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Capturing the contribution of subject librarians: Applying strategy maps and balanced scorecards to liaison work

Sheila Corrall (School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 9 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The strategic contribution of subject librarians as information specialists in the digital world has been questioned by institutional administrators, but others have identified expanded roles and new opportunities in learning and research support. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the application of Kaplan and Norton’s strategic management system of balanced scorecards and strategy maps to subject librarianship in universities, with particular reference to the intellectual capital represented and created in the structures, relationships, and know-how of liaison work.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review was used to define established and emergent roles, responsibilities and skillsets of subject librarians, including their reach beyond the library. A web site survey investigated goals, actions, and values related to liaison work in UK library strategies. Data were analyzed thematically to develop an exemplar map and assess its potential for evaluating the contribution of subject librarians.

Findings

Core functions continue, with expanded scope and competencies. Collaboration and integrated services are key trends for mapping. Liaison work is poorly documented in existing strategies. Preliminary results suggest that strategy maps can be used to illustrate the strategic contribution of subject librarians.

Research limitations/implications

The paper reports the early stages of a multi-phase project. The results are limited to the conceptual phase. The next phase will explore the development of both maps and balanced scorecards via case studies in different countries.

Originality/value

There are few examples of library applications of strategy maps and balanced scorecards at unit or program level, and none with a focus on the intangible assets of subject librarians.

Keywords

Citation

Corrall, S. (2015), "Capturing the contribution of subject librarians: Applying strategy maps and balanced scorecards to liaison work", Library Management, Vol. 36 No. 3, pp. 223-234. https://doi.org/10.1108/LM-09-2014-0101

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited