Services to Remote Users

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 1 July 2000




Freeman, M. (2000), "Services to Remote Users", New Library World, Vol. 101 No. 4, pp. 193-196.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

This well‐known heavyweight quarterly thematic journal of library and information science serves up yet again a substantial overview (albeit with a strong US bias) of a major professional concern – that of LIS services to remote users. Lorraine Harricombe’s useful introduction to the topic remarks on the fact that “remote users cannot be neatly packaged”, as the Open University found out long ago, and her comments on the new clientele of “the Net generation” with high expectations of LIS provision and constant access and use of IT are very germane and timely. The various authors contributing to this thematic collection are similarly both optimistic and visionary about the future for distance users and emphasise heavily the paramountcy of the “user concept”. Academic libraries in the USA appear to be at the cutting edge in providing services for distance learners, many of them using interactive videotechnology and video conferencing, e.g. the University of California, Irvine. Sloan’s paper on “Service perspectives for the digital library” brings together some intriguing thoughts: whether digital libraries will need librarians, the librarian as value‐added mediator, guru of copyright and licensing and the librarian as systems interface designer. A nicely apt quote, “Bring in high tech but give it a human face. And that face is the face of the librarian”, heads up this thought‐provoking paper. An interesting, if rather heavy going, compilation, well laden (alas!) with professional jargon and hefty lists of references, with a readership probably restricted in practice to academics and research librarians and students, more is the pity.

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