Public Libraries Corner: MODELS 5 Workshop Report and Futures

Sarah Ormes gives a report on the recent MODELS 5 workshop and its outcomes.

For a description of the MODELS programme and its aims see Rosemary Russell's article in Ariadne [1]. As Rosemary explains this was the final workshop in the MODELS programme and was entitled 'Managing Access to a Distributed Library Resource'. The workshop had a strong public library focus.

Background to Models 5

This workshop was in response to the recommendations for increased resource sharing between libraries that have been emerging from a range of sources. These sources included the ASLIB Review of public libraries [2] the APT Review of cooperation [3] and the Anderson Report [4]. However, despite this need for greater resource sharing the majority of local library management systems currently in use do not interoperate, so resources are fragmented making unified distributed access difficult if not impossible. The situation is complicated by organisational and business issues.

The aim of the workshop was to explore motivations for resource sharing, examine some current initiatives and develop a systems framework which will improve access and support more effective management of resource sharing. The workshop focused on public library developments and the possibilities for cross-sectoral cooperation, particularly with academic libraries, were also explored.

The workshop

The workshop was attended by over 40 invited representatives of the public library, academic and library and information research community. The workshop was chaired by Richard Heseltine, Librarian of Hull University.

The first day of the workshop consisted of a number of presentations about the importance of and the current state of resource sharing in the library community.

Some of the presentations given were

  • Motivations for resource sharing for public libraries and academics
  • Local initiatives responding to these motivations : Coalition of Academic Libraries in Manchester (CALIM) and Counties which Used to Be Avon (CUBANs) in Somerset.
  • Regional/national initiatives responding to motivations: Viscount [5], Unity, Salser, [6] National Bibliographic Resource at the British Library and the National Agency for Resource Discovery scoping study
  • Systems framework: SILO - State of Iowa Libraries Online [7]

These presentations were followed by breakout sessions where workshop participants identified the main issues that need to be addressed before easy access to a distributed library resource can take place. Each group then reported back to the workshop as a whole.

On the following day these issues were consolidated and inhibitors to a distributed library resource were identified. A possible systems architecture [8] and its requirements for a distributed library resource to come into existence was then devised by Fretwell Downing. The workshop as a whole then identified a number of actions, recommendations and policy statements which would move library services closer to a distributed model. These 'outcomes' are listed below.



  • LASER and BLRIC will organise a meeting of interested parties from Higher Education, the British Library and public libraries to develop a set of agreements which will define a UK ILL protocol profile.
  • UKOLN will drive a cross sector initiative on collection level description.
  • UKOLN will disseminate the MODELS architecture widely using examples from the public library environment to explain this architecture.
  • EARL and NEWSAGENT will emphasise the strategic importance of Dublin Core to public libraries.
  • UKOLN will emphasise the importance of the IP protocol to the LIC IT Working Group as future library services will be inhibited without use of this common protocol.
  • LASER will ensure that the LIC is aware the importance of 'authentication' through the LIC Research Mapping exercise. ELib will ensure that JISC authentication work liases with CNI developments.


MODELS recommends that:

  • the LIC Working Group on IT adopts the proposed UK MODELS Z39.50profile.
  • the LIC IT Working Group recognises the importance of common information frameworks
  • there is public library involvement in the eLib clumps programme
  • the LIC research mapping exercise considers network issues in areas like local history and lifelong learning
  • a proposal concerning lifelong learning and the use of networks should be developed for the next BLRIC call.

Policy Statements

  • MODELS supports the current proposal to the BLRIC by Gloucestershire Library Service for community information clumping project.
  • MODELS supports a revised ILL interoperability proposal to the BLRIC.
  • Highlight to the LIC IT Working Group that IP is essential and that future networking services will be inhibited without common transport mechanisms? Protocols?

A fuller description of this workshop and its recommendations will be available in the near future at the UKOLN WWW site in the form of a workshop report.


  1. MODELS: an introduction to...,
  2. Aslib (1995) Review of the public library service in England and Wales for the Department of National Heritage : summary and schedule of recommendations. London:Aslib.
  3. Apt Partnership (1995) The Apt Review: a review of library and information co-operation in the UK and Republic of Ireland for the Library and Information Co-operation Council (LINC). Sheffield:LINC. British Library R & D report, 6212
  4. The Anderson Report
  5. Viscount Web pages,
  6. Salser Web pages,
  7. SILO Web Site,
  8. Fretwell Downing's presentation of a MODELS architecture

Author Details

Sarah Ormes,
Public Libraries Officer,
Tel: 01225 826711
Address: UKOLN, University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY
Date published: 
Monday, 19 May 1997
Copyright statement: 

This article has been published under copyright; please see our access terms and copyright guidance regarding use of content from this article. See also our explanations of how to cite Ariadne articles for examples of bibliographic format.