Convegno internazionale sullo sviluppo delle raccolte
International conference on collection development

Current issues in collection development: Italian and global perspectives

Bologna, February 18, 2005

Pentti Vattulainen
On IFLA and its Acquisition and Collection Development Section

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession. In an era in which international co-operation is needed more than ever, IFLA has realized an internationalism that is alive and kicking. The network - established and steadily grown during a period of 75 years - is working thanks to the commitment of many professionals.

IFLA was founded in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1927 at an international conference. IFLA held its first conference as International Federation of Library Associations in 1929 in Rome, Florence and Venice in Italy. IFLA had two conferences in the 1930s.

IFLA's first post World War II meeting was held in Oslo in 1947. In this conference IFLA and the recently established United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation - UNESCO agreed to "further by all possible means the greatest freedom in the distribution and exchange across national frontiers of publications, other materials of libraries, information about publications, etc." The publication of the UNESCO Public Library Manifesto in 1949 proclaimed the public library as an instrument for democracy.

The 1980s saw a growing number of Core Programmes, later extended and designated 'Core Activities', which underline nowadays IFLA's continuing attention to the advancement of librarianship in the developing world, copyright matters, freedom of access to information, preservation and conservation, interlending, and the standardization of bibliographical activities.

1993 was the birth year of IFLANET, which has since grown to become a major tool for the operation of the Federation.

IFLA's aims are to:

In pursuing these aims IFLA embraces the following core values:

  1. The endorsement of the principles of freedom of access to information, ideas and works of imagination and freedom of expression embodied in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
  2. The belief that people, communities and organizations need universal and equitable access to information, ideas and works of imagination for their social, educational, cultural, democratic and economic well-being,
  3. The conviction that delivery of high quality library and information services helps guarantee that access and
  4. The commitment to enable all Members of the Federation to engage in, and benefit from, its activities without regard to citizenship, disability, ethnic origin, gender, geographical location, language, political philosophy, race or religion.

There are two main categories of voting members: Association Members and Institutional Members. Associations of library and information professionals, of library and information services and of educational and research institutes are welcome as Association Members. Institutional Membership is designed for individual library and information services, and all kinds of organizations in the library and information sector.

IFLA holds its annual conference in August or early September in a different city each year. In recent conferences there have been more than three thousand delegates, who meet to exchange experience, debate professional issues, see the latest products of the information industry, conduct the business of IFLA and experience something of the culture of the host country.

Issues common to library and information services around the world are the concern of the IFLA Core Activities The objectives and projects of the Core Activities relate to the Federation's Programme and the priorities of the Divisions and Sections. Action for Development through Libraries Core Programme (ALP) has very wide scope, concentrating on the broad range of concerns specific to the developing world. The others cover current, internationally important issues: Preservation and Conservation (PAC), IFLA - CDNL Alliance for Bibliographic Standards (ICABS), and IFLA UNIMARC, Free Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) and Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters (CLM).

Sections are the primary focus for IFLA's work in a particular type of library and information service, in an aspect of library and information science or in a region. All IFLA Members are entitled to register for Sections of their choice. Once registered, voting Members have the right to nominate specialists for the Standing Committee of the Sections for which they are registered. The Standing Committee is the key group of professionals who develop and monitor the programme of the Section.

IFLA's Three Pillars are Society, Profession and Members.

Libraries and information services serve society by preserving memory, feeding development, enabling education & research, and supporting international understanding & community well being. IFLA works with partners to address shared priorities:

As the global voice for libraries & information services and the profession, IFLA has always been vitally concerned with improving methods, technical means and standards. IFLA' special programs directed towards professional concerns:

IFLA's membership offers global reach:

The Section on Acquisition and Collection Development was established in 1976. Its aims at clarifying methodological and topical themes pertaining to acquiring materials, deacquisitions and weeding, techniques used for determining collection development policies, collection assessment and practices, materials pricing issues, and librarians' relations with publishers and vendors. Also of concern to the Section are the impact and application of technological developments that underlie many of the changes observed in departmental workflow, and partnering arrangements when acquiring materials. As access to materials becomes an increasingly viable alternative to ownership, the Section finds itself working more closely with the Sections on Serial Publications and Document Delivery and Interlibrary Loan, and the Publishers' Liaison Committee.

The strategic plan of the Section is revised biannually. Latest plan has the following mission statement: The mission of the Acquisition and Collection Development Section is to serve as a forum for the broader discussion and dissemination of information on evolving acquisition techniques and for promoting strategies for successful and effective collection development in libraries around the world.

The activities include annual and thematic conferences. In the annual IFLA conference the Section organises programmes, which have lately concentrated of many aspects of digital material expansion. The Section also organises special conferences or workshops on various topics. The most recent ones are Berlin IFLA conference satellite meeting in Munich 2003, special repository library conference in Kuopio 2004 and Bologna workshop in 2005. Many of the papers presented in these events have been published, e.g. the proceedings of Kuopio conference were published in Library Management 1-2/2005.

The Section publishes Newsletter, which is printed twice a year. It is also electronically available in IFLANET. Other recent publications include collection development guidelines based on conspectus. This is in four languages. The section has also initiated revision of the Handbook on the international exchange of publications.

Further information:

<www.ifla.org>

<http://www.ifla.org/VII/s14/index.htm>.


N.B.: disponibile anche la versione italiana.