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21 August 1972

Acquisition and Organization of International Documentation

Introductory Report

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International Symposium of the United Nations and other Intergovernmental Organizations (Geneva, August 1972). Introductory Report to Panel II [UNITAR/EUR/SEM.1/WP II/IR]. Organized by United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Association of International Libraries (AIL) Published in: International Federation for Documentation: sources, organization and utilization of international documentation. Den Haag, FID, pp. 112-144 (English), pp. 145-181 (French). Proceedings of the International Symposium on the Documentation of the United Nations, Geneva, 21-23 August 1972. FID publ 506. Version française

1. Acquisition of International Documents
2. Organization of International Documents
3. Relevance of Information Systems and Networks
4. Summary of Problems of the Immediate Future
5. Action Possibilities
Table 1: Summary of Intergovernmental Acquisition Aids


The range of subjects covered by the agenda of this Panel is large. This is one reason for the length of thisreportwhich had to attempt to bring together into a common framework the issues raised by the many Working Papers. The other is the complex task of the Panel. Is it concerned with: the present or the future, the developed or the developing countries, description or prescription, minor or major recommendations? It was felt that consideration had to be given to each of these aspects to meet the requirements of the variety of interests of participants.

Acquisition and handling of intergovernmental materials is one ofthe most difficult problems in libraries, major or minor. The principal reasons are lack of adequate bibliographical control tools, complex series, distribution delays and confusion, and the volume of material produced annually. A major task of this report is therefore to attempt a descriptive panorama of the problems and possibilities from a documentalist's perspective on the whole range of intergovjernmental material, whether United Nations or other.

The descriptive exercise will be useful for some participants but possibly irrelevant for others looking for immediate practical solutions. There is, however, no magic wand to be waved although numerous possibilities for action are discussed. [Many of the points made have been made on a number of occasions since 1948 by participants at this symposium (see WP II/9). It is not ideaswhich are lacking.]

The Rapporteur would like to thank the many people in the Geneva offices of the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies for their assistance and advice. Given the range of topics, many issues are undoubtedly handled inadequately here. It is hoped that all the critical points and proposals for change made here have been well founded on those in the Panel Working Papers or those in earlier United Nations reports on the documentation problem.


1.1 Documents available

The fundamental acquisition problemisto determine what minimum tools to acquire to be able to determine systematically for inter-governmental organizations, what is being published or issued, by whom, and from whom it can be obtained. Mo document exists to provide and update such a perspective, although several attempts have been made -- the most noteworthy being the bibliogaphy produced for this Symposium [1].

Given information on the existence of bibliographical control tools, however, a trivial but serious problem prevents the librarian from having full confidence in any particular group of them. The problem is that even experienced users have difficulty in deciding or the adequacy of the seemingly appropriate tool. Four tendencies contribute to this.

Terminology concerning coverage; titles of bibliographical tools (includingsalescataloguesand acquisition lists) sometimes even descriptions (in the publication itself) or analyses of coverage, all avoid precision [2]. The best example of this is the bibliographical coverage of "United Nations" document production. The "United Nations" in UN terminology, in terms of document issuing bodies, may or may not include (see WP II/4 ch IV):

Thus the List of United Nations Document Series Symbols covers only those series within the mandate of the UM Headquarters Library. Similar publications may or may not exist to cover the symbols and series of other parts of the "United Nations system", Bibliographical tools prepared in diferent parts of the system (in its widest sense) cover the production of other parts to differing degrees, whilst not necessarily covering the production of their own part. Thus in the case of International Labour Documentation Supplementary List (the major bibliographic tool from IL0), it is differently described as providing a "nearly comprehensive" listing of new ILU documents" (WP II/a, para. 4) and as being "virtually useless in providing information on ILO documents" (WP II/9) -- furthermore only careful reading establishes that no more than 10% are stored in the computer retrieval system from which the List is generated.

Coverage over time: coverage of a given bibliographic tool may change over time (for better or for worse) in a manner which the busy librarian may not note, particularly since the change may not affect the title or subtitle.

External production: some departments within a secretariat may be producing documents outside the control of the bibliographical department responsible (see WP II/13), either as a matter of policy or because procedures for sending documents to the bibliographical department are not effectively implemented.

Access to bibliographical tools: the above difficulties are aggravated by a tendency to produce useful bibliographical tools "for internal use only". This is not always evident from the bibliographical description.

These problems also apply to the major intergovernmental libraries and their acquisition and holdings policy. Whilst an outsider night expect that the headguarters library of the UN or of a Specialized Agency would include all the productions of other subordinate parts of its system, this is not so (e.g. to consult all FAO publications, it is essential to go to Rome or possibly to an FAO depositary library, rather than to Nem York or Geneva, where only a "range of major FAD documents" are kept).

The problem also applies to the UN Bookshop (at the Secretariats). Thus it is not clear to an outsider to what extent the UN (Geneva) Bookshop is acting for UN (Headquarters) publications (or vice versa), or why it is distributing FAO Sales Catalogues but not those of UNESCO, ILO, WHO, etc. At the national level, different commercial bookshops act for different Specialized Agencies.

A library cannot avoid these problems by acquiring depositary status. Such status must be acquired by separate negotiationwith different agencies. Some agencies do not have such an arrangement, in others the arrangement only covers certain categories of documents such that the library will never know what it is not receiving (see, for example, WP 11/13). In addition, separate negotiations must often be arranged with each department within the agency which has its own mailing lists. And in some cases the documents are only available to those physically present at the agency or its regional information offices (since they are not announced, their existence cannot otherwise De known).

1.2 Ways and means

It is clearly impossible to summarise here all the different ways and means of keeping track of the documents of the 200 intergovernmental bodies [3] . This should be the work of a permanent research unit.

1.2.1 Bibliographical tools

In general the following tools may or may not be available for a given producing agency bearing in mind that bibliographical control may be supplied through some other body in the same system (or sometimes, quite adequately, through a national union catalogue ) :

As an aid to participants, Table 1 summarizes the results of a small survey conducted via the Symposium Secretariat which is a very approximate and crude summary of part IV of the bibliography prepared for the Symposium (which has used to complete the Table). This gives a partial overview of the range of bibliographic tools for some agencies.

Table 1: Summary of Intergovernmental Acquisition Aids
This Table should be considered as indicative only. Some information was not available:in other cases the situation was more complex than the Table could reflect in this form.

Summary of Intergovernmental Acquisition Aids

1.2.2 Distribution lists

A library can also ensure acquisition of desired material without necessarily ordering specific documents, by using other techniques:

1.2.3 Short cuts

For libraries of modest resources and only limited interest in international publications, it may be quite sufficient to check through the acquisitions list of a major international library or an appropriate national union catalogue. Publications in series may however be missed by this method.

1.3 What to acquire

There are a number of criteria which can govern the decision to acquire intergovernmental publications.

1.3.1 Issuing body: the library may have an obligation to make accessable the main proceedings of particular organizations and their organs. In each case main series of publications may be quite adequate (see for example WP HI/5 and UNITAR/EUR 3/11).

