[UKOLN] Follett Lecture Series

Organised by UKOLN on behalf of JISC

New Romances or Pulp Fiction?
Do Libraries and Librarians have an Internet Future?

Colin Steele
University Librarian, the Australian National University in Canberra

The fourth/fifth presentation of The Follett Lecture series

Manchester Business School/Edinburgh University, 24/26 April 1995


This paper overviews the forces impacting on the traditional library environment with particular reference to network developments and the consequent need for intellectual and structural re-adjustment within and between relevant information providers.


First of all I should like to thank the organisers of the Follett Lectures for their invitation to present the fourth in the series and the first by an Australian. What I have to say will become an instant historical slice of time in so far as the actual detail of information technology is concerned. Nonetheless the required structural and conceptual changes covered in my paper will, I hope, remain relevant for a little while.

Anthony-Michael Rutowski (1994), Executive Director of the Internet Society, has outlined, what he terms, "the global internetworking revolution ... in near real time". Computer host connections on the Net reached nearly five million by February 1995. There was a staggering 26% growth rate in the last quarter of 1994 in the host computer count. By May 1995 it was estimated that there are eighty million people using the Internet. Microprocessors are doubling in speed every eighteen months. The World Wide Web alone will exceed the world's digitised voice traffic in less than three years according to one analyst. Australians are on, a per capita basis, the second biggest users of Internet services after the USA. The pace of travel on the Information Superhighway, the Infobahn or whatever else one wants to term it, is increasing at a phenomenal rate.

How do largely static historically focussed print organisations, such as libraries, react to such trends. As Rutkowski has said the Net has "an enormously empowering capability that allows instant creation of work groups, discussion groups and audiences of all kinds. The capability transcends time zones, national and organisation boundaries and in the near future, even language. In its ultimate extrapolation, it is the ultimate open society ...". This paper tries to examine how libraries and librarians adapt to this global library environment where the user can now provide his or her own focal point. Education of the end searcher must become a priority (Helal & Weiss, 1995).

The network advances have transformed our modes of communication and will result in significant changes in our structures to accommodate organised information access and storage. The world is indeed now increasingly McLuhan's global village. The origin and dissemination of knowledge can just as easily be in Australia, Austria or Albania as America! Maddox (1994) in the US magazine Locus has stated that "Web home pages are proliferating like Australian jack rabbits with a hormone boost, and about the only way to find out whether you find them interesting or valuable is to look and see". The key is surely in the sifting of information and the subsequent organisation of that information for education or commercial dissemination.

The way that major multinational companies like Microsoft are aligning themselves for network access is indicative (Arnfield, 1995). The Microsoft Network will be built around the 'one-stop shop' concept. This will be the strategy of a number of other suppliers such as America Online, Prodigy and Compuserve. Every major new operating system will have Internet connectivity built into it. The providers of network facilitating tools, whether human or machine, will become the new librarians of cyberspace.

IT Developments: Past Promise and Present Delivery

Some of the developments off and on campus that will affect library structures and aid decentralised information access will include: a dramatic increase in servers on and off campus; increasingly sophisticated navigational tools; increased demand by remote users for access to data and teaching/learning processes; multimedia developments, eg, desktop integration of graphics, moving images and sound as well as text and statistical data; network access via workstations as a norm; access to data via portable hand held devices and wireless local area networks etc.

The transition from gopher client access, the big leap to Mosaic and then Netscape has been dramatic both in its speed and in the software and technical advances. To reflect back, mention 'World Wide Web' a decade ago and images of a horror movie about spiders might have eventuated! It was only in 1989 that Tim Berners-Lee of CERN, then in Geneva, began work on the World Wide Web but for a variety of reasons it wasn't until 1993 that the Web browser applications such as Mosaic became both more portable and popular through the work of Bob McCool and Marc Andreessen, the latter then at the University of Illinois and now with Netscape Communications.

In October 1994 twelve new world web servers were being added every day, each of which can support many applications and "documents". It has been stated in the trade press, e.g., Information World Review, that while 23% of all Internet users had text-oriented access at the end of 1994, only 7% had graphic oriented access. The demand potential, therefore, for the navigational tools like Netscape and Mosaic is immense with all the logistical and organisational implications that ensue.

In mid 1993 Tony Barry of the Australian National University's Centre for Networked Access to Information (CNASI) began indicating to his senior library colleagues on the need for them to realise the combined potential of client server architecture; the Uniform Resource Locator (URL); selected Web client and server programs; HTML (Hypertext Markup Language); HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and Common Gateway Interface Scripts (CGI). Few at the ANU Library then really appreciated the combined impact of these developments. Similiarly, at a major international conference in April 1993 in Canberra, convened by the Australian National Scholarly Communications Forum, US speakers like Brewster Kahle of WAIS Inc and Dr Daniel Greenberg of the American Academy of the Humanities, presented cogent visions of the future but some of the practical 1995 software access tools were not even on their realistic horizon. (Mulvaney and Steele, 1993)

In this context the pace of change in libraries will be more dramatic over the next five years than the last forty years. Melbourne University's Baillieu Library, opened in the late 1950's, was only physically different for its users in the late 1980's by the number of workstations in the building. Most users had to physically enter the building to access information. By the year 2000 the academic user environment will be significally transformed because of IT developments and because of a migration to remote access to information. The difficulties of predicting change are well known but even as seasoned a library commentator as Dr Maurice Line, writing in 1993, was surely overly conservative in his views of the library in 2015, expressed in a symposium edited by that early advocate of the paperless library, Professor F. W. Lancaster (Line, 1993). Line, however, was writing before the Net explosion and software access tools to exploit it. Similar problems were experienced by the extremely capable group of contributors to a symposium on the future of computing and communications entitled Technology 2001 (Leebaert, 1991)

Given the rapidity of the change and the fact that the library is now being "de- institutionalised" (Feather, 1994), libraries have to restructure to provide IT training and knowledge, have to become the intellectual facilitators of that information in a total knowledge environment, i.e., from software and hardware provision to structured network access. One of the problems is that many university libraries are caught between supporting yesterday's libraries, without the users being conscious of the rapidity of change in the infrastructure which will create tomorrow's library and network access for them.

The State California University Library system, under the leadership of Professor Richard West and others, is one organisation that has recognised there have to be new visions and strategies to tackle the current economic and networking, let alone social and intellectual developments. (CSU, 1993). The CSU Strategic Plan states "the successful implementation of recommended change strategies requires a rethinking of roles and responsibilities, resource allocation, administration and organizational structure elements, facilities and infrastructure, and staffing requirements. In addition, a comprehensive analysis of alternatives for integrating information technology into the basic fabric of the teaching and learning environment is fundamental to all of the goals and strategies included in the plan".

