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The Graduate and Professional School Libraries

Baker Library

Report of Mary Lee Kennedy, Executive Director


Baker Library’s mission is to enable the exchange of ideas, expertise,and information in support of Harvard Business School’s role as aneducator of leaders that make a difference.

Continuing the Strategic Shift—Flagship Indicators of Change

During FY 2006, Baker Library continued with its progress towardaccomplishing its three-year goals to provide expertise in informationresearch, information architecture, knowledge and informationmanagement, and information product design and production.

Specific shifts occurred in product offerings, such as therepositioning of HBS Working Knowledge as the primary vehicle for HBSfaculty’s ideas and insights pre-publication, including theestablishment of a faculty-led editorial advisory team and across-school steering committee. By June 2006, Working Knowledge had106,899 subscribers, representing a 15% increase over the previousyear.

Baker Library shifted part of its focus from reactive course supportservices to supporting course development work by faculty members. Thisresulted in three pilot projects. The first project assisted with thedevelopment of a course on global poverty, including the launch of anew information vehicle known as a Knowledge Center that bringstogether information and course-related documentation about the subjectof “Business at the Bottom of the Pyramid.” The faculty and studentswere very satisfied with the resulting work. The second pilot focusedon supporting the development of a course on illiquid assets. One ofthe primary outputs was a technical note on industry researchmethodologies. Faculty and student satisfaction were high, and it isour intention to expand this model to other courses. The technical note(an internal note to HBS) has been requested to be used by faculty inthe development of other courses. The third pilot focused on thesupport of the redesign of an executive education program. The projectis ongoing, with a broad focus on enabling community learning whenparticipants are off campus. Internally, Baker Library focused onensuring clear lines of accountability, developing skills andcompetencies in our four stated areas of expertise, and formalizing ameasurement program to drive our decision-making.

With the new fiscal year beginning in July, we continued to peruseour main objectives and established our initiative priorities, whichare:

  • to integrate Baker people and resources into the HBS teaching, learning, and research landscape;
  • to complete scanning for American Capitalism Digitization;
  • to participate in the Centenary Project;
  • to complete the move of the Polaroid archives to Baker and to begin to process it;
  • to complete the overall redesign of the HBS intranet;
  • to add new components/dimensions to the Baker Curriculum Support Model;
  • to complete implementation of the Reference Services Model;
  • to build and enrich a knowledge and information ecosystem that delivers what our customers need when they need it;
  • to complete the Aleph Migration Project;
  • to operationalize the Corporate Information System;
  • to unify user experience across HBS web sites (analysis and recommendations, standards);
  • to assess and meet alumni/ae information needs;
  • to implement information architecture (IA) services, including acquiring software for IA services;
  • to develop information research standards, and revise existing and implement new approaches to meet the information research standards;
  • to implement a preservation/conservation program;
  • to create the capacity for Baker to assume a leadership role in knowledge and learning practices;
  • to implement information strategy, including HBS content inventory/map;
  • to implement leading-edge information delivery in Access Services;
  • to implement Knowledge and Information Assets functions organization;
  • to invest in our staff to support our strategic direction; and
  • to conduct workforce planning and implement staff development plans.

2006 Project Highlights

Baker Library/Bloomberg Center Reopening

The newly renovated building that houses Baker Library reopenedofficially on September 15, 2005. The new facility includes the StampsReading Room, the de Gaspé Beaubien Historical Collections ReadingRoom, a conservation and preservation lab, and the Exchange. TheExchange is an informal quiet space at the south entrance of thebuilding affording individuals access to databases, internationalfinancial newspapers, and real-time news feeds. This has become afavorite spot for students, particularly for study groups.

The majority, though not all, of the staff of Baker Library residein the Baker Library/Bloomberg Center building. We have seensignificant increases in the use of the reading rooms with the newfacilities and have significantly increased our conservation andpreservation program as a result of having an onsite lab.

