International Program Brings Library Technologies to Iraq

Aug 12, 2005

A collaborative project between OCLC Online Computer Library Center and the International Human Rights Law Institute of DePaul University College of Law has brought together 12 Iraqi librarians for a training workshop on cataloging standards and technology in Amman, Jordan. The project, "Raising the Bar: Legal Education Reform in Iraq," promotes democratic progress and economic recovery in Iraq through the support of legal educational reconstruction and reform. One focus is on providing technical and administrative support, along with the necessary resources, to repair the damage and neglect to the country's libraries and information technology services.

Funded by a grant for the U.S. Agency for International Development, the project combined Iraqi librarians with instructors from the University of Pennsylvania, the American University in Cairo, Zayed University in Dubai, al-Minia University in Egypt and Arabian Advanced Systems in Dubai. The workshop, conducted entirely in Arabic language, relied on the skills and language expertise of practicing librarians from the OCLC membership community. The curriculum stressed using technology via OCLC Connexion cataloging software, WebDewey, Library of Congress Classification Web, and Cataloger's Desktop as well as printed Arabic versions of the Dewey Decimal Classification system and AACR2. In order to maximize the hands-on instruction, the course was limited to 12 students ensuring one person to a workstation. Arabian Advanced Systems, OCLC's partner in the Middle East, in cooperation with Dynix, supplied an instructor and a full function, Arabic version of Horizon to the project. The curriculum was organized so that each librarian was able to catalog using standard technology from OCLC and LC and build an OPAC using Horizon.