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Planning strategically, designing architecturally : a framework for digital library services

Buchanan, Steven (2010) Planning strategically, designing architecturally : a framework for digital library services. In: Advances in librarianship. Advances in Librarianship . Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, UK, pp. 159-180. ISBN 9781849509787

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Abstract

In an era of unprecedented technological innovation and evolving user expectations and information seeking behaviour, we are arguably now an online society, with digital services increasingly common and increasingly preferred. As a trusted information provider, libraries are in an advantageous position to respond, but this requires integrated strategic and enterprise architecture planning, for information technology (IT) has evolved from a support role to a strategic role, providing the core management systems, communication networks, and delivery channels of the modern library. Further, IT components do not function in isolation from one another, but are interdependent elements of distributed and multidimensional systems encompassing people, processes, and technologies, which must consider social, economic, legal, organisational, and ergonomic requirements and relationships, as well as being logically sound from a technical perspective. Strategic planning provides direction, while enterprise architecture strategically aligns and holistically integrates business and information system architectures. While challenging, such integrated planning should be regarded as an opportunity for the library to evolve as an enterprise in the digital age, or at minimum, to simply keep pace with societal change and alternative service providers. Without strategy, a library risks being directed by outside forces with independent motivations and inadequate understanding of its broader societal role. Without enterprise architecture, it risks technological disparity, redundancy, and obsolescence. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, this conceptual paper provides an integrated framework for strategic and architectural planning of digital library services. The concept of the library as an enterprise is also introduced.