Making the most of our libraries


The text of the final report is now available in pdf format and as a Word7 document.

Recent studies on retrospective catalogue conversion, such as Philip Bryant’s surveys of the HE and non-HE sectors (report available at ) and similar work in the archives field, have identified the likely extent of the problem of unrecorded items and items for which no machine readable records are available. This situation poses problems for researchers and collection users in identification of items of interest and subsequently finding locations for items. Resolving the problem would provide improved awareness of the full range of materials to support research and enquiry and help reduce pressure on collections and the inter library loan system by providing additional locations and supporting resource sharing. While there are projects for some collections currently in progress and so filling some of the gaps, there is no national strategy to address the problem in the most effective way.

The British Library, the Library and Information Commission and Library and Information Co-operation Council (LINC) have therefore commissioned a study to draw up a methodology for a national strategy for retrospective conversion in the library and information and archives fields. The commissioning process was carried out by the Pathfinding Group, which in addition to representatives from the BL, LIC and LINC, has members representing a wider grouping in the communities. The study was carried out by Ann Chapman and Lorcan Dempsey of UKOLN and Nicholas Kingsley of Birmingham Libraries for the National Council on Archives.

The study reviewed developments and new projects initiated since 1995, outlined a methodology for a national strategy, and identified a co-ordinating body and possible sources of funding. A final report was submitted and accepted in June 1999. The commissioning group has accepted the recommendation to act as the initial coordination focus for the strategy and has been reconstituted as the Full Disclosure Implementation Group, under the auspices of the British Library's Co-operation and Partnership programme. The new group includes representatives from the archival and museum domains as well as from national, higher education and public and other non-HE libraries.

To find out about progress on the initiative contact Stephanie Kenna, The British Library, Co-operation and Partnership Programme, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB
email: or tel: 0171 412 7126

As part of the study an email discussion list (see below) has been opened to inform the communities about the study and to generate discussion on relevant topics. Contact: Ann Chapman email: or tel: 01225 826121


The email discussion list will be migrated to the new jiscmail service over the weekend of 25th and 26th November 2000. If you intend joining this list, please defer joining until Tuesday 28th November 2000.

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Relevant References and Links

Content by: Ann Chapman of UKOLN.
Page last revised on: 16-Oct-2008
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