EBIB — The Electronic Library, the electronic platform of the Polish Librarians Association
Iwona Sójkowska, Filip Podgórski, and Małgorzata Rożniakowska
EBIB — the “Electronic Library” (in Polish: Elektroniczna BIBlioteka at http://www.ebib.info/) refers to both the journal and the only professional electronic information platform for librarians in Poland. The platform was launched and is maintained by the group of active librarians from several libraries in Poland.
EBIB is a complex platform, which serves interlibrary communication. It is the guide through World Wide Web sources, which can be useful in everyday work of active librarians. The collected information is divided in sections and hypertext enables easy browsing in particular parts and fast access to the interesting problems. The platform has very intuitive navigation.
The idea of creating a Polish library journal available on the Internet was discussed in 1998. This journal was supposed to fill the gap in the electronic access to knowledge in the field of librarianship, library and information sciences. The assumption was made that readers of the new journal would be librarians, staff of the scientific information and documentation centers and LIS students.
The first number of the EBIB Bulletin (Electronic Information Bulletin for Librarians — ISSN 1507–7187) appeared on the Web in April 1999 and broadly covered today’s library environment. Articles resulted in vivid and passionate discussion about the value and role of librarians both in Poland and all over the world. At the same time the EBIB Bulletin gained a group of devoted readers. Over time, readers have started to participate in the journal development by suggesting subjects for the forthcoming issues and by writing the papers for publication.
The issues explored by EBIB Bulletin correspond to the interests of the employees of modern library and information centers and strictly pertain to the librarian professional practice. The timeliness of the problems identified in the published papers is inspiring, read with pleasure and cited by the librarians. The range of problems reflects the directions of the librarianship development, progress in library and information sciences in Poland and worldwide.
In 2007, the topics discussed in EBIB Bulletin included: innovation in libraries (no. 85 at http://www.ebib.info/2007/85/), international cooperation of libraries (no. 86 at http://www.ebib.info/2007/86/), Web diversity (no. 88 at http://www.ebib.info/2007/88/), diversity of the journals and librarians’ services all over the Europe. Publishing subject–oriented papers in every single issue of EBIB Bulletin give readers the opportunity to become familiar with many aspects of the main subject and with various points of view of the authors. Because of this, readers are provided with a complete view of the theme.
In addition to the subject–oriented papers, EBIB Bulletin contains regular sections or features (e.g., “Research, theory, visions”, “Communications”, “Reports”), which contain summaries of past events, research results, reviews of more interesting editorial releases.
The materials, which are published in EBIB Bulletin, are subject to editorial evaluation, which guarantee the high professional level and originality of the content. The State Commission for the Certification of Librarians regards the EBIB electronic publications as fulfilling all criteria of peer–reviewed papers, which is very important in curriculum development of young librarians.
The majority of authors publishing in EBIB Bulletin are librarians working at different types of Polish libraries (academic, research, public) or information centers, as well as library and information students. The latter are also editors of summer holiday issues (July–August) of the Bulletin. In this way, students can become this way acquainted with everyday problems of librarians’ work and vice versa: practicing librarians can learn about the students’ point of view and future plans, which may contribute to the further development of the profession.
One of the most valuable section of EBIB as a complex platform is the “News” section. It contains current information collected from whole country and also from the abroad. Whereas, the highest professional value on EBIB platform itself have EBIB Bulletin papers, which can be found in yet another separate section of the service titled “Bulletin”.
“Publications” form another section, which contains conference materials from the Polish library conferences sponsored by EBIB. In this section the reader can, among others, find the conference materials from the IInd Library Conference of the Technical University of Lodz (“The libraries of the XXI Century. Will we survive?”). Currently, the collection contains materials from seventeen Polish or international library conferences, and the content is still growing. In addition, two electronic books have been also published on the platform in the “Publications” section.
In “Services” section, users can find set of Polish and foreign libraries Web sites (together with searchable database of Polish libraries), directory of professional library journals, directory of conferences and the Web sites devoted to the law aspects of the profession.
Last but not least: the “Forum” section, where many librarians spend lot of time and energy discussing many problems related to librarians, libraries and librarianship.
The comprehensive set of necessary information means that EBIB service is the basic tool used at work by most librarians. Openness of the editorial office members and willingness to cooperate with users has resulted in readers who are keen to publish their papers in EBIB Bulletin. Not only they report the most important events to the editorial office, which are then posted in “News” section, readers also take part in subject–oriented discussion forums. All this makes the service being very lively and appreciated. It plays a crucial role in the improvement and professional life of all librarians: those still studying, the beginners and the professionals with long–lasting professional experience.
During several years of its activity, the EBIB platform has become the place for the exchange of ideas, where everybody (either in the EBIB Bulletin or on the Forum) can initiate interesting posts, which certainly will be continued, kindly answered or commented in depth with professional opinion. The integration among librarians is probably the greatest achievement of the editorial office and the project.
At present EBIB is maintained and edited by 31–person team. The board of directors, editorial board and other members are enrolled in research libraries all over Poland. They work and communicate remotely on a daily basis, with the use of a discussion list, Skype, e–mail messages or phone in order to make important decisions. Since 2001, the EBIB editorial office operates as a group of librarians associated with the Commission for Electronic Publishing of the Polish Librarian Association — the largest organization that associates librarians in Poland.
EBIB is a non–profit undertaking, therefore depends on volunteers to fulfill many duties. EBIB team members continuously aim at excellence in quality of service, quality of texts and level of user satisfaction.
A very important undertaking, which is being implemented step by step, is an English version of whole platform. So far, the EBIB Bulletin has the English version of papers’ abstracts and conference materials’ abstracts. Also the other sections of the platform are partly translated. The dream of EBIB team would be full translation of the service in order to promote Polish librarianship all over the world
About the authors
Iwona Sójkowska earned a Master of Arts in Library and Information Science from the LIS Department of University of Łódź, Poland, graduating in 1999. Since 1998 she has been working in the Science Reference Division of Technical University of Łódź Library.
Filip Podgórski received his Master of Arts in Library and Information Science from the LIS Department of University of Łódź, Poland in 2003. Since 2002 he has been working in the Science Reference Division of Technical University of Łódź Library.
Małgorzata Rożniakowska is currently employed in the Technical University of Łódź Library as head of the Information Systems and Digitization Division since 2008. She earned a Ph.D. degree in mechanics in 2007.
© 2007 Iwona Sójkowska, Filip Podgórski, and Małgorzata Rożniakowska.