Library Automation and Economics in a Period of Rapidly Changing Technology: Two Perspectives
Richard W. McCoyand David C. Weber
Stanford University became a member of the Research Libraries Group (RLG) in 1978, and thus joined with other institutions to develop cooperative programs in collection development, preservation, and the enhancement of shared access to library materials. Since many program elements require a common data base and automated systems, the RLG undertook the transformation of the former Stanford BALLOTS system into the Research Libraries Information Network (RLIN). It became the technical base for the support of the programs of the RLG partnership.
Constant advances in technology offer choices for research libraries and create new imperatives for service to scholars. At the same time funds for library improvements are in very short supply. Some of the technological choices present major economic and management challenges.
This chapter explores some of the salient features of current technical change and related economic challenges from two perspectives: that of an institution committed to cooperative action and challenged by the need to fulfill rapidly increasing user expectations in times of scarce resources, and that of a partnership seeking to build and sustain efforts to solve problems and exploit opportunities which can best be addressed in a cooperative environment. While the situation is described in