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A policy context - eLib and the emergence of the subject gateways

Law, Derek (2000) A policy context - eLib and the emergence of the subject gateways. Ariadne, 25. ISSN 1361-3200

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This brief paper outlines some of the features of the policy environment which led to the setting up of the influential 'subject gateways' as part of the Electronic Libraries Programme. It has the modest and partial ambition of putting some of the discussions of the time on record. It should be read as a companion piece to two other articles. The first, Law 1994, develops the historical context for the emergence of the data centres, a central component of JISC information infrastructure, and collaterally discusses the broad thrust of JISC's developing informational activity. The second, Dempsey 2000, upon which this piece is partly based, provides a broad discussion of the emergence of the subject gateways and the historical trajectory which led to the setting up of the Resource Discovery Network (RDN), which now provides an umbrella for JISC-funded subject-gateway activity. This article has a particular focus: it looks at some aspects of the policy background which led to the funding of the subject gateways. It does not discuss emerging services and approaches that also influenced developments.