As part of the overall monitoring to improve the understanding of the information services market, activities within the IMPACT 2 programme included an analysis of the comparative strengths and weaknesses of the European Information Industry, involving a continuous monitoring of supply and demand and the comparisons of relevant European, Japanese and American initiatives. It was recognized early in the programme that there could be a strategic role for publishers in the information services market. Against this background, the Commission of the European Communities in close collaboration with the International Electronic Publishing Research Centre (IEPRC), commissioned a study in the rapidly evolving market with the aim of providing a strategic framework for the Commission and European Publishers for the development of electronic publishing in Europe. This strategic study was undertaken by an external consultancy, whose field of research included consultation with more than 250 experts in Europe, the USA and Japan. A substantial number of leading publishers in Europe actively participated in this process. It must be stressed, however, that the views expressed are those of the author of the study and do not necessarily reflect the CEC's opinion, nor are they always completely shared by each of the participants.