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Marketing and Quality of Information Management

Elisabeth SIMON, Hon FLA(1)
German Library Institute / Foreign Relations Office Berlin

(1) Deutsches Bibliotheksinstituts, Kurt-Schumacher-Damm 12-16, D-13 405 Berlin, Fax:+49-30-410 34 480; E-mail: simon@dbi-berlin.de The paper was delivered at the Kyoto University Library on Friday August 27th, and at the University of Tokyo Library on Tuesday 31st, 1999

Marketing in Libraries
Economics of Library and Information Service
Marketing and Information Policy
Marketing of Information Services
Teaching Marketing, Learning How to Market
Marketing Electronic Services
Quality of Information Management
Controlling
Marketing and Quality - a Network of Information Management

Marketing in Libraries

It is only some time ago that the topic "marketing" was connected with library services. About twenty years ago "marketing" as a concept had not even entered the industrial or better the economic sector. Advertising, publicity and commercial were the means used by the private enterprises to "inform" about their products and to catch the customers.

About 14 years ago in the very first days of its existence the German Library Institute at Berlin developed the "marketing concept" for public libraries which was at first widely misunderstood as commercial and advertising means. It was confronting libraries and librarians with a concept which had for the most representatives of the profession an evil odour. Why ?

Marketing was a concept being taken from the private sector. Library services however were deeply influenced by its social roots - as "the school and university for the poor" (Great Britain) as a pedagogical institute to influence the citizens (Germany "Kitsch als kultureller Uebergangswert") or as a mean to build up the community in rural areas (as in France with the development of the bibliotheque centrale du pret). It was beyond the concept of libraries to work with marketing strategies. But this was not only due to libraries but also to museums or other institutions in the so called non profit sector, which is still valid today for most of the cultural sector as well the academic world and universities generally in Europe with the exception of Great Britain where these institutions of the academic as well cultural mission were opened rather early to a more market driven approach, as e.g. the first museum shops show.

When the marketing concept for public libraries started to be developed in the German Library Institute, the first step was the development of a logo, being used in all products and liaison of libraries. It was the first step in building up a corporate identity although this was unknown in Europe even in the commercial sector. It was the time when such logos were developed everywhere, from the drug stores to the post office. It is forgotten that these logos were unknown and not an integrated part of our cities and villages. The logo developed by the German Library Institute is being used widely and it liased libraries and their costumers all over the country.

The concept was worked out using Anglo- American experiences quite much especially from the United States. Peter Borchardt who was responsible for the concept used the experiences from Simon of her study tour and visits to USA in the year l987(2). During this time the community based library service of the library system of Phildelphia e.g. was explained using very detailed statistical information for the development of library and collection and services. That means that the service and the collection were shaped according to the clientele and to the community which the library was serving. That means that libraries had to aim their services according to a mission for a certain clientele. Libraries were starting to look different, to offer different services and were starting to build their collection according to that. They said farewell to the idea to serve everybody like it was expressed in the feature of "the bookcase for everybody." It was the time when libraries were occupied with working out their mission and policies(3).

In the year l985 the Bertelsmann Foundation was organising an international library colloque with the title "Oeffentliche Bibliotheken. heute und morgen. Neue Ansaaetze fuer Zielsetzung und Management" where basic principles and practical use of marketing were introduced. One can read there "Warum Marketing (-why marketing)"? "To my opinion if the development of media will be according to needs for certain people, public libraries will add to the gigantic stream of sex, sadism and shooting love stories, western criminal stories and light fiction, which by publishers, TV and other commercial providers are cynically marketed."(4)

This quotation comes from a member of this international colloquy. Mrs. Renborg from Sweden shows very clearly anxieties and fears of marketing. Marketing was fully understood in a commercial way for libraries offering material according to the sheer entertainment needs of people. It is surprising that neither the question of charging which would prevent the sheer purchase of such light fiction nor the role of the library as an information centre had entered the discussion in these days.

