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Libraries and Community Information Branch.

Toronto, Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Culture, c1984. 68pp, paper, $3.00, ISBN 0-7743-9135-9. Distributed by Publications Services Section, 5th floor, 880 Bay St., Toronto, Ont, M7A 1N8. CIP

Reviewed by P.J. Hammel

Volume 13 Number 5
1985 September

The foreword of this work suggests that the future success of libraries will depend upon the sharing of information; indeed, in the future, no library will ever really stand alone as they have in the past. Hence, this primer to assist libraries in the automation process, the necessary first step towards networking. A section entitled "Overview" suggests more specifically that its purpose is to provide "library management with a framework and process within which to move in a logical manner" in determining whether to automate or not, whether to go it alone or get involved in some form of cooperative venture, and how to proceed if the decision is to automate. It is also indicated that the process will be presented in four major stages; initial steps (establishing need), feasibility study, selection and purchase (of hardware), and implementation (installation and programming).

One chapter is dedicated to each of the four major stages. In each case the process is clearly described in a simple step-by-step manner; criteria and considerations are provided such that nothing is overlooked. As an example, even the specific clauses of a library-vendor contract are listed and described. Cautions are clearly noted and check-points require the reader to make, deliberately, the decision to proceed or to stop for now on the basis of the individual situation. No encouragement is given to proceed on an ad hoc or experimental basis, which could prove costly and wasteful. Six tables assist the reader by illustrating specific forms, checklists, etc., that are used to record or require information. An appendix provides additional sources of assistance for "Ontario public libraries," some of which might be helpful also to school libraries and to libraries in other parts of the country.

By far, the most important characteristic of this work is its thorough, step-by-step, primer approach. Even the most inexperienced and unaware librarian will be able to follow these directions without being talked down to. A minimum of technical language adds to its readability. The step-by-step procedure forces the librarian to work through the routines and operations of the specific library situation. Each check-point makes the librarian decide whether the resources and/or expertise are available to proceed. Before any other manual on the automation of libraries, I would recommend this work. At this cost there is no better value.

P.J. Hammel, College of Education, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Sask.
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