Many libraries offer users a mix of traditional print-based information services and new electronic information services. One of the problems facing libraries is the lack of availability of performance indicators for the use of electronic information which they are increasingly providing. In view of the considerable costs of electronic services, it was essential that library management measure the performance of these services and the value they are offering to users.

A newly revised International Standard ISO 2789, Information and documentation - International library statistics, provides definitions and guidance on the collection of statistical data for electronic information resources and electronic delivery as well as for traditional library services. This ISO standard gives library managers with performance indicators which can be used as a base for strategic planning, decision-making and funding, review and formulating policy.

ISO 2789 will also help libraries and information services in the compilation of statistics at the regional, national and international levels so that they can be truly comparable between countries and over time.

This third edition, which replaces ISO 2789:1991, has been updated to take into account new methods of sampling for library services, and gives an account of new developments in library practice, particularly those concerned with electronic resources and automation.

"The main challenge linked to the revision was to identify and define statistics for the 'digital library'," said Dr. Poll, convenor of the working group that developed the new standard. "The solution was to add those data and definitions of new electronic information services which will hopefully remain stable over several years."

The new standard is likely to be used by all types of libraries and information services, regardless of setting, user group and characteristics (e.g. structure, funding, governance, etc.)