NCLIS Plans Survey of Public Libraries and Internet

Article excerpt

The U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) has announced plan sto survey public library involvement with Internet, the global computer network of networks. Quick-response sample survey will be conducted in early January 1994 to obtain baseline data regarding the impact of the Internet on public library services and activities. Survey findings about the extent on public library involvement with and use of networks services will be analyzed to identify potential federal policies relating to the public library role in developing a networked information infrastructure for the nation.

NCLIS will publish a project report in early spring 1994. Charles R. McClure, professor at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, and Douglas L. Zeizig, professor at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, are coprincipal investigators for NCLIS for the public libraries and the Internet project. Public libraries in the sample survey will; be selected from a university file developed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in cooperation with the national commission and state library agencies.

Timely, reliable data describing current public library Internet/network use and the impact of the Internet on libraries and the communities they serve as required to implement recommendations made at the 1991 White House Conference on Library and Information Services (WHCLIS) that call for the development of a national "information superhighway" network to "be available in all libraries and other information respositories at every level."

The NCLIS survey project also responds to a question raised at a July 1993 policy discussion meeting held at the Library of Congress. At this meeting, Vice-president Gore asked to what degree public libraries can serve as a "safety net" for access to Internet informtion and services. …