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The Graduate and Professional School Libraries

Knowledge and Library Services


Harvard Business School

Report of Mary Lee Kennedy, Executive Director


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

Strategic Actions

Knowledge and Library Services works in an increasingly complex environment to support the Harvard Business School community, Harvard University, and external researchers in their academic and research activities. In anticipation of the ways in which changes in the external information environment and at HBS will affect us, KLS updated its strategic plan in FY 2008 by defining the KLS Future State 2011 and by formally establishing customer service standards.

In support of the School’s global initiatives, KLS focused on contemporary and historical content acquisition and licensing, on a continuing partnership with the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, through a presentation by the director of Baker Historical Collections at the Business History Colloquium in Argentina, and by visits to business archive repositories in Chile.

Curricular Support

In FY 2008, KLS implemented a new “Develop/Enhance/Revise” model for continuous course support. Throughout the year, KLS engaged in 43 specific projects across the three stages that the model represents: 2 Develop, 34 Enhance, and 7 Revise projects.

Collaborative Actions

Knowledge and Library Services is an integral part of the Harvard University Library (HUL). Through HUL’s system of coordinating committees, which, with the University Library Council, steer Harvard’s library system, KLS continued to engage in collaboration with colleagues across Harvard. KLS staff members serve on the Collections and Content Coordinating Committee, the Public Services Coordinating Committee, the Circulation, Privileges, and Interlibrary Loans Standing Committee, the Harvard Depository Standing Committee, the Digital Acquisitions and Collections Standing Committee, the Learning Opportunities Standing Committee, the Manuscripts and Archives Standing Committee, the Digital Content Systems Working Group, the E-Resources and Services Working Group, and the Rare Book Cataloging Discussion Group Organizing Committee.

In FY 2008, KLS migrated to the Aleph integrated library system, or ILS, which is used across HUL as a library management tool and as the underlying software for Harvard’s union catalog, HOLLIS.

HUL’s Harvard–Google Project is making approximately one million out-of-copyright volumes available online. In FY 2008, the project began the digitization of select titles from the KLS/Baker Library holdings.

Web Services

KLS provides comprehensive web and intranet services to the entire HBS community. On behalf of the entire Business School, KLS ensures the professional delivery of a virtual experience for the general public, for the HBS community, and for the University community overall.

As part of the HBS Centennial, KLS launched the Institutional Memory web site, which tells the story of HBS over the past 100 years with video narratives from HBS faculty, staff, students, and generations of alumni/ae; a gallery of historical photos; an interactive timeline; and a multimedia exploration of the founding of the School based on authoritative texts. The site had 24,356 visits by 18,271 unique visitors from 136 countries.

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 2008, HBS Working Knowledge added faculty working papers to its editorial content distributed to 136,914 subscribers. There were 1.6 million visits to the web site. A total of 101 HBS faculty contributed to the site this year.

Baker Library Historical 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. In FY 2008, two significant collections were accessioned:

  • The Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., Collection
    Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., the HBS Isidor Straus Professor of Business History Emeritus and the world’s foremost authority on the historical evolution and organizational development of the large modern corporation, donated his collected works to Baker Library Historical Collections. The materials reflect the life’s work and intellectual development of Chandler from 1941 to 2004, including his time as a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at Harvard, and his years as a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, and Harvard Business School. The collection includes virtually all of Chandler’s lecture and seminar notes and nearly the entire body of his professional correspondence. It provides an invaluable overview of his and others’ research on and interpretation of the evolution of the giant modern corporation, his editorial work on the papers of Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower, his role as trustee and president of the Economic History Association and as executive board member of the Organization of American Historians, and his involvement with many other professional and scholarly organizations.
  • The Diebold Collection
    John Diebold MBA ’51 (1926–2005) had a major influence on the development of modern business. He was a visionary who foresaw the ways in which information technology could reshape not only business, but society itself. According to the New York Times, “In 1952, at a time when computers weighed five tons, his book Automation described how programmable devices could change the day-to-day operations of all kinds of businesses. Even the book’s title was novel: it introduced the modern-day meaning of a term that had previously applied only to the mechanical handling of automobile parts at the Ford Motor Company.” Harvard’s Diebold Collection includes his speeches and articles, as well as profiles and commentaries. The holdings also encompass conference proceedings and the Diebold Institute Working Papers.

In addition, Historical Collections mounted three centennial-themed exhibits in FY 2008: The Human Relations Movement: Harvard Business School and the Hawthorne Experiments, 1924–1933; A “Daring Experiment”: Harvard and Business Education for Women, 1937–1870; and A Concrete Symbol: The Building of the Harvard Business School, 1908–1927.