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Conference on Libraries to Discuss Ongoing Transition to Accessing e-Information

Masdar Institute to Host 19th Annual Special Libraries Association-AGC Conference 2013 in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 16 April, 2013 – Adapting to the way the academia gains access to information in an increasingly digitalized world and the ongoing transformation of libraries from tangible hardback versions to e-waves in the virtual world will be some of the key areas that will come up for discussion at the 19th Annual Conference & Exhibition of the Special Libraries Association – Arabian Gulf Chapter (SLA-AGC) in Abu Dhabi.

Titled ‘The Future of Profession: Break the no longer traditional profession and tune into the future of digital professional environment’, the annual conference is scheduled to be held from 24-25 April at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center. Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, will be hosting the event.

A key component of the conference will be Ankabut, which co-operates on a national, GCC, regional and international arena, representing the UAE in conferences, exhibitions and forums. Ankabut aims to offer QoS-based networks with IPv4/IPv6, multicast and introduce advanced services on a ‘Closed Group Network’ with ‘Public Interest Purposes’. Ankabut will also host the event with Masdar Institute.

Keynote speakers at the conference will include Ann Wolpert, Director of Libraries, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Sherif Kamel Mahmoud Shaheen, Ph.D. Professor and Head of Library, Archives & information technology Department Faculty of Arts-Cairo University. Wolpert will discuss ‘The Future of the Profession in the Digital Era: New Roles for Information Professionals’, while Shaheen will speak on ‘From traditional to Digital Information and Knowledge professions: What is missing in the Arab World?’

In addition, David Sommer, a professional with 15 years' experience in the global publishing industry, and Simon Inger, who works with the journals industry for over 20 years, will also address the gathering. The event will include three panels including ‘Leadership and Best Practices in Development of Information Literacy Programs: Changing Roles and New Technologies’, ‘The Role of the Library and Information Science Departments in Preparing Professionals in the Digital Environment’, and ‘Professional Library Associations to foster library development’.

Dr Abdulla Alhefeiti, Chair, High Organizing Committee for SLA-AGC Conference 2013, and Director of Library, Masdar Institute, said: “The top priority given to education by the UAE leadership has enabled the country to achieve a coveted status in the regional academic sector. Libraries play a vital role in the creation of intellectual capital and the conference in Abu Dhabi represents the most important annual IT event in the GCC region for practitioners and academics in the information domain.

“As a research-based institution, we are privileged to host the conference. We hope the event will provide a great opportunity to discuss key issues and topics, facilitating communication and networking that will eventually result in string cooperation among the participants.”

The event targets the region’s information professionals, educators, decision-makers, information users, information content developers and digital information suppliers. Some of the topics that will be addressed at the conference will include ‘Information Literacy and the 21 century skills (Social networking, mobile technology, open access)’, ‘E-books and the future of library shelves and catalogues’, as well as ‘Metadata tool and the future of cataloging and catalogers’.

Fahem Al Nuaimi CEO of Ankabut said: “Ankabut provides a high speed network for the UAE education and library community. It enables the transfer of services in real-time, as well as anytime, anywhere services such as libraries linkage, high performance computing, off-site disaster recovery, unified single sign registration, and e-learning. In an increasingly digital scenario, libraries and other traditional avenues offering information will have to transform their role suitably to benefit modern users. We are convinced the 19th Annual Conference & Exhibition of the Special Libraries Association – Arabian Gulf Chapter (SLA-AGC) in Abu Dhabi will enable greater information exchange in the area of digitalization.”
 
The transforming role of librarians, publishers, professional associations and the library and information studies are the others topics to be taken up for panel discussions at the SLA-AGC Conference in Abu Dhabi. The event is expected to provide a great opportunity to discuss key issues and topics, facilitating communication and networking among practitioners and academics in the information domain.
 
Serving as a key pillar of innovation and human capital, Masdar Institute remains fundamental to Masdar’s core objectives of developing Abu Dhabi’s knowledge economy and finding solutions to humanity’s toughest challenges such as climate change.
 
Established as an on-going collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow. With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.
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