skills and thus, needn't to be taught systematized fundamental knowledge. On the other hand now the work of a librarian requires a continuing mastering of new operations and processes, renewed theoretical knowledge, especially under the attack of new information technologies.

The achieved level of information, technical and technological base in the majority of Russian libraries has created a firm base to put to practice one the mostly dynamic technologies in the library word - that of electronic document delivery (EDD). An electronic document and the systems of its delivery serve as a lever, which will allow the library science of the 21st century to make a decisive step towards the dream of all enlightened people: to have an access to any written or published document in any point on the globe. Realizing this perspective makes the Centers of continuing professional education pay special attention to training library personnel in this new technology.

The practical development of the textbook was inspired by the following quite definite circumstances:

  1. The analysis of the EDD-services in Russian libraries has shown that, unfortunately, the EDD-technology was firstly mastered and is mainly used by automatization departments, and not by interlibrary loan departments. Thus, there appeared an urgent need to make an easily accessible textbook, which could give knowledge, train in skills, consult on any EDD-problem and be a practical tool to implement this information technology in any library in Russia.
  2. Many libraries, technically and technologically ready to provide electronic copies and/or to be information intermediary on EDD, need help in establishing contacts, solving organizational problems, as EDD - is a technology of cooperation. That is they need library addresses (e-mails) and names of specialists, dealing with EDD.
  3. The libraries that provide electronic copies, would like to exchange their experience for publicity, to attract libraries to cooperation.
To develop the textbook the authors have summarized and generalized the results of their theoretical investigations and developments, as well as practical experience, gained at organizing and managing EDD-services at their libraries. Of great use was the tutor's experience of the authors.

1. The main principles of the textbook development

Keeping in mind the idea to develop an interactive textbook accessible via Internet or on CD-ROM for Russian librarians advancing their professional level from the very beginning we think who are its readers.

We decided that first of all that are the heads of the interlibrary loan departments who got their higher education somewhere 10 years ago, that is, in the pre-personal computer era in Russia. Probably training will be necessary to much older specialists, who also lack experience of work in the electronic environment, if they have to master EDD. Young librarians will need training as well, as they have only a general idea how to use a computer, but lack special knowledge on EDD-technology. That means that the textbook should contain explanation of the simplest notions, processes and realities. They are also necessary, as due to some psychological peculiarities people do not always dare to ask about this or that thing. They are ashamed of their ignorance and are afraid that won't understand a verbal explanation just on the spot.

One of the peculiarities of training, which experienced tutors take into account, is specific character of a person's perception of new information, knowledge, that is specific character of thinking. One person needs a logical explanation, another one - a graphic or vivid one. Linear and hypertext on the computer screen is more suitable for the first type of presentation. The solutions should be find for the second one for our particular case. Thus, the first principle for the textbook was determined as that of psychological, intellectual and emotional comfortability.

The next self-evident principle was determined as that of interactivity. An interactive form of educating is widely used, as it allows readers to master necessary knowledge and feel themselves in a real operating environment, to become an active participant, to analyze practical situations, to make decisions. In our case interactivity makes it possible to use on-line search systems and EDD-services in training (but in real time!) mode, to fulfill real practical exercises and to consult with experts in EDD.

And, the last but not the least principle is that of composite character. A computer textbook is a software and methodical complex, which is to give the opportunity to master a course or its part independently. It should combine the properties of a habitual textbook, a reference book and a guide, book of problems and practical works. A computer textbook, a priori, possesses the following advantages in comparison with usual types of textbooks, as itt:

  • offers any reader a convenient order (succession) and volume of different forms of the work: alternation of studying theory, analysis of examples, methods of solving tasks, mastering definite skills, performing independent investigations;
  • actively forms motives of further intellectual activity;
  • provides a reader a possibility to control himself what (s)he has learnt;
  • saves time of readers, necessary to study the course.

