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Information Policies and Strategies


All librarians and libraries have information policies, and so do most people. The big issues, like censorship, intellectual property, freedom of information, privacy and data protection, crowd our minds, but the process of decision making is the same at every level and in every context, whether we are concerned with government secrets, advertising standards or our children's reading and viewing habits.
This book examines the issues from varying standpoints, including the human rights approach, the commercial approach, and the states-interest approach. These are all placed within the context of arguments about the public sphere. The working librarian has to be in a position to justify every stock purchase and information access decision, and in the strategies they follow to legitimate the library. The discussion of issues in this book will give librarians the context and arguments they need to identify and apply appropriate information policies and strategies.
The key areas covered are:

  • contexts for information policy
  • globalization and information societies
  • information rights and information policy
  • information policy sectors.

Readership: This book is essential reading for library students, researchers and policy makers as well as for all LIS practitioners wishing to widen their awareness of the important issues surrounding information policy.

1. Introduction

  • How governments control information policies
  • Other bodies that generate and control information
  • Information policy as about any means by which the generation, distribution, and use of information is regulated
  • What non-governmental agencies do within the realm of information policy
  • Information policy must provide for different sorts of needs
  • Information policy, public policy and other disciplines
  • Conclusion


  • Understanding the international contexts
  • Globalization and technology

2. Globalization and information societies

  • Information societies and information policy
  • The information society: alternative views

3. Information policy and the public sphere

  • The idea of a public sphere
  • The structure of the public sphere
  • The character of the public sphere
  • Epilogue to Chapter 3

4. Information rights and information policy

  • The rights of government
  • The interests of business
  • Common good
  • Ann Wells Branscomb's information rights
  • Internationally recognized rights

PART 2: INFORMATION POLICY SECTORS5. Censorship, freedom of speech and freedom of expression

  • Powers of intervention
  • Other forms of censorship
  • The history of censoring
  • Making arguments for free speech

6. Arguments for protecting speech

  • Cohen's analysis of freedom of speech
  • Implications of Cohen's strategy
  • Structural strengths

7. Privacy and data protection

  • The need for legislation
  • Confidentiality
  • Problems of power
  • General questions
  • Putting principles into effect

8. Freedom of information

  • Confronting governments
  • Building commitment
  • Constructing the case
  • Questions of model building
  • Competing principles and pressures

9. Intellectual property

  • The market reward system
  • Recognized types of intellectual property
  • Policy analysis questions
  • Rules and practices
  • Copies and originals
  • Policy responses

PART 3: CONCLUSION10. Final considerations

  • Information policies in non-democratic societies
  • Non-state information policy
  • Obligations
  • Policy formation
  • Outcomes: desires, intentions and objectives
  • Do we really need information policies?

References and reading list

Ian Cornelius BA MLitt PhD is a Senior Lecturer and former Head of School for University College Dublin's School of Information and Library Studies. He has held academic posts in Australia and in Columbia University, New York, and has been a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Social and Political Science at the European University Institute in Florence. He is also an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Information Studies, University College London.

"I would recommend the book to most of the academic libraries as long as they have any programme in political, social science or humanities."

Information Research

"I would recommend the book to most of the academic libraries as long as they have any programme in political, social science or humanities." - Information Research

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