1.3.2 Subject range: the library may have an obligation to have key publications on

(i) issues currently before intergovernmental bodies (ii) issues which may have to be brought before intergovernmental bodies in the immediate future

The first obligation implies a more passive role of responding to intergovernmental program changes using the bibliographic control tools already mentioned. The second constitutes a much more difficult task requiring a future orientation on the part of the library. How is a library to prepare for major program switches such as the recent emergence of the environment issue? It is a sobering thought that for the policy making bodies which some libraries have to serve, existing organizations and programs are often memorials to old problems. This is because the network of organizations at the international level is permanently out of phase with the network of problems which people at the national level believe to be worth attacking -- due to lags in institution building and program adaptation initiated by political process [4].

A possible solution to this dilemma is to build up a sufficiently strong acquisitions reference section so that as issues emerge the appropriate back-up literature can be rapidly acquired - - but even this is subject to the delays in the publication of reference literature.

1.3.3 Period of relevance: Many available documents are only of ephemeral interest -- 90% of acguisitions in the case of the ILO Library (see WP II/8, para. 4). The library must determine whether it has a commitment to short-term user requirements.

1.3.4 Period of deterioration: the paper used for many documents is of low quality such that significant decay is apparent in a period ranging from months to several years, depending on the shelving method, air characteristics and usage. This is a very serious problem, not only in tropical regions, when air conditioning is inadequate.

1.3.5 Delivery time: some documents may take up to 6 months to reach the library from the moment of ordering (see WP I/10). Given that it may have taken a further 6-12 months for the document to be prepared, printed and bibliographically controlled, the overall delay may render acquisition unnecessary. The delay may be even more serious in the case of conference reports.

1.3.6 Language: librarians in non-English speaking countries may have to choose between obtaining an available English version or waiting for a possible translation into the international language most used in the country.

1.3.7 Usage: when the usage of a particular range of documents falls below a certain level, it may be preferable either to refer users to another library or center or to hold the material in a more compact form (e.g. microfiche).

1.3.8 Space: the space requirements of intergovernmentaldocuments is recognized as one of the major problems faced bylibraries.

1.3.9. Form: a number of factors govern the choice between paper and microform. These include: cost of equipment required, availability of equipment maintenance, user preferences, hard copy requirement, usage storage costs, microform delivery time, probability of changes in microform standards, probable availability of better (lower cost) equipment, etc.

1.3.10 Cataloguing and classification costs: when the cost in space and personnel is such that a range of documents cannot be made readily accessible to users, it is questionable whether acquisition is worthwhile -- particularly since the documents may well deteriorate physically or in usefulness before funds become available.

1.3.11 Purchasing cost: the manner in which the price of publications is increasing annually'is so rapid (10-15% for some) that whole categories of material are in effect becoming increasingly inaccessible to libraries in developing countries (e.g. $475 for the 8 volume cumulative edition of International Labours Documentation 1965-1969 (see WP II/19).

1.3.12 Exchange control: many countries have exchange control regulations which render purchase of publications impossibleor complex. It is not clear whether the Unesco Coupon scheme extends to more than a limited range of intergovernmental publications.

1.3.13 Prestige: this may be a significant factor governing a national library's mandate with respect to acquisition of intergovernmental publications.

1.3.14 Selection ability: given the poor bibliographic control, massive acquisition (as a result of ensuring that the library is on as many free mailing lists as possible), followed by a drastic elimination of unwanted material, may continue to be the most rational -policy for the library.

1.4 Summary of major acquisition problems

1.4.1 Outsidershave great difficulty in determining how many library reference units, documentation or information systems there are within a given agency (at headquarters, regional and field level) which might be of assistance to them in locating or gaining access to relevant documents

1.4.2 Outsiders have qreat difficulty in determining the acquisitions, holding and i indexingpolicy of the different reference unitswithin the intergovernmental system.

1.4.3 Outsiders have great difficulty in determining how many document distribution mailinglists exist and which officeswithin an agency are responsible for any particular one

1.4.4 Document production and indexing within an intergovernmental system is naturally structured for internal convenience using agency-relevant symbol systems to cover current production. Users with substantive matter interests are handicapped, particularly when they reguire information by country over a range of years and irrespective of tne issuing body. The absence of centralized catalogues for documents, cumulative indexes, and subjective indexes, is a major hindrance to acquisition of the most appropriate documents

1.4.5 Outsiders are severely handicapped in attempting to locate all documents pertaining to a given agenda item of an intergovernmental body, since the method of issuing the documents under a variety of symbol categories results in their being filed in separate series with few means of retrieving them together in the absence of document checklists by agenda item

1.4.5 Users on distribution lists receive considerable amounts of unwanted documents due to the lack of specificity and flexibility in the distribution profiles used

1.4.7 The symbol systems in use are complex to the non-specialist dealing with the publications of many intergovernmental agencies. (This may be particularly true for those cultures not oriented to the Western preference for seguential series). It is not clear however, even for developed countries, just what proportion of libraries use the recommended cataloguing systems

1.4.8 It is not always clear to an outsider whether a document labelled "Restricted" or "For limited distribution only" is so labelled because the material is in some way confidential, or rather because the budget allocation does not permit more than a limited number of copies to be produced

1.4.9 Individual agencies may modify document exchange procedures in unpredictable ways without notice, so that acquisition of urgently required documents is subject to unforeseen, and often lengthy delays

1.4.10 Key documents, treated as annexes to a distributed report, are often themselves not widely distributed and must be specifically requested from the committee responsible for the meeting in question. Such committees are frequently dissolved soon after a meeting, or alternatively the stock of spare copies is already exhausted

1.4.11 Key documents, including major bibliographical aids, arrive soLate and so irregularly that if any distributed documents are missing from a collection it is often too late to obtain them.

1.5 National Acquisitions Policy [5]

One means of improving a country's control over intergovernmental publications is to formulate a national acquisitions policy

1.5.1 Requirements

Information on issuing bodies: acomprehensive list of issuing bodies(Including departments), from a libraian's perspective on the intergovernmental universe, rather than fromthat of a particular mandate-oriented issuing body or system

Information on series and symbols: a comprehensive centralized list of intergovernmental series and symbols covering all intergovernmental documents

Information on international issuing policy: a systematic study of international and regional intergovernmental plans for future changes with respect to:

Information on national libraries: a centralized list of national libraries and documentation centres with information on their current and planned policies with respect to intergovernmental publications

Information on users: a study of users of intergovernmental documentation within the country at present and as desired in the future

Formation of a planning body; representatives from national libraries and centres should form a planning body under the stimulus of some appropriate authority. This body should analyze the current and planned polcies, users and relative geographical separation of libraries, and recommend modifications to acquisition and holdings policies in order to achieve a shared responsibility for improved coverage and accessibility. The possibility of sharing some resources or setting up a central or sectoral acquisitions board or fund could well be considered. The relationship to any inter-library loan system and the function of the national library association should also be considered, together with the need for a union catalogue.

1.5.2 Problems

Lack of information: most of the information required (above) is not available orelse isavailableonly in an undisgested and incomplete form.

International-level integration: tothe outsider it is difficult to distinguish between definite plans for change, hopeful intentions, political and administrative ploys, and publicrelations handouts. Most plans seem-conditional on a complex of policy, budgetary and technical decisions in an inter-agency domain with no record of any ongoing operational success .