The Australian National University's Information Technology Strategic Plan 1995-2005 begins the "Future Directions" section with the vision for clients to adopt an integrated desktop environment which will provide an "electronic landscape" for all clients to have rapid access to shared information. It's Electronic Information Access Committee (EISAC), which this author chairs, sees as one of its goals to encourage publication directly onto the Net by the individual, the university or through learned society filters.

The conservative nature of some of some of the major international publishers as expressed in published statements continues to be disappointing in this regard. Elsevier's own internal planning indicated in 1993 their dependence on one product, the journal and on one client group libraries (van Marle, 1993). While Elsevier have developed collaborative electronic projects for example, their innovative, at the time of conception, electronic publishing trial, Project Tulip, it has become increasingly dated as a concept. Cliff Lynch at the April 1995 CNI Conference stated that "the Internet is not a viable way to distribute information like Tulip", ie, the time taken to format and send large chunks of data across and between continents. There is still an underlying difficulty for commercial publishers to come to terms with article access via the Net. Perhaps it is not surprising that many of them have been slow to use the Net in their own internal operations.

The ultimate question will be whether the academic community still need commercial publishers? One key issue, apart from the conservatism and profit motive of major scientific publishers, is that print publication secures status, ie, tenure and promotion are tied to print journals. If, however, this scenario is "publish or perish" the other message coming very strongly from IT developments worldwide is "converge or die". In the long run this latter message must surely prevail in the scholarly communication arena. Electronic content needs to be accorded the same academic respect as print receives, as both the UK Follett Report and the AAU (American Association of Universities)/ARL (American Research Libraries) Steering Committee documents recognise.

The integration of scholarly communication processes from the creation of the article/book with the author, through to the ultimate delivery mechanism, is now requiring a new convergence and interaction of author, publisher, distributor and reader. Publishers' print warehouse will be transformed, where relevant to a continuing publisher presence, into electronic delivery mechanisms with data being sent electronically directly to users or to libraries for site wide access and downloading accompanied by secure encrypted monetary transfers. Similar procedures will occur in the serial article mechanism bypassing the current fax delivery stage which begins with an "illogical" paper original. Traditional print journals thus need to be "deconstructed".

Don Schauder, Librarian of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, has found that the scholarly communication industry is entering a phase of competition where at source subsidised electronic publishing competes with commercial or fee for service publishing. (Schauder, 1994). Julene Butler (1994) has analysed the emerging factors which will see the electronic journal becoming a viable channel for formal scholarly communication with the emphasis in 1993-4 being for electronic article submission by both tenured professional academics and the new entrants to a discipline.

In Australia a survey of electronic serials undertaken by the Australian Vice Chancellors Committee (AVCC) Working Party on Electronic Publishing has revealed a "very fluid" situation (Barwell, 1994). It states

A survey of representative examples of serials, both those which are wholly electronic and those which have a print version, shows that all publish online free of charge, the journals are peer-reviewed, some are poorly known, but the medium, while offering some particular advantage for Australian authors, also has some technical problems in particular fields, especially those requiring equations and tables. Many of the journals use the medium for debate and feedback as well as simple communication of results, and there is also a trend towards the inclusion of non- print materials.
A survey of other kinds of works shows that these publish in a variety of formats, from floppy disk to being purely online, and vary from being wholly electronic to having an additional print existence. They are generally supported by commercial publishers or scholarly institutions and involve a charge when they exist as physical objects. Pricing is within the range of print equivalents, sometimes cheaper, and distribution is important. Support for authors is an important factor in the success of a product as is selection of material. Most works either supply or require additional software to manipulate the material provided and this also influences success, as does their capacity to run on various hardware platforms. The better works take full advantage of the electronic medium.
Further factors which affect the success of a publication are considered, particularly recognition and support by institutions, libraries, and funding bodies. There are other factors involved which are outside the scope of the report. Some general trends are clear enough, but the situation is very fluid and it is difficult to be categorical about the success of a particular venture. Compared with the US the situation in Australia as regards government awareness and support is promising.

The main aim of the AVCC Electronic Publishing Group is to develop "models of best practice". It is interesting that proposals before the AVCC Committee range from engineering education to classical antiquity to astronomy. The whole of the knowledge base is affected, not simply scientific endeavours as in the past.

Library Structures

It is clear, from the IT developments cited, that Library organisational structures must also evolve or else they will be left behind in the university environment. The form this will take around the world will mean radically different organisations in the future as libraries, computer or network, and multimedia centres come together to provide more integrated and comprehensive storage, production and access facilities. The names such facilitating centres possess will differ but the overall thrust in 1994 was clear, e.g., the Information Arcade at Iowa (Lowry, 1994); the Center for Advanced Information Technology at Davis; the Total Service Center at the University of Massachusetts; the Teaching Cybrary at the University of Southern California (Hattery, 1994); the Centre for Networked Information and Publishing (CNIP) at the Australian National University and the Scholars Centre at the University of Western Australia. (Burrows, 1994). Information for teaching and research will increasingly be in a multimedia state - medicine and the visual arts being obvious subject areas. An impressive overview of recent developments has been provided by Stuebing (1994) for the US New Jersey Department of Higher Education.

Dr Peter Lyman, when at the University of Southern California, encouraged the integration of campus wide resources from traditional library access to the integration of multimedia within teaching and learning packages; e.g., the School of Fine Arts course teaches students digital photography, while the School of Cinema- Television instructs in multimedia. Teaching and library staff need to become involved in the design and delivery of learning processes, far more so than in the past. Graphic designers and video production units will be incorporated into the combined IT resource structures. The Office of Instructional Technology at the University of Michigan, where it comes under the aegis of the Information Technology Division, is another example of a unit designed for faculty interested in exploring new technologies and ideas. The synergy being created by across campus developments and the "reconstruction" of the Michigan School of Information and Library Studies, with its Crystal-Ed debate and the twenty-four hour "Internet Public Library" concept shows how traditional disciplines and technologies are blurring and how key individuals can provide campus leadership.

