The British government has promised a referendum on whether the United Kingdom should participate in the European single currency. There are questions about whether the UK population knows enough about economic and monetary union to make an informed decision and from what sources they received that knowledge. The European Commission has instigated an information programme for EMU. The EC sees the system of European Information Relays as an important part of its policy on disseminating information on Europe. This study investigated the role of the Relays in this, and informing the public on EMU in particular. The East Midlands was selected as a case study and a series of interviews were carried out with librarians and users. The librarians believe that the Relays have a role to play as a disseminator of information from other sources, but are hampered in their efforts by a lack of resources, lack of awareness of the EC information programme and adverse user reaction to promotion activities. In addition, there is evidence of apathy amongst potential users, who are passive in their consumption of information on EMU, mainly from mass media sources. While this study is too small to be representative, the findings indicate that the EC should improve the presentation of its publications and better target dissemination to different Relays. The UK government may have to take a more proactive role in informing the British public about EMU. However, the findings also indicate that a bigger problem is the perceived lack of accuracy and neutrality of the UK media on this topic. Since this is a major source of information for the public, this could hamper informed decision making.
Journal of Documentation – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 1, 2002
Keywords: EMU; Information retrieval; Europe; Case studies
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