REPORT #10 1998

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

Dr. Alvaro Rosado Phd UCB, nation of Belize- muckity muck! ( title unknown) Going by Eve's title, the academics are in competition with the religious nuts for extended titles. ( Ha! joke!)

The term Virtual and Digital Library seems to be interchangeable these days. Silvia Pinzon did some searching for you yesterday at work on the internet, per your request for information on the University College of Belize, Toledo branch College campus library installation project. She came up with hundreds of sites.

Digital libraries are somewhat behind in current copyrighted works. But anything in the nature of literature that is "out of copyright" is indeed being scanned by hundreds of libraries onto the net at an ever increasing pace. Lots of GRANTS and programs around the country in the USA and Canada doing this facet of getting things on line. In research, which is not copyrighted, papers and studies are being scanned and loaded into full text digital form under various GRANTS, or voluneers. Scientifically speaking, you can now get most information on anything through a computer connection. The internet TWO, project is doing this also, for all government documents, research and Research Universities. This system is very soon to be on line, for special connections in it's early stages. It is important that UCB, and some of it's branches become registered, or recognized as an undeveloped nation, or third world RESEARCH UNIVERSITY, if you wish access to Internet Two.

The consensus of opinion here, is that the Toledo Campus is an excellent cost effective way to learn the ropes and get things going for the 21 st century. Book libraries are pretty much going to be out of date. They are almost out-of-date now in the USA, as far as any kind of business, technical, or scientific research is concerned. Literature is still needed in books and magazines. In the last six months, students entering classes now, almost totally require internet access from their University library, or public library branch terminal access. Doesn't matter if your classroom assignment is the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, or Shakespeare, you will find it on the internet. You want to know how to make a windmill or a tilapia farm? It is on the internet. There is no way, cost wise, that any library service in Belize could compare with the amount and varied sources of information in a store of books, versus the access to such millions of pieces of information available already from the internet.

Books are still in University libraries and professors still insist students buy THEIR special books, for a course. Professors must publish, or perish, original work each year, if not each semester, up here. But selling and making books for a class, is a lucrative sideline income for most professors. Since they must publish anyway to keep tenure, they simply print up fifty or sixty copies and insist that students buy them for the class they are teaching this semester. They then reorganize it for the next semester and add a few paragraphs that are new and the old text is then obsolete and the new incoming semester students cannot purchase the old last semester's book, because it is "out of date". They thus must buy the new book for the same class and make money for the Professor while he or she complies with the publishing requirements.

Fiction novels and reading for pleasure is unlikely to go out of style. Technical books also have their special niche audience appeal, but they are fast being competed against by the ever increasing resources of the internet.

Go digital library for sure in the Punta Gorda,Toledo Campus. UCB in Belmopan also has the obligation and mandate to put all Government Gazettes and documents on line. All the research in agriculture, soils maps and other such matters, like forestry and such, need to be accessible through a UCB digital library connection. I thought this was already underway? You want to get a two year GRANT for the project, Silvia and I will come down to Belmopan and do it.

There is a good article on establishing your own UCB digital library at :

This is entitled The Virtual Library Foundation: Staff Training and Support by Roy Tennant. He is project manager of the Digital Library Research and Development "The Library", University of California, Berkeley.

By the way, I am doing this like Peter, all from my small side office off the bedroom in my home, in my underwear. Don't go to libraries much anymore, except for pleasure reading.

I also agree with Peter, that learning to search the Web is the upmost requirement for University/College/High School Classes. Power point, 45 minute presentations, hands on learning are necessary. Library staff here are doing it constantly. Silvia is only one of a dozen staff teaching an average 13 classes a week ( average class 40 students, or faculty people) on key word searches, search engines, etc. It is so new that she and others that have to teach this stuff, are basically self taught and it is ever changing. The results are outstanding. Each new semester group are better than the one before and more computer knowledgeable. Still, the biggest problem with their doing homework is finding the information. Learning to do this properly is a PRIORITY.

The Colleges/High Schools throughout Belize as they get computers, would be indeed very negligent in their goals, if they did not teach and utilize Peter Singfield's of Xaibe, expertise, on E Mail searching of the Internet to students and the general public. For the foreseeable future, this is the way, the majority of the Belizean public will have to use the WEB as an economic resource. It is in my mind, the duty and patriotic obligation by educators, to teach this method and utilize this expert talent available to Belizeans NOW. Peter himself is unique and his technical expertise an asset to Belize. The program he is espousing is world wide now and a third world, undeveloped nation has no other choices for the most part, as many hundreds of small countries were grabbed up by exploitive communications monopoly systems back in the heyday of early satellite communications technology. Without competition, these monopolies in these hundreds of third world countries are guaranteed profits at the expense of the development of the countries, they once were intended to serve and bring into the modern technological age.


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