ERIC Identifier: ED340389
Publication Date: 1991-11-00
Author: Brennan, Mary Alice
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Information Resources Syracuse NY.
Trends & Issues in Library & Information Science 1990. ERIC Digest.
This digest is based on Trends and Issues in Library and Information Science
1990, by Michael B. Eisenberg, Kathleen L. Spitzer, Ilana Kingsley, and
In order to identify and document the pervasive trends in the field of
library and information science, a systematic content review of the professional
literature was performed. The literature examined was published during the
two-year period from October 1, 1988 to September 30, 1990, and included
journals, conference proceedings, input into the ERIC document collection
(announced in RESOURCES IN EDUCATION), annuals and yearbooks, and dissertations.
This digest will discuss some of the top trends found in the content review.
For a full discussion of the study methodology and findings, the reader is
referred to Eisenberg, Spitzer, Kingsley, and Darby, 1990.
The literature review revealed two "megatrends." First and foremost is a concern for the impact of technology. Every facet of
library work, in academic, school, public, and special libraries, is being
transformed as a result of technological advances. Among the changes are:
increased database access through CD-ROMs, local mainframes, or dial-up
services; a shift in the focus of library instruction toward skills for using
computer-based information systems; and the provision of access to local
collections for remote users, and to remote collections for local users.
The second "megatrend," also observed in an earlier study (Eisenberg,
Trombley, & Ruth, 1988), is the continued focus on the user and the impact
of specific developments on the user. Throughout the literature, whether the
topic is collections, staff, budget, or facilities, there is a clear emphasis on
implications for users. The literature on technology focuses on end-user
interaction, user-friendly systems and features, and the development of systems
to meet diverse user needs.
TREND: THERE IS AN INCREASING DEMAND FOR AND PROVISION OF END-USER ACCESS TO COMPUTER-BASED INFORMATION RESOURCES.
appearance of the two phrases "end-user" and "user-friendly" in library and
information science literature reflects a growing concern for facilitating
access to computer-based information systems. As end-user searching has become
more prevalent, there is a focus on: (1) systems design for ease of use, and (2)
instructional efforts to facilitate end-user searching. Online searchers in the
Southern California Online Users' Group (SCOUG) have made system design
suggestions which include the provision of a common command language for all
databases and the availability of detailed database descriptions online rather
than just in print format. Other recommendations for the improvement of
computer-based information resources include the addition of query-in-depth help
and context sensitive help, error, and prompting messages to inform users when
they have made a syntactic error. End-user searching could also be facilitated
through the development of hypermedia interfaces and the inclusion of graphic
TREND: LIBRARIES OF ALL TYPES ARE INCREASING THEIR USE OF NETWORKS AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS.
The benefits of library network
participation are three-fold. It allows libraries to: (1) share human and
material resources (thereby saving time and money), (2) improve collection
management through collaboration, and (3) increase interaction with others to
share decision making (Immroth, 1984). Both wide area networks (WANS) and local
area networks (LANS) are being implemented by libraries to improve services and
management. The provision of network access, in turn, is generating a demand for
the prompt delivery of information through such telecommunications technologies
as telefacsimile (fax), which is a popular means for transmitting interlibrary
loan (ILL) requests and materials. Libraries are also concerned about their role
in the proposed National Research and Education Network (NREN), a "high-capacity
electronic highway of interconnected networks linking business, industry,
government, and the education and library communities" (Parkhurst, 1990, p.ix).
TREND: GROWTH IN COMPUTER-BASED INFORMATION SOURCES CONTINUES TO REVOLVE AROUND CD-ROM TECHNOLOGY.
The decreasing production
costs and the ease and low cost of adapting existing hardware platforms to make
use of CD-ROM are some factors which are contributing to CD-ROM's popularity. In
addition to bibliographic databases, electronic resources now available on
CD-ROM include online catalogs, full-text reference and periodical sources, and
numerical databases. The implementation of telecommunications access and
networking has also improved CD-ROM timeliness, database availability, and
multiuser access. Advances in networking hardware and software make it possible
to group CD-ROMs in a "tower" and provide access through a local area network
(LAN). This approach is being successfully implemented in school library media
centers, academic libraries, and public libraries.
TREND: THERE IS AN INCREASING FOCUS ON COLLECTION MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES TO ENABLE LIBRARIES TO BETTER MEET THE GENERAL GOALS OF INSTITUTIONS AS WELL AS THE SPECIFIC NEEDS OF USERS.
issues related to collection management are currently found in the literature.
The first issue focuses on physical space, preservation, and financial problems
as major concerns of libraries with special collections, rare books, and
archives. It is suggested that libraries evaluate the importance of such
collections in terms of the academic goals of the host institution and the
users' needs and interests, and turn to resource sharing or cooperative
collection development if necessary.
