<> International Reader in the Management of Library, Information and Archive Services compiled by Anthony Vaughan
General Information Programme and UNISIST
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Paris, December 1987
Recommended catalogue entry:
International reader in the management of library, information and archive services compiled by Anthony Vaughan [for the] General Information Programme and UNISIST. - Paris: Unesco, 1987. - x, 672 p. - 30 cm. - (PGI-87/WS/22)
I - Vaughan, Anthony (comp.)
II - Unesco General Information Programme and UNISIST
7.2.2. A cost-analysis of cataloguing at the Universiti Sains Malaysia library for 1975
7.2.3. Performance measures for public libraries
<> Preface For many years, the General Information Programme of Unesco has been issuing a large number of guidelines and studies to facilitate the development of national information systems in Member States -including libraries, information services and archives.
It is generally acknowledged that the best long-term investment for the development of adequate information systems is the education and training of specialists. Many developed and developing countries are making tremendous efforts to provide suitable facilities for this purpose. However, while the provision of training facilities and teaching staff is the responsibility of national authorities, international assistance is often requested for the production of teaching materials. The need for teaching materials has been voiced repeatedly in many areas for some time now and many documents in the field of education and training are available in several languages from Unesco (see the list at the end of this document).
Among the activities of the General Information Programme related to education and training, the promotion of the harmonization of education and training programmes in library, information and archives services has received particular attention. Many activities have been implemented in this direction, e.g. organization of meetings and training seminars, publication of promotional or teaching materials, various conferences and communications etc… As a result, it can be said that harmonization has not only received support from many quarters, but is also an approach which is now widely used in education and training both in developed and developing countries.
Very early, management has been identified as an area which could form one of the key elements, together with technology and user studies, in the context of harmonized teaching and this area has been studied for instance during the Unesco International Symposium on the Harmonization of Education and Training Programmes in Information Science, Librarianship and Archival Studies (1984) and at seminars held in Vienna (1983) and Varna (1985), organized jointly by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the Fédération internationale pour l'information et la documentation (FID) and the International Council on Archives (ICA).
These meetings helped to identify the main objectives and elements of a harmonized curriculum on management. Participants at the Unesco International Symposium also recommended the preparation of a Reader on Management, on the ground that a set of papers reflecting a wide variety of situations and contexts would be the best way to help teachers and students to understand concerns and find solutions to the management problems of libraries, information services and archives. The present Reader has been designed with this purpose in mind.
It must be underlined that this document has been prepared in close cooperation not only with FID, ICA and IFLA, but also with experts in information science, archives and librarianship throughout the world. It is hoped that readers will find the result worth all the efforts put into it.
The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this Reader do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of Unesco.
Any comments or suggestions for improvement or any report on the experience gained by other countries in using this Reader are welcome. Correspondence should be sent to the Division of the General Information Programme, Unesco, 7 Place de Fontenoy, 75700 PARIS, France.
<> Introduction by ANTHONY VAUGHAN
This book has been compiled for the benefit of the schools of library, archive and information science, for use in their courses on the management of information services and systems. It does not seek to replace the many standard textbooks on this subject which already exist, but is intended to supplement them. In particular, the book may be able to provide a more international perspective than many of the textbooks, which are mostly written with the information services of one particular country in mind.
The work takes the form of a collection of writings on the management aspects of libraries, archives and information units, writings which, we hope, will be of interest and use to both students and teachers. Its scope is wide, partly because the reader is avowedly international, and partly because of the nature of management.
HOW THE BOOK WAS COMPILED
The present book is a collaborative work. The editor submitted an outline plan of the work to Unesco in 1985, following guidelines suggested by the General Information Programme. Unesco then furnished the editor with a list of specialists in various parts of the world who were asked to suggest material which could go in the book. The editor selected appropriate items from the lists received and filled in any gaps with additional material. The contents of the work were then sent to the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the Fédération Internationale de Documentation (FID), and the International Council on Archives (ICA) for their comments. However the final choice of items selected for the reader was made by the editor, who takes full responsibility for the contents of the book.
The following types of material were sought in order to select items for this reader:
- books or articles addressed to an international readership (this category of material was thought to be particularly valuable, but little was available, apart from Unesco's own publications);
- authoritative works which are well regarded in the country of origin, and which talk about the subject in sufficiently general terms for it to be readily understandable to readers in another country;
- books or articles with a comparative element in them; for instance those discussing a management practice developed in one culture in terms of another;
- material which took the form of a discussion, where differing points of view were clearly presented in a lively way;
- articles or extracts from books which to the editor seemed to be clearly written, which used the language well, and which were free from allusions or other references which would mystify an international readership;
- case studies relating to a particular country, especially if it seemed that the implications were of more general interest.
