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Saturday, 26th November 2011

More than Money : Platforms for exchange and reciprocity in public services

Source: National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) (UK)

From Reciprocal Exchange Systems: A Typology

There are now a great variety of exchange systems that exist alongside the traditional cash economy, ranging from babysitting clubs to Nectar points. Some of them revolve around complementary currencies, like time dollars or the new Transition currencies like the Brixton pound. Others are built on systems of mutuality that may be supplemented by the use of cash or complementary currencies, like peer lending schemes or the Southwark Circle.

A range of typologies could be drawn up to encompass this growing field. This one is organised around objectives, because it is built on the assumption that exchange systems exist to meet particular needs which can be categorised together. It is very much designed with public services in mind and aims to clarify the roles that different exchange systems could play to support the delivery of public outcomes.

The main distinction is between two different kinds of reciprocal exchange:

1. Social exchange: designed primarily to motivate people’s behaviour, to meet social objectives.

2. Economic exchange: designed primarily to circulate and to meet economic objectives.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

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