State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, is stressing the importance of all Jamaicans embracing technology.
“If you refuse to embrace technology, you will be left behind,” Mr. Robinson told a group of librarians and information specialists attending a seminar to introduce the implementation of a new international cataloguing system, Resource Description and Access (RDA), at the Medallion Hall Hotel in Kingston, on Tuesday, April 16.
He noted that technology has shifted the way in which people search for data or use libraries.
“We have to ensure that we adjust to this new reality where more and more of the persons who will be using library services, will want to have access to the internet to facilitate the research they will want to embark on,” Mr. Robinson informed.
The State Minister said that efforts by the Government to connect the libraries, post offices and schools, are part of an overall strategy to ensure that all Jamaicans have access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services.
These, he said, are being complemented by the community access point projects, whereby computer labs and internet cafes have been established in churches and other public sites numbering 124 so far across the island. He informed that another 60 are to be added soon.
Mr. Robinson noted that the traditional role of the librarian may have to change in terms of the services they offer to students and young persons, as they have as much access to the information as the librarians.
In the meantime, Head of the Cataloguing Section at the University of the West Indies, Rosemarie Runcie, noted that the new RDA system has emerged in response to the changing nature of how users discover and access information.
She assured them that the new system is an improved version of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2), currently being used in Jamaica.
“The RDA tool kit contains all the important areas, but with a few additional ones, created especially to accommodate more information about the resources themselves and in particular online resources and about the creators, so as to help us better identify them,” Ms. Runcie informed.
The RDA will also provide rules and guidelines to facilitate the description and access of all digital and analogue material, resulting in records that can be used in a variety of digital environments.
President of the Library and Information Association of Jamaica, Matthew Blake, urged his colleagues to begin using the system in their various organizations, as early as possible.
“A new standard is out. The world we interact with has begun to use it…So, as the world starts, we must also move to be in tandem with what is happening across the globe. Information is dynamic and we as dynamic professionals must move with it, to ensure that our clients (also) move to access that information that they need in a timely manner,” Mr. Blake urged.
The objectives of the seminar were to create national awareness of the introduction and implementation of RDA, which is an international requirement; and educate and inform all members of the Jamaica Library and Information Network (JAMLIN) community and Information Technology personnel about the system.
It was hosted by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the Library and Information Association of Jamaica and National Library of Jamaica.
By Andrea Braham, JIS Reporter