ABSORPTION OF TECHNOLOGY AND INCLUSION OF DIGITAL MEDIA
Technologies and digital media can be used to assist various library operations, and libraries started to primarily implement these tools starting in the late 1980s. Libraries also began to sign contracts with electronic journals/collections and to add the digitisation of paper documents to
Figure 4.29 The absorption of technology over time.
Figure 4.30 Organisational structure of Boston Public Library in 2009.
their operations in the 2000s. Moreover, library staff members needed to have skills in information technology and digital media matters, such as programming, metadata and digitisation, to support the transforming collection formats (Fig. 4.29).
The absorption of technology and the inclusion of digital media became a trigger of strategic changes, and brought not only service innovation but also organisational innovation. In essence, technology and media format are the fundamental elements of change in libraries.
The author would like to highlight a typical case where strategic change was caused by the transformation of media formats. This case is the Boston Public Library: in 2009 (see Fig. 4.30), the library implemented
Figure 4.31 The spread and later consolidation of technologies. *Dots represent technology
large management reforms and simplified the organisation, which had become complex through specialisation and segmentation. Under the 2009 organisational reforms, the library pursued streamlining by reducing the number of management personnel and integrating overlapping organisations. At the same time, they created an electronic resource-based division and media-based organisation, emphasised information technologies and systems, and established the Resource Services and Information Technology Division (see Fig. 4.30). Organisations related to electronic documents were consolidated under this division, integrating entities that were previously separate (document digitisation and technical services).
It can be seen that the Boston Public Library focused heavily on information technology and e-resources. As evidenced by the changes in the Boston Public Library in 2009, most academic and public libraries followed the same type of strategy and organisational structure, and created e-resources media organisations. For example, a very similar strategic change at the Harvard Library and UMASS Libraries occurred. E-resources and information technology triggered this strategic and innovative change in library management (see Figs. 4.31, 4.32). Essentially, library services are based on strategy and organisational structures, which in turn adjust accordingly to media format.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, increases in the use of technology within the library led to confusion and difficulty as libraries had few specialists or skills to deal with these new technologies. Furthermore, the
Figure 4.32 Forming an electronic resource-based organisation.
technology was scattered within the various divisions without a clear direction (Fig. 4.31), so people in one division were unable to assist users in other divisions. Without specialised skills or training, organisations became more and more confused when dealing with the ever-changing technological demands on their organisations. In the late 2000s and 2010s, many library directors collected technology and various resources into one division in order to better manage the use of technology within their libraries (Fig. 4.31). These divisions report directly to the library director. In the Boston Public Library, the strategic management group was formed to create new strategies and foster changes in the organisations in response to changing technologies. Furthermore, this change resulted in the creation of an electronic resource-based organisation (Fig. 4.32). Once again, we can see that the absorption of information technology and inclusion of digital media are the triggers for innovative changes in strategic management of libraries.