Information overload, however, is becoming a pre-eminent feature in whatever single field of knowledge let alone cross-disciplinary foci. Knowledge and organisation of information integration will become a pre-eminent requirement. There is no guarantee, however, that the Library will necessarily be the focal point, as Lyman has argued, in the twenty-first century. As knowledge of the networks and the communication access tools penetrate the rest of society, libraries will need to stake out their place, within budget frameworks. Such decisions, both organisationally and economically, will not be easy.

The Library, irrespective of this organisational evolution, will see the professional walls disintegrate between categories of librarians, as well as between publishers and librarians. Drabenstott (1994) has cogently synthesised the trends that will lead to libraries of the future and thus the nature of the tasks librarians will undertake. The professional qualifications for librarianship will also be less mandatory than in the past. The attractiveness of network provision and the global employment situation will attract a higher standard of professional applicant whose skills will provide a wider dimension to the traditional library environments. Librarianship will need to become multidisciplinary in focus with an ability to co-ordinate print and digital information. The leadership on the Net has often come from key individuals, mostly "techies" with the majority of the library profession arguably coming someway behind. In Australia this trend has been succinctly summarised by Cleary (1994).

The ubiquity of global networks will render the minutiae of librarianship both more and less relevant than in the past. Will we need the detailed complexities of cataloguing codes in a networked environment? Current classifications rule are too rigid for network organisation and lateral linking. Cataloguers have spent their time historically describing the details and format of that physical artefact, the book, rather than the intellectual content. Now the opportunity arises to access and link the content of data, rather than the sterile trappings of the exterior of the book. As Professor Rob Kling has written "librarians may care greatly about cataloguing procedures; this is an ontological act they perform; it establishes the importance of an information item. Humanists, on the other hand, may view this act as completely irrelevant". (Kling, 1994). As fewer original cataloguers were required globally in the 1980's, compared to the 1960's and 1970's, similarly the serial staffing structures will be transformed in the late 1990's as direct desktop article provision to users replaces, in the academic environment at least, the serial check-in and traditional display environments.

The distinctions between reference, technical service and collection management librarians will continue to disappear despite the understandable clinging by some to the traditional professional rocks in the IT sea of change. In Australia in 1995 separate national conferences are still being held for cataloguers, reference librarians, Asian and Pacific Librarians, online experts, etc. These distinctions are increasingly archaic. Effective network organisational structures to support PCs, Macs and workstations in the Library and databases networked throughout the University are becoming perhaps more important than the "old" technical services departments. The Net provides access to linked sources of data, e.g., in 1994 the American East Asian Libraries Group brought together a whole variety of Asian sources under country headings which demand the attention of subject, reference and acquisition librarians in a way that has not existed before. Knowledge is no longer proprietorial to specific categories of library staff.

Libraries have created a variety of new initial staffing arrangements to accommodate electronic outreach operations. At North Carolina State University the Networked Resources and Services Team includes the Client Services Librarian for Networked Resources, the Networked Technologies Development Librarian and the Multimedia Resources Librarian. The University of Texas at Austin has an Electronic Information Programs Office. Such units eventually have to takeover the mainstream operation of the Library as cross functional information environments become the norm.

The role of paraprofessionals, excluding student assistants who "blur" structures to some extent in North American libraries, has to change. While paraprofessionals will undertake standard reference and technical activities increasingly "delegated" by their professional colleagues, the breakdown of barriers in electronic manipulation will lead to a greater recognition of abilities via job evaluation and the increasing integration of library career positions via generic administrative structures. Disciplinary skills will be blurred as will be career distinctions.

Cornell University Library has decided, however, that "since basic library functions remain the same, it has not been necessary to change the administrative organisation" (Olsen, 1994). In Cornell's case group decision making provides the mechanism for examining the impact of electronic information on the procedures and policies of all organisational units. While staff clearly embrace the electronic vision "staff members are guided by the conviction that the philosophical foundation of the traditional library must also form the philosophical foundation of the electronic library". Their use of a combination of staff to provide gateways to electronic resources - "The Mann Lib house" with different library departments responsible for various "rooms" is innovative and brings all of the Library together in common cause.

It is my belief that such new organisational alliances within the Library and, more especially, the university are required to embrace the issues raised in a network environment. Thus rather than attempt to graft existing structures onto the electronic frameworks, we should work backwards conceptually from the twenty four hour scholar desktop scenario and how we can best achieve organistional support. A third of US academic libraries responding to an Association of American Publishers (1994) survey in 1994 indicated they are spending 10-24% of their budgets on electronic products. Library staff in this respect could also increasingly work from home bases as performance targets can be relatively easily monitored in an electronic environment. Management of libraries will change as networks allow instant transmission of data and e-mails to all staff in the Library. Structures will be flattened as Net access challenges bureaucratic culture. 'Do it' is a far more prevalent action on the Net than it was in the print environment!

In this decentralised context, at the University of Western Australia and at Curtin University, librarians are beginning to be located in relevant Schools and/or Departments in order to provide on the spot IT training and to develop knowledge of relevant subject tools, e.g., Web sites and bulletin boards on the Net. This is a variant of the 1960's experiments with subject bibliographers being located in Departments. The difference now is that this deployment is being undertaken at a time of zero growth budgets and the fact that the successful IT "cuckoos" will look to hatch the information eggs in academic departments and then move on. In the 1960's such bibliographers often saw themselves as "academics in disguise" whereas network information navigation is the future role for the library professional? Eventually Faculty may take over much of this work. At ANU much of the Asian and Pacific material, has been assembled and made available on the Net by "general" staff outside the Library, ie, not by the Asian bibliographers nor even the relevant academic staff (Ciolek & Cathro, 1995).

As Klobas (1994) has revealed quality electronic services will require a greater liaison and empathy with user communities. Users will become empowered in library activities and at the same time realise the benefits librarians can provide in the campus wide organisation of knowledge. The University Librarian at ANU is one focus for the Campus Wide Information System as Chair of the University wide Electronic Access Information Committee, which covers all facets of staff and student access to electronic information on campus. More flexible structures are required to meet the new demands of knowledge access and training.

The ANU Library merged the Collection Development and Technical Services sections of the Library in 1993 since access transcends the selection stage, e.g., bibliographers needed to take into account the full cost cycle of the printed item. In the future cataloguers will merge with the information or user service outreach professionals to organise local network information dissemination on the one hand and to provide useable interfaces and structured links to external information sources on the other. Most of the major net search facilities have come from outside the library profession!

