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Griffiths, Peter. Managing your internet and intranet services: the information professional's guide to strategy. 2nd ed. London: Facet Publishing, 2004. xii, 243 p. ISBN 1 85604 483 1. 29.95.


As librarians are becoming more and more involved in organization and development of the digital resources the need for an intelligent guide in this area is also growing. The book by Peter Griffiths serves just that function. It is aimed not only at librarians but also at other information professionals who could be working within various organizations. The author entitled it "a guide to strategy". And that's what it really is. A reader will not find instructions of HTML or XML, fine details on JavaScript, Flash or Acrobat. Instead the book will provide good advice on how to run a Web-site long-term and make it useful for the users and the organization. Actually, this is a perfect guide introducing the necessary division of labour between a Web designer and a librarian or information manager. This is also one of the rare publications recognising a fact that running an intranet or internet resource is a full-time complex job for an information professional and that his job is adding the same or maybe even higher value to that resource than the work (even very sophisticated) of a technician.

The edition helps to understand how to develop a Website strategy, define objectives for the Website in accordance with the organizational goals, what are the most important moments in provision of information. The book consists of twelve chapters ranging from the most general to particular: arrival and changes of internet nature, relevance of LIS competence for digital resource management, identifying organization's need for a Web-site, selecting an appropriate approach to the creation of the site and organizing a team of co-workers, structure, technical support, special attributes and content of the Web-site. One chapter describes the uses of intranets and their specific problems. The author also introduces the importance of understanding how to use specific tools (authoring software, browsers, search engines, metadata, portals, Weblogs, etc.) intelligently and create attractive sites. This understanding also facilitates a dialogue with other professionals involved in design and maintenance of the sites. Meta-data and content management skills are long ago recognised as specific library-related skills that information professionals can exploit successfully. The less awareness exists about their capability to provide useful input for usability design through understanding the users' behaviour, to make strategic decisions in reputation management, information architecture, pooling of internal and external competence sources to build a viable and efficient service. The final chapter enumerates golden rules of Web-page content. Each chapter starts with a checklist of main issues and ends with a short summary and references. At the very end of the book a Resource list provides not only further reading and references, but also the newest British legal documents, standards, codes of practice, and relevant Web resources. There is also a part with common terms and their definitions. Each of them is followed by a list of relevant documents.

The language of the guide is fluent and easy to understand, any more specific terms are explained at the end of the book. The text is well structured, enlivened by interesting examples and practical advice (I especially liked the ones about tracing pictures' copyright infringements and preventing damage to reputation). However, the author makes it clear that there ready-made solutions for any problems (even for one like "to have or not to have a Web-site") do not exist. Running a Web-site is a creative task requiring high quality professional competence, personal commitment, good leadership skills, and above all - capability to persuade the management that having a site is a costly, serious, and long-term commitment. It is worthwhile to count all 'pros' and 'cons' before starting it. Once decision to have it is taken, the best available professionals should take care of it.

Dr. Elena Macevičiūtė
Faculty of Communication
Vilnius University
March 2004

How to cite this review

(2004) Review of: Griffiths, Peter. Managing your internet and intranet services: the information professional's guide to strategy. 2nd ed. London: Facet Publishing, 2004.   Information Research, 9(3), review no. R134    [Available at: http://informationr.net/ir/reviews/revs134.html]