A second issue concerns the sharing of collection management information.
Numerous manuals have been published to help information professionals make
their collections responsive to user needs. These manuals cover such topics as
user needs and surveys, selection and weeding processes, physical space
planning, and general collection management. Workshops and seminars on these
topics have been offered at major conferences. Both manuals and workshops have
also offered guidance in managing specialized research collections in different
subject areas and for particular media.
The third issue involves the need for the formation of working liaisons
between faculty members and librarians in both school library media centers and
academic libraries. In the case of schools, media specialists need to gain
sufficient knowledge of the curriculum to develop and manage their collections
for integration with content area instruction. In academic settings,
faculty/librarian liaisons can lead to better coordination between library
services and coursework.
TREND: BEYOND MAINTENANCE OF EXISTING SERVICES, LIBRARIES ARE INCREASINGLY CONCERNED WITH REACHING OUT TO NEW USER
Demographic changes, as well as the specific needs of special groups
(e.g., minorities, immigrants, young adults, latchkey children, the elderly, the
disabled, and the disadvantaged), have caused libraries to expand existing
services and create new services aimed at diverse audiences. Many urban public
libraries are attempting to meet the needs of immigrants through expanded
collections, rotating collections of foreign language books and periodicals,
English-language instruction, career counseling, and multicultural programming.
The "Guidelines for Library Service to Older Adults," published by the Library
Service to an Aging Population Committee of the American Library Association's
Reference and Adult Services Division, promotes library services which are
appropriate to this previously neglected segment of society. At issue, however,
is the question of how financially-strained libraries can ensure equal access to
information resources and services for all users.
TREND: CONSISTENT WITH NATIONAL INTERESTS, LIBRARIES ARE FOCUSING ON THE PROMOTION OF LITERACY.
Literacy continues to be a major
focus of libraries. Programs such as intergenerational tutoring, outreach
programs to day care centers, and programs to promote reading have all been
areas of recent library involvement. The "Night of a Thousand Stars" (April 25,
1990) was one successful nationwide program initiated by the American
Association of School Librarians which focused on literacy and lifelong
learning. During this event school and public libraries across the country
arranged appearances by local and national celebrities to encourage reading. The
first national literacy forum, "Strengthening the Literacy Network," was
prompted by the National Goals for Education adopted by President Bush and state
governors in 1989. Recommendations resulting from the forum include: (1)
incorporating the concept of the library as an educational agency into
legislation; (2) developing a stable literacy funding strategy; (3) continuing
to improve the evaluation, research, and dissemination of library-based literacy
efforts; and (4) redirecting administrative responsibilities for LSCA titles
related to literacy directly to the state library agency (Quezada, 1990, p.24).
Auchstetter, Rosann M. (1990, May).
The role of the rare book library in higher education: An outsider surveys the
issue. COLLEGE & RESEARCH LIBRARIES, 51(3), 228. ERIC number EJ 412 095.
Eisenberg, Michael B., Spitzer, Kathleen L., Kingsley, Ilana, & Darby,
Christine. (1990). TRENDS AND ISSUES IN LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE 1990.
Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources. ERIC number pending.
Eisenberg, Michael B., Trombly, Carolyn K., and Ruth, Lindsay D. (1988).
TRENDS AND ISSUES IN LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE 1988. Syracuse, NY: ERIC
Clearinghouse on Information Resources. ERIC number ED 314 099.
Grant, Marilyn A. & Stalker, John C. (1989, September). The Multiplatter
CD-ROM network at Boston College. LASERDISK PROFESSIONAL, 2(5), 12-18. ERIC
number EJ 399 494.
Immroth, Barbara. (1984, Winter). Technology and network participation.
DREXEL LIBRARY QUARTERLY, 20(1), 27-28. ERIC number EJ 303 185.
Judd, Jean. (1990, September 12-14). THE NETWORKING ANGLE--QUINCE ORCHARD
STYLE. Paper presented at the Conference of School Library Media Supervisors
sponsored by the Division of Public Schools, Florida Department of Education,
Kirtz, Mary K. (1991, Winter). Let's talk about it: A library program to
enhance cultural literacy. THE CEA FORUM 21, (1), 36.
Parkhurst, Carol (Ed.). (1990). Library perspectives on NREN: The National
Research and Education Network. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.
Puttapithakporn, Somporn. (1990, Winter). Interface design and user problems
and errors: A case study of novice searchers. RQ, 30(2), 195-204. ERIC number EJ
Quezada, Shelley. (1990, November). Shaping national library literacy policy:
A report from the Alexandria Forum. WILSON LIBRARY BULLETIN, 65(3), 22-24, 158.
ERIC number EJ 420 294.