UKOLN Putting Imagination Online: Public Libraries, The Internet and Literature

Seminar given at the Arts Council Reading for Life conference, April 1998.

Some issues which may need to be considered if online literature services are developed by public libraries?

1.Access – access to the infrastructure (equipment) and content (design of websites).

2.Funding – collaborations with public and private sectors.

3.Training – for the public and library staff.

4.The role of the public library in providing literature services.

5.Do people actually want these services?

6.Determining your audience.

7.Competing with commercial services – reinventing the wheel?

8.Balance between new and traditional services.

9.Libraries as content creators vs. providers of ‘gateway’ services to information available from other sources.

10. Enhanced OPAC systems - public libraries determining the products that are developed and offered by library system suppliers.

11. Filtering and censorship – library policies, freedom of express vs. inappropriate use of resources.

12. Copyright

13. Measuring the success of virtual services.

14. Extending the range of Internet services provide by public libraries beyond information and reference services.

15. International standards – metadata.

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