The external librarian is aware that criteria are being discussedfor systems which mill affect his decisions on an acquisitions policy, Put it is apparent that his views as a user are not to be considered until major decisions have been taken. The terminological problem (see 1.1) reappears and it remains uncertain whether, for example, the integration of "United Nations" information processing will effect any agencies other than those directly dependent on the General Assembly (see WP II/ 4), or whether it will handle all documentation on economic and social development projects for the "UN development system" (which includes all agencies receiving UNDP funding). Similarly, it is unclear whether the rumoured systems will handle the document control and distribution problems or confine themselves to statistical and program management information. One working paper (WP II/14) suggests however that all will be well and that participants should not despair -- in which case the above views may appear extreme

National agency conflict: just asat the international level thenis considerable inter-agency conflict at the national and sub-national levels which hinders formulation of an effective national policy and establishment of a rational network of libraries. It would be more correct to say that the unsatisfactory international documentation condition is merely a reflection of procedures in many national agency systems. The conflict is often justifiable in terms of the need to defend the interests of groups of users which are easily ignored in any broader framework.

Economic level: developing countries have a special problem in determining how best to adapt their acquisitions when plans are being made for use of computer and satellite systems (UNITAR/EUR/ 3/7)


2.1 Cataloguing

2.1.1 Methods

Cataloguing is the technique used for bibliographic description of publications or documents following a generally adopted standard. There is no universally accepted standard for cataloguing intergovernmental agency documentation. Procedures in use depend very much upon the established practice of the library, its dependence upon bibliographical control tools using particular formats, and any modifications introduced in adapting to computerization. In some cases computerization forces the library towards a widely used format (e.g. MARC II), but minor modifications are frequently introduced to meet special requirements.

There has been much effort to promotestandard cataloguing principles (see biblioqraphy. theInternational Organization for Standardization has recommended some standard features, an International Standard BibliographicDescription has beenagreed, but this is a long may from implementation and complete interchangeability of catalogue cards (possibly on magnetic tape).

No set of guidelines dealing specifically with international agency documentation has yet been widely distributed with the support of the Unesco Department of Documentation, Libraries and Archives. A highly recommended unofficial set of guidelines has however been produced by Th. Dimitrov [6].

2.1.2 Problems

There are several issues associated with cataloguing aside from the absence of universal standards.

Shelf arrangement: whether or not documents are catalogued, some form of shelf arrangement must be used. The different systems that have been tried with varying degrees of success are covering in a working paper (WP II/12). Shelf arrangement remains a fundamental problem however,

Coverage (i.e. what to catalogue): given the vast quantity of documentation, some selection will probably have to be made in terms of the special interest or responsibility of the library. This selection may be made on the basis of type of document (see below), or subject (or regional) interest.

Series (i.e. when to use series entries): the cataloguing link may be reduced by filing incoming documents in document series. This reduces the accessibility of a document on a specific topic in a series devoted to a variety of general topics and is perhaps a major reason for the inability of users to derive maximum benefit from international documentation.

Timing (i.e. when to catalogue): the cataloguing task may be facilitated by awaiting the arrival of bibliographical control tools distributed by the agency in question. Since these currently take months to prepare, this introduces a delaywhich may be unacceptable.

Corporate author: the main problem in cataloguing international documentation is that of determining the construction of the proper corporate author entry. In particular, there is the question of the number of levels of organization hierarchy to incorporate when dealing with the report of an ad hoc committee of a sub-commission, or how to handle reports of inter-agency bodies. The absence of any up to date centralized list of theorgans of intergovernmental agencies does not simplify matters.Confusion is also created when reports by identified individualson behalf of corporate bodies are catalogued preferentially under the individual author, often without a cross-reference to the responsible body or report series. Conversely group reports tend to become known by the name of the group leader (Jackson, Pearson, Bertrand, Macy, etc.) which may not be significant for cataloguing purposes and render the report inaccessible in non-UN libraries.

Cost: the above issues are all dependent upon the high cost of cataloguing.

2.2 Classification

2.2.1 Methods

Classification is the technique used to group documents, catalogue cards or bibliographical entries according to some convenient system. A number of systems are advocated for international documentation under different conditions.

Symbol: Documents may be classified in alphanumeric order by symbol. This is useful where it is important to keep track of the functioning of a particular organ. It is also valuable when the agency produces a documents index in symbol order with a subject index.

Sales number: printed publications also carry a sales number which may contain a subject code. It is useful for classification by major subject groupings and is valuable where sales catalogues are in frequent use.

Document type: Various concepts of document type may be used to formulate classification procedures. A document type classification is used to govern distribution procedures.

Chronological: The date of the report or meeting may be used as one component of a classification procedure or shelf arrangements.

Subject matter: This may be the most appropriate system for external users and specialist libraries which are primarily interested in substantive matter content irrespective of the originating body.

Country: Some specialist users are country or region oriented and may find it more useful to establish rough classifications by country to build up country documentation.

2.2.2 Problems

Multiple symbols: Under symbol systems, documents bearing two or more symbols (or symbol and sale number) requirespecial cross-referencing and therefore complicate the classification work pattern.

Symbol changes: a series may be discontinued under one symbol and continued under another. This is indicated in some instances, but not always (see WP II/13, para. 8).

Absence of any number: Documents received by non-conventional channels, may lack any identifying number and must therefore be classified ("many documents have no symbol at all" WP II/8).

Multiple subject: Frequently major programme areas like development and environment result in the generation of reports touching on several major subjects. This necessitates cross-referencing if any form of subject classification is used .

Document type: When dealing with many agencies, it may be difficult to determine in a given case what constitutes a document of a given type.


Perhaps the major problem for a librarian desiring to organize an international documentation collection, is the apparent absence of any consensus in practice on the system to be adopted (see UNITAR/EUR 3/3/Add.l, para. V) -- even amongst the specialized agencies of the United Nations system and the reasonably well funded national libraries especially concerned with their materials. The symbol system seems to be a necessity forced upon libraries with an obligation to keep track of the procedures of particular organs rather than to facilitate use by those with substantive and functional interests.

2.3 Analysis

2.3.1. Methods

Analysis is the technique used to prepare a short synthesis or abstract of the contents of a document to facilitate retrieval on the basis of terms not necessarily appearing in the title. The techniques used may differ:

(a) b y the amount of information generally retained :

(b) in the thesaurus on which term choice is based. The major tool developed within the intergovernmental system is the Aligned List of Descriptors which has now been elaborated into a Macrothesaurus in several languages.

The most developed analytical system within the UN system isCAIP (see WP II/7).

2.3.2 Problems

Thesaurus: Either the library must analyze in terms of the needs of its own users, to the depth and in terms of the thesaurus appropriate to their requirements, or it must depend upon the analysis accomplished in the publications of the agencies according to their requirements and budget.

Accessibility: The analyses accomplished within the intergovernmental system are not readily accessible:

Computer compatibility: Computer and program level compatibility does not yet permit exchange of analyzed bibliographical record tapes on a systematic basis (an exception is WHO use of the MEDLARS tape),.even if the cost permitted.

Language: The differences of language, and the tendency to produce all analytical aids in English - despite provision for processing in other languages -- obliges non English to undertake costly reanalysis or submit to use of the medium of a "foreign" culture. This problem is complicated by uncertainty as to whether and when a given document available in a foreign language will be translated into the language of the library's Culture (cf. delays in translation into Arab and Chinese).

Training: The major problem for a library is obtaining and retaining adequately trained staff to ensure consistent analysis of material in many languages.

