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Drops in the ocean: The development of scientific and technological information services in Australia

Middleton, Michael R. (2004) Drops in the ocean: The development of scientific and technological information services in Australia. In The history and heritage of scientific and technological information systems, Information Today, Inc., Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Abstract

This is a preliminary study of the extent to which the incorporation and use of local Australian information with international scientific output has been managed. Australia’s contribution to documentation in scientific research and development amounts to about 1 to 2 percent of total international output, depending on discipline. During the 1970s several local initiatives were undertaken to record Australian scientific publications and to meet scientific information needs, either within the framework of international information services or independently.

During the 1970s Australian scientific information policy makers were in the vanguard of attempts to articulate public policy in relation to information provision and use and to establish a national information policy. An example of such a policy initiative was the Scientific and Technological Information Services Enquiry Committee (STISEC) report, which made recommendations concerning the national provision of scientific and technical information services. The recommendations were not fully realized for three reasons: responsibility for driving the provision of the services was ill defined; there were funding constraints; and obtaining cooperation between stakeholding authorities was difficult.

Despite these problems a variety of scientific and technical information services emerged in Australia, and brief descriptions of some notable examples of these are provided. The paper concludes by suggesting that a systematic study of the history of the database services that concentrated on the factors influencing their development and the various transitions they have undergone, including cessation, would be useful. Such a study would not only chronicle their history but would also throw light on the development in Australia of an important aspect of the information society and the information economy that underpins it.

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ID Code: 689
Item Type: Conference Paper
Additional Information: This paper was subsequently published as: Middleton, M. (2004) Drops in the ocean: the development of scientific and technological information services in Australia. In W.B. Rayward & M.E. Bowden (Eds.), The history and heritage of scientific and technological information systems. Medford, NJ, USA: InfoToday for American Society for Information Science and Technology and Chemical Heritage Foundation. [ISBN 1-57387-229-6]. Pages 353-360. The published book may be ordered from the publisher at its own site: http://books.infotoday.com/asist/HisHerSciTecInfSys.shtml
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Information services, Scientific information, History, Information management, Australia
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > LIBRARY AND INFORMATION STUDIES (080700) > Information Retrieval and Web Search (080704)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Policy and Administration not elsewhere classified (160599)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 American Society for Information Science and Technology and the Chemical Heritage Foundation
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher: This conference is available online - see link above.
Deposited On: 27 Jan 2005
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 22:23

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