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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Mary J Moore, MA, PhD (University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio)
Description: This compilation of articles on advances in science and technology libraries was published simultaneously as the journal, Science & Technology Libraries, Vol. 24, No. 1/2 and No. 3/4, 2003. It includes 24 chapters with multiple authors.
Purpose: The stated objective is to show that science and technology libraries are evolving proactively, motivated by users' needs. The value of the book goes beyond simply demonstrating that librarians are trendsetters. It provides an informative review of numerous library innovations and is also inspiring to librarian change agents.
Audience: The book is of greatest interest to science and technology librarians, library leaders, and administrators. It should also interest students and faculty members in the information sciences. The chapter authors are librarians on the front lines of the innovations described and have actually done the things many of us dream about.
Features: The book conveniently brings together information about many innovations including changes in publishing, development of digital collections, resulting changes to the physical library, new services, and organizational change. Like most Haworth publications, there does not seem to be enough white space to aid in reading comprehension. And, although the purpose states that users' needs are the motivating factors, the index does not include relevant terms like evaluation, needs assessment, usability or focus groups.
Assessment: My delight with this book is tempered by a few warnings: it is wise to be wary of any printed book with the word "innovations" in the title; a few Web links no longer work; be cautious before ordering and verify that your library does not already own the journal where the information was simultaneously co-published; your reading progress will probably be slowed by the obsession to check out the URLs of many of these innovations! Even with these cautions, the book is recommended. It is not a cookbook with recipes for replicating innovations, but it documents the history and context of fascinating projects like ARLIS, DSpace, IntelliDoc, and MyLibrary. Although no single work can cover every conceivable library innovation, a librarian can learn something new reading just a few pages.