Posted on October 19, 2005.
This fall, the IGLOO Research Portal (International Governance Leaders and Organizations Online), an initiative of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), is aspiring to set new standards for international governance solutions by providing free and immediate electronic research resources and online meetings places.
The creators of IGLOO appreciate the value that factual information and original research has to the creation of solutions for global development, and recognize just how inaccessible and unreliable this information can be on the World Wide Web. Access to information is the key to improving upon global governance, and solutions require more immediacy – people need to remain connected to each other, as well as to the most up-to-date information – this is best provided by a vehicle such as the Internet.
CIGI employs a knowledgeable and experienced staff to offer research and technical support to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Web developers are building a website that allows for the lack of high-speed technology, for users in the developing world. CIGI believes that everyone everywhere requires access to the best resources in order to improve governance and international development.
The IGLOO Research Portal brings to new heights the concept of individuals collaborating online by uniting institutions, academics, and practitioners through public and private web communities. Knowledge is not only found within libraries, but also in personal and community experiences. Within web communities, academics, leaders and practitioners can review and discuss new research, current events and build private libraries. The only payment CIGI requires of communities is that they submit their new and original research to the IGLOO Research Library.
The Research Library improves upon the concept of online repositories. It offers access to a free and permanent collection of electronic resources pertaining to eleven categories of international governance – Economy, Energy, Environment, Health, Humanitarian Issues, International Institutions, International Law, Millennium Development, Peace and Security, Science and Technology, and Social Development. This collection is protected by an open access “some rights reserved” Creative Commons licence, allowing IGLOO users to freely download and share knowledge in the spirit of governance innovation.
IGLOO uses the materials for the sole purpose of redistributing them at no charge to researchers working in the international governance field. CIGI has selected a copyright license that best assures access, both technically and legally. These freedoms are expressed in a way that the average person can understand (the “Commons Deed”), in a way that courts will enforce (the license) and in a way that computers can understand (with machine-readable metadata). The version of the Creative Commons licence which CIGI has selected allows the licensor to retain the original copyright of the work; copy the work; distribute the work; display or perform it publicly; and/or shift the work into another format as a verbatim copy. The end user is allowed to copy, distribute, or display the author’s/organization’s work, so long as the author is given credit; the work cannot be used for commercial purposes; and no derivatives of the original can be created without seeking permission from the copyright owner. To learn more about Creative Commons, please visit www.creativecommons.org.
The Research Library’s primary acquisitions method is the development of content partnerships. A content partner is defined as any individual, organization, or government body that produces quality content (research/working papers, briefs, speeches, reports, statistics, bibliographies, pamphlets, books/manuscripts, policy, legislation, resolutions, etc.) pertaining to international governance, and has agreed to allow CIGI to house the material in the IGLOO Research Library.
The Library is also developing a trustworthy submissions system allows anyone to submit content. The content will pass through a filtering process to ensure that the content is appropriate to the IGLOO mission, and will then proceed to be catalogued. IGLOO is interested in hosting unpublished submissions, making way for an Editorial Review Board – an international group of research fellows from the CIGI Global Fellowship Program, each of whom specialize in one or more of the 11 thematic categories represented in the Library.
IGLOO’s innovative Research Services are attempting to change the way governance experts do research. Users can employ the Virtual Research Assistant to create bibliographies (simple or annotated) of any length, on any topic related to international governance. The Bibliography Builder (name is subject to change) collects citations and notes while the user searches, and allows him/her to reformat and save the bibliography to a personal workspace. The World Reference webpage provides current demographic information and statistics on any country in the world.
The IGLOO Research Portal aims to provide librarians and libraries with a comprehensive, up-to-date, free, and authoritative database that will enhance their services to the patrons. Designed, constructed and maintained by professional researchers and information specialists, the IGLOO Research Library has an easy-to-use interface and orientation that can save librarians time in exploring these new online repositories and instructing their patrons. Different from other traditional online information services, which only enable library patrons to query the database and retrieve information, IGLOO encourages the participation of its users by sharing and exchanging their own ideas on international governance through online communities (public and private) and forums, or by contributing their own articles to the library. By introducing this new concept of IGLOO to patrons, libraries are bringing them a value-added service that will satisfy their special needs.
The individual researcher is encouraged to create a personal workspace called “myIGLOO”. The personal workspace is an online work space to store documents; build bibliographies and create research reports; employ virtual research assistants; submit content to the Research Library; receive news feeds and notifications; maintain a global events calendar; track expert blogs; and correspond with librarians. The workspace has all the necessary tools to produce research and stay abreast of the world’s development.
Imagine a world where information is free, where international governance materials are stored in one permanent and searchable database. Imagine researching without ink or paper, and having access to personal research files and notes wherever there is an internet connection. Imagine leaders and policymakers communicating and solving global governance issues without having to leave their country. Imagine the general public and small NGOs from the developing world sharing a reliable research environment with leaders and large academic institutions. Imagine the publishing of research in a trusted and peer-reviewed environment, where the author maintains the ownership of his or her work. This fall, the IGLOO Research Portal will make all of this a reality in a single online environment, and change the way global governance solutions are found.
The Centre for International Governance Innovation recently joined the Special Libraries Association, and Toronto chapter.