As Chairman of the Research Committee of the Library and Information Commission I am pleased to present our proposals for a nationally co-ordinated strategic approach to research, development and innovation for library and information services. In developing this strategy we have consulted not only with the library and information services community but with a wide range of other interested groups.
These proposals are now presented for further consultation before submission for approval by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the Secretaries of State for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and other relevant bodies.
When this strategy is finalised, I believe it will enable us to take forward library and information services in the United Kingdom into the 21st century, using sound evidence as a basis for their future development. The strategy is based on the Commission's mission as expressed in its published vision statement 2020 Vision. It focuses on the key themes and the infrastructure issues that have to be addressed if this Vision is to become a reality.
The Committee welcomes all types of response, including general reactions and specific messages, to these proposals. It seeks feedback from organisations with which it already collaborates, and those with which it hopes to work more closely. We are particularly interested in validating the research programme as described in this document. The consultation period offers a further opportunity for the library and information services community to map the relationship between their own priorities and those the Commission puts forward to the government as national priorities. Other players in the current and future information economy are invited to do the same.
Most importantly, I wish to thank all those who have already participated in the consultation, by attending focus groups, completing questionnaires, and taking part in interviews. Particular thanks go to the two teams who carried out the Mapping Exercise and the Consultation Exercise: Vision Research Consortium (comprising Geoffrey Hare, Society of Chief Librarians; Bernard Naylor, University of Southampton Library; Francis Hendrix and Peter Smith of LASER; and Robert Davies of Carpenter Davies Associates) and David Streatfield of Information Management Associates working with David Haynes, of David Haynes Associates.
I thank also the Research Committee who are giving generously of their precious time, John Lancaster and Michael Breaks, for chairing the Mapping and Consultation Exercise Steering Committees and especially Maggie Ashcroft, Research Strategy Coordinator.
All comments and suggestions for amendments should be received by the Coordinator by December 31st 1997. They will be considered by the Research Committee, and any revisions will be incorporated in final proposals to be submitted to the Secretaries of State in February 1998.
Mel Collier, Chairman, Research Committee Commissioner, Library and Information Commission