Let us study in brief how information materials are produced, the agencies that produce them and the information channels through which information about published documents are disseminated, etc. It may be worthwhile to possess this background knowledge about the book and non-book world and their activities so as to facilitate choosing the right type of information materials. In addition, it would be useful to be knowledgeable about the current and future trends in the knowledge industry.
Producers of information materials can broadly be divided into three major groups:
i) producers of print materials - general books, textbooks, reference books, periodicals and serials, bibliographical publication, patents and specifications and other;
ii) microforms and audio visuals;
iii) electronic and machine readable materials. In recent years,
however, an interesting trend is steadily emerging. These forms are getting integrated, in that a print document is also concurrently being made available in microforms as well as in machine readable form. For example, many of the secondary publications such as indexing and abstracting services are available in print, microforms and machine readable data bases. This trend is likely to continue for many more years, as facilities for making use of these newer media vary among countries; the acceptance of these newer media by users is also rather slow and halting. Hence the producers of information materials and publishers have to tune themselves to different market conditions. Notwithstanding these developments, the print medium continues to dominate, particularly in developing countries like India. Therefore, we begin our study about the publishers of printed documents.