Poster Open Access

The United Nations Depository Libraries Program as a de facto 'Open Community' evolving into a knowledge network

Grbac, Deborah

Transition to open access is changing how United Nations depository libraries are working to serve local communities (researchers and citizens) in accessing United Nations documents and publications. In doing so they are supported by the Dag Hammarskjöld Library at United Nations headquarters in New York, who, since 2015, is gradually changing the functioning of the system of depository libraries, born in 1947, into a knowledge network. Already during the Covid pandemic, it was possible to see the seeds of this evolution into what can be called a de facto ‘open community’, gathered around open access instruments like the United Nations Digital Library. Open education as free training on how to use United Nations digital instruments as electronic databases and Library catalogue, webinars and conferences on topics as misinformation, infodemics, green libraries, open science. Free consulting on how to download bibliographic data from the Digital Library and on how using data to discover contents into the Catalogue. Free materials as research guides on specific topics, for instance SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and promotional material on United Nations’ celebration days, put at disposal for reuse against simple quotation.
Librarians at Depository libraries, who built their own knowledge in spending years in keeping in due order and cataloguing their collection on paper, are now called to improve their skills to give users new ways to access documents and publications. Always keeping the paper collection as the digitalization projects are still ongoing.
After up to seventy-years of accumulated experience depository librarians are not only owners of cultural heritage, but promoters of this knowledge by the advocacy work they are doing inside the United Nations system of depository libraries on behalf of the United Nations, and by belonging to the greater United Nations system made of bodies, funds, programs, institutions and among them: libraries.

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