Fifth International Congress on Medical Librarianship.
Tokyo, Japan, 30 September - 4 October 1985.

Fifth Congress: Medical Libraries - One World: Resources, Cooperation, Services.

For the Fifth Congress, program sessions have been organized into 44 concurrent and three theme sessions. This will be the first time that special session have been devoted specifically to papers which highlight the theme (and sub-themes) of the congress; 139 papers will be presented at the concurrent sessions offered by speakers from 36 countries, more than twice the number of papers which were delivered in 1953.

A general analysis of the papers presented at the five congresses reveals some interesting changes of emphasis which have taken place over the past 30 years. Automation and the various aspects of information storage, retrieval and use - facilitated by computers - has assumed a larger and larger role as increasing numbers of libraries have come to use machines to speed, improve, or otherwise facilitate the provision of services. The need to urge small libraries not to ignore improved technology because they think that it will not be possible for them to either acquire the means to use it or to develop the skills necessary has not disappeared since Dr. Ogata's exhortation in 1963. The spread of technology has accelerated as the potential for the availability of computers in smaller libraries has improved. The technological rate of change over the past twenty years has been exponential in nature as the generations of improved equipment appear in shorter and shorter time periods.

Of major importance is the recent emergence of networks as a vital component of the medical library scene. Networking takes many forms, from local arrangements among libraries within a small geographic area, to regional, national and international networks of great complexity. Networking does not necessarily imply connection electronically, but can be achieved through telephone, postal or other means (e.g., a group of libraries linked for the exchange of materials by a delivery truck route). The importance of the topic was demonstrated at the Fourth Congress where a great variety of systems and arrangements were described. Seven papers will be presented in Tokyo on national and regional networking from such diverse countries as Thailand, Uganda, Mexico, Pakistan, Brazil and the USSR. From these papers, it is clear that networking is a major concern of both developed and developing nations. Because of the difficulties and costs of conducting business on an international basis, it is important that regional meetings take place and regional networks develop.

--excerpted from The International Congresses on Medical Librarianship Thirty Years of Evolutionary Change by Irwin Pizer.

The fifth congress (1985) in Tokyo focused on information transfer and technology, bibliographic control, cooperation, services, and medical librarianship, with 571 contributions from 64 countries. Notably silent in previous meetings, China presented one of its first congress papers on problems of acquiring foreign journals, language differences in searching the literature, and quality filtering in MEDLINE. Matheson introduced the concept of the integrated academic information management system (IAIMS) and Colaianni reported on MEDLARS III and the development of MEDLARS centers in 15 countries. There was much discussion of the infrastructure of information systems - national, regional, and international. Since the last congress, progress had been made in Southeast Asia and Latin America, but in East Africa, political upheaval had caused the collapse of cooperative efforts. The main problems of cooperation in many developing countries remained isolation of libraries, inadequate resources, and poor communication.

--excerpted from The International Congress on Medical Librarianship, 1953-1995:
Goals and Achievements by Susan Crawford.