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Book & Print in New Zealand : A Guide to Print Culture in Aotearoa

Information technology

Information technology

Libraries were early users of computers, initially for recording the lending of library materials, later for providing bibliographical records and indexing, and latterly for communicating with other libraries and providing online services to users.

In 1994 the National Library began development of the National Document and Information Service (NDIS). The system, a joint venture with the National Library of Australia, was to provide public on-line access to information databases in libraries and other agencies, and incorporate the existing functions of the New Zealand Bibliographic Network. It was an ambitious concept. Technical difficulties and consequential financial problems brought the project to an end in 1997.

The literature carries numerous references to specific applications, too many to cite here. The first development of note was NZBN, the New Zealand Bibliographic Network—a communications system and central database which was launched in 1982. The effect that NZBN had upon library operations was traced through a series of articles in New Zealand Libraries in 1983 and 1985: Randell and Clendon (1983), Dunlop (1985), Napp and Reilly (1985), Blackwood (1985).

The National Library formed a working party to examine trends in information techonology and the effects that they might have on the way in which libraries work. Their report in December 1990 National Library: Information Technology Futures Working Party provides a fair description of the situation at that time, but the scant references to the Internet betray the age of the document. The 1996 report of an N Strategy study group on the Internet makes good that omission: Alastair Smith, Pattie, Mosley (1996). The copyright complications of library use of the Internet are examined by Suzy Frankel (1996).