The Internet and the Library

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The Internet and the library
Nick Moore

Science owes more to the steam engine than the steam engine owes to science (L.J. Henderson, 1917).

The virtual library
Virtual libraries are frequently referred to as ``libraries without walls'' and it is the Internet that provides the ``windows'' and the ``transparency'' which makes this possible. It allows users who are physically isolated from the library to see in and it allows those inside the library to see out. Although the great dreams of Universal Availability of Publications (UAP) and Universal Bibliographic Control (UBC) (Law, 1998), that have enthralled generations of librarians, are still unfulfilled, the permeation of the Internet throughout every facet of daily life brings the dream closer to reality. The major, but by no means exclusive applications of the Internet have been in the form of the World Wide Web and the establishment of intranets (locally based Internet functionality). Library Web sites In recent years a great deal of activity in libraries has been devoted to the design, implementation and refinement of library Web sites. These have formed the basic structure and infrastructure of the virtual library and the services have included online public access catalogues (OPACs), distance learning, library publicity, library holdings and other facilities. OPACs Most libraries have devoted large expenditures on the development of online public access catalogues (OPACs). The online aspect of these catalogues, originally aimed at internal use, has now been extended to include external access. In addition to the library's stock of materials, such as books and audio-visual materials, the OPACs can also provide access to the library's journals holdings and enable outside users to determine which journals are held by the library and in which part of the library. The Internet enables libraries at different locations to form networks involving their OPACs to give rise to powerful union catalogues, particularly of journals holdings. The cataloguing efforts have tended to be dual in that they use the Internet as a medium for

The author Nick Moore is an Information Consultant, Visiting Professor at the University of Brighton, and Internet Editor of Library Review. Keywords Libraries, Librarians, Library services, Internet Abstract The current and future applications and implications of the Internet within and for libraries are indicated. Aspects of the virtual library are considered, followed by the impact of the Internet on aspects of library holdings. Features of online access, including search engine performance, are noted and collection development effects pointed out. Security issues, including pornography and copyright are described, and finally future implications of the Internet for libraries, through home versus library use and discussion groups, and influences on the Internet of library science are discussed. Electronic access The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at http://www.emerald-library.com

Library Review Volume 49 . Number 9 . 2000 . pp. 422±427 # MCB University Press . ISSN 0024-2535

422

The Internet and the library

Nick Moore

Library Review Volume 49 . Number 9 . 2000 . 422±427

co-operation while developing techniques for cataloguing Internet-based materials (Weber, 1999). Distance learning Academic libraries serving a scattered student population can provide sophisticated distance learning programmes[1]. The widespread access of the Internet into the homes of the students ensures the success of these schemes and enables the libraries to provide course materials and other documents electronically to students scattered over wide areas, particularly rural areas. Typical applications include the DERAL (Distance Education in Rural Areas via Libraries) project[2] and Project LISTED (Library Integrated System for Telematics-based Education), a European Commission project part funded under the...
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