Yesterday (Wednesday), we got not only a tour, but also a big talk on the various services and projects that NRC Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI) is working on. For those who don’t know who they are, most people would know them as the National Science Library.
The library itself is fairly standard, except that it’s not open even to staff. They have three floors of closed stacks (which are fairly narrow to save space), so only library staff are generally allowed in. Any access is done through digital scanning of articles or by providing an electronic source. Generally, what they have in print is the older material, and newer material is electronic only (that’s my understanding anyway).
The artwork in the building was nice. One wall on the ground floor is a 365 plexiglass boxes wall (sorry, no picture, it turned out blurry). The other notable piece is the waves design (by a Japanese artist), one which is turbulent (picture in slideshow), the other which is calm. So, depending on your mood, you might go and look at one or the other.
They provide a lot of services to both internal and external clients. Mostly through document delivery. Interestingly, they currently have a partnership with Infotrieve, whereby Infotrieve can use the facilities in return for doing the day-to-day operational services, such as circulation and document delivery (including scanning). This has allowed CISTI to provide better, faster access to their information, and its more financially sustainable. They also have partnerships with other libraries, such as Health Canada, and they are participating in many national initiatives. Obviously, they provide reference services as well, mostly in terms of more complex questions with a focus on “actionable” information.
Staff members also provide analysis and reports on trends based on text and data mining (using VantagePoint and TouchGraph) among many other data services, including:
Maybe because I’m a techie, but I think some of the coolest stuff they’re doing at CISTI is shown on CISTI Labs. The recommendation search (Sarkanto) is pretty neat, and so is the coloured cluster searching (Ensemble). The problem, of course, is the uptake and getting people to use it. Still cool.
Recently, they also launched their mobile site. The number of GC sites that have a mobile version are few and far between, so it was great to see. They even have a parred down version of their link resolver page for their internal mobile users. Great job!