Few would have turned two years ago to a print copy of P.C. Week magazine to provide a recurrent starting point to information resources, but now this is possible via P.C. Weeks's online "Net Navigator". It is remarkable how much excellent information relatively unsophisticated Internet search tools, such as the Lycos servers at Carnegie Mellon, have been able to provide compared to say the more rigorous catalogue control influenced by the physical artefact of the book. Nonetheless the demand on the Lycos servers has increased enormously even during the writing of this paper and care must be taken to prevent user discontent as more and more want to use the various web search facilities. At the most simple level there is a need to organise and link the plethora of personal bookmarks to Net resources which grow exponentially. Whose responsibility is it to provide the greater indexing and retrieval sophistication required by the Net? Should the search tools be separated from the server environments? Will commercial providers continue to "gobble up" the software tools for their own exclusive use? Many of the theoretical underpinnings of the searching techniques have been debated by the library and information professions for decades. Can we apply them effectively in a Net environment? Lynch (1995) has cogently described the development of "NIDR's" - Network Information Resource Discovery tools at the Spring 95 meeting of the US Coalition for Networked Information, which will enable users to more effectively search the Net.

The focus in the future will be much more of a customised approach to information in which the user will control or access information directly via facilitated mechanisms such as the current web crawlers or intelligent software indexing applications. The University of Michigan grant under the Digital Library NSF grants will include the development of "agents",ie, software tools that can facilitate information access. Colorado's "Harvest" project is a community tailored resource discovery tool with "gatherers" and "brokers" built into search facilities. The sheer exponential rise of the number of networks connecting and the information upon them will constitute "enormous difficulties" of access unless better searching tools keep pace with such developments. The amount of duplication on various sites on the Net will become worse unless individual "editing" is undertaken or retrieval tools eliminated (Lynch, 1994(a)). There will, however, be still a role for the human element to move librarians beyond becoming simply the "digital dogs" of the network environment. Nicholas Negroponte (1995), the Director of the MIT Media Laboratory has coined the terms "digerati" for those who sift the information flows compared to those who passively receive "broadcast data".

It is not beyond the bounds of possibilities that electronic "meta-libraries" can evolve with added sophistication, e.g., via groups of "focussed" special librarians separated across even a continent providing electronic reference service to those who require it on the Net. Electronic archiving is also required on a structured basis to overcome the 'here today, gone tomorrow' of much network information. We need to know why a URL has failed or where the data has gone which was on the Net last month. Traditional cataloguers, working with the tools above, could evolve into the local link experts in the Net organisation of subject knowledge, working where necessary with full time researchers, to provide an on-demand information service to both institutional users and private home based customers. There are no longer geographical boundaries on the possession of knowledge.

Publishing on the Net and Changed Patterns of Scholarly Communication

Electronic publishing need no longer be bound by the structures of the journal format. The key here is "searchability, rapid publication and no size limits" (Lesk, 1994)In an electronic publishing context the evolutionary transition will occur from the preprint or e-mail discussion point to the availability of data via the 'final' product of an electronically refereed article on a learned society server. Subjects as diverse as mathematics, astronomy and economics already have pre-print servers. The place of the current commercial publishers, particularly in the scientific arena, will dramatically change. Costs could be reduced dramatically if electronic article provision by the owner or learned societies became the norm which could assist university library funding in the need to redeploy resources for IT access (Holdsworth, 1994). M.I.T.'s new electronic peer-reviewed journal, the Chicago Journal of Theoretical Computer Science is designed as a cost based instead of market priced journal and aims at a six week turnaround in the review process. Bob Kelly (1994) of the American Physical Society has stated that their motto is "Write it once, store it on anything and display it on anything and anywhere". The APS have reduced the production costs of Physical Review Letters with conversion allowing the display, via Mosaic, of title, authors, abstracts and figure lists. PRL will be available to print subscribers in electronic form via OCLC from July 1, 1995. Stanford University Library is working with the publishers of the Journal of Physical Biochemistry to produce this also by mid 1995 with HTML markup and WAIS indexing.

The American Mathematical Society has digitised the back runs of Mathematical Reviews and Current Mathematical Publications so they can be searched as an electronic database in the same way as can the paper journal, although with the advantage of complex searching facilities. (Burton & Kisler, 1994). Odlyzko (1994) has argued that half of the world's mathematical papers (circa one million) have been published in the last ten years. There is no way the traditional library structures can cope with such a rate of production, i.e., the doubling of the world's mathematical literature in the next twenty years. A sophisticated combination of scholars and librarians co-ordinating learned societies input and output of articles on the Net could displace print specialist branch libraries as we know them today.

The Australian National University has one of the "best" mathematical serial collections in the world - how much longer will it survive in its present print form? Efforts have been made in the last few years to see it identified as a "para-national" library for Australia but its print location in Canberra is little use to a researcher in Darwin unless there is relatively simple network access and distribution of data. Odlyzko has estimated that a mathematics library that spends US$150,000 on books and journals per annum costs $500,000 to run. Retooling of finances by access to global mathematic servers from the desktop will change the traditional economic structures of libraries. Odlyzko concludes "technology will solve the librarians' problem, but will also eleminate most of their jobs"!

Dr Maurice Line once called resource sharing the "pooling of poverty" and administrators have also been quick to seize on the belief that co-ordinated electronic access can reduce library budgets without realising that a user and commercial revolution, particularly in the context of science serials, has to occur before librarians can impose dramatic solutions of resource reallocations in local environments. Some of the debates arising from the UK Follett Report, eg, between new university libraries and the older CURL libraries, are relevant here (Bulpitt, 1994).

Standards, quality control, copyright and archiving will need to be addressed in the electronic publishing chain. If so it can only be a matter of time before electronic refereed journals and, more particularly, articles become the international norm. In that process the whole chain from authorship to access will be undertaken electronically i.e., articles being submitted electronically, refereed electronically (since peer evaluation is essential to the accreditation of journals) and for the production and dissemination of the text. The role of publishers, serial suppliers and booksellers will inexorably change (Vickers & Martyn, 1994).

In this process of integration of services, the publishing activities on campus must not be forgotten. The Campus Bookshop, the printing and multimedia services, the network backbone providers will need to come together with libraries to provide a structured network integration of services. It may well be that campus bookshops as we know them will disappear in a networked environment as will certain of the book supplier middlemen unless they restructure. In the first five months of 1995 new and secondhand bookshops on the Internet proliferated with service independent of place. In this context users need to have the appropriate access mechanisms. Many World Wide Web clients will include encryption and authentication options for secure commercial transactions. Local caching of data will be increasingly necessary as the vast amount of information on the Net increases and thus bandwidth demands extrapolate and international traffic increases. Tony Barry at ANU has argued that caching will mean collection development becomes a matter of engineering practice rather than librarianship.

