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

4. Conclusions

4.1 Introduction - general

It is generally accepted that electronic publishing is significantly affecting the roles and the work of libraries and information services. The nature and degree of the impact will be different for different types of library, but many issues are common to all libraries. The interdependence of libraries in the United Kingdom infrastructure ensures that what affects one type of library has some effect on all.

The current high level of interest in the subject is evident not only from the experience of the members of the Working Party and from the professional response to news of the Working Party's activities, but also from recent activities of other groups as reported in the Royal Society STM study and the Follett review. Many professionals are concerned about the problems which the new media will create, but the rapidity of growth and change in the field of electronic publishing makes it difficult for even the most dedicated professionals to be adequately informed of developments likely to affect their work and their forward planning.

Current limitations on collection building in academic and research libraries will inevitably lead to a considerable increase in networked access to shared resources, which will further stimulate the trend towards greater use of electronic publications. The change in the service role of these libraries, moving toward an increased emphasis on access to information rather than holding of documents, is implicit.

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