Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Roaming for Records

According to Google Book Search, there are over 168,000,000 books in the world. So how does Columbia make sure that its students, faculty, and researchers have access to critical books and primary sources?

One strategy is to partner with researchers and libraries from around the world. Next Saturday, December 14th, Kaoukab Chebaro, a librarian at Columbia’s Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Collection will travel to Columbia University’s Global Center in Amman, Jordan. While visiting Amman, Chebaro will meet with local researchers and librarians to investigate materials that may be of interest to scholars here in New York. New materials, particularly primary resources, could help meet the growing demand here on campus for information on the Middle East and Islam, especially in the Social Sciences departments.

While Cairo and Beirut are the traditional publishing hubs of the Middle East, Amman offers a unique opportunity for two-way collaboration between Columbia University and Jordanian libraries. In addition to researching new materials, Chebaro plans to survey local librarians and researchers to see what their needs are. Columbia staff hope to assist Amman’s libraries by creating instructional workshops on current topics in Information Sciences such as the utilization of free internet resources.

“This trip will be really meaningful on both a professional and personal level,” Chebaro, who is originally from Beirut, explained. While Kaoukab’s visit will certainly build research resources for Columbia University it will also help bridge the wide geographic and cultural distances between Amman and New York.

- Shira Weiner

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