I am very pleased to introduce this new edition of the Handbook. Formerly entitled Handbook of Special Librarianship and Information Work, this represents the eighth edition of what is generally regarded as Aslib’s ‘flagship’ reference work, the seminal text on modern information theories, procedures and practices since 1955.
The title has been changed to reflect a broader spectrum of managed information services and structures than merely the management of a physical collection of material. Although there are still many references to libraries and librarians throughout the book, by dropping the notorious ‘L’ word from the title, the intention is to emphasise the diverse nature of information work, in all its myriad forms. We are living and working at a time when 24/7 information availability across a variety of delivery channels is an accepted and routine part of everyday life. We are entering a new era of third generation computing where information will be accessible from multiple devices and electronic service delivery is becoming common place. Information professionals these days are as likely to be knowledge managers, web site editors or systems developers, with little or no responsibility for traditional library tasks.
The role of the information profession is very wide ranging and continues to defy hard and fast definitions. Information management is a complex set of activities involving the selection, organisation, analysis, evaluation and dissemination of information. The intention of the Handbook is to review and update these subjects, providing a comprehensive coverage of current best practice building on a corpus of knowledge and expertise spanning many decades of research, development and practice.