Automation for Information Control

CIA plans and problems (1960s),
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is still both specialized and very limited. We have secure telephone communications; but these are far from ideal, with few instruments and high costs. Great strides have been made in our printing establishment. Still, the lapse between preparation of copy and its availability to the reader can be measured in weeks rather than days for non-priority items. Reproduction techniques have shown major gains. But material received in such poor quality that it cannot be microfilmed runs in some categories as high as 20%. We have improved our means of instructing reporters. Yet 50% of the titles in some report series have to be rewritten to reflect the content properly.
This experience gives ground for caution against any wholesale abandonment of the workable (if less than satisfactory) old in favor of the glamorous but untried new. Nevertheless, this is a time of important new developments in practical means for information handling, and intelligence should pay more attention to what is going on in this field outside. As never before, we have opportunities to capitalize on the work and ingenuity of others to relieve some of our own problems. Much of the work done outside is solid and relevant. We ought to use it, pick-a-back, whenever we can.
Active State of the Art
Let me mention a few such outside developmental activities touching the library science field. Two programs are being carried out in the academic community at large. One, named Intrex, for "information transfer experiments," has been called a step toward a dial-a-thought world. It is setting up an experimental laboratory to test ways of giving professors and students instant access to information. Xerography, film projection, and telephone communication between computer and user are planned. Basically, the experiments will attempt, first, to automate and rationalize the functions of libraries and, second, to develop a computer-based information transfer network. Another program, under an organization called Educom, the Interuniversity Communications Council representing over 30 universities in 20 states, is evaluating the significance for higher education generally of electronic hardware (computers, light pens, graphic displays), and software (computer programs).
A number of individual university libraries have forward-looking programs, Washington State and Florida Atlantic to name only two. The latter has the distinction of being the first in the United States to have introduced data-processing methods and techniques into its


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Posted: May 08, 2007 08:09 AM
Last Updated: Aug 05, 2011 12:45 PM