Academic library and organization

Lorcan 1 min read

Being in the UK for a few days has reminded me of how common the ‘merged service’ is in UK universities. This is where IT services, library, possibly management information services, and various other services may be combined in one unit. Of course, organizational boundaries and labels vary from institution to institution.
In general I think that these merged services are an artifact of an earlier time. The library was early into automation and networking and accordingly was associated with IT. But IT is now pervasive of everything, so the rationale seems weaker. Aligning the library organizationally with enterprise systems, networking, security, and so on, seems to make less and less sense.
Indeed, personality and institutional positioning may have been a driving factor in developing this model in the UK. It seems much stronger in the UK than it is in other countries.
It seems to me that it now makes more sense to associate the library with emerging support for e-learning and e-research, creating a set of capacities aligned around academic systems and services, and the management of research and learning data.

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