In l988 the first conference for business information was organised by the British Council and the Foreign Relations Office Berlin in order to introduce a service which was known in Great Britain from the 1923 on (Sheffield) and continued to develop very much and to influence the professional discussion about pricing, charging, and user orientated service. It brought a clientele into focus which had been neglected in most libraries of Germany as well France. Although the conference was a big success concerning the international relations and the discussion between German and British colleagues, it was not a success however in convincing the German professionals about the service. Librarians and information officers were so deeply concerned with bringing "culture" understood very often as fiction in most libraries to their clientele especially the minorities which were in most cases the Turkish minority. To finish this short survey of this development I have to mention that today the business information service is introduced into Germany on the base of an European project in communities of East Germany by a British group which has to overcome quite some resistance. Professionals in this part of Germany are not familiar with the structure of library and information services in Great Britain. I wonder if this project will really be a success in a long run due to secret resentments which are not expressed in the open discussion.

(2) Simon, Elisabeth: Bibliothekswesen in den USA. Muenchen u.a.: Saur 1988. 155 p.
(3) Ideas into Action, Public Library Resources, Getting the Return. Proceedings of the Public Libraries Authorities Conference Harrogate 1986.London: LA, 102 p.
(4) Warum Marketing, see Greta Renborg, chapter 3.6 in: Oeffentliche Bibliotheken heute und morgen. Neue Ansaetze fuer Zielsetzung und Management.Guetersloh: Bertelsmann Stiftung 1985: p. 125.

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Economics of Library and Information service

Part of the marketing concept has the roots in economics and therefore is today even more valid. The idea to shape the information and library service according to needs of the clientele which has to be defined by basical knowledge of readers and community information was also driven by economics. This has today developed to the fine picture used frequently today of buying rather a glass of milk than a whole cow (as a guideline for collections development) or the statement "collection should be not build just in case" (see also the paper of Mrs. Mahnke). According to modern guidelines for collection development and services not every library can be for everybodys need it is recognised that this is difficult, and will become even more difficult. Today this is not any longer necessary. But these ideas were also determined by economics and financial considerations.

Karl Stroetmann, today a consultant of the private enterprise in the given field "empirica" gave in the German Anglo conference l990(5) an overview about economic aspects of library and information services: "from administering books to managing information" setting the scene for a discussion about the different information culture in both countries, which was complemented by question of definition and terminology which were not so much of concern for British professionals. This kind of discussion was not so known in Great Britain which was more concerned in "income generations and cost recovery" (Pat Colment). Marketing and evaluation of services and systems since these days show the double face of this one phenomena. Marketing always requires evaluation, in these days is mostly determined by cost effectiveness and marketing orientation. "If we were to make a case for the survival and prosperity of libraries and information centres... we ought to think automatically in terms of cost effectiveness" said Maurice Line, President of these days of the Library Association. We will come back to the question whether this is valid any more.

(5) The economics of library and information services. An Anglo-German Perspective. ed. by Edward Dudley, Monika Segbert and others. London: Anglo-German Foundation l991.VII, 317 p.

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Marketing and Information Policy

When we have seen that marketing was driven by user orientation on the one side and the mission of a service the question of charging, costing and financing a service was entering the discussion. However information policy as well had entered the discussion about marketing as well about quality so that we could use this chapter as a nod or a crosspoint for these different lines of development and basic considerations.