Historical Collections Program

After receiving a generous endowment, Baker Library launched theHistorical Collections Outreach program. The primary objective of theprogram is to bring the historical collections into the daily life ofHBS, of the overall Harvard community, and of the general publicthrough physical and virtual exhibits, faculty seminars, and researchprograms. In FY 2006, the program launched six exhibits (virtual andphysical), including the opening-day exhibits for the September 2005reopening of the renovated and expanded Baker Library/Bloomberg Center;a permanent exhibit on Robert Merton’s Nobel Prize in Economics; anexhibit on the Alfred Chandler collection; “Coin and Conscience:Popular Views of Money, Credit and Speculation” (; “The Funny Side of the Street: Introducing The Wall Street Journal Cartoon Collection at Baker Library” (; and a permanent exhibit in the faculty areas of the BakerLibrary/Bloomberg Center highlighting the rich resources of Baker’scollections.

Historical Collections set a strategic goal to collect and provideaccess to the records of the great leaders and great companies of themodern business world. Our first major addition is the Polaroidarchives, a significant New England technology company. This jewel ofartifacts, inventions, and business strategy is a significantopportunity to provide access to the research community.

We received funding to design and build a conservation lab. Thisgenerous gift has allowed us to launch a comprehensive preservation andconservation program. We continue to partner with HUL’s WeissmanPreservation Center for the detailed work that only they have thecapabilities to address. We have appointed a collections conservatorand conservation technician.

Our historical collections may be more easily accessible whendigitized. A significant digitization effort has led to the electronicavailability of the Goldsmith Kress microfilm content. Further effortsare occurring with respect to works associated with the development ofAmerican capitalism. A digitization strategy ensures we have materialthat can be accessed virtually. The following materials were digitizedin 2006:

  • “Coin and Conscience” (portions of the Bleichroder Print Collection)
  • Wall Street Journal cartoons
  • manuscript materials for the Open Collections Program’s new site, Immigration to the United States, 1789–1930.
  • the “American Capitalism” collection
  • “The Making of the Modern Economy” (a significant portion of the Kress Collection)

Contemporary Information Strategy

With the changing nature of information and information use, BakerLibrary initiated an assessment of purchased and licensed content inthe context of faculty interests and course development plans for FY2008. We established an initial process for reviewing our ability tomeet faculty research and teaching needs. This effort will result inthe identification of strengths and weaknesses to be used in ourinformation strategy; i.e., in our planned approach to deliver, provideaccess to, and own information assets for current research and coursedevelopment. As part of this effort, we conducted a review ofcollaborative collecting opportunities and practices within the Harvardlibraries. This was done in the context of a strategic initiative forthe University Library Council, in partnership with the Harvard CollegeLibrary. The results will be shared broadly within HBS and within thelibraries. Internally, Baker Library initiated discussions around themanagement of HBS’s intellectual and administrative assets. This effortincluded taking on strategic and operational accountability formetadata management standards and practices.

Organizing the Web and Intranet

In 2006 Baker Library was responsible for completing 47 school-wideweb and intranet projects by June. We continued our work to ensure thatHBS can count on the professional delivery of a virtual experience forthe public and for the HBS and the overall Harvard communities. OurUser Experience Team established an enterprise search roadmap todeliver a consistent search environment across HBS’s web platforms andto put in place a program to bring on board assets such as our videos,our publishing content, and cross-Harvard resources in one searchresult page. An intranet template was established to make it easier forthe community to find information across the intranet. An initialassessment on the User Experience led to recommendations forimprovements, some of which were implemented in 2006 and more plannedfor 2007.

Baker Library’s Customers

Baker Library continued to support Harvard students, as well asalumni/ae, business leaders, faculty, visiting scholars, and thegeneral public. We saw significant increases in use, particularly bydoctoral students (198%), faculty (37%), and visiting scholars (126%).Given our new reading rooms, the Stamps Reading Room and the de GaspeBeaubien Reading Room, there was a marked increase in physical access,with more than a 100% increase over the previous year.

In terms of Baker Library’s reach, data for FY 2006 is included below: