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

5. Recommendations

A national strategy should be laid down to provide infrastructure and create opportunities for all types of libraries and information services to become more involved in national and regional/metropolitan networks. It is suggested that the proposed Library and Information Commission should be made responsible for this task. [see 3.3.1] above and recommendations in the Follett Report for support of projects relating to the development of networking.]

Information and library strategies
The Working Party endorses the recommendation of the Follett Report that library directors should become more involved in the strategic planning processes of their organisations, and urges that this should in fact apply to managers of all types of library.[see 3.3.2]

In strategic planning statements, libraries should take account of likely changes in the balance of service provision (both from holdings to access, and from document supply to information services such as current-awareness), and clarify their policy regarding direct delivery to end users. [see 3.3.1 and 4.2]

Government action is needed to ensure that the public always has access to information through the public library system regardless of the medium used (i.e. the use of electronic media should not impede public access to information). This and other issues raised in this report should be considered by the Review of Public Library Service, currently being carried out by the Aslib Consultancy Service on behalf of the Department of National Heritage. [see 3.7.4 and 4.7]

Professional bodies should ensure the establishment of a forum in which librarians, information workers and network specialists could seek ways to address the deficiencies of existing subject access tools and develop effective methods of organising and structuring the universe of information and data which is held on the networks. [see 3.7.3]

The relevant funding agencies should ensure that a coordinated programme of research is undertaken into the feasibility of developing standard interfaces for information retrieval systems, especially in the case of software supplied with CD-ROMs. [see 3.7.5]

Legal deposit
In view of the need for a system for legal deposit of electronic publications, the Department of National Heritage should initiate action leading to the establishment of such a system. This should be linked to the setting up of a national archive service for electronically published material, as recommended in the recent STM report. [see 3.5 and 4.7]

Copyright and contracts
Publishers, authors, library and information service managers) should engage in discussion to clarify and agree what constitutes 'fair dealing' in the context of electronic publications. It is suggested that the Copyright Licensing Agency could initiate action on this recommendation. [see 3.9.4 and 4.3]

Education and training
Departments of information and library studies should review their curricula to ensure that their programmes match anticipated future needs in relation to the management and exploitation of electronic publishing. [see 3.3.3 and 4.9]

Professional bodies (especially the Library Association and Institute of Information Scientists) should take account of the above issues in their accreditation of information and library studies courses. [3.3.3]

Professional bodies should take steps to ensure that their members are kept aware of the legal and regulatory environment with reference to the use of electronic publications. [see 3.3.3]

Providers of LIS in-service training should improve their provision in key areas, such as instruction/presentation skills and project management techniques. [see 3.3.3]

The British Library should take a lead in establishing an agreed set of descriptive standards for electronic publications. [see 3.4.2 and 4.8]

Greater urgency should be given to the development of technical standards to facilitate the transmission of electronic publications such as databases and multimedia information. [see 3.6]

Publishers should establish a code of practice governing the quality of scholarly publications in electronic form. [see 3.6.2 and 4.8]

Economic modelling
Funding agencies should commission research to enable both libraries and publishers to develop models for costing different types of electronic information provision and document delivery. [see 3.10 and 4.5]

Future Developments
Research funding agencies should support studies of developmental aspects of electronic publishing, including the integration of facilities (such as enabling users to search an electronic database, identify the location of retrieved items, and then request copies from local or external sources, with automatic accounting and billing procedures); and the use of technology to control access, monitor usage, and to organise printing and billing.

Guidelines regarding licence agreements between suppliers and users of electronic publications are given separately in Appendix 5.

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