In discussing the base of marketing as well a user orientated service and a mission of the library it is often forgotten that user orientation might not be totally in line with the mission of the library. Mission statements of libraries and by comparison of those in the early 80ties (mostly from USA since in Germany this was mostly unknown) you will notice in the statements of the policy the early social convictions of libraries as described above. Missions of libraries can be determined by information policy and policy framework which is especially due to academic libraries which serve an academic environment. In this happy case the user orientation and the mission of the library is the same because researchers which work along to the mission of the institute in pursuing research should be also served according to their needs. Therefore in the field of special libraries and information units the best service and frequently the best possibilities of information management can be found. The library has no blurred mission. It is a true support agency for the home institutions. The same refers to National Libraries. For a National Library acquisition policy is clear cut to serve as an agency for the written as well and audio and more and more electronic heritage of the country. National libraries may have big problems when the national entity disappears which they are serving as we have seen it for example on the base of the "Laender" in a very federal country as Germany with the state libraries in Germany for the "Laender." But today except for the emerging countries from previous Yugoslavia and partly from Russia this in itself is no problem. Bosnia e.g. wants to have three national libraries for each "nation."

Information policy however is deeply influencing the information services, When years ago Mr. Gore was talking about the datahighways and the previous Chancellor of Germany answered that Germany had enough highways is showed very clearly that were was no existing information policy in Germany. There had been an information policy before though resulting in three "Information programs" and followed by information centres for special subjects but which subsequently were followed by dividing service of library and information centres in the field of information supply. However in the last program of the government the "Innovation as raw material" this development seems not only come to an end but to be reversed.

The discussion about charging and financing which accompanies marketing is to be pursued in an overall structure. The information policy can pursue a topic that might even contradict revenues. Mrs. Renborg years ago was afraid that marketing would overwhelm the libraries with sex and crime. But the overall feature of information policy of public library services may contradict this since public libraries shall be the information centre for the general public, besides their task as community centres and adding to the social cohesion of the society(6) which could also be regarded as part of this information role. If however a library offers only fiction and does not convey this role as an information agency it could be well happen that information policy does not regard them any more as valid. For my opinion this happened with information policy in the eighties when the "Fachinformationszentren" (the subject orientated centres) in Germany were founded. The information policy was keen in introducing the information and the use of databases to research and the academic community and since academic libraries failed to recognise this and were reluctant to introduce the services additional institutions were created in order to play this role. This was also in the interest of the Federal Government as an overall national goal. Due to the consideration that these centres had not only to play a role in the national information policy but to earn money the first crisis was emerging and threatening this development. It was only due to the development of last years when these centres were forced to reconstruction and active marketing. Since then some of them have been developing quite satisfactorily and therefore the consequence of this short description of development of policy is the truism that the best information policy is useless without marketing.

(6) Usherwood, Bob: More than numbers a social audit of public libraries in: The information literate Library in the Information Society Proceedings of the international conference: The information literate library Berlin, Dec. 6-10 1998. ed. by the Academy of Sciences. Prague and the German Library Institute /Foreign Relations Office, Berlin, June 1999, pp. 135-150.

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Marketing of Information Services

When preparing seminars in Central and Eastern Europe the topic "marketing" is always in big demand. When we talked about the seminar "library management" being held in Moldavia with the Soros Foundation of an Open Society which actually runs the whole training of librarians there they only revised our program by including marketing. This amendment however caught our weak point because although a lot of theory about marketing is existing and written, it is nothing you can really learn in classes but have to understand and above all to practice. But we tried to train it by using role playing which was even more exciting for the trainers than for the participants.

Therefore we decided to introduce several opinions into the seminar of the four German participants. My colleague Mrs. Ullrich tried to draw a line from the issue "marketing" from the commercial sector today which compromises a process, where a service or an agency does not only try to fulfil the wishes of a clientele but it anticipates them, becoming a trend-setter. When you read in journals today that fashion creators are going into the cafes and restaurants looking for people and their dressing and way of life in order to create the future style - you meet a very pure expression of marketing. Dr. Walravens, in charge of the ISBN agency at the State Library of the Prussian heritage at Berlin is characterising marketing of libraries as the position of the libraries as a costumer of the commercial provider and as a service agency of the user. The introduction of economic criteria in the library management which is not only commercialising but cost effectiveness, controlling in the management does also include marketing. The global tendency is showing a positive attitude for introducing revenues. This does not mean that all costs have to be covered but more the missions in the educational as well in the field of science and information policy have to be reached. The effect of the awareness of the cost effectiveness is at least raised as well with the provider of information as well the receiver.

