Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Library hop : a trip to the IRRI Library - where rice literature reign supreme

The idea of having a class fieldtrip excites me for various reasons. Aside from the fact that it would be a great learning experience, i consider it as the best way to explore new places, meet new friends and a breath of fresh air from the crowded and busy city life. The trip to IRRI Library is primarily educational coupled with side and food trips. That is, dissecting the Millenium - the library's information system while indulging into the taste of liempo and original buko pie.

Considered by many as a benchmark of what a library could offer, The IRRI Library that was established to support the organization's need for information on agricultural research specifically on rice-farming could also be the epitome of a modern information center. It maximizes the use of latest technologies and adopts current trends in library practice. It's integrated library system - the Millenium ILS is considered one of the best. With a global clientele and a worldwide coverage, the Library offers bibliographic and full-text information online through its website integrating the main catalog, rice databases, E-journals, Electronic Resources, and other online databases with its main library services from basic library loans to document deliveries. The system however is too costly to maintain for an institution dependent on donor countries and agencies. It has also provisions on digitizing its collection. Declining budget also hinders the library from acquiring materials and maintaining online subscriptions, thus librarians resorted to open access sources for journal articles, soliciting materials from originating institutions and availing free information sources found on the internet. They also avail Web 2.0 technologies to promote the library's collection and latest activities - a blog to update everybody of what's new in the IRRI Library. It is a step to further enhance to library's visibility and value to users. With its rich collection of rice literature that is being considered the largest in the world, there is an affirmation that it is undoubtedly one of the best. It is however quite alarming that it's strength is not invincible to global downfall. Just like any other libraries, it follows the trend of a declining support leading to a declining value, and a declining is considered a major threat to librarians. I could only wish for its continuous operation and service and could only hope of good things for librarians in the future. Hmmnnn, it's too serious. Maybe I'm just hungry by then...or I just want to explore Los Banos at its best.
The wacky part of the fieldtrip - indulging into a feast of liempo, seafoods, rambutan and buko pie with photo shoots in between - for social networking. Besides, flicker and facebook are Web 2.0 technologies, so it make sense. The group's word of the day - LIEMPO. It was an awesome experience. Objectives were met. The group enjoyed it. We could only complain on the butt cramps we had on our trip back to Manila. 

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