Raising Awareness

"A centre of excellence in digital information management, providing advice and services to the library, information and cultural heritage communities."

UKOLN is based at the University of Bath.

Dr Maurice Line

Maurice Line was the Librarian at the University of Bath from 1968 to 1971 and it was during this period that UKOLN had its origins.

His professional career began with his appointment as a library trainee at the Bodleian Library. His interest in research showed early on, as in his next post as an assistant librarian at the University of Glasgow, he was one of the first to conduct library system studies on students’ attitudes towards the library. Moving to University of Southampton, his interests focused on library systems and information science and then as Deputy Librarian at Newcastle University he helped create the first automated acquisition system in Britain.

When he became the Librarian at Bath, the University (and consequently its library) was in several locations in Bath and Bristol – the current library building opened in February 1971. Line took on the challenge of expanding the staff and integrating new recruits with existing colleagues as the subject libraries were closed down. Line actively encouraged both new professionals like myself (in my first post at the time), and existing colleagues, to get involved in research and professional development.

While at Bath, Line initiated a number of research projects. INFROSS, a study of social scientists' information requirements (at the University of Bath and Newcastle  University), was followed by DISISS, a study on the designs of information systems (in collaboration with the Polytechnic of North London). Taking place in parallel with both these projects was a three-year (1969-1971) Experimental Information Service in the Social Sciences, working with researchers and teachers at the Universities of Bath and Bristol.

Line also initiated work on the development of library catalogues, encouraging technical services librarian Philip Bryant to start researching in this area. The initial Bath Mini-Catalogue Project in 1971 led to other projects looking at catalogues and bibliographic data, including the Bath University Programme of Catalogue Research, which evolved into the Centre for Catalogue Research in 1977, subsequently changing its name to the Centre for Bibliographic Research and later to UKOLN.

In 1971 Line became Director of the National Central Library (NCL) and oversaw its amalgamation with the National Lending Library two years later. From 1974 to 1985 he was Director-General, British Library Lending Division, and from 1985 to 1988 Director-General of the Science, Technology and Industry Directorate at the British Library. He then worked for a further 12 years as a consultant specialising in the management of change, while also serving as Professor Associate at the University of Sheffield Department of Information Science, and as External Professor at Loughborough University's Department of Information and Library Studies. A prolific writer himself on professional topics, he was also for several years the editor of the journals Interlending and Document Supply and Alexandria: The Journal of National and International Library and Information Issues.

Ann Chapman
Research Officer