In the field of public libraries this marketing concept was broadened in the United Kingdom. Here the discussion is turning away from the sheer marketing concept and is introducing a new working concept of interviews for proving the cohesion of the society with the aid of public library services. You will find the same concept with Nick Moore when he talks about responsibility in the information field(7). His research in this field, which will gain in importance during the time to come was introduced here in Japan this year. Both professionals, Moore and Usherwood, coming from very different directions aim at a common goal where information policy requires a comprehensive library service. This again is not possible without an overall marketing concept. This overall concept reaches from the quality of services at the forefront to the speediness of information delivery, from new building constructed in the heart of the community to beautiful girls engaged in the service with the public as the director of a university library in Slovakia pointed to us as the best marketing "tool."

(7) Nick Moore: Right and Responsibilities in an Information Society. Study on International Scholarly Information, l999, pp. 1-18, engl.-japan.

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Teaching Marketing, Learning How to Market

After this overview about the social and cultural environment of libraries and information centres when confronted with the topic marketing everybody will agree that institutions of the non profit sector have to market for their own missions since they have to compete with other institutions especially about public money. Everybody will agree regardless where the institution is situated in Germany, France or Great Britain that the products which they offer have to be marketed, that means they have to be offered in a market place may it be in realiter in the framework of the institution or electronically or virtually. Brochures and leaflets, books about the institutions show this convictions because they are much more beautiful to look at than in previous days. Their information value though is not always faultless which can be also said about advertising. However skills in marketing are not taught in Germany they are not even discussed in a seminar as a training mean for those who have not been able to acquire them. When carefully looking at the proceedings of the international conference and workshop at Bad Honnef 16th till 19th February l998(8) for the library of the future improving the quality of continuing education and teaching being held by the project New Book Economy by the EU the word marketing was not mentioned. A lot of good projects are introduced being organised in different institutions all over Europe but how should they become known, who shall and how will they be offered in a marketplace and where?

Everybody will answer me that these projects will be made known either by the homepages or discussion lists of their own home institutions. The Internet is a world wide marketplace but it is not aimed at special costumers which is the first line for marketing(9).

Three years ago when organising a seminar about business information there were quite some institutions with a lot of experience about marketing - it was really a source of ideas. However one of the best was a small unity at Denmark Aarhus where the public library offered a business information for contributing to the economic recovery of the region. They had a beautiful homepage no pictures, three languages (German, Danish and English) and a full schedule of visits in order to raise awareness, to offer services and to make the information services an integrated part of the community and business life. It was just the opposite of a representation of the so-called "Unternehmensinitiative" of the municipality of Stuttgart, who came, offered brochures (a lot) and disappeared. It was the most striking negative example for marketing.

All those public institutions that offer business information if they care for the service or if they do not, are learning how to plan and execute marketing. The first experiences about marketing therefore came from private corporate libraries and I am sometimes wondering why a guideline like "winning marketing techniques" an introduction to marketing for information professionals by Sharin Dean, Special Libraries Association, USA has never been written in Germany.

(8) For the Library of the Future. Improving the Quality of Continuing Education and Teaching. International Conference and Workshop Bad Honnef 16th-19th Feb. l998, Proceedings Berlin: Deutsches Bibliotheksinstitut l998. XII, 217 p.
(9) Business Information. Proceedings of the international seminar l997. German/English Berlin Foreign Relations Office l998. 283 p.

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Marketing Electronic Services

By introducing electronic possibilities into library and information services it might be considered that the problem of marketing information services can be solved. But this is not the case. If the long waiting time of difficulties getting an information or a book are taken into the consideration, the electronic access to the OPACS of libraries via the Internet and the digitalized access to text and information seems to open the access to any information or text in a very rapid time for everybody fulfilling the mission of every library and information services. This result of modern service - if possible - seems to make the marketing obsolete.

