Special Libraries: concept and characteristics
Also called documentation centers, have differences from other units of information, including in the profile of their library.
The specialized library is characterized primarily by a particular theme of his collection as much of the information services rendered, that the emphasis on a specific subject area or knowledge, as well as related disciplines, appears as one of its fundamental features, implying distinctive ways of providing services. They are supported by professionals with specialized training also, and should make a documentary treatment depth in order to respond to inquiries and specific complex. This is because these services is addressed to users whose profile is bounded to the professional fields, scientists and technicians. Thus, the composition of the collection also reflects particular characteristics, in order to respond to these demands.
Collection: subject characteristics, type and treatment of documents
Taking as a starting point this regard, it is possible to identify a number of differences between special libraries and other libraries. Since the collection has a specialized in terms of thematic content, it can be separated from special libraries, in which the distinctive feature lies in the brackets, such as sound, film-or-users such the case of blind people, deprived of freedom, etc. without involving a thematic limitations.
In turn, the types of documents, including published information, such as periodicals, monographs, patents, reference works, specialized, information generated by the institution on which they depend, gray literature , technical documents and information available through external sources, as well as documentary treatment of deep descriptive level, distinguish them from public libraries and school libraries. The depth document analysis is a fundamental requirement for special libraries can offer their services, but not in the case of the types mentioned, whose collection is a generalist, with a lower level of description, in correspondence with the kind of demand generated by its users.
User Community: profile and claims information
With regard to the community of users of special libraries, they are experts in their field, often members of the organization, researchers, technicians, complex claims whose answer can not be encyclopedic in libraries, to which the public comes general, as the case of a public library or educational community in the school library. The consultations of these users are much simpler, and are not necessarily linked to his business and serving well such as recreational demands.
Information services and special features
The services provided by special libraries are another element of distinction. These are based, in addition to the comprehensive treatment of the documents, a high degree of automation , enabling fast and effective recovery in closer cooperation with other units of information, and a constant update of their materials, as the information required by users usually circulates in newly created documents such as journals, as opposed to traditional library collections, composed mostly of books, and they do not incorporate information or renew such a high frequency. Thus, although some of the services provided by special libraries are common to other libraries, including reference service, loan, etc. It is in this case more specific and complex services, including database searches documentary data and selective dissemination of information .