Library and Information Commission Prospects: a strategy for action

Library and Information Research, Development and Innovation in the United Kingdom - Proposals for consultation

Library and Information Commission Research Committee, November 1997

[2] The Scope

United Kingdom-wide

The geographical scope of the strategy includes all four nations of the United Kingdom - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The strategy provides a framework for regional issues and interests to be addressed, and for the combined and common interests of the United Kingdom to be represented in discussion forums at both European and international levels.

Sectoral and cross-sectoral collaboration

In defining the scope of this strategy, we are concerned to set out a clear framework for mutual understanding, particularly with communities outside the immediate environment of library and information services. Those communities are important stakeholders in the information economy. They comprise divergent interests and disciplines and have policies and objectives which need to be taken into account by library and information services.
While technological advance and national economic competitiveness are powerful drivers for this strategy, personal, social, educational, and business applications are equally important areas for the research and development which is necessary for an information-intensive society.
The scope of our strategy reflects this broad range of interests. We wish to promote a holistic and multi-sectoral approach, covering public, private and voluntary sectors, and including national and local government, commerce and industry, academia and education, culture and the media, and bodies with social, economic and political interests. An important category incorporates organisations such as research councils (particularly those whose information-related interests overlap with the concerns of the library and information services community), and other organisations which fund, commission or undertake research.
Within the information industries, our cross-sectoral approach embraces all levels and links of the supply chain, including information publishing, technology and telecommunications interests. All types of information media and format are covered.

Library and information services

Within the library and information services community itself, we include all sectors at all levels: national, regional and local. These encompass public, academic, schools, national, government and research, industrial, commercial, scientific, health, welfare, cultural and other special sectors, as well as multi-sectoral professional and service organisations. The widest possible interpretation is used in relation to librarianship and information management, whether the context is an academic discipline or an area of employment.


Our definition of research is not rigid. We understand research as not simply a systematic process in which data is gathered and processed, but one which carries forward findings and innovation into development and practice. Our strategy seeks to support research which enables people to increase their knowledge and understanding, to make decisions and to generate new ideas which lead to innovative and improved library and information services.
By research at a national and strategic level, we mean research where "practical applications are likely but cannot yet be specified or where accumulated know-how will serve many purposes"[1]
By near-market research we mean work which will result in applications or products and which will also produce transferable knowledge.
By speculative research we mean work for which there is no immediate or medium term prospect of application, but which may generate new ideas leading to innovation.
When "in-house" research is referred to, we mean research which is commissioned and undertaken within an organisation, the main intention being to benefit that organisation, even though there could be significant gains for others if the knowledge were to be shared.
By "demonstrator" projects, we mean projects where the aim is to demonstrate how concepts can be put into practice.

[1] The measurement of scientific activities: proposed standard practice for surveys of research and experimental development. The 'Frascati' manual OECD 1994

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