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Holyrood urged to set up IT task force

RAPIDLY expanding information technology networks are in danger of creating duplication and confusion unless there is an all-Scotland strategy, the Government's advisory council on library and information services has warned.

The Scottish Library and Information Council, which represents the 32 councils and further and higher education, is calling on the new parliament to create "seamless access". Rosemary McKenna, the SLIC's chair and Labour MP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, says there is a "state-of-the-art opportunity" at a time of pound;150 million Government investment .

A policy paper asks the parliament to set up an information strategy task force to co-ordinate all existing and future networks, including those giving every pupil access to the Internet and their own e-mail address.

Robert Craig, the council's director, said: "Lifelong learning depends on broadband technology. Anything else is too slow."

The policy paper warns of the education superhighway becoming "an uneven spread of conventional roads, byways and even cul-de-sacs". Bringing such a network together again "would be like rewiring a space rocket from a factory full of separate circuits and loose cables".

"Enabling Seamless Access" is available from SLIC, 1 John Street, Hamilton ML3 7EU.

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