2.4 Computer-Assisted Indexing Proqramme (see WP II/7)

2.4.1 Acquisition aids

In response to a variety of information processing problems the United Nations has developed the very sophisticated CAIP Information System. This is intended to be fully operational in 1973. A distinction should be made between (i) the CAIP system as applied to the publications and documents of the United Nations (New York and Geneva) and (ii) the envisaged use of the CAIP computer programmes as the foundation for an inter-agency integrated information network.

The CAIP system coverage is currently limited to a series of major UN documents and publications, starting either in 1969 or 1972 (see WP II/7, para. 11, 12). Any extension in coverage or retrospectively depends on future user demand, and policy and budgetary decisions.

The major output of assistance in solving acquisition problems is the computer generated UNDEX Series

A: Subject Index 10 per year in 4 languages B : Country Index 10 per year in 4languages C : List of documents issued 10 per year in 2 languages

Series A and 8 will replace the existing UNDI starting in 1973 (up to April 1972, 18 issues of A and B had appeared as a trial). Series C continues the checklist section of UNDI in a different format. Other publications available from the computer in the same series are (see Item 315 in Select Bibliography):

D : List of issuances E : Index to reports F : Index to resolutions and decisions G : Compendium of resolutions H : Index to speeches

as well as an author index, membership index, voting record index, citation index, etc. (see WP II/7, Annex 8).

But the extent to which they will actually be (a) reproduced on paper, (b) on a frequent basis,(c) accessible to non-UN users, seems to depend on budgetary and policy decisions which have not yet been taken. The working paper notes that it is currently planned to produce them "for internal use only in support of the document reference services of the United Nations Headquarters Library" in New York.

2.4.2. Retrieval services

A question and answer service is planned for 1973 in off-linemode but it is as yet unclear to what extent this will be available to non-UN users. It is envisaged that this a; ill eventually be converted to an on-line mode, which could permit distant libraries to interrogate the main files. This raises many problems of data linkages and hardware compatibility.

2.4.3 Tape exchange

It is planned to exchange copies of master tape files with other UN agencies "as soon as an inter-agency standard communication format is developed and agreed upon". Again this service may be available to non-UN users but the policy in this respect has not yet been determined, nor therefore the date of implementation.

2.4.4 Microfiche

Microfiche versions of the material for which information is stored in computer-based files (see 2.4.1. above) are prepared in parallel with the computer system, together with selected portions of pre-1969 material. The microfiche are prepared in conformity with the United Nations Microfiche Standard (1970), an inter-agency standard for all bodes within the United Nations system. Each microfiche is numbered and the number is accessible from the CAIP system but does not appear to be printed in Series A, B or C. It was not possible to establish whether all UN and other intergovernmental agencies were already using this standard which appears to differ in some details from the standard formulated by the International Organization for Standardization. One of the working papers notes, however, that the "programme of preservation in microform is currently under review and its contents and format may be changed" (WP II/13, para. 5). It should be noted that the widespread use of microfiche is being hampered by the many standardsin use at the national level and the consequent difficulty of marketing cheap viewers, printers, and master$preparation units. This is of particular importance to libraries attempting to decide on the possibility of using microfiche and what equipment to purchase. (The recommendation that "regional standards for microfiche production should be developed" (WP II/3, page 2) should therefore be understood to apply to the techniques and not to the format).


3.1 The Concept

It is possible to infer that the network of international cooperative schemes for the transfer of international information. effectively constitutes a fragmentory world-wide information system which only requires technical and managerial development. The validity of the position depends on the meaning assigned to the words "systems" and "networks". It is true that the cooperative arrangements of a growing number of libraries for the acquisition, cataloguing and transfer of books, by way of exchange, loans, reproductions, etc. provide a basis for setting up an international network of access to the intergovernmental documentation: but, such networks as now exist are for the most part of regional scope, and limited to (procedural, disciplinary or mission-oriented) fractions of the existing literature. In the same fashion, it is correct to designate the kinds of agreements being fostered on an inter-agency basis within the United Nations or by ISO, ICSU and other international bodies, or again the type of services proposed by INIS (IAEA), AGRIS (FAO) and others, as world-wide systems of information handling, from a processor's viewpoint; but it does not follow that all users find themselves equally satisfied with such "systems",nor even that they recognize them as such, from their own, dependent position [7].

3.1.1 System

Satisfaction with the performance of an information system on intergovernmental documentation may depend very largely upon whose interests are taken into account in its evaluation, namely who are considered to be the producers, processors and users within the system. The producers may be seen to be either the bodies supplying the knowledge from outside the secretariats, or the organs within the intergovernmental body through whom the knowledge is transmitted in an "intergovernmental document". Similarly the users (and aceess) may be limited (in order of decreasing probability) to any of the following:

A number of working papers make reference to facilitating user access. There is a desire to ensure maximum utilization (EUR/SEM. l/I/R/2; WP II/12; WPII/13), but the only "users" which seem to be taken into account in policy decisions on thedesign of intergovernmental information systems are the firsttwo in the list above (WP II/14). The remaining usersareconsidered to be adequately service by incidental spin-off from fulfillment of the requirements of the "primary users". It is important to stress that intergovernmental documentation systems are currently conceived exclusively as internal information systems and it is in that light, for example, that optimism about proposed changes (WP II/14) to the UN interagency information system should be considered.

It is valuable to contrast this inward-looking perspective on intergovernmental documentation with that of the concept of an international system of scientific and technical information, accepted in connection with UNISIST, and muchcloser in perspective to the librarian's for whom the juris$dictional difficulties and distinctions between producingagencies are mostly irrelevant:

"This scheme takes a number of points for granted: (a) that scientific and technical information, as embodied mainly inthe more formal printed sources, is the property of all nations; (b) that this printed literature, published or unpublished, canbe considered for this reason as a collective store, from which information is to be extracted, organized, processed, evaluated, re-packaged, etc. in a variety of mays, by the concerted effort of all countries, (c) that these operations, in tne "transfer chain", are best performed through a world-wide division of labor between all parties, with due consideration for, but no necessary subjection to existing geopolitical divisions; (d) that the output from each party, at any stage of transfer, can then be made available as input to other parties, subject to the acceptance of common standards; (e) that such standards are well within our reach, provided proper mechanisms be set up to hasten their definition, ratification and implementation by all parties.

A 'World Science Information System' in this case, is any complex set of rules and media that may be devised with thepurpose of actualizing this concept of world-wide sharing in the transfer of scientific and technical information from scattered producers to dispersed users in all regions of theearth." In one sense "the world system is to be thought of as a 'system of systems', or better a network of systems, whose components are the operating information systems of the world whatever their scope (all-purpose, discipline, mission, etc.) and status (governmental, non-profit, commercial, etc.). To the extent that some of these components may themselves be organized into regional or sectoral networks, the expression 'network of networks' is also appropriate." [8]

The defence of intergovernmental information systems is that they must, of course, handle politically sensitive, confidential documents in the interests of member governments (which in the case of the United Nations represent most of the nations of the world). In fact, however, a distinction must be made between the systems providing bibliographic control and those covering sensitive documents. The latter are rarely reproduced for distribution and are often filed in the archives of the responsible department and not centrally in the main agency library. The small proportion of confidential material could be isolated from the main stream of accessible documents (if only by an appropriate security coding) which could be handled in the kind of open-system manner outlined above.