Scientific communication is becoming an ongoing organic process of how thinking takes place on a research topic and less an historical 'slice of time' in print form. Lynch (1994b) has argued cogently for a new approach to publication in the networked environment and the cost of fulfilment really does depend on the economic model used to finance the publication. University presses, a declining force in recent years, may well become transformed as they mutate into distributors of information from their own and other universities in electronic format, thereby making available information that was too prohibitively expensive to produce and distribute in conventional form. Commercial HTML facilitating packages, such as Interleaf's 'Cyberleaf', will allow individuals to prepare hypertext data for the Net relatively painlessly until they are built into software as a regular feature. Adobe's Acrobat 'Capture' is another tool that allows a replication, rightly or wrongly, of the exact look and feel of the original text.

User Access via the Net

Users in an environment of distributed network information and desktop delivery will expect to be able to place orders, receive documents and access electronic resources through transparent gateways. Thus more interaction with users electronically will occur probably on a subject focussed basis. As Gapon has stated, "a virtual library environment is one in which component parts combine to provide intellectual and real access to information, the value of which is framed entirely from the users' point of view, meeting the individuals' unique information needs". (Gapon, 1993). We need to make the virtual library a waking reality!

In this process a complete reorganisation of library resource distribution will have to take place both within the library itself and with, in an academic context, its information partners. Campbell (1994) has argued "librarians should redesign their entire organisation". Thus direct electronic delivery of articles, documents and books to the desktops of the users will replace the traditional inter-library loan units. Digital libraries, or at least subject parts of them, will become increasingly prevalent, with the announcement of the May 1995 'National Digital Library Federation' initiative by fifteen US research libraries being a major step forward in the digitisation and global distribution of information.

Collection managers will be responsible for monitoring site-wide licences to information access providers and ensuring the cheapest and most effective means of direct delivery of information to users at their desktops. Bailey (1994) has reminded us of the dangers of allowing existing commercial print publishers in this area, seeing license arrangements as a "cancer" killing information ownership and fair use. Concurrent with such access will be the need, at least initially in most organisations, for training and equipment provision.

In this context, a survey of users during 1994 (Milne) at the Australian National University, (a university incidentally which has a PC, Mac or workstation on nearly every academic's desk and is the home of some significant cutting edge IT developments), revealed significant pockets of IT ignorance, e.g., as to how to gain basic network access beyond the e- mail and relatively few used the Campus Wide Information System regularly. Training is thus a key component of 1995 ANU priorities and a need to provide training in the office or department rather than the Library. Users only want to access data. They don't want to have to decide what software to use, where a server is or how printers are accessed, or if a problem is a local or international network one. Service has to be a seamless whole as far as the user is concerned.

Once data is accessed academics and students will need to decide how to collect the data from the Net. With an estimated rise in the cost of paper in 1995 worldwide how will most users read and store the information they glean from the Net? Many will probably print off data rather than store electronically or download to a floppy disk. The network revolution may ironically in the short term exacerbate the demand for paper via a decentralised print product. Speakers at the Washington CNI meeting in April 1995 termed printing as "the problem from hell" in that network printing resources needed to be significantly upgraded if users wanted to print substantial amounts of information on a regular basis.

Print Collections and Electronic Access

Many libraries, particularly in the golden years of the 1960's and 1970's, bought a large number of new and old books which they never catalogued or took several years to catalogue. Often these books were placed in closed compactus shelving thereby depriving users of access. This occurred at many universities around the world. In Australia the Australian National University did so until the end of the 1970's and Melbourne University until the end of the 1980's. It would take several years for items to be catalogued and thus accessible. In a number of universities this process included the new book acquisitions, so effectively tying up access to new knowledge. In terms of new print publications today a significant amount of staff and capital funds are still tied up in large research libraries with acquiring, processing and storing large quantities of serials and monographs which are rarely used or not used very intensively in the large research libraries. The critics of electronic access to information rarely apply the same criteria to historical print collections! In an era of declining or static funding, both for equipment provision and outreach for IT access, this process has to change if funds need to be redistributed to provide desktop access.

Comparisons can now be made with the electronic revolution in terms of locking up intellectual capital if organisational change is not effected. Thus if effective provision of hardware and software is not provided then access is similarly "stunted". In less than two years the ANU's twenty-four hour ELISA (Electronic Library and Information Service) has gone from zero access in 1992 to 2.3 million plus accesses in 1995, more now than the physical number of people who enter the Library and for more than the circulation of material from the Library.

Most public libraries in Australia are closed on Sundays and late at night when working couples and their families might wish to use them. Twenty-four hour electronic libraries are one way to close the gap, especially for the disabled. The process of access by the poor via public libraries needs to be established via national information infrastructures. Public libraries can grasp the political and social advantages of the Net if they become more attuned to community needs. This may have dangers, eg, moving into areas of social support through community information stations but it could have financial advantages for public library roles in the future.

Remote user access will become an important service by all libraries. Users will need technical advice on workstation configuration, modem access, local area network access points and protocol information. The question for all libraries initially is achieving the balance between up front physical and remote user access of the library. Lyman has argued in his 1994 Follett lecture of the electronic library enabling a "global reference room" to be created (Lyman, 1994). The University of Waterloo's Electronic Library with its virtual walking tours, superceding the stand alone hypercard terminals, and its electronic links to world wide information arranged by discipline, is another indication of the merging of content and outreach. Waterloo has a set of World Wide Web pages facilitating access to electronic resources maintained by scholarly societies around the world. Such subject access facilities help overcome the lack of network subject knowledge that Wiggins (1994) has identified for chemists. Knowledge management is going to be a key factor in the future of libraries. Cornell University Library has developed the concept of "genre specialists", whose role is to be an expert on all formats in a given genre. (Demas, 1994) The specialists serve as "selector, resource person and advocate" for publications and information resources and feeds into Cornell's Electronic Resource Council. Genre specialists can be from traditional public, collection or technical areas of the library. The merging of all areas is again apparent.

Atkinson (1994) has argued that "of all traditional library functions, the future of collection development in this transformation is certainly the most problematic" and that selectors must "begin to learn more about, and to form closer administrative links to, what are now the cataloguing and reference functions in order to prepare the way for what will be the inevitable fusion of selection with these two operations". Mosher (1994) in the same symposium sees the need to combine the traditional scholarship with the technologies to produce the necessary "evolutionary development". Such specialists will be responsible for alerting academic staff to new resources on the Net for specific subject disciplines.

