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Library and Information Science Paper (ID LIS057001)

Current State of Outsourcing in Special Libraries in Japan
No.57, p.1-31
Issue date

Purpose: This study aims to clarify the current state of outsourcing in special libraries, particularly the library management under systems which have full-time outsourcing. We also discuss several problems associated with the implementation of outsourcing.

Methods: The study consisted of a questionnaire which was distributed to 468 special libraries. We received in April 2005 402 valid responses.

Results: Our investigations revealed three trends: (1) Outsourcing was introduced by 53.7% of the special libraries (16.2% of them with full-time outsourcing and 37.5% of them with temporary outsourcing). A higher proportion of outsourcing was introduced by large-scale libraries than by small-scale ones. (2) The operational content of outsourcing has shifted from general to specialized, and full-time outsourcing is particularly likely to entrust specialized content. (3) In the past, outsourcing was introduced to alleviate labor shortages, but it is now recognized as an effective system for both cutting costs and making use of specialists.

Conclusion: Further study is necessary to determine whether entrusters should include such operational contents as planning and selection of materials within the range of their outsourcing. To maintain a high level of quality in library services, there is an urgent need for entrusters, in the course of selecting contractors, to give careful consideration to the contract workers’ expert knowledge and skills.

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