The background for university libraries in Ireland is almost identical to that in other EU countries: rapid expansion in student numbers and materials price inflation not being matched by reciprocal funding. Among positive steps to combat this EU programmes are noted and co‐operative initiatives, notably the IRIS and ALCID projects are discussed. National developments are examined, including the activities of the Information Society Commission and moves towards a national library/information policy. The effects of the Universities Act 1997 are also considered. Future strategy is discussed, particularly the pressures for collaboration and distributed systems and their relevance specifically to research libraries considered.
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