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Specialties and strategies in academic libraries: a cluster analysis approach

Specialties and strategies in academic libraries: a cluster analysis approach Professional work is becoming more specialized and diffused, with new specialties emerging on the boundaries of established professions. The purpose of this paper is to examine current specialties in academic librarianship in order to infer what strategies they employ.Design/methodology/approachThis research uses a sample of 60 US research libraries to investigate current specialties in academic librarianship, in order to analyze and classify the specialties into groups based on similarities, and categorize academic libraries based on the staffing patterns identified, and illustrate the challenges and strategies of each classification. The sample was selected from the membership of the Association of Research Libraries, and designed to include both large and medium-sized research libraries. 888 different job titles were identified for 2,074 specialist positions extracted from staff directories containing information on 11,688 librarians. The positions were analyzed and classified using the framework provided by Cox and Corrall (2013), and the specialty composition of the libraries was investigated with Ward’s (1963) hierarchical method of cluster analysis, using 28 variables.FindingsThe cluster analysis identified subspecialties within the groups and revealed seven distinct staffing strategies of the libraries.Originality/valueDescribing specialties and strategies in academic libraries by cluster analysis based on huge data is a significantly novel and effective approach for capturing the concept of specialization. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Library Management Emerald Publishing

Specialties and strategies in academic libraries: a cluster analysis approach

Library Management , Volume 40 (1/2): 14 – Jan 7, 2019

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References (26)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0143-5124
DOI
10.1108/lm-10-2017-0114
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Professional work is becoming more specialized and diffused, with new specialties emerging on the boundaries of established professions. The purpose of this paper is to examine current specialties in academic librarianship in order to infer what strategies they employ.Design/methodology/approachThis research uses a sample of 60 US research libraries to investigate current specialties in academic librarianship, in order to analyze and classify the specialties into groups based on similarities, and categorize academic libraries based on the staffing patterns identified, and illustrate the challenges and strategies of each classification. The sample was selected from the membership of the Association of Research Libraries, and designed to include both large and medium-sized research libraries. 888 different job titles were identified for 2,074 specialist positions extracted from staff directories containing information on 11,688 librarians. The positions were analyzed and classified using the framework provided by Cox and Corrall (2013), and the specialty composition of the libraries was investigated with Ward’s (1963) hierarchical method of cluster analysis, using 28 variables.FindingsThe cluster analysis identified subspecialties within the groups and revealed seven distinct staffing strategies of the libraries.Originality/valueDescribing specialties and strategies in academic libraries by cluster analysis based on huge data is a significantly novel and effective approach for capturing the concept of specialization.

Journal

Library ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Jan 7, 2019

Keywords: Academic libraries; Information professional; Specialization; Organizational strategy; Cluster analysis

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