In the face of the bleak university funding outlook, university libraries are leading the way to a cooperative information future. The Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) recently met in Hobart to consider strategies for joint development. Thirty-nine university libraries are working together to provide an Australian university library system that will enhance students’ and researchers’ access to knowledge. Such an alliance will improve the academic information infrastructure and ensure that academic libraries - a vital national resource - are able to underpin research and teaching activities in the increasingly competitive higher education environment.
CAUL is driving an agenda for a strong, cooperative, networked Australian university library system. Underpinned by a powerful range of programs, it will expand information access and exchange. The programs include: intelligent Internet gateways to information for major subject disciplines; a series of national benchmarks; a cooperative, national digital and print archive and store; negotiation of improved licensing conditions for access to electronic journals and databases; a national reciprocal borrowing scheme; strategic partnerships to enhance access to knowledge; and increased cooperative purchasing.
The broad aims are to make the most of limited resources by: maximising purchasing power; expanding resource sharing; and finding new models for preservation, storage and access to university research resources.
Work already underway includes the development of electronic gateways to information in chemistry (MetaChem), agriculture (Agrigate) and engineering (AVEL); a national authentication scheme whereby any researcher or student needs only one password for access to all eligible electronic resources; the Janus project to establish sound business models for collaborative purchasing of journals and books while improving access to and delivery of research information; and the LIDDA system to improve the delivery of documents.
At the Hobart meeting of CAUL, Professor Don McNicol, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Tasmania, addressed the 39 university library directors. As Professor McNicol emphasised, CAUL recognises that many of the factors affecting the ability to delivery services are University issues, not just Library issues, and close collaboration with academics and administrators will be essential to achieve CAUL's goals.
|Ms Helen Hayes
The University of Melbourne
PARKVILLE VIC 3052
Tel: 03 9344 5382
Fax: 03 9344 9879
Executive Officer, CAUL
LPO Box 169, ANU
Canberra ACT 2601
Tel: 02 6249 2990
Fax: 02 6248 8571
For further information on the Janus Project see http://www.anu.edu.au/caul/janus
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