Although I rather light heartedly agreed to talk to this title early on in the year, when I came to write the paper I found it difficult to explain the ideas I wanted to put forward today using the metaphors of gaps, and presumably bridges. I finally decided that this was because the gaps and bridges analogy assumes a model of information dissemination which seems to fit increasingly ill with some of the findings that recent research and action in public libraries has come up with. It does seem as though librarians and information scientists (and I am much more familiar with the former than the latter) define the problem as one of collecting all that there is about a topic and classifying it into generally accepted categories and then finding an appropriate and, more recently, an efficient channel for disseminating it to anyone who might happen to need it. The channel may be an old‐fashioned and well tried bibliographical tool, a branch library card catalogue of local groups or societies, or a sophisticated automated interactive system like Prestel. The principle is always the same—that is to concentrate on organising the way the material is presented in order to make it intelligible to the user.
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