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Durham e-Theses
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The effects of automation in libraries: the implications for work organisation and job design

Graham, Margaret Elizabeth (1988) The effects of automation in libraries: the implications for work organisation and job design. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The purpose of this thesis was to investigate how libraries, as organisations, may adapt to the introduction of automation, specifically the use of computing technology. The study focusses on the effects on the organisation of work. The thesis commences with an overview of libraries, their organisation, structure and environment, placing the development of automation in context. The nature of work in libraries is described and a categorisation of selected tasks drawn up, divided into four functional areas: acquisition, organisation, exploitation and administration. The question of whether librarianship is a profession is addressed. The relationship between the ‘professional’ and 'non-professional' is raised. Reviews of published research into the job preferences of library workers and the characteristics of library work are undertaken. The development of automation in libraries is described, followed by a review of library experiences of automation, with specific reference to the impact on organisational structure and the nature of work. Theories of job design are described and their use within libraries examined. The potential application of contemporary approaches to job redesigns is investigated. Field research undertaken involved administering a questionnaire to a group of library workers whose libraries were members, at that time, of the Scottish Libraries Cooperative Automation Project (SCOLCAP). Questions covered job preferences and characteristics, and attitudes to automation. The various facets of the topic are brought together in a final discussion. The future of libraries and librarians is explored. Some recommendations for further research are made. The major conclusions are that automation is a catalyst for change in libraries rather than an instigator of change; that there are strategic choices involved in the change process, including choices in the capabilities of the technology used, why it is used and how work is organised around it. A model outlining the consequences of automation in libraries is presented.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1988
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Feb 2013 13:36

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