Saroj Das, the new ITER Librarian, earned his degree in Library Science in 1995, just as the internet was beginning to revolutionize the field. His interest in the new technology was immediate. "I made it my specialty, in order to keep abreast of this rapidly changing technology," remembers Saroj.
Saroj Das in the ITER Library before renovations (Building 519, Room 15)
Originally from the northeastern Indian state of Assam, Saroj completed undergraduate studies in Science and a degree in Library Science at the Osmania University Hyderabad in the south. He put both of his degrees to good use at the Institute for Plasma Research (IPR) in Gandhinagar, western India, where he went to work in 1996. While employed full time in the library, he completed a Master's in Library Science and a post-graduate diploma in Library Automation and Networking. Living in different parts of India made Saroj proficient in languages as well — in addition to his mother tongue Bengali, he speaks Hindi, English, Assamese, Telugu and Gujarati.
At IPR, where Saroj worked for thirteen years, he designed the IPR library website, managed the IT library server and created the first on-line library services. "I worked with the IPR scientists to bring them resources from the World Wide Web - databases, articles, scientific papers and magazines. It's one thing to search the web with Google, and another to have a specialist help you with your query," says Saroj.
Saroj joined ITER on 5 October, and is already in the process of reorganizing the library. "My challenge is to bring users to the library," he says. "I'll be rearranging the collection, creating an automated classification system, and establishing a helpdesk for research requests. The library will always be open!" Saroj is also overseeing renovations to make the space more user-friendly. He hopes to use the future ITER Intranet — Buzz — to keep users regularly informed of new services, for example book databases, on-line journals and interesting links.
For Saroj, his wife, and their five year old daughter, the move to France is their first trip outside of India. "It has been a big change for us, but everyone is adapting well ... my daughter is even more enthusiastic about school than she was in India!" relates Saroj. "Also, we have many friends to thank in Manosque for helping to make our transition a smooth one."
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