Scandinavian Shortcuts

DEFF and Ministry of Education cooperate again
The demands levelled at today’s library service to researchers, teachers and students at all types of educational institutions have changed dramatically, and the library changes from being a static place into something dynamic, from being a collection of books into being a pedagogic function in support of teaching as well as learning processes. With the Ministry of Education’s decision to rejoin the DEF partnership, Danmarks Elektroniske Forskningsbibliotek (DEF) became Danmarks Elektroniske Fag- og Forskningsbibliotek – DEFF.

Nyt fra Biblioteksstyrelsen, 2/2005

New strategy for the knowledge society – why?
Continued growth and further development of the welfare society in a global context presupposes that Denmark strengthens each citizen’s creative ability to find and develop the unknown, new and unexpected. And it requires a new national strategy for the knowledge society – where a modern public enlightenment initiative must emerge with the library as a central, local tool, says Leif Lørring, director of the Royal School of Library and Information Science. New technologies build on previous technologies that often live on in the new.We still go sailing and ride our bicycles, even though cars, trains and planes have arrived on the scene. But the world became more connected; we have become more dependent on other societies, while at the same time there must be a shift of balance from manual work or machinery to the immaterial ‘intellectual productions’ of the knowledge society.We must realise that society’s essential capital is to be found inside the heads of its citizens rather than in soil and production plants.

Danmarks Biblioteker, 4/2005

Knowledge or culture
Norway has a cultural policy, but needs a knowledge policy, writes Tord Høivik, Oslo University College. The public libraries’ position in relation to the concepts of knowledge and culture is a political and strategic question – a choice of perspective.

In Norway there is a long-range and very positive focus on the natural sciences which i.a. is reflected in annual research days. These are open to all subject areas, but the public libraries do not have any great impact on the mediation strategy vis-Ã -vis the Norwegian Research Council – however, the museums do! All over the country a net of knowledge centres are being built up – with the emphasis on the interactive consumer who is invited to find out how exciting scientific work can be.

Up till now the public libraries have created a profile for themselves as cultural institutions and have been perceived by users and politicians as providers of culture – and as a result this has been reflected in their funding. A profile as knowledge institution is going to change this image, but the public libraries would be well advised to strengthen their competences in natural science and mediation of research.

Bibliotekforum, 5/2005

The Swedish Library Act
The Swedish Library Act is heavily criticized from many quarters: It is too feeble, it does not put any obligations on neither municipalities nor libraries as far as quality is concerned, some people feel that the act is completely superfluous. Spokesman for the cultural committee of the Swedish parliament, Lennart Kollmats, would quite simply tear it up if there were to be a change of political power at the next election!
Several critics blame the strong municipal autonomy for the fact that the law is not functioning properly as it prevents cooperation across municipal borders.

Biblioteksbladet, 5/2005

Berlin Declaration on Open Access
The Association of Swedish Higher Education, the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Library Association have all now signed the Berlin Declaration. In a controversial article in Sydsvenska Dagbladet, Britta Lejon, Swedish Library Association and Bengt Vesterberg, Swedish Research Council, write about the need for free access to scientific information on the Internet. Not even the most affluent libraries have today the chance to give the research community access to published research to the desired extent. The basic principle about free exchange of information and maximum spreading of research results must prevail.

Biblioteksbladet, 5/2005

Translated by Vibeke Cranfield