The UNISIST report indicates that such open-system approaches are here to stay:

"On the basis of the sample evidence given in this section, it seems reasonable to infer that network concepts, though not new in the history of librarianship, will dominate the future evolution of the profession, both from an organizational and from a technological viewpoint....It would probably be less and less necessary to have all the pieces of a library programme in one place so long as the programme parts can be linked together in networks and the resources of each part deployed to support an over-all system. The library of the future is not wisely conceived of as a place at all, but rather as a far-flung network composed of units of various sizes and types, each of which may perform similar as well as different functions'." [9]

3.1.2 Networks

The term "networks" can be used in a variety of ways relevant to the concerns of this symposium:

  1. A collection of information systems with complementary or overlapping interests (but not directly interlinked) which has the potential of forming itself into an integrated data network through which resources, work loads and information may be exchanged (UNITAR/LUR/SEN.1/I. R.2).
  2. A collection of information systems using common standards but otherwise not integrated (cf. UNISIST) except possibly by telex.
  3. A geographically wide-spread network of computer based
  4. information systems linked, by satellite or cable, to permit data exchange. (of the WMO's GDPS and GTS systems)
  5. A network of terminals (possibly in the same city or even in the same building) linked to one central computer to permit interrogation and notification on the basis of a common set of files (of. ISIS/LIBRIS).
  6. A collection of complementary computer data files whose
  7. degree of interlinkage amounts to a network of interrelationships (of the Jackson Report concept, WP II 4, para 4-5). The contents of the files may be exchanged between computer (as in q) or interrogated individually (as in d).
  8. The bodies whose productions are bibliographically controlled by the information system are embedded in a network of organizational interrelationships which in an inter-agency system are not necessarily hierarchical.
  9. The problems on which the departments in an inter-agency system generate documents are themselves inter-linked in a complex network of cause-effect relationships which cross jurisdictional boundaries.
  10. The system of terms by which agency documents are labelled within the information system may also be considered a network. In its (mathematically) simplest form this is the hierarchical structure of the common thesaurus.
  11. The interlinkage between producers, terms and documents over time produces a network characteristic in the use of citation indexes for historio-bibliographical studies. [10]
  12. The programmes formulated and documented by departments in an inter-agency system (of the UN Development System) themselves constitute a network, in their inter relationships. Their progress may be analyzed individually using "computerizednetwork" analysis techniques.
  13. The bodies on one or more distribution lists of an interagency system may be considered as a network of contacts.
  14. The system of concepts and categories which evolves with each research advance may be considered as a network(*) underlying the selected set of terms used in a thesaurus (cf h) or association indexing.
  15. The selection and presentation of new documents and information on a complex world situation may be advantageously structured using network techniques (of. programmed learning) to ensure that the material selected suits the capacity and background of the person being briefed [11].

3.1.3. Consequences of a network concept

  1. Information storage and retrieval points are linked into a data network. This permits decentralized input and centralized or decentralized processing. Tasks may be shared and data collections interchanged rapidly. Files and catalogues are held on electro-magnetic media.
  2. There may be a saving in resources as a result of integration and avoidance of duplication. (it is often estimated that due to the cost of the technology there is no major saving, unless the wastage was considerable, but a great increase in effectiveness and efficiency.)
  3. Users of the information system may have direct on-line interactive access to it through terminals (typewriter, videodisplay) appropriately distributed throughout the secretariat building complex, or even in buildings in other cities .
  4. The flexibility and rapidity of information transfer between previously well separated administrative units has a major impact on the organizational system and its constituency, if the information network is used to its full potential. Greater organizational decentralization is possible to the extent that there is greater informational integration. Information and decisions can flow between units in response to needs perceived in the light of general policy outlines, rather than as required by predefined and detailed objectivesor programs which cannot be rapidly adopted to changing circumstances [12].
  5. It has been suggested that organizational systems held together in this way in effect become pools of organized administrative units. Those can be rapidly and flexibly recombined into any configuration appropriate to the current pattern of problems perceived. Institutional and programme change is then less spastic and better coordinated [13]
  6. The use of PPBS in this context permits funds to be rechannelled much more effectively and reduces the dependency on budgetary time cycles of decision-making which are slower than the programme and institutional adaptation requirements. Available funds and organizational resources can be marshalled and re-allocated more rapidly in response to needs.
  7. Integrated organization/information systems ensure a much more effective response to crises and natural disasters.
  8. The possibility of opening the information system to a wide range of users external to the organizational system increases its utility and relevance and provides a larger pool of resources on which all the participating units can draw. This, however, raises a security problem and a variety of explicit security locks can be attached to information at different levels of confidentiality in order to prevent unauthorized access.
  9. The use of multi-access computer networks has intellectual implications for the executive beyond the conclusion that: "Automation of office processes is something that can be subjected to cost-benefit analysis and made to justify itself economically, within the closed world to which it relates." (UNITAR/EUR 3/7, para.4).
    The executive and policy-maker is increasingly placed in a position where the complexity and urgency of the problems with which he has to deal considerably outweigh the intellectual skills, conceptual models and organization of information which he has at his immediate command. (This . is particularly true within the United Nations system.) Operational systems already exist however to considerably augment the human intellect in a practical decision-making environment. The objective has been to structure the flow and presentation of information to the decision-maker so that the major portion of his time is devoted to creative tanking, and all routine tasks, of reordering, recording and editing information and exchanging memos are carried out almostentirely bycomputer. Nor is the decision-maker confined to a "closed-world" since theobjective "has been to embed him in a network with his colleagues in distant physical locations so that he can literally share his thinking processes with any (or none) of them in a dialogue without loss of thinking momentum.
    Perhaps of most interest to the librarian, is the emphasis on the augmentation of the decision-makers ability to develop explore, experiment with, restructure and compare conceptual hierarchies and networks. The need to be bound for long periods by one concept hierarchy is eliminated in order to maximize creative conceptual response to new configurations of problems and resources [14].
  10. The above possibilities in connection with intergovernmental systems have a number of implications for librarians responsible for keeping track of tne information produced by the various units within the system. In particular there is a reduction of
    - distinctions between: data bank held information, documents, and archives
    - distinctions between: thinking, writing, reproduction, distribution, indexing and retrieval
    - distinction between: information for (academic) research, policy information, programme management information, information for briefings and (university and secondary school) education, and public information for the mass media.
    - time lags between: problem detection, initiation of political processes, allocation of resources, institutions buildings, programme implementation, and report production.
    - problems due to preference of user for information presented as: full text, summarizedsignificant points, statistical tables, graphed statistics,topologically structured relationships (between concepts, problems or organization units), diagrammatically structured relationship (flow charts), or artistically structured relationships.
    - distinctions between the information media: paper, microform, punched card, and electro magnetic media.
    - permanence of: organizational configurations, document issuing bodies, document distribution patterns, and document series.
    - distinctions between primary and secondary: document producers, processors, and users.

3.2 Existing Systems

The following existing or planned systems are computer-based or computer assisted (partly based on UNITAR/EUR 3/5).

3.2.1 World-wide and subject oriented

3.2.2 Institutional covering own documents principally

3.2.3 Insitutional covering any documents relevant to work programmes, including own

3.2.4 Regional

3.2.5 Other

For the sake of completeness, reference should be made to the probably highly sophisticated system within the intergovernmental organizations concerned with defence.

