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The Fourth Framework Programme (1994-1998) of the European Commission, encouraging the implementation of research and technology programmes, contains a new and specific action line for international co-operation, within which the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the New Independent States are a priority objective.

The "Telematics for Knowledge" area of the Fourth Framework Programme specifically addresses the libraries sector, aiming to increase the ready availability of library resources across Europe and to facilitate their interconnection with other information and memory organisations. The overall approach is to help create a modern library structure in support of economic, social and cultural life as an integral part of the larger information and communications infrastructure.

Libraries as gate-keepers of and gateways to information can play an important role in the transition of the societies of Central and Eastern Europe to democracy and market economy. The maintenance of libraries continues to be a central element in the cultural programmes of the post-communist states of Central and Eastern Europe. In most of the Central and Eastern European countries debates range around issues of library legislation, library policy, staff development, the level of funding and the introduction of new technologies to improve access to information and the efficiency of services. Important decisions regarding the future of libraries are pending in all the states of Central and Eastern Europe.

It is against the background of many successful co-operative projects in the libraries' field across the Member States originating from the Libraries Sub-Programme under the Third Framework Programme, and the opening up of the Fourth Framework Programmes to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe that the unit for "Electronic Publishing and Libraries" of DGXIII/E-4 of the European Commission - in anticipation of the development of closer links with these countries- was prompted to organise jointly with the Council of Europe, and assisted by The British Council, the workshop on "Library Development in Central and Eastern Europe" in Strasbourg in February 1994 (Publication EUR 15660 EN). Participants from all over Eastern, Western and Central Europe were invited to look at bilateral and multilateral programmes in the library area and put forward recommendations for future action.

Since then, preliminary research and actions have been launched and EC support has been given to key events, designed to lead to and underpin the definition of a strategy for European Commission support to library co-operation across Europe. Further and continuously up-dated and expanded information can be found in this section of the Telematics for libraries www presence.

Telematics for Libraries - Monika Segbert - created 23 July 1996

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Created: Tuesday, 23 July 1996, 13:14:35 Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 July 1996 - 17:18:05