In terms of user access, libraries are increasingly moving to provide site wide licensed access to databases which provide easy desktop access rather than transaction models of useage. CD-Rom networking, moreover, is not always satisfactory in terms of compatibility of software and network access. ANU Library is trying to move as many of its CD-Roms to server data access allowing all of the campus to access information more efficiently. A major international firm, Chadwyck-Healey, offered their CD-Roms initially by giving discounts on multiple purchases of the same CD-Rom. Only slowly did the realisation come that networking was as important as stand alone work stations and that campus wide networking is now preferable to limited networking either with the Library or in departments such as English Departments for the English Poetry database.

The Chadwyck-Healey October 1994 English Literary Full-Text Databases Newsletter recognises the problem of the database being independent of its hardware.

We very much hope and expect that new and better media will replace CD-Roms for bulk information storage and that software developments will enable faster and more efficient searching of ever larger datasets. As indicated above, by far the bulk of the project costs for English Poetry were in the data capture. From the outset we have been careful to ensure that our tagging was kept simple and generic and portable and that the database contained nothing that would prevent it being used on any hardware platform. Nothing in the data or the tagging restricts our future options and our customers will be able to take advantage of any future developments without having to reinvest in the data.

(Chadwyck-Healey, 1994)


The teaching and learning environment will also change. Carnegie Mellon anticipates that by the year 2001 many course units would be almost completely "remote in space and time". Leading scholars throughout the world could interact with students outside their own university in a real time environment. Lanham (1993) has argued on a number of occasions that the whole process of learning will be deconstructed as knowledge moves away from linear access. Irrespective of the disappearance of the non sequential learning process, the merging of educational technology and information technology will see, as mentioned earlier, teaching and learning patterns changing dramatically. In Australia the CAUT (Committee for the Advancement of University Teaching) centres established in late 1994 and 1995 have a role to co-ordinate the electronic delivery of "teaching packages" in an IT environment.

Interaction by e-mail by subject groups of students; on line submission of assignments; access to lectures by video from local and remote sites; virtual reality laboratories; multi-media 'smart' lecture theatres etc. are only some of the current and projected developments. Electronic walking tours of libraries and exhibitions will evolve into electronic study environments and lead to a decentralised learning environment in which library access and delivery has to play its part accordingly. Librarians have to follow these developments which evolve from the teaching and learning mission of the university rather than simply from the technological push. Resources will be found for IT access but it will be at the expense of traditional services of which libraries may constitute one source.

ANU's Centre for Networked Information and Publishing

The ANU has gained the central co- ordinating body for CAUT (Committee for the Advancement of University Teaching). It is physically located in the ANU Library next to CNIP, the Centre for Networked Information and Publishing, which itself is part of the overall ANU Online initiative. CNIP aims to provide a focus for the University's electronic networking activities and assist the University community to make full use of the Net for research, teaching and administration. It encourages access to the scholarship and research resources of the University by industry, government, schools and the wider Australian and international community. Objectives of the centre are to:

The Centre's initial projects have been to:

In this process of integration it is remarkable after only five months of CNIP how the roles of the Computing Centre and Library staff have merged in terms of common mission, e.g., for standards of networking, issues of security, ordering of data, software compatibility etc. Skills have blended in a way that would have been impossible to conceive several years before. There is much more now in common between the various components in meeting the strategic vision of the University than in sectoral competition. As Schrage (1994) has pointed out "collaboration isn't just about communication or teamwork, it's about the creation of value". Librarians have been able to add the subject focus and value added output for network linkages.

Network Software Tools

To provide a co-ordinated Net access a crucial question is who pays and co- ordinates on a campus, for example, in the ANU environment how are Netscape and other access tools loaded onto the workstations used by academic and administrative staff? Who monitors software developments and installs upgrades? What is the impact, not least economically, of all these users accessing sound and moving pictures as well as text and graphics? In the ANU environment and decentralised IT support has led to variations in hardware and software across campus.

Similarly, what is the role, both as custodian and interpreter of information services staff, when software access tools like Netscape are available on public access workstations as it has been at ANU since early 1995. How are the boundaries drawn in a resource framework between 'playing', browsing/serendipity and learning? When this was undertaken by individuals one to one with a printed book there were no resource issues other than the physical opening and running costs of a library building. Now a complex infrastructure is required with sophisticated staff elements. If the means of teaching and learning let alone research changes, what role does the library play?

Distributed National Collection: Australia

The global information environment is interlocked at every level. National boundaries are transcended on the Net. In Australia an interesting phenomenon known as the DNC (the Distributed National Collection) is attempting not without some difficulty to turn a print concept of resource sharing, developed in the 1980's, into a 1990's electronic access concept.

The "DNC", as documented by the Australian Council of Library and Information Services (ACLIS), has as its vision

to maximise the ability of libraries to meet the information needs of all Australians as effectively as possible". The ACLIS brochure on the DNC states it "began as a concept many years ago and is usually considered as the aggregation of all (or nearly all) major library collections in Australia, the contents of which are recorded in a generally accessible catalogue and which are accessible to all bona fide users through an efficient and affordable interlibrary delivery system.
The DNC began to take more formal shape at the Australian Libraries Summit in 1988, through the examination of issues such as the national database, preservation strategies, document delivery systems, access to electronic information, serving users with special needs and the national collection ... It should be noted that some of these principles are being challenged and a new understanding may emerge in years to come. A key factor in the DNC progress has been the rapid development of the National Bibliographic Database (NBD). To some extent, the DNC was seen as an ideal towards which libraries could collectively aspire. That ideal is now within our reach.

By October 1994 the NBD listed over 20 million items representing 10..8 million distinct titles, including 8.5 million books, 85,000 periodical titles and 891,000 titles in other formats. This DNC ideal, mentioned above, conceived in the print era, now needs reconsideration. Australia like the United States is a huge continent with significant distances between the regional capitals. Unlike Europe there is no fast and effective train network to allow reasonable cost access to major collections. The train journey from Sydney to Perth, for example, takes three and a half days! The 'DNC' concept was incorporated in Prime Minister Paul Keating's Communication and Arts policy initiative in October 1994, Creative Nation. This incidentally is a somewhat confused document in IT terms with a focus on CD- Roms, which some have termed the "roadfill" of the information superhighway. There is a danger that 'DNC' while a fine rhetorical tool may lack substance in practical terms of delivery unless it becomes part of the digital library initiatives both in Australia and overseas.

