Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
This edition of the journal is full of good things. Professor Parasuraman’s article “Assessing and improving service performance for maximum impact: insights from a two-decade-long research journey” looks at his two decades of research in measuring the marketing and evaluation of services. The article culminates in a section where he examines the marketing of virtual services. We thought that marketing and assessing the impact of conventional services was difficult, when we largely understood the literacy levels of our users and could address them face-to-face in order to try to understand their needs. Professor Parasuraman differentiates marketing and evaluation strategies in relation to the skills and needs of clients in the virtual environment and their “technology readiness”. He examines the nature of the services we should be able to offer to our clients, whether they are very sophisticated in their approach to technology or have not as yet used an ATM machine.
We also have a very timely article examining the SERVQUAL principles, which underpin the philosophy of Parasuraman’s work. This is from a team who have been working internationally: Haruki Nagata, University of Tsukuba, Japan, Yoshinori Satoh, Yonezawa Women’s Junior College also of Japan, Sarah Gerrard, Royal Holloway University of London, UK, and Päivi, Kytömäki, University of Oulu, Finland, “The dimensions that construct the evaluation of service quality in academic libraries”. They have examined the dimensions that the customer’s evaluation of service quality indicates. They suggest that they are different from the five SERVQUAL dimensions of tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. Their suggestions for more relevant dimensions are:
effect of service (personal);
library as ba (place);
collections and access; and
effect of service (organisation).
All who have been involved in the development of Libqual may wish to consider their proposition carefully and respond in writing to the journal.
There is also a valuable literature review from Stella Thebridge on “The eVALUEd toolkit: practical evaluation help for academic libraries”. This literature review supports the project, which was funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) as part of its good management practice programme. A report on the project will appear in the Proceedings of the 5th Northumbria International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Services. “Library services to fill the void: assessing the outcomes” to be published by Emerald in July 2004.
The 6th Northumbria International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Services. The Impact and Outcomes of Library Services: Performance Measurement for a Changing Information Environment will take place in Durham City, UK, 20-23 August 2005. For details and further information please contact Dr Linda Banwell at: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is coming towards the end of my fourth year editing the journal and I am hanging up my editorial pen. It has been an exciting time as the role and impact of libraries and information services has been changing rapidly. I hope that the journal has reflected those changes and I wish it and the new editor well for the challenging future.