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The impact of electronic publishing on library services and resources in the UK

1. Introduction

Following the publication of Information UK 2000 in December 1990, the British Library Research and Development Department (BLRDD) organised a meeting of representatives of professional bodies in the library and information world (including publishers and booksellers), to collect their initial reactions to the report. Some time later, in January 1992, a second meeting was arranged, to decide what actions should be initiated to follow up its conclusions. At that meeting the delegates recommended the setting-up of a working party to consider the implications of electronic publishing on the library and information community. This recommendation was accepted by BLRDD and the Working Party was duly formed and held its first meeting on 25th May 1993. Its membership is shown in Appendix 1, and its terms of reference are reproduced below.

Terms of Reference

  1. To consider the development of electronic publishing in the UK and its impact on library services and resources.
  2. To recommend strategies to libraries for making best use of electronic publications, including bibliographic control and user education.
  3. To consider the rights and obligations of suppliers and users of electronic publications (to cover copying, deposit, licensing, networking, converting from one medium to another, etc.) with a view to drawing up a model agreement.

  4. To produce a report, including the topics listed above, within one year of the first meeting.

Prior to the setting-up of the Working Party, BLRDD commissioned a quantitative study of the present nature and extent of electronic publishing in the UK, (Ref 2), the results of which provided valuable input to the Working Party. One of the tasks faced by the Working Party was to gather and take account of the vast amount of information on the subject of electronic publishing which is becoming available, in both printed and electronic form, and a substantial bibliography on the subject was compiled in the course of its work. This is reproduced in Appendix 2. A list of current BLRDD projects relating to electronic publishing is given in Appendix 3, and relevant current activities of the European Commission (DG XIII) are summarised in Appendix 4.

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