The possible role of libraries in the digital future
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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- Biblioteket 
Original versionLibri 48 (1998), No. 2, p. 81-87
All over the world there is an enormous effort to develop the information society in order to support new economic growth. A new economy is planned which to a large extent will be based on the trading of intellectual property on the global network under the umbrella of the development of electronic commerce. Different library types will meet different challenges brought about by this shift in the global economy. In its optimal form, electronic commerce of intellectual property will mean that from every access point on the global network it will be possible to search, order, download and pay for all kinds of items or commodities which can, in turn, be stored and transported digitally. One of the most serious challenges to library roles will be for those libraries which have offered services to the general public – like public libraries – or to a large part of the public – like the students in an academic library. These libraries are easily defined as political projects established to fulfil societal aims. New roles in the digital future have to be developed in accordance with the needs of market forces in general and in accordance with the laws of competition. A defensive strategy for libraries is not satisfactory. The European commission has to contribute to the definition of the new "regulatory" framework for libraries also in the digital future.