A DIVERSITY OF MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE…
One of the original intentions, when Unesco commissioned this work, was to draw out the common elements in information management, and to illustrate them with authoritative and interesting writings. Underlying this aim was the assumption that there were universal principles of management, which would be valid for all places and for all times.
However, the more one goes beyond a single country, or a single cultural area, the more difficult it is to discern these common principles. Some principles, certainly, are more widespread than others, but this seems to be because they are the product of influential or powerful countries or are thought to be well-suited to a particular social or economic structure.
Even if we were to accept that such universal principles do exist, the manner of their application varies widely. It is easy to understand why this is so: management practices reflect the social, cultural and economic patterns of the country: they cannot simply be transposed without modification from one country to another and be expected to work. The literature of library and information management confirms this variety. Nearly all of it is written from the point of view of one country, or perhaps a group of countries of similar cultural tradition.
One might imagine that since libraries, archives and information centres do similar sorts of things, then their management practices should also be similar. There is some truth in this, but less than one might think. Information units, libraries and archives are rarely independent units in their own right. They are normally part of larger organizations of many different types: state bureaucracies, local or provincial governments, public and private corporations, professional firms, learned societies, schools, universities, voluntary bodies, and so on. Management practices vary greatly between these different types of institution, and the libraries and information units take on the administrative colouring of the parent organization.
…BUT MANY COMMON CONCERNS
It may be difficult to discern any universal principles of management, and management practices may vary, but there is no doubt that librarians, documentalists and archivists share common management concerns. All over the world there is the same preoccupation with finance, staff, efficiency, communication, buildings, meeting users' needs, and so on.
This book, therefore, will present a selection of writings about common management concerns. It is a book to dip into. Not all articles will be relevant to all countries, and some have been chosen to illuminate particular management concerns felt by information professionals in particular countries. But the student will, we hope, be able to find a good deal of interest and value in these pages.
It draws on material from many countries, and attempts to be truly international. However neither the distinguished panel of advisers, still less the editor can be familiar with all the world's literature on this subject. In particular, contributions in oriental languages have had to be left on one side for linguistic reasons, and the very considerable literature from a number of other countries makes only a brief appearance in this pages.
The reader will probably find it helpful to browse through the commentary which follows to see what material will be most useful for his or her purpose. For technical reasons there is no index, but the annotations in the following pages serve as a reasonable guide to the contents of the book.
The editor would like to thank the following experts, nominated by Unesco, who kindly supplied lists of suitable material or made suggestions for the reader:
Madame L. Bachr (Rabat), Mrs Vicenta Cortés Alonso (Madrid), Dr Frank B. Evans (Washington), Mr Jaime Robredo (Brasilia), Dr Robert Steuart (Boston), Ms Rosa Vallejo (Manila), Mr C.K. Wambugu (Nairobi) and Dr Paul Wasserman (College Park, Maryland).
He is also grateful to the undermentioned people who helped him in various ways: by translating or evaluating certain material, or by supplying additional items:
Madame Gladys Adda (Tunis), Dr Leopold Auer (Wien), Ms Gertrud Erbach (London), Mrs Vera Gerö (Budapest) Mrs M. Hines (London), Ms Aleksandra Horvat (Zagreb), Ms Hilda Kaune-Rivera (London), Mr Gábor Mándy (Budapest), Ms Greta Mole (Ware, England), Mrs Maria-Nieves Troubridge (London) and Mrs Eva Wade (London).
The editor would also like to thank the copyright owners of the material included in this reader for allowing the material to be reproduced and translated. Full details appear in the body of the book.
Finally, he is grateful to Monsieur Yves Courrier and Madame A. Schurek of Unesco's General Information Programme for much helpful advice.
<> To the reader This book contains over 50 separate contributions to the subject of library, archive and information management. In this preliminary section, some brief comments on the material will be provided, so as to make it easier for the reader to select items of particular interest. It may be helpful to look at this section first before plunging into the main part of the book.
The contents of the book are divided into 7 major sections, and subdivided into about 35 topics.
1. MANAGEMENT, INFORMATION AND DEVELOPMENT 1.1 Managing information: to what end? "On the librarianship of poverty", by K.J. Mchombu.
"Infrastructure for the development of an information policy", by Ermelinda Acerenza and Teresa Castilla.
"The use of archive material of the countries of the socialist community for national economic purposes", by F.I. Dolgih.
"The special utility of archives for the developing world", by Guy Cangah.