2. Aims and tasks

The aims of the textbook result from the above-mentioned definite circumstances that inspired its development. In our case the textbook should provide librarians theoretical base and train in practical skills, supply all information and data necessary to organize an EDD-service. Thus, its tasks are as follows:
  • to acquaint with the history of EDD;
  • to describe and demonstrate the work of the leading EDD-services - at home and abroad;
  • to help to understand the basic principles and technological schemes for designing EDD-systems;
  • to guide mastering main operations;
  • to offer recommendations, models and algorithms to organize EDD-service in a library;
  • to organize and build the textbook so, that its readers could consult with EDD-experts on any problem, to establish contacts for cooperation by e-mail with partners and to solve all managing EDD- problems in their libraries.
Thus, we hope that our textbook will satisfy main demands made to such electronic publications.

3. Structure

For the model of the textbook's content the structure of the activity is used, as well as its different aspects. Now it consists of the following sections:
  • History of EDD
  • Modern EDD Technologies
  • Juridical Aspect
  • Economical Aspect
  • The Model of EDD-Service
  • The Model of an Intermediary EDD-Service
  • Practical Experience of EDD-Services:
  • services in foreign libraries, library associations and information firms
  • services in home libraries
  • Users' Work within EDD-Systems. Practical advises
  • Consultations. Feed-back. Contacts
  • Subject Index
  • Library (References. Sites)
Nearly each section contains blocs with:
  • some text with internal hypertext links to definitions, specifications and very detailed explanations for those who need them;
  • illustrations, e.g. examples of different ordering forms, figures with correctly and incorrectly scanned documents in different formats, registration forms, examples of e-mails, texts of juridical documents and declarations, contracts on co-operation, etc.;
  • demonstrations: external hypertext links - depending on the subject of the section - to interfaces of EDD-services, FTP-servers, etc.;
  • guides or instructions, helping to master scanning, files treatment, sending (getting) files by FTP, etc.;
  • training or book of problems and tasks and real assignments to use e-mail, to search in this or that electronic catalogue or data base and to order electronic copies through interactive forms or built-in modules in EDD-services, to scan documents of different formats, polygraph quality, texture, to make PDF-files, to send/get files by FTP, etc.;
  • questions for self-control;
  • e-mails of authors, experts for feed-back, contacts, consultations;
  • references, the list of literature used, hyperlinked, where possible, to full-texts of articles, URLs of home and foreign EDD-services and Internet-resources on EDD.
To illustrate the structure of a section we'll disclose the section "The Model of an Intermediary EDD-Service". Its structure is as follows. Texts: description and figures of possible technological schemes and necessary technical base, tables with e-mails, names and URLs of EDD-services to establish contacts. Demonstrations: links to EDD-services and Intermediary EDD-Service. Illustrations: examples of contracts on cooperation, possible versions of publicity for users, letters to solve organizational problems. Practical assignments: to make a pre-designing investigation of the library, to determine possible users and an average number of orders, necessary technical base, to decide what libraries will the main providers of electronic copies, etc. Questions for self-control. E-mails for feed-back and on-line consultations.

5. Some general remarks

The work at the textbook has been started thanks to the initiative of the Siberian Center of Continuing Professional Education of Librarians in the State Public Library for Scientific and Technical Literature with the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. But to make a true interactive textbook we discussed with our colleagues in different cities how to use real systems for training, asked them to play the roles of experts and consultants, invited them to send us information about their services and do it each time after updating. The textbook will be continuously updated. We would like to invite to co-operation all those interested in EDD to put us questions, send their remarks and wishes.

Now the text-book is in Russian. Maybe, if we'll understand the need, it will be translated into English, although we know that organizational and technological models in Russian EDD-services differ from those in European countries and the USA. Nevertheless, EDD as a means of access is the technology of interaction, an important characteristics of any library and one of the mechanisms of forming libraries without borders. Thus, despite different models, languages and prices libraries are doomed to co-operation.


The textbook presented is accessible at the servers http://www.spsl.nsc.ru/lisa/index.htm (Novosibirsk) and http://www.shpl.ru/docdeliv/list (Moscow) in the centers of continuing education of library personnel. Now it is being installed at the server of the Association of EDD-services in Russia. Its URL is www.edd.ru. Certainly, it is only the beginning of a continuing work and the textbook is to be renewed and developed until it is in active use.

A world-famous Russian physicist Lev Landau used to say that educating is a favorite occupation of women. Librarians are mainly women. So, the authors do hope that reading their interactive textbook will be not only useful but also an interesting and exciting occupation.


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