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


The Working Party on Electronic Publishing was set up by the British Library R & D Department in May 1993, in response to a recommendation that arose from discussions between professional bodies after the publication of Information UK 2000. Its main aims were to review the development of electronic publishing in the UK and its impact on library services and resources; to recommend strategies for making best use of electronic publications; and to consider the rights and obligations of suppliers and users of these publications. For the purposes of the study, electronic publishing was taken to include a variety of activities employing a range of media, comprising online services (including videotex), tape services, magnetic disc products, CD-ROM and other digital optical disc products, ROM cards and electronic journals.

The Working Party brought together representatives of all the main professional bodies in the library, information science and publishing fields. It collected information from a wide range of sources, including a number of invited expert speakers. In the course of its work, it initiated a research project (funded by BLR&DD) on licence agreements for the use of electronic publications.

The report provides a summary of the present state of development of electronic publishing and its impact on libraries and information services, with particular reference to management, professional and operational implications. It includes a number of recommendations for action to be taken to overcome the problems that electronic publishing has introduced. These relate to networking, information and library strategies, access to information, legal deposit, copyright and contracts, education and training, standards, economic modelling, and future developments such as system integration. Further recommendations are incorporated in guidelines regarding licence agreements between suppliers and users of electronic publications.

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