Document delivery for the year 2000 : the birth of a new industry

This paper attempts to sketch out the likely and possible developments in the document delivery industry as we move towards the year 2000. The paper traces the impact of technology developments over the last twenty years, and suggests that we have now reached the stage where the document delivery will have to reinvent itself in order to have a distinctive future. Developments in networked information services and the growth in the use of the World Wide Web, together with an increasing ability to handle multimedia, suggest that the document as we presently know it is changing from a linear extent of text together with graphics, to a collection of « objects », some text, some image, some audio, and some video. The need to disseminate such documents will call for alliances between authors, libraries, document suppliers, and publishers. It may also generate an entirely new breed of entrepreneur that will provide libraries of « multimedia objects » through networks. The paper examines this possibility, and its implications for conventional document suppliers.