Is the Glass Half-Full, or Half-Empty?

By Crosby, John | Information Outlook, March 2000 | Go to article overview
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Is the Glass Half-Full, or Half-Empty?


Crosby, John, Information Outlook


Looking at the study conducted by Frank Portugal for the Special Libraries Association (SLA) on the existence of libraries at Fortune 500 companies, I'm left with mixed feelings. While the upper echelon of America's corporate community clearly believe that libraries and information centers are critical to their success, the raw numbers reveal that over 180 companies in the United States do not fund and operate their own libraries.

Let's look at the optimistic side of things first, shall we? It's a no-brainer that the most successful companies--the ones that sit atop the Fortune 500 listing--are benefitting from their libraries and information centers. This is particularly true in research-heavy sectors such as health and science, technology, and financial services. These companies are taking full advantage of organizing their resources and knowledge so all employees benefit. Conversely, far fewer companies are making the list but failing to break into the top half. This, it would seem, indicates that you can survive without libraries or information centers, but they are essential if a company is to thrive.

Now, the pessimistic side of the story.

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