National Document and Information Service: Australia

The National Document and Information Service (NDIS) is linked to the DNC. Its predecessor ABN (Australian Bibliographic Network) was largely developed as a librarian's access mechanism rather than a user friendly access point. Nonetheless its scope and range is in advance of the CURL catalogue database in the UK and provides pointers to the possible post-Follett development of CURL to a national OPAC facility. The National Library of Australia's efforts have been less dominant and, hence perhaps more integrated into national structures, than say the British Library vis á vis the British major university libraries.

The DNC Office is located in the National Library of Australia which is, with the National Library of New Zealand, converting the Australian and New Zealand Bibliographic Networks into NDIS. Cathro (1994), stated that

NDIS will replace current services such as ABN and Ozline, and similar services in New Zealand. It will also extend these services: it will not only enhance them, but also provide services not covered at all by ABN or Ozline. For example, NDIS will provide online access to directory information, including the Conspectus database; it will provide direct full text access to some Australian and New Zealand document collections; it will provide sophisticated interconnection services such as uploading of data and transparent search gateways.
NDIS will take advantage of the Internet. It is not intended in any sense as being a competitor to the Internet. The Internet is likely to be the most common access method; the NDIS communication protocols will be entirely Internet compatible; and in its gateways services NDIS will use and build on Internet-based links to other document resources.
Finally, NDIS will provide some shared infrastructure for the Australian and New Zealand library communities - and indeed for the wider Australian and New Zealand communities. It will support the development of a truly trans-Tasman library network, including shared cataloguing, interlibrary loans and possibly projects such as cooperative indexing occurring across the Tasman ...
Data accessible through NDIS. NDIS will make available the following types of data:

NDIS, like the DNC Office concept, has to be flexible in a longish gestation period to keep step with rapidly changing technological influences. Costed at circa $15 million Australian, NDIS will run on IBM SP2 supercomputers and use Oracle database software. NDIS has had to move from a monolithic original concept to a more flexible modular approach, which allows a multiplicity of gateways.

For the DNC it makes sense to have a geographical focus for physical collections, e.g., metropolitan or local areas where a common collection policy can, in theory, be worked out for reasonably accessible material in physical form. At the very least a regional store for little used material with collective access and delivery mechanisms can be shared, as is occurring in Melbourne. Another model exists in the United States where Ohiolink connects all the Innopac sites in an access and delivery model. As most of the major Australian libraries now have or are about to install Innopac possible modes of future access liaison could occur here.

Once a book or article is outside a regional co-operative then it doesn't really matter in a network environment, where provision is possible, whether the source of that provision is Canberra, Copenhagen or Colorado. For a scholar to go to Adelaide or Perth from say Sydney is not cheap, so unless a supply of material is subsidised by the lending institutions, as is the case currently in Australia, then the speed and efficiency of information article supply is preferable from overseas document supply sources, even in the present fax hybrid mode. Use of UnCover which is still quite expensive compared to normal ILL charges, is increasing as users prefer direct access and delivery to traditional "snail mail" ILL delivery. Sixty-five percent of Uncover's overseas business in 1994 was from Australia which is a remarkable fact and which has a number of implications.

Experience at the University of Western Australia Library has shown that if the real costs of acquisition, bibliographic control and storage are taken into account and compared to document supply then costs of electronic delivered article supply are cheaper. Future e-mail delivery mechanisms based on MIME (Multipurpose Interest Mail Extensions), should reduce the costs even further.

The future of the DNC clearly has to be in access terms rather than the present collection model. In the British context there are internationally renowned para national research collections which Follett has recognised for support. Will, however, the increased knowledge of print sources in those Follett funded centres aid research more than say the further encouragement of national datasets or the provision of electronic serials for all including the newer technologically based universities? In Australia, where fewer major research collections exist, rather than focussing on the minutiae of bibliographical standards and on Conspectus descriptions, (how many academics incidentally really use or need Conspectus?), it would be preferable to adopt new approaches, eg, to provide linked Web pages for subjects or areas.

These pages would identify the major holdings in the local library and other Australian libraries; then provide detailed information and document supply accessed electronically from the desktop. Australian resources would then be linked into the relevant collections and holding access elsewhere in the world. The recent dialogue between the American and German research libraries for a mutual electronic platform for data, under the ARL Foreign Acquisition Project, is another example of how future access can be co-ordinated across national boundaries. In fact we now have, via the Net, the potential for the GNC, the global national collection.

Australian Datasets Policy

Even in a national context the DNC has not yet encompassed formally, national dataset access either under the scheme funded by the Australian Government's DEET (Department of Employment, Education and Training) or through collaborative groups, notably universities, who combine together to access information. The primary goal of the Australian datasets program, following the UK concept but not the control delivery mechanism, is to provide all staff and students of Australian universities with improved access to a range of information databases in a manner which is cost- effective, ie, takes advantage of co- operative purchasing. It has an aim to complement institutional and national infrastructure investment and improve the quality of support for teaching and research.

Other aims of the current CAUL (Council of Australian University Librarians) program of improving information infrastructure include:

Expected outcomes of the program which will be completed in early 1996 in its present phase of funding will include:

In the former scheme seed money by the Australian Government has been provided for access to the datasets of OCLC (Online Computer Centre), RLG (Research Library Group) and ISI (Institute of Scientific Information) - Current Contents. Access was initially provided at a free or subsidised rate in order to change patterns of scholarly access. Following a two year trial with Current Contents thirty five of the thirty eight Australian universities have combined with ISI and CD Plus to provide a national service through network access from January 1995. Further grants to a number of suppliers, such as Silverplatter and Information Access Company, were confirmed in May 1995.

A national access dataset unique to Australia is one whereby the Australian Bureau of Statistics has contracted in May 1995 with the AVCC (Australian Vice Chancellors Committee), via CAUL to provide its massive statistical datasets on a twenty four hour basis through AARNet (Australian Academic and Research Network) at a relatively low sitewide cost for university-wide access. Unlimited downloading of data is also available. Such collaboration and changes to individual access (previously ABS data was only available via several commercial suppliers on a stand alone PC basis) will be more effective, both at an individual and a collective level. Improved service to the end user has to be the ultimate goal for such services.

