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IAU WG on Libraries: Report September 2003

The IAU Commission 5 Working Group on Libraries aims to moderate between astronomers and librarians. The publication paradigm continues to shift from printed material to electronic formats for scientific literature, leading to an evolved concept of library services and information access. Librarians are taking on new and diversified roles. While demands for traditional services continue, the importance of accessibility and archiving of older materials is widely recognized. Long-term solutions are needed in order to guarantee future access to today's knowledge.

The complex problems of emerging technologies as well as preserving existing materials require close cooperation among librarians, scientists, publishers and computer specialists. The LISA IV conference (Library and Information Services in Astronomy IV) provided an excellent platform to discuss the state of the art of information maintenance, delivery, and preservation, to learn from invited experts the directions in which our profession is moving, and to be inspired by a variety of ideas and projects presented by colleagues from around the world. LISA IV was held July 2-5, 2002, in Prague, Czech Republic, and was hosted by the Astronomical Institute of Charles University and the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. It was attended by more than 100 participants from 26 countries. Sessions focused on physical versus electronic libraries; trends, collaborations and models in electronic publications; networking among astronomy librarians; virtual observatory projects; preservation and history of astronomy; bibliometrics; library user requirements; and innovative services and projects in developing countries. The proceedings will be published by the U.S. Naval Observatory; an electronic version will be available on the web at http://www.eso.org/libraries/lisa4/ LISA V is envisioned to take place in approx. 4 years.

Existing projects are maintained and extended, including several digitization projects of historical documents, listings of core astronomy books and journals, a database of annual reports of observatories, and national cooperations among astronomy libraries. Virtual Observatory projects emphasize the need to interlink observing proposals, astronomical data and published papers. The IAU Thesaurus may prove to be of use as a tool for automated information retrieval, provided that necessary updates can be implemented.

For the near future, a close cooperation with the IAU Working Group on Publications is foreseen.

Uta Grothkopf and Fionn Murtagh, WG Lib. chairs

September 9, 2003

WG Libraries