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From Just-in-case to Just-in-time: The changing models for information resources management and development
Joyline Makani, Management and Economics Librarian, Dalhousie University
Date: Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
In today’s economy, faced with increased pressure to reduce costs, information resources vendors and publishers are more receptive to the idea that just-in-time (JIT) business and service models could be beneficial to their bottom-line. JIT is a management philosophy that focuses on the production and inventory system ensuring that supplies arrive just as they are needed. JIT enables companies to save money and time because they don’t have to pay for storage space or manage as much inventory. Consequently the mounting pressure on vendors’ margins and the increasing adoption of JIT concepts as ways to reduce costs has resulted in new selection and acquisition models being pushed into the information manager’s work processes, specifically collection management and development processes. These models are enshrined in new concepts such as “patron driven acquisition” (PDA), or “print-on-demand services”. For librarians/information managers the question remains, is JIT the right prescription to the effective building and maintaining of library collections, i.e., does JIT enable lean and efficient collection development processes? This paper explores the theory behind collection management and development in general, relating this to the changes and underlying attitudes in the currently evolving business models, specifically the role of the customer/patron versus that of the collection development librarian in academic libraries. The recently launched patron-driven e-book acquisitions pilot at the Dalhousie University Killam Library is also discussed as a case study informing this paper.
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Joyline Makani has worked as the management and economics librarian at Dalhousie University for over ten years. As a subject specialist her primary areas of responsibility with regards to collection management and development include business, commerce, economics, information management, and public administration. She also teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in the Faculty of Management. She holds MLIS and MBA degrees from Dalhousie University and is currently a PhD candidate in knowledge management.