The DNC concept, however, will, in this author's opinion, be compromised from the start if it maintains its LCD (Lowest Common Dominator) principle of trying to lock in all types of libraries from public to special to university. While the DNC Office and its Advisory Committee recognise to some extent mutual interest by calling for relationships across subject areas, based on Conspectus analysis and contractual agreements, the examples gained over five years of "self help" can still be counted on the fingers of one hand. At the time of writing one Australian university library is surveying agriculture holdings in Australia for a co-operative project which is based loosely on classification and expanded local conspectus. It will attempt to detail library holdings by terms such as "container gardening"; "stone fruits (but not grapes and berries)", etc. This approach is surely not the way of access and delivery in the electronic future?

The Canadians have discussed another potential solution to the scholarly communication crisis in a systematic national, perhaps even international, coordinated journals cancellation process (CARL, 1994). At least one institution in an agreed region would subscribe to journals needed by the others; all would then share their collections to a greater degree than is now the case. Against this CARL has argued that this approach, while attractive in some respects, would entail considerable logistical complexity, require considerably more sophisticated sharing mechanisms, and oblige many institutions to become "information poor" in various subject areas. Perhaps most ominously, it would prompt publishers of the cancelled material to counter the negative impact on their market share by raising subscription rates even higher. Article access again should supercede journal holdings in the debate?

The past history of subject print based collaborative schemes, e.g., the Farmington Plan in the USA and the SCONUL (Standing Conference of National and University Libraries) subject area schemes have not been characterised by outstanding long term success. The recent ARL/AAU initiatives are still too early in their development to gauge eventual results and there are potentially still areas of debate to be clarified, eg, the distinction between local and national initiatives; the lack of analysis of use of material, ie, acquisition for acquisitions sake; the most effective means of delivery by electronic means and the concentration of resources in key libraries.

The future will not necessarily be for libraries to hold large amounts of information locally but to be able to access it, probably by 'mirrored' servers for cost reasons within a country or region as required. Brian Hawkins, Vice President of Academic Planning, Brown University, has been advocating for several years, a collaborative electronic library initiative (Hawkins, 1994). Hawkins's new library will be the prototype of a "virtual organisation", in which inter alia existing resources should not be duplicated, rather data should be accessed on a collaborative basis, ie, electronic development of the CARL print concept. Hawkins believes "the library of the future will be less of a place where information is kept than a portal through which students and faculty may access the vast information resources of the world ... the hurdles to be surmounted in meeting this new electronic environment will most likely rise from our unwillingness to break from our competitive tendencies, our parochialism in glorifying the past, and our unwillingness to accept the inevitability of change".

Australasian Library Network Resource Sharing

Where are Asia and the "economic tigers" in this process? Some are electronically proficient in whole or part like Singapore and Taiwan; some, like Japan, have initially stumbled over their own network bureaucracies and others are sleeping giants like China and Indonesia. They could easily outstrip the overseas Asian net resources provided by, for example, the USA and Australia. In the latter's context the Australian National University and the National Library of Australia in Canberra both have Asian collections which are each larger than the combined collections of all other Australian university libraries. A current initiative to join the ANU and NLA collections via contractual agreements, preferably in one building, will allow one outstanding international subject platform to be established for resource co-operation and local, national and regional outreach.

The funding of the National Asian Information Centre (NAIC), as the joint facility is to be known, would include current electronic initiatives such as ANU's IEDB database (International Economic Databank); customised Reuters 'electronic newspapers' delivered to academics' desktops on a daily e-mail basis; and the national CJK (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) network based on Innopac software.

At the end of 1994 the ANU Library and the National Library of China signed a contract to provide title page information of Chinese serials to the Net with access in English and the vernacular, and associated document supply, ie, a sort of Chinese UnCover. Using ANU IT expertise and NLC skills in acquisition and indexing the alliance provides a model for regional co- operation and international access (Hurle, 1994). A similar access project is occurring at ANU with Indonesian contents pages and serials data being mounted with the hope of involving Indonesian libraries directly at a later stage.

ANU has provided some consultancy advice to the major Japanese serial initiative being undertaken by a group of American MidWest universities led by Ohio State. The Web pages set up by the American Committee for East Asian Librarians are a model for future developments and for areas of Asia, e.g., for China where current telecommunication networks are still under-developed. The ANU's Research School of Asian and Pacific Studies has pioneered Vietnam's Internet links. An extensive listing of Asian net resources are contained in a major survey prepared for the Third Australian National Round Table on Libraries and Asia (Ciolek and Cathro).

The ability to install state of the art telecommunication equipment, often by joint ventures with overseas companies, will allow underdeveloped countries to leap forward provided there is the support infrastructure to maintain and develop it. In that context the countries of Asia allow greater grounds for optimism than their African counterparts. Asia Online, "the Digital Silk Road of the Twenty-First Century", is another relatively new Web development with an Asian focus and highlights the attractiveness of the Net to the Australasian business sector which underpins it. Singapore's IT network developments are singularly impressive in foresight (Singapore, 1994).


We must recognise as Kling (1994) has reminded us of the Utopian, rather than commercial, element in IT apostles. Librarians see the Net as a practical tool which can enrich our institution's mission, but we need as "apostles" also to ensure that the gap between information rich and information poor does not widen (the average online family head in America has a median income 77% above the national average). A 1995 US Computing survey showed that 43% of adults have never used a "computer" let alone one with network connections. 73% of children had, however, and 50% of those helped an adult to use one! It is not only access at work but access from home that is growing phenomenally and modem access generally begins with the more affluent! We must recognise the implications of the fragmentation of knowledge in separate subject global villages and the Americanisation or Anglicisation of the Net. In untangling the riches of information from the rubbish we must avoid the domination of "Disney Bells" (where telecommunications and entertainment dominate). The Information Superhighway is for more than the delivery of multichannel TV and interactive shopping to the home, although Time Warner's overcrowded Home Page shows some of the way of the interactive future in this context. Libraries can benefit, however, from the infrastructure developments of such entertainment and commercial "lowest common denominators".

We do need, however, to be aware of the dangers to our profession unless we enhance our mission (Peters, 1994). The heat is being felt by libraries and their staff but the networked "greenhouse effect" will force growth and may evolve new information species. Librarians and IT specialists will need to better serve their clientele or wither, as the individual rather than the institution becomes the focal point for information access. Librarianship, as we have practised it in the twentieth century, may shortly come to an end but, if so, this will be a natural evolution in the networked environment. Let us not decry this passing but rather wholly embrace the new knowledge netscape of the twenty- first century. Do we follow new romances (neuromancers) or wallow in the profession's historical pulp fiction? We don't have too long to decide.


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[Biographical Note] : [Synopsis]