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61st IFLA General Conference - Conference Proceedings - August 20-25, 1995

Report on the Activities of the Division of Collections and Services

Ulrich Montag, Bavarian State Library Munich, Germany


The report on the activities of the Division on Collections and Services focuses on the achievements of the years 1993 to 1995 but looks also back to former events and forward to future plans.


Like the other seven Divisions of IFLA the Division of Collections and Services used to hold an Open Forum at every other IFLA Conference. There thechairpersons or secretaries of the five sections a nd the Round Table belonging to this Division presented their reports on the activities within the past two years.

It was an excellent idea of Marjorie Bloss, Secretary of the Division and also of the Section on Acquisition and Exchange, to break up the usual schedule for this year's conference and to have a joi nt programme under the theme 'Providing Access to Collections and Services in a Time of Change'.

This means to reduce the reporting to this statement and the short written papers of the members of this Division, i.e. the Sections on Acquisition and Exchange, on Document Delivery and Interluding, on Government Information and Official Publications and of the Round Table on Newspapers which you all find on the desk to take away. On the other hand this new programme wants to show what these me mbers of the Division in common and how they react collectively to the challenges of new developments.

The main goal of all efforts in these groups in the improvement of collection building and services to users on an international scale. This includes the conduct of projects and studies on the best w ays of acquiring and distributing the different kinds of library materials in which the groups specialize. In order to realize these aims, the Division has established working contacts with other IFL A Divisions, whenever appropriate, and also with the five IFLA Core Programmes.

With one of these, the Core Programme on Universal Availability of Publications (UAP) based at the British Library in Boston Spa, there is an especially close connection since it has been liaised to the Division after a restructuring of the responsibilities of the Divisions in general. One of the outcomes of this connection of UAP, itself integrating the IFLA office for International Lending, wi th the Section on Document Delivery and Interluding within our Division was the development of the IFLA Voucher Scheme as the new payment system for international interlibrary transactions. It was l aunched in January 1995 for a two year trial period.

Also in the first part of 1995 another group, the IFLA Publishers' Liaison Committee, was finally established as the result of the cooperation of another member of our Division, the Section on Acquis ition and Exchange, with the UAP Core Programme. The idea to have such a committee sprang up at the workshop on differential pricing ("Will the Chain Break?") organized by the Section on Acquisition and Exchange, and sponsored by some other Sections of our Division and the UAP Core Programme at the Stockholm Conference in 1990. Now IFLA has a Committee not only to react but also to act as a foc al point for all the problems that librarians on the one hand and publishers and information brokers on the other hand share in common. Copyright in the electronik environment and pricing issues for serials will be the first topics to be discussed extensively.

To come back to the work of the Section and Round Table themselves, they join their efforts to realize the Division's objectives by providing bibliographic access to materials and establishing refere nce services, but also by other activities specific to one or two Sections only.

Just to mention the major bibliographica efforts in the Division: The Section on Acquisition and Exchange published the Bibliography of the International Exchange of Publications annually in i ts Newsletter and also as a separate ten-year cumulation. This task is traditionally fulfilled by colleagues of the Russian State Library in Moscow. The Annual Bibliography of the History of the B ook is actively sponsored by the Section on Rare Books and Manuscripts. Their members also sonsider to collect data for a Bibliography of Auction and Antiquarian Booksellers' Catalogues. T he Section on Serial Publications is planning to publish a Bibliography on Union Catalogues of Serials.

There is a longer list of reference works which originate from the member groups of this Division. The Section on Government Information and Official Publications issued a Directory of Government Document Specialists and will cooperate with the Section on Acquisition and Exchange to publish a new edition of the Unesco Handbook on the International Exchange of Publications as soon as the restructuring of the library world resulting from the political changes of the last few years will have come to an end.

The publications of the Section on Document Delivery and Interlending are issued in close collaboration with the IFLA Offices for UAP and International Lending. They prepare the fifth edition of the Guide to Centres of International Lending and Copying. Based on the results of questionnaires it will be in two volumes, the first dealing with centres which lend items and the secondlisting d ocument supply centres, including commerial document delivery companies. Guidelines for the use of Telefacsimile in Interlending and Guidelines for Packaging Materials.

A major project of the Section on Rare Books and Manuscripts to be realized with the support of the International Council of Archives (ICA) is the International Directory to Major Repositories of Literary and Artistic Archives. The Section on Serial Publications is working on a Basic Serials Managemant Handbook to help librarians in the developing countries with the serial house-k eeping routines. And, last not least, the Round Table on Newspapers is engaged in maintaining the International Guidelines for Newspaper Preservation Microfilming and Guidelines for Newspa per Collection Policies.

Moreover, the Sections and Round Table publish newsletters irregularly and inform about their work in brochures, some of them printed in all five official IFLA languages, having also the purpose to a ttract new members. Further publishing activities of the Sections are the edition and dissemination of the proceedings of their workshops and seminars.

These events form a regular part of the Sections' and Round Table's work, often joining their forces. Just to quote some examples outside the regular IFLA Conference venues: After the successful Ang lophone and Francophone Africa Training Seminars the Section on Government Information and Official Publications is now preparing a Training Seminar for Government Documents librarians in Central an d Eastern European and CIS Countries to be held at the Russian State Library in Moscow in 1996.

The Section on Document Delivery and Interlending is concentrating on the large project of International Lending and Document Delivery in Developing Countries which will be realized with the support of Several Scandinavian institutions and the IFLA Core Programme on the Advancement of Librarian-ship in the Third World (ALP).

Also aiming at the improvement of library work in developing countries is the Section on Serial Publications with its OSIRIS project (Inline Serials Information, Registration and Inquiry System). The microcomputer based software is already in use, bit it has to be translated. Additional tailored packages are in preparation together with a networket version

Sometimes initiatives come from outside IFLA. Thus our division in general and the Section on Acquisition and Exchange in particular have been ashed to participate in the planning process for the Sec ond International Conference on Grey Literature, to be held in Washington D.C., USA, on 2-3 November 1995. It will focus on three major areas: New Forms of Grey Literatur in Networked Environments; Marketing and Promotional Activities Aligned to Grey Literature; and, Management of Grey Literature in Regional and Global Contexts. These important issues show that this conference will also be of great interest for the Sections on Serial Publications and on Government Information and Official Publications.

Highlighting some of the more spectacular activities within our Division should not diminish the regular work done in the open sessions of the Sections and Round Table at each Conference up to this o ne, where we are trying to organize a different presentation. Here we join our efforts as already said in the beginning - to face the challenges of new technologies, a topic which is part of all the sectional workplans and also of the Medium Term Programme of our Division for the years 1992 to 1997.

Therefore, this year's joint programme shows that, irrespective of the media involved, the main objective of all members of our Division is to serve the basic human right of free access to informatio n.