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Library and Information Science Paper (ID LIS060001)

A Survey of Outsourcing in Academic Libraries in Japan
No.60, p.1-27
Issue date

Purpose: In recent years, university management has been required to be more efficient and outsourcing has been increasingly used in academic libraries in Japan. However, since surveys have not been done to date on the current state of outsourcing in academic libraries in this country, the authors conducted a survey to provide an overview of the situation.

Methods: The survey was conducted from June to August 2007. The questionnaire was distributed to 704 academic libraries. Respondents were asked to indicate which of their services were outsourced by choosing “done by staff”, “outsourced” or “service is not offered” for each of 41 potential library operations. We received 358 valid responses: a response rate of 51%.

Results: We found the following;

1) Outsourcing is used for many services regardless of the expertise level required.

2) When a library outsources technical/public services, outsourcing often extends to the entire range of the service.

3) Outsourcing is more extensive at private education-oriented universities than at national/ public research-oriented universities.

4) Outsourcing is more prevalent in libraries of a larger scale except with regards to management operations.

5) Outsourcing is used more often in urban areas. In particular, public services are often outsourced in the Kinki region.

As a result, we were able to conclude that academic library outsourcing is most widely used in private, medium scale and educational-oriented universities in urban areas. It is expected that the use of outsourcing will continue to expand at such universities in the future.

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