3.2.6 Planned

Within the United Nations, the Inter-Organization Board for Information Systems and related activities (IOB) is currently considoring extension or development of the following systems to some other UN agency problems:

It is not clear, given the problem of access, whether these systems will significantly change the whole problem of bibliographical control of intergovernmental documents from an external users point of view. It appears (from WP II/4 and WP II/14) that CAIP and LIBRIS will only be used to handle some documents (e.g. those concerned with "development") of some agencies within the "United Nations system".

An IOB inter-agency approach to the question of control of distribution mailing lists and user profiles is not mentioned. In fact, to the extent that the IOB bases its recommendations on Chapter VI of the Jackson Report [15], the external user problem will be ignored. The gap is apparent from the summary (WP II/4) of the three sub-systems envisaged there:

What is missing is a major sub-system for

It would be this missing concept -- applied to the whole UN inter-agency system -- that would significantly change the problem for external users. Furthermore, it is not clear whether computer systems based directly on a single issue oriented Macrothesaurus will meet the needs of all users, particularly those of the UN Environment Agency (shortly to be created) which may require an information system based on modifiable relationships between categories to fulfill its mandate of reviewing all development programs prior to and following implementation. Specifically, how are emerging interdisciplinary subjects (for which there appears to be no category in the Macrothesaurus) to be handled, given the complex nature of environment questions [16]. It is also not clear how these systemswill relate to the UNISIST plans [17] to inter-link existing library and other systems, which will supposedly include the important scientific and technical reports produced within the UN inter-agency system.

3.3 Standardization and Compatibility

Complete standardization is not necessary and possibly not even desirable, But a minimum of standardization - permitting a range of interconvertible special adaptations - is a prerequisite of any major advance.

3.3.1 Document presentation and format

Indication of title page elements in the same manner and in the same position on the page. This should also apply to conference reports. Currently different standards are employed even by different departments within the same agency. Journals should carry abbreviated title and issue data on each page to facilitate photocopying.

3.3.2 Symbol system

An effort should be made to rationalize the complex symbol systems in use. The use of the International Standard Book and Serial Numbers should be considered.

3.3.3 Bibliographical description

Urgently required to permit exchange of bibliographical records between libraries. Use of an interface (MARC II type) system should be considered.

3.3.4. Magnetic tape formats and tape exchange rules

Required to permit computer level exchange of bibliographicaldata .

3.3.5 Data transfer formats

Required to permit computer-to-computer exchange via data link.

3.3.6 Computer program

Some measure of standardization is desirable in bibliographical processing programs if only to provide standard packages for use by libraries switching to computer.

3.3.7 Computer

Some measure of hardware compatibility is desirable to facilitate direct data transfer and use of standard programs.

3.3.8 Thesaurus

General agreement upon terms and the use of standard thesauri is required.

3.3.9 Country coding

One standard system of coding countries and cities needs to be developed to facilitate data transfer and file matching.

3.3.10 Language problems

Bibliographical control of non-English documents controlled in the English version needs consideration, as do problems of transliteration and machine codes for accented and other characters.

3.3.11 Phototypesetting

Standard computer programs for directory and bibliography production from computer files are required, with the possibility of regular updating and limited retrieval.

3.3.12 Security codes

A standard set of computer-level security codes is required to control access to data at different levels of confidentiality.

3.3.13 Profiles

A standard form and coding (subject, country, security) by which a user can define his interest profile would facilitate the solution to multiple distribution lists in an inter-agency system.

3.3.14 Microform

Standards for microform, for microform equipment and for microform procedures under special conditions are required.


4.2 Usefulness

"...the very usefulness of this documentation was jeopardized, since most governments could not read and digest more than a very small proportion of what they received and were finding it increasingly difficult to coordinate the views of interested departments and brief their representatives for a meaningful participation in the discussions." [18] This judgement must also hold for external users who cannot hope to bring sufficient, resources to bear in order to juxtaposition the relevant items of information needed for an adequate perspective, other than in a small domain after extensive research.

4.2 Level of integration

What level of information system interlinkage is politically, economically, technically feasible in the intergovernmental context and with what degree of continuity? Is the mill to change great enough to accomplish any significant modification to current procedures and produce a coherent inter-agency policy?

4.3 Technological details

Will all the different plans for use of computers, satellites, telex and data links result in a technically sound system which will maximize participation of external users?

4.4 Relationship to other systems

How will inter-agency systems relate to those of other systems e.g. UNISIST, OAU, OECD, those of national governments, those of international nongovernmental organizations [19], and the sophisticated links between World Trade Centres around the world?

4.5 Standardization

Is there sufficient common interest to achieve the minimum standardization required?

4.6 Resources

Will there be sufficient resources in the intergovernmental system to bring about the required changes, in view of the current credibility crisis of the inter-agency system and the all-round budgetary cuts? Can methods of involving the organizational and financial resources of external bodies be elaborated?

4.7 Language

How can the special problem of availability to non-English, or at least non-Indo European, language users be solved?

4.8 Terminoloqy

Given tne increasing specialization and jargonization of knowledge and the need for interdisciplinary perspectives, the "problem of the librarian is that, ideally, he should so store and catalogue these ideas that any customer looking for a particular idea will be able to find it, regardless of which of the many possible labels the customer happens to attach to it." [20]

4.9 Developing countries

The economic gap prevents developing countries from obtaining access to available knowledge, but much of that which is available is not addressed to their condition. The increasing technological gap will aggravate this problem.

4.10 Adequacy of approach

It is questionable whether the intergovernmental information problem has been the subject of an adequate interdisciplinary and multifunctional investigation [21]to determine what the problem really is, whether any effective solution is possible via existing channels, and what organization/information systems are really needed to solve it. The solutions envisaged may simply constitute political or administrative compromises to solve yesterday's problems more rapidly using today's techniques, ignoring both the problems of today and tomorrow, and the technology of tomorrow already available or being tested experimentally.


There are two approaches to action possibilities. Either minor alterations to current procedures can be considered or else more fundamental changes can be examined [22]. This choice will depend on whether the concern is with the immediate future (1 - 2years) or with the medium future (to the end of the Second Development Decade). Finally, the significance attached to action possibilities will depend on the relative importance attached to the needs and opportunities of the developed, the developing and the least developed countries.

The following discussion points have been roughly grouped by section, listing the least fundamental points first in each group.

5.1 Distribution and sales

5.1.1 Attention should be given to the possibility of arranging for air mail delivery of urgent documents (e.g. questionnairies), documents which may arrive too late to be useful (e.g. meeting agendas, conference calendars).

5.1.2 Departments should, in cases of urgency, be encouraged to send copies of documents direct to the external contact rather than through regular channels (see UNITAR/EUR 3/19, VI, B,(i)).

5.1.3 To cut mailing costs and delays, consider the possibility of reproducing, simultaneously (from copies of the master) the same documents at several regional centres and mailing from there (possibly using airmailed labels, telexed labels or copies of the magnetic tapes of the distribution list once these become available). This also has the advantage of channelling resources through economies in developing regions.

5.1.4 Consideration should be given to the possibility of distributing order forms to those on distribution lists before the document is printed. In this connection greater external use could be made of the monthly checklist of future publications Information regarding Documentation [23]. Similarly the internal document production checklist could be developed into external order forms.

