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Applying general risk management principles to library administration

Joint, Nicholas (2007) Applying general risk management principles to library administration. Library Review, 56 (7). pp. 543-551. ISSN 0024-2535

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Abstract

Recent areas of digital library innovation, such as digital rights management, have led librarians to apply risk management (RM) principles to certain circumscribed areas of library management. This paper will attempt to argue that risk management principles can in fact be applied much more generally in modern library administration. A conceptual paper based on abstract principles of risk management. That different approaches to risk management apply in digital librarianship, as opposed to traditional, print-based library work. Also, that different models of 'RM' can be used at the level of the employee in contrast to the global perspective of the organisation as a whole. Because this is a conceptual piece, there is ample room for further experimental testing of these hypotheses. This paper rejects some of the principles of RM that are less relevant to the 'people management' problems of hybrid (print-electronic) library administration. It offers an abstract statement of RM principles that should be of genuine practical usefulness to middle managers helping staff cope with the problems of 'mixed media', hybrid library environments. This paper relates ideas from general business risk management to practitioner librarianship in ways that have not been attempted previously.