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

Section of University Libraries and other General Research Libraries

Annual Report 1994

John Willemse
University of South Africa
POB 392
Pretoria, 0001
South Africa
Fax: (27-12) 4292925
e-mail: willej@alpha.unisa.ac.za
is Chair of the Section of University Libraries and other General Research Libraries.

Gerard A.J.S. van Marle

Twente University of Technology
POB 217
7500 AE Enschede
Fax: (31-53) 341578
e-mail: g.a.j.s.vanmarle@ub.utwente.nl
is Secretary.

[Annual report not received. Minutes of meetings not received.]

Standing Committee and Section Membership

The Section is the largest in IFLA, with 397 registered members. It has 20 Standing Committee members from 15 countries, and one corresponding member.


Performance Measurement in University Libraries

A Working Group under the chairmanship of Roswitha Poll (Germany) is finalizing a publication on performance indicators for university libraries. The outcome of the project will be Guidelines concent rating on facilities and general library use; availability of items in the collection; document delivery (time factor included); reference service; collection quality; user satisfaction; and catalogu e quality. The title will be published with the IFLA logo in 1995.



The Section issued No. 25 of its Newsletter in July 1994.

Havana Meetings

Open session

The theme of the open session was: "Developments in Communication and Document Delivery". The following papers were presented:

University Libraries and Scholarly Communication: Implications of the Mellon Foundation Report

The paper highlights the key points of the seminal study of the university libraries and their preparations for moving into the 21st century. The Mellon Foundation is committed to continuing to suppo rt the evolution of research libraries, academia, and scholarly communication. Their study has done a remarkable job of describing the current library landscape, including collecting, operating, fina ncing and electronic capabilities. The study reveals that the old approaches to providing access to information are failing and that radically different strategies are needed in order to meet the nee ds of rapidly evolving constituencies. The conclusions of the study highlight that the roles of authors, publishers, libraries and users must be reconceptualized. University policies and management o f intellectual property must be rethought. New partnerships must be developed between libraries and scholars to change the fundamental character of the research library. To summarize, libraries will remain central to the management of scholarly communication for the foreseeable future, but to meet the needs of those which they seek to serve, libraries around the globe will have to transform them selves based on well-thought, long-term strategies for comprehensive change.

La communicacion academica y ala tranferencia electronica de documentos en la red universitaria en Cuba

The paper refers to the problem of communications and document transfer through electronic means for the Cuban university library network. It starts with a short review of the evolution of electronic communications in the university network at the Ministerio de Educacion Superior (Ministry of Higher Education) in Cuba. The paper stresses the importance of electronic data transfer to the maintena nce of collections, and the need for a policy making it possible to share the information resources in special libraries, to get up-to-date information, and to fulfill the objectives of education and research. The paper analyzes the main problems existing in Cuba for the development of a telecommunication network that would allow for electronic document transfer. Three basic ideas are assumed: t he importance of electronic transfer of documents in the development of the objectives of university libraries, linked to the national development and research; the underlying library principles that must guide the electronic document transfer; and both the internal and external elements in the development of the higher education and scientific information system affecting the development of ele ctronic communications. As a conclusion is shown what still must be accomplished in order for communications and electronic data and document transfer to become really effective.


The Section also held a joint workshop with the Section on Regional Activities: Africa to consider the most appropriate strategies from those recommended by the Allen/Katris Report on the Project to Assess the Acquisition Needs of University Libraries in the Developing World (title available free of charge from IFLA Headquarters).

Taking Action to Improve Academic Library Resources in Developing Countries

To meet the continuing needs of students, teachers and researchers, librarians are challenged to develop alternative strategies to the traditional massive acquisitions programme. Among possibilities for discussion it is suggested that if agreements can be reached among a significant number of institutions as to the essential elements in first degree courses in various subjects, there will be a b etter chance to achieve economies of scale in book production, and then to negotiate supply at more supportable prices. The ability to manage information technologies can be transferred to librarians in developing countries. But inadequate infrastructures for information technology in many developing countries are a major factor in holding back solutions to the problems of improved information p rovision and education. Ultimately the problem of inadequacy of library resources in developing countries is one of economics and politics. It is only by working together through such organizations a s IFLA that the messages about the importance of libraries to the economies of countries can be brought to the attention of those who wield power. But when those messages do get through, it is of the greatest importance that librarians have realistic proposals to put forward, and the knowledge and skills to implement them.

Library Twinning: A Presentation of UNESCO's New Guidelines

Library twinning is the ongoing relationship between two libraries in different countries for the purpose of improving the practice of librarianship across national boundaries. Most of the existing t winning arrangements fall into one or more of the following areas: collection development, staff development, public relations. While donation programmes do not precisely meet the previously establis hed definition of a twinning relationship, they are covered in brief. The benefits of a twinning programme and examples of existing twinning programmes are also included.

Discussion Group. The Section also held an informal discussion group meeting, attended by approximately 50 interested parties at which the following paper was presented.

The "Stakeholder" Approach to the Construction of Performance Measures: Designing a Set of Measures Appropriate to Users of Academic Libraries