Mergers and Alliances: The Wider View: Volume 36


Table of contents

(17 chapters)

The response to the call for chapters about mergers, acquisitions, collaborations, partnerships, and joint ventures proved to be rich and resulted in an unprecedented number of proposals. Furthermore, the range of proposals illustrated both variety in scope and a broad range of topics. As a result, the material accepted for publication was split into two volumes. This volume includes those chapters deemed broadest in nature, while Volume 37, to be published later this year, will present material of a narrower and more focused nature and mostly in the form of case studies at the operational level. At a time when the volatile nature of the world economy calls for new approaches to business, these volumes provide an interesting panorama from the nonprofit sector of libraries and information services about the world of mergers and acquisitions (M&A’s) as well as the less riskier, but equally dramatic, activities of collaborations, partnerships, and joint ventures.

The emergence of new and integrated approaches to information technology projects and web-based service initiatives in libraries poses a number of challenges to those who manage them. Library managers must work closely with specialists in areas that are not always found within the library, yet there is no evidence-based data documenting the factors involved in doing so. The exploratory study summarized in this chapter documents much of what practitioners and scholars alike consider important in this arena, and contributes to the literature in two ways. First, a meta-analysis of what both practitioners and scholars have found to be important in the areas of technology project management and web-based initiatives is presented that can assist professionals currently developing web-based project launches. Additionally, by using bibliometric techniques as the basis of this analysis, a newly developed taxonomy of these approaches is provided that can assist LIS professionals with future cooperative web-based initiatives. Domain analytic techniques are utilized in the study to examine a selection (n=276) of published articles and papers to ascertain what library and information professionals have learned from embarking on such collaborations. A grounded theory approach is taken in order to develop a working taxonomy of topics and themes relating to collaborative online initiatives. The findings illustrate that library and information science project managers involved in online and web-based initiatives face five key areas of concern: information technology management, information retrieval protocols, user-specific applications, user education, and strategic planning.

An analysis of the factors and reasons for collaboration, partnerships, and mergers in the profit sector is undertaken in this chapter. All terms used are defined, particularly as they apply in the world of for-profit enterprises. Through a thorough review of the literature, the authors provide an outline of historically significant successes and failures of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the corporate world and derive lessons from them as they might apply to the nonprofit sector. The reasons that drive both sectors toward such initiatives are discussed with an analysis and comparison of similarities and differences. Both successful mergers and failures are described, primarily through case studies. In addition, human aspects and implications are addressed. Issues such as fear, trust, processes, and psychological challenges of M&A are examined in depth. The influence of communication—the good, the bad, and the ugly—are analyzed from the perspective of clients, regulators, employees, and stakeholders, with reflections on the importance of communication and careful management of change processes. The chapter concludes with a summary of the lessons which can be derived from the literature with a view to providing guidance for similar efforts for information and library organizations.

Collaboration is essential to realizing the potential of the new digital environment for learning, teaching, and research. Yet successful collaboration often entails organizational changes, political realignments, and rethinking our most basic assumptions and habits. This chapter focuses on CLIR’s current work in fostering collaboration across institutions, disciplines, and professions. It considers these activities in the context of a broader group of emergent collaborative activities that, in aggregate, could support a new and vital digital environment for research, teaching, and the public good. It then discusses a new CLIR activity designed to address the prerequisites for collaboration, and for coherence at scale.

After decades of successful, if not always smooth, working relationships with regional library networks in the United States, Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), Inc., with approval of amended articles of incorporation in 2008, it implemented significant changes in how it would price its products and services and how it would govern itself. These changes proved to have profound impact on the networks, precipitating the merger of many and the dissolution of some. This chapter describes the results of many interviews with past and present leaders of OCLC and the regional networks, both existing and defunct, and other knowledgeable individuals. The contrasting opinions on how the changes came about and their consequences offer a perspective on the evolution and then decline of some of the powerful consortial relationships of the last four decades.

The purpose of this chapter is to highlight the activities of various library consortia functioning across India. A questionnaire was used to collect information for the present study from Indian consortia and their web sites were also visited to collect data. The study ascertains that consortia approaches help libraries financially and save money through collective access to databases and e-resources as opposed to individual subscriptions. It also suggests that different consortia can be merged to form a single one across a country and provide services to the users. The analysis has been done on the basis of approximate subscription prices conveyed by vendors through oral communications. The chapter highlights how libraries can function in consortia mode to enhance their services to users in the face of dwindling budgets and spiraling costs of scholarly journals and databases. The chapter analyzes and demonstrates that consortia agreements can lead to more judicious expenditure by libraries and suggests areas for further research to gain deeper insights into the activities and functioning of various consortia. It also makes suggestions about formation of a nation-wide collaboration to maximize savings and avoid overlapping access through a number of consortia.

