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MONITOR OF EUROPEAN LIBRARY ECONOMICS FOR INTERNATIONAL BENCHMARKING

Objective

An established website (www.libecon2000.org) forms the hub for a survey of the activities and expenditures of all libraries in the EU member states and 15 other European countries. It is proposed to exend the existing series (dating from 1991) for a further three years (2001-2003) to assist policy makers in each country to monitor their activities and compare their progress against the international benchmarks. To add value to the series, it is proposed to extend the surveys beyond the 30 European countries included in the existing holding to other OECD member countries. This will provide useful dimension for the European benchmarks. Outputs will be shared with other major interested parties (UNESCO, IFLA, Eurostat). The feasibility of adopting the same approach for the collation of international statistics for museums and archives will also be undertaken. An established website (www.libecon2000.org) forms the hub for a survey of the activities and expenditures of all libraries in the EU member states and 15 other European countries. It is proposed to exend the existing series (dating from 1991) for a further three years (2001-2003) to assist policy makers in each country to monitor their activities and compare their progress against the international benchmarks. To add value to the series, it is proposed to extend the surveys beyond the 30 European countries included in the existing holding to other OECD member countries. This will provide useful dimension for the European benchmarks. Outputs will be shared with other major interested parties (UNESCO, IFLA, Eurostat). The feasibility of adopting the same approach for the collation of international statistics for museums and archives will also be undertaken.

OBJECTIVES
The overall project aims are to build upon the previous work of DGXIII, ISO 2789 (International standard on library statistics), ISO 11620 (Library Performance Indicators) and of IFLA and UNESCO so as to:
i) improve the quality of implementation of standardised methods in the collection and publication of data relating to libraries in Europe (15 EU members + 15 others in Europe + 8 other OECD);
ii) Through adding value to the data (by making it "user-friendly") and by disseminating results to policy makers and managers for benchmarking - thus facilitate a more European approach to library policy;
iii) To provide an advocacy tool for people wishing to reform or gain increased resources for libraries;
iv) Provide continutiy of data in the field of library economics;
v) To extend the coverage of the database to new countries of interest to European stakeholders;
vi) To examine the feasibility of extending the LIBECON model to other cultural sectors (museums and archives).

DESCRIPTION OF WORK
LIBECON does not duplicate the efforts of national statistical bodies by conducting surveys of libraries themselves. LIBECON surveys by statistical questionnaire responsible national statistical and professional bodies to obtain data aggregated at the national level. The data are validated, standardised for an international audience, rapidly published on the web, commented on to draw attention to key trends, and publicised widely. The existing LIBECON 2000 website has data from all the previous surveys conducted for the Commission. LIBECON will keep the data current by adding surveys conducted for the Commission. LIBECON will keep the data current by adding surveys covering 3 further years.

The countries covered so far by LIBECON are:
Central & Eastern Europe (CEE): Bulgaria; Czech Republic; Estonia; Hungary; Latvia; Lithuania; Poland; Romania; Slovak Rep; Slovenia.

European Union (EU): Austria; Belgium; Denmark; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Italy; Luxembourg; Netherlands; Portugal; Spain; Sweden; UK. European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA): Iceland; Liechtenstein; Norway; Switzerland.

LIBECON will add 3 years data for these countries and will also extend its coverage to the following countries: Australia; Canada; Korea; New Zealand; USA; Japan; Mexico; Turkey; [and Russia which already plans to contriburte data to LIBECON 2000]. At least 5 years data will be sought from the new countries which are of particular interest to EU countries for benchmarking purposes.

Work will cover:
i) validation and mounting data on the website in standardised form;
ii) publicising results and associated discussion list;
iii) examining the feasibility of extending the LIBECON model to museums and archives sectors.

Funding Scheme

ACM - Preparatory, accompanying and support measures

Coordinator

INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC FINANCE LTD
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United Kingdom