Management is not an end in itself. Organizations are managed for a particular purpose. The information section of an organization, whether it be a national archive, a school library or a documentation centre, is supposed to be providing a service which will in some way benefit the organization. It is always tempting for the information manager to follow what seems to be the accepted way of doing things, the way described in professional text-books, or the way things have been done in the past.
MCHOMBU challenges this view. Information policies should not be copied from other countries, he says, but related to the social and economic conditions of the particular country. Speaking particularly of the poorer developing nations, he shows how the policies and practices of information work developed in the richer countries must not simply be taken over and accepted by the poorer ones; their value must be examined critically. A policy for information must then be devised which is relevant to the country concerned.
ACERENZA and CASTILLA start from this point and develop it. They are mainly concerned with the establishment of a national information policy. How can such a policy be established? What are the steps that must be taken to formulate it? The article goes into much useful detail and refers to a number of Unesco documents that have appeared on this subject.
DOLGIH shows how in a centrally-planned economy, information -in this case from archives - can be put to the service of the nation, giving examples from the Soviet Union and other socialist countries.
CANGAH points out that in many developing countries it is the government which is the sole organization able to plan for the development of the country, and it is in the state's own archives that invaluable material is to be found, if it is properly organized. Not simply economic or scientific data are of value, but also historical information, because for younger countries, the study of their history can be a means of creating a better sense of national identity.
1.2 Administration in developing countries "The scope of management and administration problems in development", by Kenneth J. Rothwell.
Even when our information manager has decided upon suitable and relevant objectives for the information service, there remain problems of putting the principles into practice. Many articles later in the book will deal with this topic. However, the quality of the administration of an information service will depend upon the society of which it is a part. ROTHWELL lists some of the obstacles to efficient administration in developing countries, and is critical of the existing position. He sets out various views about management, some of which we will meet again later in the book.
1.3. Management and the information service "Organization in general and in principle", by Sigurd Möhlenbrock.
"Management training and background", by G. Edward Evans.
"On library management", by Boleslaw Howorka.
"The library manager", by Charles K. Wambugu.
Many writers on the management of library and information services begin by setting out what they see as the general principles of management and showing how they are applied to most work organizations, including libraries. Four examples are given in this section. MÖHLENBROCK, writing with Swedish libraries in mind, looks at the principles of organization, and at various organizational structures.
EVANS also looks at management, and illustrates his points by reference to libraries. What do managers do?, he asks, and summarises the work of Fayol who tried to answer that question. Henri Fayol, a French industrialist who lived at the beginning of the twentieth century, is often regarded, along with the American Frederick Winslow Taylor, as the founder of modern management. His list of managerial activities - planning, co-ordinating and so on - is still widely quoted. HOWORKA also refers to Fayol's list of activities and he also reviews the various principles of management, but from a Polish, rather than an American viewpoint.
Finally in this section a fourth perspective on the management of information organizations comes from Kenya. WAMBUGU takes up some of the points made by the other three and adds some new ones. Together these contributions give a fair idea of the way management principles and practices can be applied to information organizations.
1.4. How scientific is management? "Advances in archival management science", by A.P. Kurantov.
"Library administration and new management systems", by Richard De Gennaro.
Is there a best way to manage a library, a section of a library, a documentation centre, a city's archive? The answer may be yes, but there is no agreement on what exactly is the best way. Some see management as a series of techniques which, when mastered, can lead directly to good management. Others, while acknowledging that certain techniques are useful, see management as above all the use of political and personal skills, which derive from people's personality, and so cannot really be formally taught. Moreover, since no two organizations are identical, so the "ideal" form of management will vary from organization to organization.
KURANTOV writes of advances in archival management science in a paper given to a congress of archivists. According to Kurantov the proper application of systematically-acquired knowledge about work and work methods will lead ever more closely to a proper scientific management of archives. The comments which follow this article came from two other members of the conference who refer to Kurantov's paper.
DE GENNARO, a director of a large American university library, speaks of his own experience with management theories and techniques. He declares that most of them are useless for libraries and concludes that good management is much more an art than a science.
1.5. Case study: management of information in China "Management development and its practice in Chinese library and information services", by Luo Xingyun.
To conclude the first section of the book we reprint an article which describes the evolution of library and information management in China. LUO XINGYUN, the author, reveals how the type of management advocated in China in the 20th century reflected the economic and social system of the period. He places his faith in a form of scientific management for Chinese information services. The four main principles he enunciates differ somewhat from varieties of scientific management found in other countries - it is a specifically Chinese development of the idea - but, says the author, these principles still need refinement.