First published in 1992, the purpose of this book is to identify and describe the most important factors that must be considered in making decisions about the optimal ways to provide access to information - in short the best way to use the humans, the machines, and the intangible resources known as information, particularly at the organizational level.
In recent years executives have begun to outsource computing and telecommunications functions primarily to control costs. Traditional libraries and information centres have been disbanded in favour of service contracts or outright leasing of staff. Both the private and public sector are examining their information service operations from the point of view of cost effectiveness. Decisions about owning versus leasing of information are being made daily. Decision makers are finding that they must deal differently with funding and budgeting of information systems and libraries than they have in the past.
New paradigms for these service functions already exist. Not only have corporations and governments begun to contract out entire information service operations, but libraries themselves have begun to consider the costs, effectiveness, and implications of outsourcing some of their operations and services.
This book provides a framework for decision-makers to view and review information services within their organizations. Entire units, components of libraries and information centres are defined and untangled so that the widest variety of organizations can analyse their own environments. Although there is a minimal use of library and computing jargon, a short glossary at the end explains terms for which there is no simple English language substitute. Each chapter is accompanied by comments from a broad range of experts in the information field.