One hundred libraries are now participating in a pilot project to create a collaborative authoritative reference service using the collective expertise of reference librarians worldwide to provide answers to information requested by researchers anytime, anywhere.
The Library of Congress and OCLC Online Computer Library Center are partners in the Collaborative Digital Reference Service pilot project that has so far attracted participation from libraries in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom.
In May, the Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Digital Reference Team, Hillsboro, Oregon, became the 100th library to participate in the Collaborative Digital Reference Service project.
More libraries are encouraged to participate in the pilot project that will continue through 2001. Academic, national, public and special libraries as well as consortia have so far enrolled in the project. Any library can participate in the project after its profile has been approved by the Collaborative Digital Reference Service. There is no charge for participation during the pilot project.
OCLC is developing a knowledge base and profiling service, as well as providing operations and marketing support to the project. Together, the Library of Congress and OCLC expect to develop a viable model for a self-sustaining digital reference service and promote the Collaborative Digital Reference Service in the library community.
"It is a great opportunity in Boise, Idaho, for us to be part of an exciting project," said Rosemary Cooper, librarian at Boise Public Library. "The bulk of our experience to date has been in working with the Collaborative Digital Reference Service and our reference staff in developing enthusiasm and commitment to participate in the project. The Collaborative Digital Reference Service is about more than providing answers. It is about sharing expertise. It adds the important element of interpretation and analysis to data."
Information on how to become a participant in the project is at www.loc.gov/cdrs.