The Research Subjects for Case Analysis

As the author has already explained, if we look at only one moment in the history of libraries, we inevitably see an image of the librarian trying to manage changes without having any clear policies. However, if we look at comprehensive library services, operations and organisational structure throughout the history of the library, we see predictable changes in the areas of knowledge and information, and libraries have reacted soundly to these changes. Furthermore, while the form of knowledge and technical skills hereto fostered by libraries has changed, they have stood the test of time. Libraries could certainly not continue providing these long-standing services without having appropriate policies in place.

As such, we see that in recent years libraries are not without management strategies; rather, as identified by Porter (1980), it can be said that, even if only implicit, libraries have always had some form of management strategy. In other words, although libraries may not have had a written management strategy in the early 1960s and 1970s, a management strategy was implied and the components of potential management strategies most certainly existed.

The advantage of case analysis is that it allows historical investigations, and gives us strategic patterns throughout the long history of libraries. Moreover, drawing a causal relationship from descriptions related to cases is possible, although it relies on fewer numbers of research targets (Eisenhardt, 1989; Yin, 2013). Conducting case analyses is appropriate when only a few cases are available, as in current library management research. It is also suited to analysing changes in library organisations within an extended timeframe.

Additionally, because libraries conducted their operations implicitly from the 1960s to the early 1990s, unlike operations from the late 1990s to the 2010s, management documents from that period are not sufficiently available, particularly in the area of management strategy. Therefore, this chapter interprets documents on organisational structure and operational areas, which are more explicit than library strategies, as an outcome of strategic decision-making for library management.

In this research, documents investigated consist of four types of data: (1) strategic planning documents; (2) organisational structures and position descriptions; (3) other related documents, such as annual reports, library bulletins, phone extension directories, and library handbooks; and (4) interviews of directors and managers. The author collected this data from each library.

Moreover, this chapter also takes into account the various library types. Generally speaking, public and university libraries have their own individual principles and organisations, and many different types of management exist. The author analysed 15 libraries in total, but this chapter will focus on the most significant and representative of those cases. These include the Harvard University Library, Columbia University Libraries, and University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries. As for public libraries, the New York Public Library, Boston Public Library, Tokyo Metropolitan Library and the National Diet Library ofJapan were chosen (Table 4.1).

The reason there are numerous cases based on university libraries is that they have extensive archives. Many public libraries, on the other hand, tend to destroy their internal documents, though major public libraries proved an exception. Even so, major public libraries were not as thorough in their preservation of documents as university libraries.

 
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