background image
Libraries: From "reading room" to digital information service centre
Has your core business changed/expanded, and if yes, how has it changed?
"The library's core business changed/expanded through new (Web) technologies and standards, and
as a consequence through the terrific development regarding digital publications."
What changes in your core business do you foresee within the next five years?
"The library will more and more develop from a library offering services to users in reading rooms
and offering bibliographic services to customers mainly in the library sector to a so-called `Hybrid
Library' which does no longer collect legal deposit material only and give access to that material,
beside the library will offer access to publications, information resources and services world-wide and in
this way act as a `global portal' not only to the memory of the nation but to the memory of
Renate Gömpel, Die Deutsche Bibliothek,DigiCULT Delphi, July 27, 2001
The library community has traditionally been involved in providing information on and
physical access to printed information resources like books, journals, newspapers, and special
collections of other (mostly) printed material.Today, libraries have to face what has been
termed the "informational turn" in the cycles of production, assessment, distribution, usages,
and archiving of newly published ­ but increasingly not printed ­ information resources.
Depending on which type of library one looks at there are different pictures of the
library of the future. For most general libraries it is the "hybrid library" concept, the tradi-
tional library with additional digital media to hand out (e.g. CD-ROMs and DVDs) or
accessible through networked computers (i.e."the global networked information" at the
fingertips of their patrons).
University and other research libraries see themselves becoming in part "digital libraries",
i.e. libraries that provide their users also with access to e-journals and other e-material from
various publishers. In doing so a key challenge is coming to terms with licensing agree-
ments, i.e. their costs, administration requirements, and other implications as for example
the question of long-term accessibility and preservation of the information resources.
Licensing and the issue of long-term archiving and preservation
Licenses should include commitments with regards to long-term archiving and
preservation. IFLA's Executive and Professional Board has approved a set of Licensing
Principles, which should prevail in the contractual relationship, and written contracts between
libraries and information providers.Aspects that are touched upon by these principles
include: the law, access, usage and users, and pricing.The text of the principles has been
prepared by IFLA's Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters (CLM), and has been
approved by IFLA's Executive Board in March 2001.
In the introduction, paragraph 2.4., the document states:
"Libraries generally provide patron access to such information via access to remote publisher or vendor
sites, rather than library-controlled sites.Yet, the tasks and costs of libraries and information providers with
regard to long-term archiving and preservation of electronic resources are disturbingly unclear.While a
license cannot resolve this complicated set of electronic archiving issues, it will, generally, recognise them and
express a set of commitments or expectations on the part of the contracting parties." (...)
Under the heading "Licenses and Perpetual Access" the following principles are
P22.A license should include provision for affordable, perpetual access to the licensed information by
some appropriate and workable means.