by Carol Henderson

Deputy Director ALA Washington Office

"We are going to have to adapt and adjust if we don't go the way of the dinosaur," said Education Secretary T.H. Bell in expressing his concern "about the future of our libraries and … about the future of information science research" to a December 1 colloquium on library and information science research. Assistant Secretary for Educational Research and Improvement Donald Senese also addressed the group of 17 library and related association presidents or their representatives gathered to review the draft report of the Education Department-funded project, "A Library and Information Science Research Agenda for the 1980s." Participants included Joanne Harrar (University of Maryland) for ACRL, and myself, substituting for ALA President Elizabeth Stone. The research agenda was developed by Cuadra Associates with the assistance of a group of 26 researchers and practitioners, including two university librarians, Miriam Drake (Purdue University) and Jay Lucker (MIT) ‚ as well as Mary Jo Lynch from ALA's Office for Research.

The 26 researchers and practitioners developed a research agenda of 20 projects, grouped under the headings of 1) information generation and provision of library and information services, 2) information users and uses, 3) economics of information and of library and information services, 4) education and professional issues, and 5) intellectual freedom. A sampling of individual project titles includes "Exploiting the True Capabilities of Electronic Publication,"

"An Online Network to Support Question Answering in Libraries," "Evaluation of the Changing Needs of Online Search System Users as Influenced by Search Systems Experience," and "Impact of Information on Industrial Productivity."

The research agenda project was not designed as "the" agenda, nor did colloquium participants see it as such, but as "an" agenda reflecting important research needs, and as a very useful lobbying and communications tool within the library and information science field, with other fields, and with funding entities. Individual organizations were urged to publicize and disseminate the agenda, discuss it at conferences, act on it if possible, and consider it in any other appropriate way. Because it represents an excellent opportunity for interorganizational cooperation, it was agreed the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science could play a useful role by convening a meeting of representatives of interested organizations to discuss possible cooperative steps.

One of the most important points agreed to at the colloquium was that interaction between researchers and practitioners begun by the earlier project participants should be continued as organizations react to and act upon the agenda.

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