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Virginia Libraries

Current editors:
Beth DeFrancis defrancb@georgetown.edu, Editor
John Connolly jconnolly@nsl.org, Assistant Editor

Winter, 2001
Volume 47, Number 4

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Promoting Understanding

by Barbie Selby and Earlene Viano

In light of our nation's, indeed, our world's, recent tragic events it seems likely that many of us have had similar impulses to those of the 3,000 people who are weekly applying to the CIA. We want to do something. We want to comfort someone. We want to contribute to the victims and their families.

We were extraordinarily pleased to see that Steve Helm quickly and prominently included a link to donate to the American Red Cross on the VLA web site. While we all know the VLA web pages wouldn't be the first place anyone would look for such a link, it says a lot about our organization that the link is there. Good work, Steve.

One of the articles in this issue of Virginia Libraries seems particularly appropriate for this sad, but challenging, time in our country's history. Mr. Irwin Uran of Loudoun County gave the Loudoun County Public Library a one-million-dollar gift to be used toward promoting a greater understanding of our neighbors and better relations among all people. What a noble and timely reminder that we all need to learn more about our shared past and our shared present!

Understanding is of many kinds-understanding one's self, one's neighbors, writers whom one reads, even other species one interacts with. Douglas Gordon's in-depth interview with Donald McCaig touches on all these possibilities for understanding and gained insight. Reading Mr. McCaig's thoughts on the training of a sheep dog and the almost mystical connection between dog/sheep/man is illuminating and thought-provoking. Surely, if such connections can exist there's hope of strengthening our connections with one another.

Our final two articles are more traditionally library-oriented. In "Managing Electronic Resources in Technical Services" Molly Cox and Ladd Brown describe the workflow and procedures that have worked well at Virginia Tech to track and organize their acquisition and maintenance of electronic resources. They include an outline of an "Electronic Resource Diary," by means of which they are able to organize the bits and pieces of information libraries need to know regarding their electronic purchases and databases.

Ken Winter of VMI reports on their dynamically generated guides called SourceFinder. Prompted by the excessive amount of work involved in regularly updating static web resource lists and by projects, such as VCU's "MyLibrary" project, VMI has implemented a database-supported, dynamically generated, easily-updated reference tool for its students. For those of us who haven't investigated the possibilities of database-driven web guides this article should show us the way.

Beginning with this issue "Virginia Books" has a new name, "Virginia Reviews," to reflect its broader scope. With the proliferation of electronic information resources, we feel it's time to expand the coverage of our reviews to include this media. As seems fitting in Virginia, our first review will be of the 1880 Virginia census CD from the Church of Latter Day Saints. Carolyn Barkley will do the honors. We hope you enjoy and profit from this additional coverage, and we promise to still "do books."


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