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Number: 71
Year: 2002
Author: Johann Van Reenen, Editor
Title: Digital Libraries and Virtual Workplaces. Important Initiatives for Latin America in the Information Age

Advances in information technology have created the potential for global markets, virtually integrated work and workplaces, and international workforce development on a scale never before imagined. To capitalize on these developments, countries, organizations and their leaders need to understand the potential, the challenges, the policies and the attitudes that will be required for success in the electronic environment. This chapter provides an overview of the major technology and management trends and the formative role of digital libraries and information science. The characteristics of the 21st century, emerging trends for libraries and information management, knowledge management and technology driven changes, and the response of libraries to these trends are discussed. Finally the potential of these changes for Latin America are explored.
In a foreword to a special supplement of Nature on “Science in Latin America: A rare chance to progress”, Colin Macilwain (1999) says:
The relevance of excellent research to the needs of poor countries is often called into question, and scientists in the region are under growing pressure to prove the relevance of their work. Most welcome the chance to work on problems of economic or societal importance. But societies will develop during the next century primarily on the basis of their access to knowledge. In the long term, therefore, countries in the region will benefit by supporting the pursuit of good science for its own sake.
Access to knowledge is probably the most critical component for success in the evolving electronic global economy. This chapter will explore this changing world in the broadest context and what it portents for society
and economies in Latin America.