Globalisation, Information and Libraries: The Implications of the World Trade Organisation's GATS and TRIPS Agreements

By McBean, Bridget | African Research & Documentation, October 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

Globalisation, Information and Libraries: The Implications of the World Trade Organisation's GATS and TRIPS Agreements


McBean, Bridget, African Research & Documentation


Globalisation, Information and Libraries: the implications of the World Trade Organisation's GATS and TRIPS Agreements; by Ruth Rikowski. Oxford, United Kingdom: Chandos Publishing, 2005.393 pp. ISBN: (hardback) 1-83443- 092-5, paperback 1-84334-084-4

The world is full of surprises. The concept of a librarian as an activist for changing the world order may be, for some, difficult to grasp. However, the author does just this. She advocates a fundamental change in globalisation by examining multilateral process under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation and the implications of those processes for information and for libraries worldwide. Her outline of the key elements of the agreements and the negotiating processes provide a succinct, easily understandable context in which her main message is set.

Overcoming these self imposed prejudices about the traditional role and image of a librarian, the book challenges the reader on a number of levels, such as:

* The role of libraries with respect to the trade in services and in intellectual property rights;

* The role of the World Trade Organisation in the world order as far as trade and economic theory are concerned;

* A new model for looking at the world (an open Marxist theory).

The book consists of four parts. Part one looks at globalisation and the role of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Rikowski then focuses on two agreements which she has found to be most concerning when it comes to information and to libraries. The agreements are the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

Following from this context, part two examines the Trade in Services Agreement. With a brief overview of the GATS agreement, the author places libraries, information and cultural services in an international context, by giving an overview of perspectives from the developed countries (Canada, USA, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Europe) and the developing countries (India, South Africa, Chile). She then focuses on the implications for libraries in the UK. The last pages are dedicated to positions of a range of international library associations and associated institutions regarding the agreement.

Part three focuses on trade and its relations to intellectual property rights. …

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