5.1.5 To avoid shelf arrangement problems, and provided a more rational symbol system can be developed, consider packaging documents for distribution in number order so that they can be placed in bulk on shelves (possibly without being completely unwrapped until required

5.1.6 Prepare a study on a "Contacts and Distribution" computer sub-system (covering the relationship of the inter-agency system to the outside world other than in public relation terms) to provide the missing link in the Jackson Report Chapter VI concept.

5.1.7 Consideration should be given to the possibility of constructing a proper awareness service on the basis of sophisticated distribution lists and user-supplied interest profiles. This could be on a commercial or partially subsidized basis, with the opportunity for the user to request copies or photocopies of the texts of special interest.

5.2. Depository system

5.2.1 Encourage those agencies having no depository system to consider establishing one.

5.2.2 Consider the possibility of establishing a category of "bibliographic depository" (WP III/6).

5.2.3 Encourage intergovernmental agency libraries to act as depositories for one another, so that there is more than one geographical location where the complete range of documents can be consulted.

5.3 Acquisition information directory

Given the lack or scattered nature of information needed by a librarian to plan acquisition of international documentation -consider the production of a regularly updated loose-leaf handbook on an inter-agency basis(preferably covering all intergovernmental organizations). This handbook should include

A publication of this type would be a useful medium in which to advertize new agency publications.

5.4 Right of access

5.4.1 The policy with regard to access to intergovernmental libraries library stocks, current archives, historic archives, past correspondency files and "sensitive" technical reports, should be studied with a view to determining who is responsible for different sections, the principles to be followed, how researchers can gain access to such material, and what portion of it may be photocopied. In view of the switch to data banks, the application of the same principles for researcher access to data banks should be examined.

5.4.2 The security classification scheme for documents should be quite distinct from print-run category. Access and reproduction of non-confidential documents should be possible even if the document has not been reproduced (interesting internal documents of this type should be catalogued in the agency library). The "confidential" or "internal use" label should not be the only means of justifying a limitation on print runs.

5.5 Users

5.5.1 An effort could be made to create some form of "users committee" or "conference of depository libraries" to be informed, consulted and to formulate any position or monitor, current intergovernmental documentation procedures and dramatic new depa tures.

5.5.2 Research should be undertaken to determine who the different users are, who the agencies want them to be and in what way it is hoped that each type of user will benefit from the availabledocumentation in its current or planned form.

5.6 Inter-agency acquisition office

The creation of an office to examine acquisition problems of libraries on an inter-agency basis, recommend a strategy, elaborate"package" policies of different types, negotiate inclusion on all the appropriate mailing lists, and possibly even act as a central processing point and sales agent. Users and representatives of the concerned international nongovernmental bodies (IFLA, AIL,no, etc.) should participate in the operation. This body could also act as the clearing house for the Directory of acquisition information (5.3).

5.7 Concentration of national-level resources

Given the relative difficulty of access to international documents at the national level, the poor organization ofcollections even in well-funded libraries, the scattered nature of collections and sales points of the national components of different international agencies, the lack of trained personnel and resources to house collections adequately -- consider the possibility, in some cases, of housing the following in the same building: UN Information Centres, Unesco National Commisions, UNDP and Agency Field Representatives, the international documentation section of the depository library, the national international relations institute, the sales office(s) for all agency publications, etc. This would constitute a concentration of scarce resources so that the resultant collection of documentswhether merged or not, could be properly supervised by a trained librarian [24]. The accessibility of such a complete collection (possibly in the form of microfiche) together with reproduction facilities, plus the production of an accessions list with a subject index would discourage other national bodies from ordering unnecessary material (see comment on the cartloads of UN documents, from the Geneva NGO centre, which are burnt daily, UNITAR/CUR 3/19, VI,B (f)), and would increase the demand for useful documents (see comment on the usefulness of the ECA List of Publications by Subject, WP III/3).

E.S Microfiche

5.8.1 The production and use of microfiche should be promoted throughoutthe inter-agency system on the basis of an inter-agency plan.

5.8.2 A policy should be developed for the sale and (airmail) delivery of microfiche (WP II/15) as part of the publications and sales activity. Depository sales agents could maintain a complete set for direct sale of document reproduction.

5.8.3 Major or summary reports should be produced and distributed withan attached microfiche jacket covering all subsidiary documents and annexes. This approach could also be adopted for printed publications. (This would permit the length of reproduced reports to be reduced since all referenced material is accessible with thereport.)

5.8.4 Consider means of encouraging users, and those on free mailing lists including depository libraries, to accept microfiches in the place of documents. In this connection, investigate the overall economy of getting each user to contribute towards the cost of a reader/printer to be bought in bulk by the UnitedNations. (Note that the cost of this equipment is now close to or less than the cost of some annual subscriptions to all UN documentation).

5.8.5 Consider establishing free external distribution of microfichesand distribution of documents on subscription only.

5.8.6 Consider the value, in some cases, of sending microfiches plus an exchange voucher to cover reproduction costs.

5.8.7 Consider the possibility of maintaining complete sets of microfiche (and relevant equipment) in regional UN Information Centres (and possibly major sales offices) so that users can consult all documents and have reproduced those they require.

5,8.6 Develop the technique for conference documentation in distant locations used so successfully at UNCTAD III in Santiago. A complete microfiche file of UNCTAD documents was taken to Santiago. The precise number of copies of the particular document in the appropriate language was then reproduced on request on the spot.

5.9 Document symbol

5.9.1 Given the complexity of the existing document symbol system -a questionnaire should be addressed to depository libraries of intergovernmental agencies and other users to determine how and to what extent these symbols are used and whether some similar system would not save considerable personnel time.

5.9.2 Given that the following complex symbol series are now in use:

document symbol (and date), sales number (including date and subjectcode), document production number (including date and production location code), and that it is now proposed to introduce the International Standard Book Number (including publisher code) -it would seem that the whole symbol system should be reviewed with a view to facilitating document acquisition, cataloguing, shelf arrangement, control and retrieval. It is important to note that the ISBN could not "contain" the volume of documentationproduced by the United Nations unless the ISSN technique was used. There is considerable merit in having one unique number by document (like the document production number) for all retrievaland ordering purposes [25], whilst using any other numbers as simple labels interrelated by conversion lists.

5.10 Cataloguing and control

5.10.1 Intergovernmental resolutions on documentation volume reduction "across the board" should not be applied to bibliographic control tools and awareness bulletins (apparently the reason for the ILO List being "internal", WP II/14) which attempt to render the existing documentation known and useful to a wider audience.

5.10.2 Special attention should be given to the production of cumulative catalogues, subject indexes, and catalogues by subject.

5.10.3 Centralized cataloguing should be undertaken on an inter-agency basis (see WP II/11). Consideration should be given to the possibility of pooling resources with external libraries cataloguing the same materials, or at least, achieving some form of shared cataloguing [26].

5.10.4 To avoid the high cost of cataloguing and the considerable wastage of resources through duplication of the same procedure by the network of depository and other libraries -- consider the possibility of producing catalogue cards in the same manner as does the Library of Congress, i.e. available for sale individually or on subscription by category. (This may be a possible output from the CAIP or LIBRIS system.)

5.10.5 If catalogue cards are sold, consider the possibility of selling complete or partial collections already filed and boxed (an "instant catalogue") as a standard technique for setting up new international document collections, particularly in developing countries, (It is valuable to retain cards for publications not held, as a reference aid to the user.)

