Session E: Libraries in the Digital Age
Arja-Riitta Haarala: The Role of Libraries in Information Management in Finnish University Setting
The internationalisation, the rapid development of technology, and a pressing need to get out of the economic depression of the early 1990´s posed enormous challenges to the Finnish economy. There was a great need to adapt to new circumstances. Several national strategies for an information society were created to help to meet these challenges. The Ministry of Education developed a strategy for Education, Training and Research in the Information Society for 1995 -1999, and the strategy was revised for 2000 - 2004,
What was needed was no less than a full-scale renewal. This was to be achieved through a combination of hard work, information use, and information technology. In this way, it was possible to reform the way in which both public and private organisations operate. Networking was seen to be a key technology in this respect.
Education and research is regarded as a crucial factor for the development of Finland as an information society. The change from one-off training to lifelong learning demands from the education system both flexibility and adaptability. The strategy report states that "in particular, professionals working in libraries and information services need to acquire new skills in information technology and pedagogy" and "high-level and high-quality continuing education and training necessary for the development of the information industry in Finland must be guaranteed".
The National Strategy outlines the desired state of education, training and research in 2004:
"Finland will be one of the leading knowledge and interaction societies. Success will be based on citizens' equal opportunities to study and develop their own knowledge and extensively utilise information resources and educational services. A high-quality, ethically and economically sustainable mode of operation in network-based teaching and research will have been established. It means information society skills for all, the network as a learning environment accumulating digital information capital and strengthening information society structures in education, training and research."
A list of important elements, challenges and opportunities are pinpointed, and these are
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