Saturday, 5 May 2007

Every three years

There is to be a Commonwealth election in October, and it is traditional to compile a shopping list before elections. I wonder what we in the library interest might put on our list? On one hand, many library issues are local or state, and so putting them on the table in a federal context seems inappropriate. On the other hand, the Commonwealth Government seems to regard state and local issues as space for expansion into, so maybe that is OK. But I think it would be wise to focus on issues which are specifically Commonwealth.

Suggestions would be useful - feel free to send comments to this blog. The ALIA Board is meeting next week, and since this will be my first meeting, it would be good to have something helpful to bring to it. Here are my first thoughts.

Copyright is a clear Commonwealth issue, and more widely we are interested in all those related areas of free culture, open access to knowledge, and the like. Related to this is national information infrastructure. The Senate report, Libraries in the Online Environment (2003) had some great ideas, few of them implemented. For example, Libraries Australia is useful to many Australians, but should be funded centrally as a piece of basic national infrastructure. Broadband also fits under the heading of national information infrastructure - we are very interested in that, too.

It may be that other organisations have electoral agendas too, and we could talk to them. I will look forward to your comments.

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