Electronic publishing especially electronic journals have really changed the library services and yet it is not used in Europe everywhere. No longer the subscription of a scholarly journal even a newspaper in a foreign language seems to be a problem any more, because it is accessible for everybody. It has also changed the library and information environment dramatically adding licensing and consortia to the task of the manager. But we might mistaken to see the dramatical change. It is hard to believe that most libraries especially the poor ones which have been somehow being shut off the recent professional development have big difficulties in adjusting and grasping the possibilities being offered today.

The academic libraries of Russia are regarded as one consortia in regard to their restricted funds by some German publishers which make the participation in this electronic project really not expensive offering possibilities for the scientist to get access to the newest scientific results and discussion. The libraries have only to give the IP number of the computer to participate in the project which does not involve additional difficulties or costs for the participating libraries. But the survey being made shows very clearly that there are some libraries using these facilities very much and others not at all- there are big differences and not only in Russia. For example to take a poor country it was offered to all libraries in Moldavia, but up to now nobody participates.

The second example may be taken from the university library of Bochum, Germany which is participating in the document delivery system Jason of this Land Nordrhein -Westphalia Some days ago the new electronic library at the Hochschulbibliothekzentrum (Centre for academic libraries ) at Cologne was opened. The service already being able to be used is not very much in demand as well the professionals being occupied with it. Now at Bochum two professionals are working in the campus introducing the service to any student who is around and wants to know about it. The service becomes known and adds a great esteem to the library.

Electronic services and their possibilities need even more marketing than traditional services, not only because they are new but also because they require a new approach. It is obvious today that because of lacking training and education especially in the field of life long learning marketing is poor and lacking response and often serves as an excuse not to use the new services at all. That may bring the libraries in a bleak situation when it should become obvious that professionals instead of marketing a new service they are serving as gatekeepers- consequently libraries may be bypassed and become storages of books and old material. This will be at last be the overall picture. In the University of Bremen, the whole electronic service as for example teaching to use the Internet for research and using electronic journals is taken out of the library into a seminar by a professor and the professionals are very happy with it. They are surely leaving out a development which might have grave consequences for the professional at least.

How the electronic services should be marketed should be in the first place in the agenda of the information professionals. For example the books how to use the internet for historians and economists(10) e.g. were not done by information professionals but by researchers in the given field.

(10) Ditfurth v. Christian/Ulrich Kathoefer: Internet fuer Wirtschaftswissenschaftler. Ffm/New York: Campus l997, 227 p.

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Quality of Information Management

Although I was talking about quality in regard to marketing by trying to show some lines of the development let me now summarise about quality: economics of information management, information policy and the electronic environment of information services are determining the quality of information management. During last years when doing research and organising seminars with other players as the GMD (Society for Mathematics) my children used to tease me about trying to define the goal of information service: "the right information to the right time." In a way they are right that this is not a very precise definition. On the other side they found out also how important time and responsibility of correct information is determining our life. It seems today that we have solved the speed of information at least in theory although using the internet can be really awfully time consuming. On the other hand the quality of information, the right information is gaining in importance. People are drowned in a flood of non-relevant information. Who ever was in an airport when the plane was not in schedule for arrival or departure or with a train, let alone traffic jams, knows what I am talking about. In Germany a special radio should inform about the traffic situation on the highway, although I am using this kind of travelling quite frequently the information are rarely useful they are rather too late or they do not come at all when you need them.

This introduction might seem to you rather primitive. Quality of information management was a much discussed subject about 10 years ago. Total quality management was well used in connection with ISO 2000 and the controlling of libraries in an overall picture. It is the big merit of this discussion to put the question of quality in the middle of the discussion as for example the conference of NORDINFO was doing 10 years ago(11). Although on a background which was changed dramatically during the last 10 years, some of the problems as e.g. information quality factors and the cognitive authority of electronic information (Johan Olaisen) are even more valid than anybody had thought in these days, and will probably engage us in time to come even more so.

