What’s New

By Catherine Ryan


Goodacre, Christine (ed) Networking and Libraries in Australia, Port Melb: Thorpe, 1993

Anyone who is currently working with technology in libraries will have some need to know about networking. Christine Goodacre's new book Networking and Libraries in Australia is a fabulous reference source for people in all areas of libraries and at a range of levels of expertise.

So many people working in these areas are self taught. An important aspect of this book is that it presumes no prior knowledge of the terminology and does not speak in computer jargon. Instead it begins with a whole section dedicated to defining the concepts of data communication. The ideas of Open systems, multiplexing, packet switching and topology are broken down in digestible definitions. A useful consolidation of on-the-job and 'gleaned' information in a systematic and simple presentation.

The book goes on to describe the evolution and functioning of the major library networks existing today; networks such as AARNET, Internet and ILNET. Each of these is described in terms of history, how it works and a case study on its operation in one, or more environment by people who have worked with the system.

The National Library is highlighted in terms of its role in the development and implementation of networks such as UNlLINK and CA VAL are also dealt with in case studies in a section devoted to looking at the future of regional networks.

The networking of CD-ROMs is discussed in an issues approach looking at problems such as licensing, d isputable definitions, pricing and dial up access. Related to this are the chap ters describing a sample of bibliographic networks such as SAGE and AAP.

The final chapter is, perhaps; the most important. Tom Denison of RMIT describes for us the Telelibrary. The idea of using a single interface to access a variety of systems is something we look forward to. Tom talks about the development of this goal within the restrictions of an under-funded university. He sees this as one way to provide greater access to resources for research and discusses the processes undergone at RMIT.

One of the main features of this book is its practical nature. It is thorough and yet easy to understand, but at the same time it provides us with projections to which we can aspire and from which we can learn. It is only one volume in the new Technology in the Library series produced by D. W. Thorpe in association with ALIA, and I imagine we should keep our eyes out for the other titles in the series.


I received my latest Austguide disc just before this issue went to press. Due to popular demand this product will now be up-dated twice per year instead of once. Records added in 1993 now also include brief annotations with the bibliographic records. Both of these changes are most welcome.


Catherine Ryan

Teacher-librarian in charge

Genazzano College