lost library or information agent?
for OPALessence, newsletter of the One-Person Australian Library Section of
the Australian Library and Information Association
In September this year, the
Cambridge Project for the Book Trust will be holding a conference on lost
libraries, exploring the neglected circumstances of their disappearance and
the consequences of their loss or destruction. Most papers will be devoted to
libraries from Antiquity to the Eighteenth Century. In today’s
Internet-connected world, does the theme have any relevance?
1997, the Sydney Opera House Trust closed the Dennis Wolanski Library of the
Performing Arts. Apart from providing information services in a building that
attracts high levels of curiosity (11,000 information transactions a year;
income of $35,000 a year), the library also contributed significantly to the
commercial and cultural interests of the House through corporate information
management, exhibition, museum, multimedia and merchandising initiatives. Its
closure – and the dispersal of its collection to 15 organisations in NSW and
interstate - was in part driven by Government and Trust perceptions that
external information is now ‘readily available on the Internet’ and
‘internal information can be retrieved using Isys’.
The Wolanski Foundation was
established in 1998 to facilitate management, presentation and appreciation of
the performing arts through research, publishing and industry support
primary interests are
addressing anomalies resulting from the dispersal of
the Dennis Wolanski Library. Where is material located? How accessible is
it? Is it in the right place? Can anything be done to assist organisations
to maximise its value?
macro information strategy – management
of performing arts information creation, capture, disposal and use by
governments, industry bodies and individuals.
micro information strategy –
management of performing arts information by individual organisations.
it was established in 1973, the Dennis Wolanski Library was a one-person
operation. The Foundation, beginning also as a one-person operation,
pursues similar objectives albeit in an age when the cyber-economy is
producing new demands by information seekers, new forms of information
service, new ways of packaging information, new business relationships and new
opportunities for knowledge workers.
Foundation’s website at <www.twf.org.au> has
about 700 external links to sources on the performing arts and
information management, a directory of material relocated by the Sydney Opera
House and papers on information management, history and biography. Although
the subject area may be peripheral to most OPALs, the section on managing
performing arts information may be of general interest.
papers on the site consider the role of performing arts library, archive and
museum professional associations. These may be of interest in the context of
the Australian Library and Information Association’s proposed structural changes.
would welcome feedback from other OPALs on the functionality and usefulness of
the website or enquiries about the work of the Foundation.
Wolanski Foundation Project
Issued: 28 April 2000