Using document analysis and surveys this chapter presents a case study about a new master’s degree program in library and information science and its curriculum which was developed cooperatively from 2009 through 2012 by four EU higher education institutions for, and with, universities in three former Soviet countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Events that led to the collaboration are presented along with how faculty members were taught to teach new courses. It also discusses findings and results of an assessment of impact and satisfaction levels of the project. Stated project objectives and anticipated outcomes were compared with student expectations in order to provide a better understanding of the critical factors that might determine success of the new program. Although the project’s documentation was extensive, analysis and conclusions from it were limited to education and knowledge transfer goals of the program. Results from the study shed light on how to adjust course content to better meet student expectations and how to implement ongoing evaluation of courses at the international level. Since cooperation between institutions is always highly demanding, in particular when it is among institutions from different countries, the evaluation of this project will be of interest to anyone trying to improve cooperative agreements for educational purposes. Low response rates to the surveys limit the conclusions on general indications of effectiveness. This chapter provides only an early look at the impact of the program, and outcomes analysis based on a larger sample remains to be done.

This chapter updates earlier research that analyzed mergers, collaborations, and similar trends in LIS education, and provides a more comprehensive current summary of those trends. Three distinct patterns are beginning to emerge in both organizational structure and collaboration: changes in the nature of LIS program partnerships within parent educational institutions; the impact on LIS education by prominent academic associations that are not reliant on ALA accreditation recognition; and the growth in the number and type of academic offerings in LIS schools themselves. Among some notable changes are the establishment of the Consortium of iSchools Asia Pacific (CiSAP), continued growth in the iSchool caucus and its increasing international membership. Additionally the number of dual degree master’s programs in which LIS departments partner is on the rise, as is the number of degrees now being offered at LIS schools (both at the undergraduate and graduate levels) that are not “traditional” MLS degrees. Inter-institutional collaborative MLIS programs are also emergent, evident in such programs as the Web-based Information Science Education (WISE) consortium. The data presented here seem to suggest that the face of LIS education continues to change as the 21st century gets underway.

At the beginning of 2010, new higher education legislation was enacted in Finland which caused several university mergers. In addition to that, a self-directed type of organizational restructuring had been going on in Finnish academic libraries. This chapter describes the merger and the restructuring processes of the libraries in three universities, namely Helsinki University, University of Eastern Finland, and the University of Turku. Using a case study approach, the chapter describes different approaches used in the merger process, particularly how to manage service integration, resource reallocation and planning, and implementing new types of services. Performance measures and indicators are among the tools used to assess the successes, particularly in direct services to library users. Although this is based on Finnish experiences, it is helpful for other libraries considering, or engaging in, similar mergers, because of the given examples and tools for the actions needed for new structures and services. Also described are the challenges that three libraries met in the strategic work of reshaping of their organizational structures. While this chapter addresses library mergers only in universities, the methods and tools used will provide models for other types of libraries and nonprofit organizations.

The global recession which began in 2008 affected the entire world including the European economy, with some countries being influenced more than others. At the end of 2012 the Greek economy was encountering a fourth consecutive year of deep recession while pressures to cut expenses in all sectors were still growing and making headline news. Academic libraries, which are dependent upon state funding, were experiencing the consequences of constant and deep budget cutbacks during that period. After a review the literature on the impact of the economic crisis on academic libraries in Greece, as well as at the international level, this chapter describes the results of a survey of Greek higher education academic libraries about the consequences of the devastatingly harsh economic environment in which they currently, and probably will continue to, exist. A survey was conducted online with 25 out of the 37 academic library directors in Greece. After analyzing the survey results, the authors describe strategies to sustain services and resources and propose strategies to adjust to a new fiscal reality. These strategies include synergies and alliances that academic libraries can achieve with various agencies within their educational institutions and/or externally. While the results are limited to a small number of academic libraries in one European country, all types of libraries can utilize the strategies outlined in this chapter.

This chapter discusses the distributed, volunteer nature of an information delivery cooperative which became formally designated as the IDS Project and how a “coalition of the willing” has been able to move the resource sharing community forward on a national scale through innovations in training, support, and technology. The authors use a case study approach to highlight some of the major accomplishments of the IDS Project, such as the Article Licensing Information Availability Service (ALIAS), IDS Search, the Mentor Program, and the Regional Users Groups. The team-based structure of the IDS Project allows for groups to work independently and from multiple locations while still creating a synergistic result through the combination of community and innovation. Distributed teams often provide enriched user skills for the group but often cause difficulties due to the distance, communication, and differing requirements of the different local institutions. The IDS Project’s use of technology and periodic face-to-face meetings has reduced the issues with distributed teams and created highly effective working groups. These groups, such as the mentors and the Technology Development Team, have provided excellent service and training to the member libraries. Through the use of the Best Practices Toolkit, the Getting It System Toolkit, ILLiad Addons produced by IDS, and other national services, the IDS Project has made it possible for libraries that use ILLiad to benefit from its developments.

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Advances in Librarianship
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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