As library/information center managers, we face an array of information access choices. With an increased demand for distributed machine‐readable information, we are all examining networking alternatives, using either locally loaded tapes or CD‐ROM databases, in place of or in addition to online timesharing sources. The decision of what information to provide in which machine‐readable format is indeed a complex one for all the players on the information scene — users, librarians/information specialists, systems specialists and commercial information providers. Therefore, we must cooperate and communicate to insure the success of the next generation of information products. Successful managerial decisions will be based on strategic planning and on evaluating a wide range of characteristics beyond the cost and technology factors usually described. This paper examines some of these factors from the perspective of the library manager concerned with serving user needs.
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