Quality will be in big demand because right time for the right information is a problem. Most information are either too late when they are needed or not accurate or not updated- a big fault with the internet, which is becoming more and more of a problem

....Validity of information. Most information is useless and are not given in clear understandable words. Handbooks for electric or electronic devices are the best example. I gave my husband an espresso machine and we never found out how it worked, he being a professor and myself being an information professional.

....Correctness of information is becoming more and more a problem because responsibility of agencies and persons are disappearing.

Therefore the quality of information is becoming a great problem. I will not enter into the discussion of copyright and all the possibilities to neglect copyright in the internet but in the long run this may endanger the free access to information and my cause as the worst consequences creating new closures and circles of academic information and research without access for the public.

Quality of information will become the most important success factor for marketing. It will mark the different services and therefore has the most important position in the management. May it be a call centre or a research unit, the quality of information to be defined as a reliable one should be pursued by the management.

Connected with the question of quality are the sources and formats of information. Handbooks, guidebooks transmitted by the Internet are kind of ridiculous and nourish the somehow traumatic picture of printed information overflowing the desks. For example it is not always intelligent to use email when you are e.g. trying to convince a partner about a difficult situation. The choice of format will also become more and more important and will be a prerequisite of true qualified information delivery(12).

(11) Information Quality-definitions and dimensions. Proceedings of a Nordinfo seminar Royal School of Librarianship, Copenhagen l989, ed. by Irene Wormell l990. 139 p.
(12) As a base for the discussion today may be regarded "The Knowledge Industries" Levers of economic and social development in the l990 s. Ed. by Blaise Cronin and Neva Tudor Silovic, Aslib l991, 331 p.

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Controlling

If the aim of every information agency is the quality of service, the question how to reach it and how to control it will be raised. Therefore starting about 5 years ago controlling was entering the professional discussion. Controlling for public libraries guideline for a more efficient management was a publication edited by the German Library Institute(13). The tasks of controlling are defined that the activities of the institutions are planned according to schedule methods and handling in the single departments. Controlling is mission and future orientated and is a tool for managing the library. It tries to use the means as funding and personal more effectively and it more concerned with concepts aims and missions of a library as well the strategies. Peculiar enough it is not so much concerned with direct quality. As a management tool it can be adapted when controlling the effectiveness of a corporation, but again it does not say very much about quality of information service.

Controlling, planning and managing activities are not per se concerned with the quality and the content of information. It looks in the moment that battles will be fought in this field, when you observe the discussion about copyright and the battle about ideas and innovation.

(13) Controlling fuer Oeffentliche Bibliotheken. Berlin: Deutsches Bibliotheksinstitut 1994, 101 p.

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Marketing and Quality - a Network of Information Management

I wanted to show that without marketing the best qualified information product will not be noticed. The reverse is even more important, an information product without quality will have no lasting success even the opposite. To market an information product will be an ongoing process where all the details and the overall approach and structure will determine the success. The information environment has changed dramatically. By looking through all the monographs of research about the topic of the last 10 years it can be easily seen that demands for quality will raise because the amount of important research results as well of well qualified information products will probably not change as well very much. The speed with which information can be accessed has changed completely the scene. It can be easily approached and used but the amount of information regardless of the access for innovation will probably not change so much since the number of innovative persons are pretty much the same- It might even be that this number falls back - the increasing number of voices especially from the economic field which demand an enlargement of liberal education as well in the humanities might be the sign of the recognition that we might be in need of innovation elsewhere. With the Internet we are able to market information and access a huge marketing and communication place it might result in a need of quality.

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Acknowledgement

I would like to express my sincere thanks and admiration to Dr. Hiroshi INOSE for offering me this invaluable opportunity to discuss common challenge in the profession of library and information services for the 21st Century.

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