5.11 Computer software

Given the change in technology, it would seem appropriate for the inter-agency system to develop user-oriented computer software packages to be used at the national level to interact with international systems (see UNISIST proposals).

5.12 New technologies

5.12.1 Use of t telefacsimile (compared to telex) should be investigated; not only for transfer within the inter-agency system and to member governments (e.g. as a means of conveying text of a draft resolution) but also as a possibility of informing libraries of publications just issued.

5.12.2 It would seem that much greater use could be made of telex andsatellite (UNITAK/EUR 3/7, para.6) communicantion possibilitiesto speed up the flaw of information within intergovernmental system, and to and from the national level [27]. The implications of these developments for future document acquisition, centralizedcataloguing and question-and-answer services need much more consideration.

5.12.3 A watchful eye should be kept on developments in the field of optical character readers (OCR). Experiments have already beenmade with devices which can read several character types and "learn" to read any new types encountered. This device togetherwith video-editing could possibly offer a major breakthrough on the retrospective indexing of intergovernmental documents.

5.12.4 Organizations like the United Nations are complex because they dealwith highly complex social conditions. The complexity of the organizations operations is not revealed in the simplistic hierarchical organization charts used as public relations handouts. The complex interconnections between problem areas are not revealed by the use of hierarchical thesauri. The ICC already possesses a graph plotter which could be used to map this organizational and functional complexity to produce a form of "association map" This could be done more rapidly and effectively, possibly as a byproduct of the CAIP system citation programme, using microfilm printers with a vector generating device. Such maps could be invaluable aids as a standard annex to many intergovernmental reporting showing how the organs and issues mentioned are interrelated. Such aids are not only required by librarians but by government representatives faced with complex issues. (They could also be used for updating flow-charts on the flow of information, decisions and funds through inter-agency systems. [28])



1. T. D. Dimitrov. The Documentation of the United Nations and Other Intergovernmental Organizations; a select bibliography. Geneva, United Nations, 1972.

Association of International Libraries. Inventory of Lists, Indexes and Catalogues of Publications and Documents of Intergovernmental Organizations other than the United Nations. Unesco Bulletin for Libraries, 1967, Sept/Oct., and AIL Newsletter

2. "United Nations publications outside regular distribution" illustrates the problem by the qualification on the title and abstract given in the text. WP 11/13, para.'4

3. Union of International Associations. Yearbook of International Organizations (1972-1973). Brussels, Union of International Associations, 1972, 1200 pages.

4. Donald Schon. Beyond the Stable State; public and private learning in a changing society. London, Temple Smith, 1971.

5. Scientific and Technical Communication; a pressing national problem and recommendations for its solution. Washington DC, National Academy of Sciences, 1969, 322p

6. T. D. Dimitrov. Some aspects of cataloguing and indexing of United Nations and specialized agencies publications and documents. Geneva, 1970 - 24 p.

7. UNISIST. Study report on the feasibility of a World Science Information System. Paris, Unesco, 1971, para. 5.1

8. UNISIST. Study report on the feasibility of a World Science Information System. Paris, Unesco, 1971, para. 5.3.2

9. UNISIST. Study report on the feasibility of a World Science Information System. Paris, Unesco, 1971, para. 4.1.2. B

10. Eugene Garfield. Mechanical and intellectual requirements for universal Bibliographic control. In: E. 8. Montgomery, op.cit

11. E. Kingsley, et al. Graph theory as a metalanguage of communicable knowledge. Alexandria, Human Resources Research Organization, 1969 (29-69).

12. John McHale. The Changing Information Environment; a selective topography. In: Information Technology; some critical implications for decision makers. New York. The Conference Board, 1971, pp. 183-238.

13. Stafford Beer. Managing modern complexity. In: The Management "of Information and Knowledge. Washington DC. Committee on Science and Aetronautics, U.S. House of Representatives, 1970, pp. 41-62

14. This work is being carried out at the Augmentation Research Center (Stanford Research Institute) which is the Network Information Center of the Advanced Research Projects Agency computer network.

D. C. Engelbart. Augmenting Human Intellect; a conceptual framework. Stanford Research Institute, 1962, 134 p. (AFOSR-3223)

D. C. Engelbart. Intellectual implications of multi-access computer networks. Stanford Research Institute, 1970, 12 p. (5255)

D. C. Engelbart et al. Computer-Augmented Management System; Research and Development of Augmentation Facility, Stanford Research Institute, 284 p. (RADC-TR-70-82).

15. Robert Jackson. A Study of the Capacity of the United Nations Development System. United Nations, Geneva, 1969, DP/5

16. Anthony Judge. International Organizations and the Generation of the Will to Change; the information systems required. Brussels, Union of International Associations, 1970, 89 p. [text]

Anthony Judge. Relationships between Elements of Knowledge; use of computer systems to facilitate construction, comprehension and comparison of the concept thesauri of different schools of thought. Honolulu, Social Science Research Institute, 1972, 84 p. (Committee on Conceptual and Terminological Analyses, International Political Science Association, working paper 3). [text]

Alfred Kuhn argues that present classification systems are inadequate precisely because they do not interrelate terms in a manner equivalent to the interrelationships between the features of the psycho-social system which they label. In: E.B. Montgomery (Ed.). The Foundations of Access to Knowledge; a symposium. Syracuse University Press, School of Library Science, pp. 125-127.

17. UNESCO. Draft Programme and Budget for 1973-1974. Paris, Unesco, 1972, paras. 2064 et seq.

18. United Nations. Report of the Joint Inspection Unit on United Nations documentation. United Nations, A/8319, 2 June 1971, para. 26

19. For example, the Union of International Associations is now producing and indexing its Yearbook of International Organizationsby computer and plans to develop the system to produce itsbibliographical Yearbook of International Congress Proceedings(which covers non-UN intergovernmental conference documents)

20. Alfred Kuhn. In: E.B. Montgomery. Foundations of Access to knowledge. Syracuse University Press, 1968, p. 124

21. Yassin El-Ayouty. United Nations Documentation as a Research Undertaking; issues and approaches. (Geneva), UNITAR, 16 July 1971.

22. UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions calls for "imaginative initiatives" and new approaches to the documentation problem. JIU/REP/71/4, para. 32

23. United Nations. JIU/REF/71/4, para. 45

24. This physical concentration of international offices has also been proposed as a means of creating a focal point for all agencies with international programmes in a country (see: International Associations, 24, 1972, 5).

25. Jacques Halkin. Proposition et souhait pour une structure ouverte de la communication documentaire. Redigé pour: Theoretical problems of information retrieval systems (Published in 1971 by FID/RI Committee. Chairman A.I. Mikhailov)

26. See: result of Council of Europe, Meeting of Experts on Shared Cataloguing, Strasbourg, June 1972

27. In this connection see: Space Communications; increasing UN responsiveness to the problems of mankind. New York, United Nations Association of the United States of America, (1972 ?), 63p

28. For interesting work in this direction see: The Dynamics of Information Flow; recommendations to improve the flow of information within and among Federal, State and Local Governments. Washington Intergovernmental Task Force on Information Systems, 1968, 31p. For a description of an "information map" of the inter-agency system of the State of California see: Hearings before the Special Subcommittee on the Utilization of Scientific Manpower of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, United States Senate, 89th Congress, S. 2662, 1965-1966

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