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THE INTRODUCTION OF NEW MEDIA AND EASE OF ADOPTION OF ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURES AND OPERATIONS

As it became necessary to process large numbers of paper-based materials, library staff members increased the efficiency of their operations through measures such as mechanisation. Rules for cataloguing also became more detailed, and technical skills and staff proficiency in tasks related to paper- based materials improved rapidly. In Fig. 4.33, the dotted S-curve represents these improvements in staff skill and productivity. The shape of the curve illustrates how, through effort and investment, skills and productivity

Modelling the relationship between passage of time after the emergence of new media and organisational structure

Figure 4.33 Modelling the relationship between passage of time after the emergence of new media and organisational structure.

improve and become more widespread with time after the introduction of a new technology. Approximately between the late 1980s and the early 2000s, the quantity of published materials continued to increase, and in order to improve the efficiency and quality of their work, library staff members switched from subject-based to function-based organisational structures. This trend was particularly notable with regard to technical services. One causal factor of the transition to function-based systems was budget cuts caused by economic downturns; however, even libraries whose budgets remained unaltered implemented similar measures. This suggests that the reason for this transition in organisational and operational systems goes beyond budget cuts, and is in fact, the result of efforts by library staff to improve the quality of services.

The situation has been similar with regard to electronic media. These media are comparatively new, gaining widespread use from the latter half of the 1990s and early 2000s onwards. Starting in the early 2000s, libraries began to develop media-based organisational structures for electronic media. Because library staff did not possess adequate knowledge about new media formats, they had to gather information about electronic materials and discuss methods for providing technical and public services. Various staff and functions were therefore brought together to deal with electronic media within the library.

As a result, library staff organised project teams and connected with a wide range of external institutions and libraries in relation to electronic media. The author predicts that in the future, as electronic materials proliferate and libraries face the need to process them in large quantities as part of their technical services, new metadata rules will be discussed and established. Furthermore, as library staff members become increasingly proficient at dealing with the new media, they will transition to function-based systems, as in the case of paper-based media.

There are, of course, exceptions to these trends that are not illustrated in Fig. 4.33. However, this model of the relationship between the passage of time after a new form of media is introduced and the improvements in technical skill, staff proficiency and organisational systems that occur corresponds with the decisions made by many of the libraries in this analysis. These results support the assumption that libraries change their organisational systems and operations in response to the characteristics of the materials in their collections and staff knowledge about material formats, and that such changes have a large impact on library management strategies and organisational theories.

ENDNOTE

* This chapter expanded on some material from the following article: Masanori Koizumi (2016), Theory of Management Strategies for Libraries: Triggers for Innovative and Fundamental Changes, in David Baker, Wendy Evans (ed.), Innovation in Libraries and Information Services (Advances in Library Administration and Organisation, Volume 35) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 63—85.

 
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