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Graduate and Professional School Libraries

Knowledge and Library Services—Harvard Business School

Knowledge and Library Services


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 serves the Harvard Business School community, Harvard University, and external researchers in their academic and research activities. Strategic actions taken in FY 2009 reflect the complex environment in which KLS achieves its mission.

  • In support of the School’s global initiatives, KLS focused on contemporary and historical content acquisition and licensing, on the establishment of a Global Knowledge Exchange Network with partners in Europe and Asia, and on a visit to China by the KLS executive director, the managing director of Baker Library Services, and the director of Historical Collections.
  • KLS embarked on the planning phase of a Knowledge Assets Management Program for HBS, and focused on the management of both scholarly and information assets developed for the HBS Centennial year.
  • KLS institutionalized an environmental scanning program, issuing Trends Alerts on cyber-infrastructure, the effect of scholars’ use of online resources on science and scholarship, the information behavior of the Google generation, journal business models, new data products and tools for researchers, new technologies for research and education, value metrics of scholarly work, and web design.
  • KLS participated in the HBS Global Summit, held in October 2008, as the capstone of the HBS Centennial celebration.
  • In addition, the KLS executive director served as a member of the HBS Scholarly Communications Task Force.

Research and Curricular Support

Through its “Develop/Enhance/Revise” model for continuous course support, KLS engaged in 78 projects across the three stages that the model represents: 9 Develop, 60 Enhance, and 9 Revise. This is an increase of 45% over FY 2008.

KLS supported 187 HBS faculty in their research around the world. The work ranged from fact-checking to in-depth information analysis. There were 40% more requests over FY2008.

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. In addition, KLS

  • collaborated with the Harvard–Google Project, ensuring that 6,624 titles from the Baker “Old Class” collection were digitized and made available through Google Book Search; and
  • implemented ILLiad as part of the University’s new document-delivery program known as “Scan and Deliver.” KLS also realigned its overall document-delivery and interlibrary loan processes in light of the new “Scan and Deliver” functionality and user needs.

Finally, Harvard’s provost appointed the KLS executive director to serve on the Harvard Task Force on University Libraries.

Web Services

KLS provides comprehensive web and intranet services to the entire HBS community. In FY 2009, KLS increased its scope with the formal establishment a distinct Intranet Program Office as part of KLS. The purpose of the Intranet Program Office is to ensure that the exchange of information and knowledge is optimal given the information technology investments the School makes. This includes setting standards for information discovery, information organization, and information lifecycle management.

In response to the economic downturn, KLS collaborated on the content and the design for the HBS web site, On the Global Economic Crisis. KLS continues to oversee this site and to contribute important new content to it.

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.

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 2009, 114 HBS faculty contributed to HBS Working Knowledge.

HBSWK counted 150,002 subscribers who made a total of 2,388,988 visits in FY 2009.

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 2009, Historical Collections presented an exhibit entitled Primary Sources: Contemporary Research in Baker Library Historical Collections and permanently mounted  A Concrete Symbol: The Building of the Harvard Business School, 1908–1927  in the lower level of the Baker Library/Bloomberg Center building on the HBS campus.