‘Bricks & mortar’ libraries have recently been making the news headlines. Councils seeking to make cuts through closing these spaces have been the recipients of public outcry and multiple campaigns to save ‘our local library’. Despite this, in an age of Kindle, itunes and online shopping, many people question whether online libraries are not more relevant with the access, speed and space they offer?
I recently read a BBC online article (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12340505) that outlined the key arguments on both sides. It was suggested that the traditional library offers specialist research and experts on site, as well as an environment in which to learn and free internet access. Whilst online libraries can offer ‘searchability’ and the chance to engage with the masses and to seek out others with the same niche interests as ourselves.
The jury is still out on whether we are reaching the end of the line for traditional libraries. Whilst there were 3.4 million fewer visits to libraries in 2010 than in 2009, we also saw a £1.09bn net spend and 1,217 more volunteers - a rise of 11% (Chartered Institute of Public Financing & Public Libraries). What is not in debate is our need to create spaces for exchanging information and documents - a subject I touched upon in an earlier blog on our increased use of Internet forums.
Certainly online libraries are of increasing interest with their ability to collect, preserve & globally share rich digital content - as demonstrated by Google, Yahoo!, and MSN's efforts in large scale digitization projects. However, for many companies and organisations, online documents are a localised, team sharing requirement.
Documents that are frequently in demand and benefit from an easily accessible and downloadable location can include manuals, forms, meeting reports, customer proposals, or even lecture notes to be shared with a group of students. It is for this type of user that the Skyline library feature has been developed, converting and saving online documents automatically into PDF for easy printing and sharing from a central resource.
The software could not be easier to use. You can submit documents either by uploading or by installing a 'Skyline Driver' which allows the user to simply 'File and Print' from any Windows application. Either route will convert your document into PDF format so that it can be printed and easily shared if you wish. Once you have submitted a document it will be displayed in your library.
You simply follow these easy steps:
1. Each document can be previewed online as a gif image or the PDF download.
2. If you wish to create a shared library of your documents select 'Preferences' and then 'Libraries'
3. Enter the name of your new library and click Add
4. Select to display Users, highlight the individual that you wish to give library access and then Add Selected User
5. You now can move documents from your personal library to a shared one