This report describes the Crystallographic Data Centre, the Engineering Sciences Data Unit and the Mass Spectrometry Data Centre, under headings covering scope and general description, input acquisition and processing, outputs, distribution mechanisms, staff training and recruitment, user aspects, cost‐benefit considerations and future developments. It is based on information collected from published literature, extended interviews conducted at each centre, materials made available by the centres and a limited amount of telephone contact with users. The study was carried out between 17–28 January 1983, on behalf of the Office of Arts and Libraries, to provide input for the Library and Information Services Council Working Party on Centres of Information Excellence. Each of the three centres studied produces high‐quality specialised data, organised and validated to suit the requirements of specialist groups. All have been in existence for at least fifteen years, and all have enjoyed Government support at some time. Two are now profit‐seeking and one is non‐profit; one is university‐based, one is a private company and one is part of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
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