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Library and Information Science Paper (ID LIS062001)

Evaluation of Automating Operations in Academic Libraries in Japan: Survey by Focus Group Interviews
No.62, p.1-27
Issue date

Purpose: Over 80% percent of university libraries in Japan had installed a library automation system by 1994, and 99% percent had become computerized by 2002. Today, many university libraries use the internet and digital resources to provide user-oriented library services, having become electronic libraries to a greater or lesser extent. Library automation systems are the basis for developing user-oriented library services. From the viewpoint of library staff, this paper examines current approaches to library automation issues of book acquisition, book cataloging and circulation.

Methods: Two focus group interviews were conducted with two groups of six university librarians. The librarians discussed issues such as their impressions, effects, and the future of library automation. By focusing on the cause-and-effect relationship and adversary relationship embedded into each utterance expressed during the interviews, the study attempted to identify themes that emerged during the discussions.

Results: Problems of library automation were categorized into ten groups. A conceptual diagram of the framework of the problems was created from the data of the focus group interviews. Regarding the effects and problems of library automation, the study found the following three points: (1) promoting labor-saving and functional advancements, (2) libraries losing their power, and (3) imperfect packages.

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