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International Cooperation, Communication and Sources of Information

Summary: International co-operation and communication are based on the availability and free flow of information between organizations and disciplines at and between the local, national and international levels. The author discusses and proposes: (i) a project to encourage the de-centralized publication of lists of available sources of information in the form of periodicals, organizations, libraries, bibliographies, etc.; (ii) a specific research project to establish the relationship between these sources in order to highlight duplication, communication gaps, and the sources from which an optimum amount of information may be retrieved; (iii) the establishment of a world information clearing house devoted to the collection, coordination and distribution of data of this kind, which could constitute a permanent symbol of the International Co-operation Year idea.

(Circulated in 1965 as 'a discussion of some ideas and proposals arising from the author's research and editorial work on the Bibliographies of Proceedings of International Meetings and the Yearbook of International Organizations, published in Brussels by the Union of International Associations)

Existing material
Proposal I - Local, national and International Sources of Information
Proposal II - Information Flow-Chart and Sources of Information
Proposal III -- World Information Clearing House

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International co-operation is a difficult concept to promote. Co-operation is better understood at the national, regional or urban level where collaboration for mutual profit has a recognized value. International co-operation could be more effectively encouraged if it was represented and treated as the extension and integration of a co-operative process already in existence at different stages of development in subject or geographical areas right down to the grass-roots level of interest groups in town or village. Co-operation at grass-roots level then becomes an essential preliminary consolidation prior to effective international co-operation.

Little can be done directly to foster the link between two bodies (i.e. organizations, information services, special libraries, etc.), for this depends on their individual wish to develop their field of activity. What can be done, however, is to alter the environment in which they operate by removing or reducing barriers to the communication on which the development and maintenance of any link depends.

The reduction of barriers to communication may be achieved by three methods:

(i) Concept - communication requires a context. Links between bodies need to be seen as occurring within a framework in order to give a foundation and stability to existing links and to increase the credibility of, and confidence in any proposed new link. (ii) Information - within the context the bodies concerned must be made aware of each others existence, of the fact that they have a mutual field of interest, and of the means by which they can make contact. This is a straightforward problem of organizing and presenting Informations so as to render the astrial process of contact feasible. (iii) Attitudes - the attitudes of the bodies concerned must be such as to favour the inclination to initiate, sustain and profit from a contact. This is a vaguer problem involving inter-group attitudes, 'images', prejudices, etc.
s a vaguer problem involving inter-group attitudes, 'images', prejudices, etc.

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