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LIS-PUB-LIBS  January 1999

LIS-PUB-LIBS January 1999

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Subject:

new grants awarded by the BL Research & Innovation Centre

From:

[log in to unmask] (Simon Matty)

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask] (Simon Matty)

Date:

Mon, 4 Jan 1999 14:19:25 +0000

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     **Apologies for cross-posting**
     
     The British Library Research and Innovation Centre has recently 
     awarded four new grants for research. Full details are available from 
     the Centre's WWW pages at: http://www.bl.uk/services/ric/
     
     ---------------------------------------------------- 
     Managing digitisation in visual resource collections 
     ----------------------------------------------------
     This project aims to map progress from analogue to digital images in 
     visual resource collections and to explore similarities and 
     differences in commercial and non-commercial undertakings. It will 
     begin by taking as its starting point the findings of the National 
     Survey of Slide Collections (British Library Research Paper 67) and 
     investigate changes in the collections covered. Comparable 
     developments in commercial collections will then be explored. 
     Collection profiles for identified types will be developed together 
     with a draft model for change management. The final report will 
     present an overview of digital methods in collections and include 
     sections on the current administrative state of collections, skills 
     issues and a snapshot report of the level of technology currently 
     available in collections.
     
     ----------------------------------------------------- 
     A mass observation of the contemporary public library 
     -----------------------------------------------------
     This project will generate a significant and extensive 'open access' 
     public commentary on public library activity and status, the purpose 
     of which is to show where the institution stands in the public eye. 
     Evidence collected will point to why public libraries are used, what 
     they do well, what they do badly and, above all, what they mean to 
     users and non-users alike. The data-gathering stage of the research 
     will be conducted by the Mass Observation Archive, University of 
     Sussex, an organisation with a long tradition in, and a strong 
     reputation for, conducting sophisticated unobtrusive research into 
     everyday social practices and attitudes. Written observations will be 
     obtained from approximately 500 covert volunteers. In respect of 
     objectivity, evidence collected will be more valuable than that 
     obtained from most other user studies of either the interview/survey 
     or observation type, where researcher influence tends to sully data 
     and limit its validity. Evidence will be largely unprompted, arising 
     from a large number of unprioritised issues and topics presented 
     objectively to volunteers to stimulate commentary. The archive 
     assembled will be made available at the Mass Observation archive, free 
     of charge, to researchers other than the project's proposers. It is 
     anticipated that results of analysis, including those produced by the 
     project team, will benefit public library policy-makers and 
     strategists looking to deepen their understanding of the social 
     context in which public libraries operate. As a by-product, the 
     archive will be useful to future researchers: in the long term to 
     historians of the public library movement; in the short term to 
     analysts of the institution seeking to contextualise their work with 
     reference to a temporal benchmark of public attitude and use.
     
     -------------------------------------------------------- 
     The legal deposit of local publications: a case-study of 
     Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland 
     -------------------------------------------------------- 
     This project will provide the British Library with valuable 
     information from which it can develop policies and strategies to 
     improve its coverage of local publications in the distributed National 
     Published Archive and the British National Bibliography. The research 
     will also be of considerable benefit to libraries, archives and other 
     information providers throughout the UK, by providing them with models 
     for assessing and improving the legal deposit of local publications, 
     giving them an understanding of likely resource implications and by 
     raising awareness of legal deposit issues among local publishers (who 
     in turn will benefit from wider coverage of their publications). The 
     success of any distributed National Published Archive will depend in a 
     co-operative approach, between information providers at sub-regional 
     and regional levels, and between these providers and the British 
     Library and other legal deposit libraries. The proposed research will 
     therefore provide guidelines which will address this need, and 
     facilitate the development of sub-regional, regional and national 
     co-operatives policies and strategies to improve short term, 
     -medium-and long - term access to locally-published information for 
     users of information and library services. By meeting objectives such 
     as these, the research, will help library authorities throughout the 
     UK to respond positively to Audit Commission and DCMS concerns that 
     they should develop their planning processes, particularly with regard 
     to resource allocation, collection management and access policies.
     
     The research will be based on a case study of the legal deposit of 
     local publications in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, an area 
     particularly suitable for the research. As a result of the Local 
     Government Review (LGR) process the former Shire county of 
     Leicestershire became two unitary authorities (the City of Leicester 
     and Rutland District), and a "continuing" county with second tier 
     districts.  There exists an active and successful LIP, an area-wide 
     Health Information Strategy, a Telematics Strategy in an advanced 
     stage of development, a high level of local Teletext services 
     provision and an active voluntary section.  The results of the 
     research will thus be widely-applicable, providing a 
     demonstrator-model for local information providers and policy-makers 
     seeking to improve access to local publications in the UK.
     
     --------------------
     Friends of Libraries
     --------------------
     
     This short study will pull together recent work at a time when the 
     Government's proposals for modernising local government, including the 
     introduction of the 'Best value' regime and the changes in the 
     relationship between libraries and the communities they serve, are 
     creating renewed interest in Friends of Libraries. It will take into 
     account issues raised at the CPI seminar on Friends in June 1998 and 
     the work done by Sheffield Libraries and Information Services and 
     Worcestershire County Council
     
     The objectives are:
     * to establish a listing of present Groups in the UK
     * to review their constitutions, programmes, finance and membership 
     and their contribution to libraries in terms of advocacy, activities 
     and financial support
     * to review the experience and potential of Friends in raising funds 
     for the libraries and their services and look at it in comparison with 
     Friends groups in other cultural services
     * to compare fund raising 
     * to develop guidelines based on best practice
     * to investigate the potential benefits of a national organisation of 
     Friends


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