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Automation and Organizational Change in Libraries (Professional Library Series)

Johnson, Peggy

G K Hall
Published:May 1, 1991

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Description: From Library Journal
The core of this title lies in the responses by technical services heads of 54 of the 119 Association of Research Libraries members to a 17-page survey on changes in their organizations. But the book's aim is somewhat larger: it is to understand the "impact of the computer on structure and environment in academic libraries" and to assess "human issues in the automation process in order to do it better." The survey data are presented in both text and tabular form, preceded by general information on library organization and services and followed by observations on implementing change and innovations. Some conclusions: automation represents a major paradigm shift, organizational change increases with the length of time a library has been automated, and automation shrinks the number of positions at lower levels and changes the distribution of authority. Sound advice is offered to managers in an automated environment: increase communication and participation and avoid surprises. Unfortunately, the human impact of automation should have received more space, and the book's citing of catalogers clinging to 3 x 5 cards as an example of library resistance to technological change is unfortunate when catalogers have led the way in automation. The book is carefully researched, but most of the nearly 300 footnotes cite sources earlier than 1988. Publication delay may be the cause of so few up-to-date citations, but a study of automation is worthless if not current. A few other reservations: Can responses from less than half of the ARL libraries represent all academic libraries? Can tech services heads alone fully assess librarywide trends such as improved morale? Is it not probable that observed results of automation, like automation itself, are more transitional and varied than predictable? Researchers into automation influences on academic library organization will want to consult this book to verify, modify, or refute Johnson's conclusions.
- Janice Kirkland, California State Univ. Lib., Bakersfield
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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