Har­ness­ing in­for­ma­tion for na­tional devel­op­ment

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Prof Fay Dur­rant Con­trib­u­tor

IT GIVES me great plea­sure to con­grat­u­late the mem­bers of the Li­brary and In­for­ma­tion As­so­ci­a­tion of Ja­maica, and ev­ery­one as­so­ci­ated with li­braries, on the di­rec­tions be­ing taken to ‘har­ness in­for­ma­tion for na­tional devel­op­ment’.

Li­braries in Ja­maica are scor­ing high marks for de­liv­er­ing ser­vices to a wide cross sec­tion of users, adopt­ing tech­nol­ogy-based ser­vices, and cu­rat­ing and in­cor­po­rat­ing a wide range of im­por­tant lo­cal ini­tia­tives. Ex­am­ples in­clude the col­lec­tion of Louise Ben­nett-Cover­ley’s pa­pers, which was re­cently launched by the Na­tional Li­brary of Ja­maica, and a ma­jor pro­ject, JLS: Us­ing Tech­nol­ogy to Em­power In­di­vid­u­als and Com­mu­ni­ties for Devel­op­ment, which is be­ing com­pleted this month.

We are for­tu­nate to be work­ing at a time when our com­mu­ni­ties are in­creas­ingly in­for­ma­tion con­scious, have an es­ti­mated 53 per cent In­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion, ex­pe­ri­ence in the use of Pro­fes­sor Dur­rant

so­cial me­dia for work and play, and the abil­ity to search and find in­for­ma­tion us­ing Google and other search en­gines. Li­brar­i­ans are now able to em­ploy tech­nolo­gies and ap­pli­ca­tions to in­ter­act with their com­mu­ni­ties and to de­liver ser­vices. In­creas­ingly, li­brar­i­ans are us­ing a va­ri­ety of meth­ods and tech­niques, adapted to the needs and abil­i­ties of their users to help them find ac­cu­rate and re­li­able in­for­ma­tion, and to an­a­lyse, in­ter­pret, and eval­u­ate it.

Go­ing for­ward, we see greater op­por­tu­ni­ties for li­brar­i­ans to har­ness in­for­ma­tion for na­tional devel­op­ment. They can be ex­pected to par­tic­i­pate in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the re­vised Ac­cess to In­for­ma­tion Act, to con­trib­ute to en­hanc­ing the process of ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency, and to make ap­pro­pri­ate in­for­ma­tion avail­able to the av­er­age ci­ti­zen, to re­searchers, spe­cial­ists, pol­icy and de­ci­sion mak­ers.

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