Libraries have become an established part of our scientific and social cultures. They provide an essential mechanism for storing, preserving and sharing documentary records of various types of human endeavour. Undoubtedly, the properties of a library are strongly influenced by the types of information that it contains and the various media used to store this information. Over the last few decades we have seen the emergence of new information handling technologies. These have significantly influenced the basic nature of conventional paper‐based libraries and have created a need for new types of ‘electronic library’. This paper discusses some of the changes that have taken place within library systems as a consequence of the emergence of new computer‐based technologies. Some case studies are presented which outline various developments within our laboratory relating to the creation of living books and dynamic electronic libraries.
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