This double issue covers the 34th LIBER Annual General Conference Strategic Choices: Current Thinking in the University Library, Groningen, 5 to 9 July 2005. The conference was very well attended. There were about 220 participants.
The Pre-conference had a very provocative title Converging and dissolving the university library? Digitisation is booming business. Google found partners in a few big University Libraries in the USA to scan and index their complete bookstores. The end of the hybrid library might well be in sight within a few years. Where does this leave the university library? Will there be a need for library services beyond license management? These questions were explored on a general, conceptual level (Lorcan Dempsey) and at the level of research (Tony Hey) and education (Thomas Hapke). Only one paper of the Pre-conference is published, but most of the are available on the conference page of the University Library of Groningen,
The Chairs of the four divisions of LIBER, as usual, organized the sessions of the conference. The first session (Preservation Division) consisted of three parts: 1) 'Strategic developments in collection storage of libraries and archives', 2) 'An overview of current collaborative preservation and conservation research', and 3) 'Strategic and technical developments in surrogacy'. Of each part you'll find one article in this issue (by Helen Shenton, Jonas Palm and Hans van Dormolen).
The second session (Access Division) had a very diverse and interesting programme such as a description of the OCLC Registry of Digital Masters with opportunities for European cooperation in which LIBER can play a proactive role in promoting the coordination of digitisation initiatives and standards (Janet Lees); an overview of the results of an EC study, launched in June 2004, on the economic and technical evolution of the scientific publication markets in Europe (Françoise Vandooren); the Nereus Consortium three-year plan (Jean Sykes); an overview of the institutional initiatives towards open access, in particular the emergence of institutional repositories (William Nixon); the DARLIN initiative to set up a repository of Dutch publications on Library and Information Science including as many publications as possible which have already be published elsewhere (Bas Savenije); and the projected outcomes of the theses project Dart-Europe which has the aim to explore the creation of a European model for the deposit, discovery, use and long-term care of research theses in an open access environment (Austin McLean).
The third session (Library Management and Administration) consisted of two parts: 1) 'Technology helping strategic choices' and 2) two case studies. The first paper was about the decision support system of the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the objectives the BnF tries to meet with the system (Suzanne Jouguelet). The second paper about the shared user file of the university libraries in German-speaking Switzerland (Ulrich Niederer) was very interesting, but you'll have to wait for the article about this cooperation tool. This will be published in the first issue of LIBER Quarterly in 2006. The third paper was about LibQual+ a library service quality survey instrument (Stephen Town). The last paper was about RFID, a hot topic in many libraries nowadays (Richard L. Jones). The two case studies (Bill Simpson and Nol Verhagen) had as core theme 'Staffing issues: back office/front office: how to improve service quality?'
The fourth session (Collection Development Division) was on 'Collaborative collection management'. The first two papers were about national cooperation. Elmar Mittler spoke about recent developments in Germany concerning cooperative collection management and Henk Voorbij about cooperative collection management in the Humanities in the Netherlands. After that followed two project descriptions. Gregory Walker described the Collaborative Collection Management project concerning a specific field of research - Russian and East European Studies – in UK libraries, and Julien van Borm gave a paper about , a European Union project for co-operative management of electronic document provision between three major university libraries in St Petersburg (2002-2004) and the follow up DISCOPETER (Tempus application 2005), which is intended to spread the in COPETER developed ideas about contractual library co-operation throughout the Russian Federation from St Petersburg to Vladivostok. Pentti Vatulainen had an interesting paper about the Finnish National Repository Library ( ), a unique institution internationally. The last speaker of this session was Cathy Boylan (YBP Library Services). Her paper was about approval plans. YBP works closely with libraries to develop and maintain collection development profiles.
The local session had two papers. One about usage statistics of online journals (Peter van Laarhoven) and the second about eIFL.net (electronic Information for Libraries) - an international consortium of library consortia in developing countries (Emilija Banionyte). Both are not published, but you can have a look at the .
Web sites referred to in the text
Last year an article about COPETER by Julian van Borm was published in LIBER Quarterly with the title: 'From Library Co-operation to Consortia: Comparing Experience in the European Union with the Russian Federation'. LIBER Quarterly, 14(2004)3/4, 440-452.
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