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The Graduate and Professional School Libraries

Knowledge and Library Services

Report of Mary Lee Kennedy, Executive Director


Harvard Business School

Report of Mary Lee Kennedy, Executive Director

Mission and Overview

It is the mission of Knowledge and Library Services (KLS) to enable the exchange of ideas, expertise, and information in support of Harvard Business School’s role as an educator of leaders that make a difference.

Strategic Actions

KLS completed a significant new content strategy in FY 2007, which covers both historical and contemporary sources of information. This new strategy clearly defines areas of significant focus in collection building. These areas include global business, business leaders in the 20th century, and histories of companies at risk

With the prevalence of Web 2.0 technologies and the continuing emergence of KLS users as collaborators, KLS introduced a framework for collective intelligence into its services. The framework was first applied to the Institutional Memory project. KLS launched the institutional memory program in preparation for the HBS Centenary, which began officially on January 1, 2008. This interactive, multimedia production includes the following features:

  • An interactive timeline documenting key events in the history of the School from 1908 to 2008
  • An in-depth multimedia view into four key questions related to the profession of business and business education (What makes a profession?  How do you educate to transform? What knowledge is useful? How do we define success?)
  • A showcase of video, audio and text narratives on the School from alums, students, faculty and staff
  • A photo gallery of the School from its inception to the present day 

Anticipating a range of future global information needs, challenges, and opportunities, KLS staff completed a trip to European business schools and archives in order to lay the groundwork for inter-university collaborations.

KLS launched an Information Lifecycle Management program to coordinate management of digital and physical knowledge assets created by HBS.  This complements the existing records-management services for HBS administrative offices and HBS faculty members, including the administrative records and faculty papers to the Archive.

Research and Curricular Support

Baker Library Services developed and implemented a new model of curricular support for new course development.  While proactively bringing ongoing support in FY 2007 to 1,303 course and research projects for faculty, as well as research support for:

  • 522 individual MBA students
  • 69 requests from doctoral students
  • 788 requests (an increase of 100% over FY 2006) from visiting scholars

Web Services

The Web and Intranet Services team provides comprehensive web services to the entire HBS community. In FY 2007, KLS implemented a new, School-wide  model for web governance, and completed 131 individual web projects—an increase of 279% over the prior year. Through a new and revitalized alumni web site (eBaker), KLS will continue to engender increased alumni use of e-resources and overall participation in the life of the School.

Working Knowledge

Harvard Business School has a long tradition of practice-oriented research and teaching that has a profound and far-reaching impact on business and management education worldwide. HBS Working Knowledge (HBSWK) is a forum for innovation in business practice, offering readers a first look at cutting-edge thinking and the opportunity to both influence and use these concepts before they enter mainstream management practice.

Every day, HBSWK features new work from HBS faculty at the forefront of their diverse fields of expertise, providing a valuable source of inspiration for executives, entrepreneurs, and managers seeking to keep their organizations at the leading edge of innovation and change. In FY 2007, 134 faculty members—up from just 50 in FY 2006—contributed content to HBSWK.

In FY 2007, the international reach of Working Knowledge increased by 5.3% to a total of 112,662 subscribers per week, with a commensurate increase in the delivery of customized feeds for target audiences, and close to 2 million unique visitors to the site during the year. At the same time, all new participants in HBS Executive Education programs were automatically enrolled in HBSWK.

Historical Collections

From its inception, Baker Library has collected rare and unique materials that focus on the evolution of business and industry. Spanning seven centuries, the collections include manuscripts, rare books, pamphlets, broadsides, photographs, prints, advertising ephemera, and corporate reports. These rich and varied collections support research in a remarkably diverse range of fields. Historical Collections has an active outreach and exhibits program.  The following exhibits took place in FY07:

 “The Funny Side of the Street”: Wall Street Journal Cartoons

In FY 2007, The Wall Street Journal’s highly celebrated “Pepper…and Salt” cartoons were donated to Baker Library by Charles Preston, founder and editor of the feature. Daily business cartoons first appeared in the Journal in 1950 and they continue to be a regular feature with a loyal following by readers. While many of the early “Pepper…and Salt” cartoons were destroyed in the Journal offices on 9/11, an HBS exhibition, entitled “The Funny Side of the Street,” included dozens of originals, from the 1950s to some of the most recently published.

The Human Factor: Introducing the Industrial Life Photograph Collection at Baker Library

Created in the years between the world wars, the Industrial Life Photograph Collection reveals the colliding—and sometimes competing—messages of art and industry, education and public relations, humanity and modernization. Assembled in the 1930s by HBS colleagues Donald Davenport and Frank Ayres, the collection was intended to provide students, and America’s aspiring corporate managers, with visual data to study the interaction of worker and machine—i.e., “the human factor.” The introductory exhibition and its companion web site included a selection from the over 2,100 images that comprise the Industrial Life Photograph Collection, featuring the work of such artists as Margaret Bourke-White and Lewis Hine.

New Directions: Building Baker Library’s Collections

Unique among business school libraries, Baker Library possesses extraordinarily comprehensive and diverse historical collections consisting of letters, memos, reports, books, images and more. When pieced together, these individual documents act as evidence to describe and interpret history as well as to challenge commonly held assumptions. Current collecting initiatives are closely tied to trends in contemporary scholarship, and existing research collections are continually developed with a consistent focus on the evolution of business and industry within five major collecting themes: contemporary leaders, global markets, intellectual capital, invention and innovation, and visual evidence. Additional areas of collecting interest include documenting women in business and the significance of family business.