Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

The Delicate Balance: Standards vs. Customization

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

The Delicate Balance: Standards vs. Customization

Article excerpt

The Delicate Balance, Standards vs. Customization

One of the eternal issues with which we grapple is the degree to which our decisions about library operations and internal processes promote their conformity to standards or reflect more individualized approaches. The needs of all libraries to serve their clients with timely acquisition of materials, easy access to collections, and appropriate programs and services can be met in different ways, depending on how librarians in each institution perceive the utility and effectiveness of standard methods versus customized ones. But, being human, most of us would like to have our cake and eat it, too. What we really want are standards tailored to serve our individual needs. Few of us are happy to sacrifice our own needs in order to serve the needs of other institutions more effectively.

What do we tend to assume about standards versus customization? Librarians think of standards as generally good and cheap, while customization is better, though expensive. This is a flawed assumption, one that can be dangerous in some contexts, e.g., that maintaining standards such as name and subject authorities is cheap, or that purchasing customized cataloging will always provide better service to one's clients in the long run.

In general, we get what we pay for. Knowing what is important among competing goals is the key to success in obtaining the greatest value for our libraries and our clients. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.