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Tuesday, 10 September 1985
Page: 404

(Question No. 401)

Senator Chaney asked the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce, upon notice, on 3 June 1985:

Is it the Government's intention that the National Library of Australia play a major role in the provision of science and technology literature; if not, if the National Library is to be basically humanities and social science oriented, will the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization assume the task of being the major provider of science and technology literature.

If neither institution is to play a major role in the provision of science and technology literature, is the Government prepared to look at the possibility of creating a science and technology library service along the lines of the British Library Lending Division at Boston Spa (United Kingdom) or the Technical Information Library at Hanover (Federal Republic of Germany) incorporating an Australian National Technical Information Service.

Senator Button —The answer to the honourable senator's questions is as follows:

The Government is concerned to see that an adequate and effective science and technology literature (STL) service is available to cater for the needs of the Australian research community. The provision of STL falls mainly within the portfolios of the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment, and the Minister for Science who have responsibility for the National Library of Australia (NLA) and CSIRO respectively.

I am advised that the NLA is not becoming oriented to the humanities and social sciences at the expense of the physical sciences. The Library has a very substantial STL holding and over a third of its annual expenditure on acquisitions is in the science and technology area. I understand that this proportion will be maintained in the future.

CSIRO's extensive library network holds major collections of S& information and is the largest supplier of specialised services in Australia. Its primary function is to serve the needs of CSIRO researchers although its services are also available to the general public. CSIRO co-operates with NLA in the provision of services. Between them, CSIRO and NLA supply the most comprehensive range of S& literature and information services available in the country.

In deciding the future of Australia's STL services, the Government will, of course, take into account relevant overseas models such as the centralised systems of the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany.