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JILT 1996 (2) - Yael Kahn

Electronic Publishing and Libraries -
The Challenges of new Partnership

5-7 February 1996
Stadthalle Bielefeld

Reviewed by Yael Khan

Users and providers of electronically transmitted publications are exploring its potential and implications. Therefore, a conference which brought together leading publishers as well as librarians, naturally attracted many.

In spite of the underlying aim of the conference being to bring together librarians and commercial publishers, the conflict of interest was apparent in some of the presentations as well as in contributions from the floor.

The source of the conflict is the different interests of those who wish to exploit electronic access to information for commercial gain and those who are interested in promoting freely disseminated information. Publishers expressed major reservations about making materials available electronically, while librarians were anxious to maintain free electronic services for the end-users. One presentation explored the possibilities of maximising profit by a mechanism which levied a charge for each access, including information on contents. Others proposed institutional or even national subscriptions.

Librarians were also, concerned with the redefinition of their role in the dawning era. A fascinating presentation of library perspectives, including copy rights issues, was given by Emanuella Giavarra, Project Director European Copyright User Platform (ECUP).

Although this conference had as a major theme the harnessing of advanced computer technology, the failure of this technology reduced some presentations to near chaos. However, the conference was nearly unanimous in believing that future progress would based on utilisation of computer technology.

Date of publication:

7 May 1996

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