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Managin Service Quality With The Balanced Scorecard

4722 words - 19 pages

Roswitha Poll
Traditionally, libraries have collected statistical data about their collections, acquisitions, lending, and inter-lending activities. In time, the number of statistics was enlarged and differentiated, and in many cases, it now comprises several hundred data points. These range from the number of incunabula or microforms in the collection, the expenditure on preservation or buildings to the number of issues made, claims and reservations placed or visits made to exhibitions and special events. These statistics are, for the most part, collected nationally, but libraries also tend to collect ...view middle of the document...

The growing importance of electronic services in libraries has led to a revision of both statistics and performance indicators. The international standard of library statistics has been revised and enlarged to include the data of the “digital library” (ISO 2789, 2003), and a working group of ISO (the International Organization of Standardization) has edited a Technical Report about performance indicators for electronic library services. (ISO TR 20983, 2003) Another sector of management data has evolved over the last few years: cost data. Libraries have always registered data relating to their income and expenditure. But the general demand for transparency of costs has led to questions like: What are the costs of each single service or product of a library (e.g. one issue, one reference question answered)? How do the costs of a service or product split up as to staff costs, administrative costs, equipment etc.? More and more libraries are involved in cost analysis projects of programs within their institutions, or are trying to analyze their costs in order to present reliable data when applying for funds or allocating resources. Models for cost analysis in libraries have been developed and tested (Ceynowa & Coners, 2003; Poll, 2000) and will probably be used widely in the future. Nowadays, there is an immense pool of management data available in libraries, to include statistics on resources, services, use, and cost data and combined data like performance indicators for the quality of library services. The quantity, diversity and complexity of the data stress the need for an integrated system designed to make this management data useful for evaluating programs, developing strategy, and initiating action.

A German project, sponsored by the German Research Council (DFG), has developed an integrated quality management system for academic libraries. The project was chaired by the University and Regional Library of M¨ nster and included u as partners the Bavarian State Library in Munich and the State and University Library in Bremen. The three libraries are among the largest in Germany, each with special tasks, activities, and operating conditions. Thus, the project could rely on a broad and differentiated view of management issues in academic libraries. The project started in June 1999 and finished in the autumn of 2001. The results have been published in a handbook, with a software package designed to facilitate

Managing Service Quality with the Balanced Scorecard


Fig. 1. Managing with the Balanced Scorecard.

the collection of data and the management process (Ceynowa & Coners, 2002). The project partners decided to use the Balanced Scorecard (Kaplan & Norton, 1992, 1996) as a tool in developing this management system. This concept was originally developed for the commercial sector. It “translates” the planning perspective of an institution (mission, strategic vision and goals) into a system of...

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