Consortia for Electronic Library Provision in Belgium

Julien Van Borm, Marianne Dujardin

Abstract


E-libraries just like the former paper-based libraries will become increasingly essential and indispensable tools in research and education. Library consortia seem to be the way to get e-libraries started all over the world. However, it is unclear yet whether this is going to be a longlasting workable model.

The Belgian research libraries follow the international pattern and are rapidly becoming hybrid libraries especially in business, science, applied sciences and biomedicine (the STM disciplines). Still they have large paper bound collections on board and no library is willing to replace these in the near future by a purely electronic collection of journals. The fear of losing the content and thus the „raison d’être“ of the library and the concern for users not yet familiar with e-information sources are the cornerstone for a prudent, yet conservative policy. Increasingly e-information and e-journals are being taken on board. Paper and electronic go side by side in new hybrid libraries partly also due to the market policy set by the publishers in combining paper and electronic in an attempt to keep or improve the annual turnover reached during the past paper period. The transition from paper to electronic occurred in Belgium somewhat later than in other Western European countries. This confirms the position of Belgium often taking up an average position in Western Europe.

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