Librarians' Internet Index Moves to Internet Public Library

By Norman Oder

  • Major cut in 2006
  • Stable partner needed
  • IPL moved from UM to Drexel itself

Faced with an uncertain budget, the Librarians' Internet Index (LII; once the Librarians' Index to the Internet) has found a new home at the Internet Public Library (IPL), itself a recent transplant. That should provide a more sound footing for the web site and weekly newsletter “serving California, the nation, and the world” with selected, annotated web sites of value.

In 2006, LII’s primary funding was reduced by 50 percent for the 2006-2007 fiscal year. That led to a halving of weekly content production, reduced content maintenance, and the end of assigning Library of Congress subject headings (other than for special, externally-funded projects). When LII stalwart (and noted library blogger) Karen Schneider departed, the California State Library asked the not-for-profit membership cooperative Califa to manage LII and to look at options for greater self-sufficiency, given that most LII users come from out of state, Roberto Esteves, Califa Service Consultant, told LJ.

While Califa investigated support via advertising and online product sales, long-term sustainability depends on a partnership with a like-minded organization, Esteves said. “The most compatible organization was the Internet Public Library and the services and support IPL receives from the Drexel University and other I-schools.” For a year, Califa and IPL staff met, resulting in an agreement at the American Library Association annual conference this past summer. “Since then IPL and Califa staff have migrated the LII database to IPL, which was completed in September,” Esteves said.

While Califa will continue to support LII staff and software with a $100,000 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant throughout the 2008-09 fiscal year, he said, it will review the potential for continued support of LII through LSTA funding this December.

IPL, founded at the University of Michigan in 1995, became part of a consortium in 2006, whereupon its servers and staff positions were moved to Drexel University, Philadelphia. The University of Michigan remains a major contributing partner, along with Florida State University. The IPL last year won a three-year IMLS grant to explore new ways of teaching and providing digital reference and librarianship.

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