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Harvard University Library Notes / September 2007 / No. 1339
What's in a Name: HBS Knowledge and Library Services
The iconic bell tower of Baker Library/Bloomberg Center dominates the skyline at Harvard Business School (HBS). Researchers fill the reading rooms, explore Historical Collections, and capitalize on assets made available through Knowledge and Information Assets.
But as of September, a new entity has taken shape at HBS. Known as Knowledge and Library Services, the new unit is headed by Executive Director and ULC member Mary Lee Kennedy. Her newly named unit is charged formally with operating Baker Library Services, Historical Collections, Web and Intranet Services (for the entire Business School community), and Knowledge and Information Assets for HBS, as well as producing practitioner-focused information products such as the flagship product, Working Knowledge.
"Our new name," Kennedy recently stated, "reflects our mission, which is to enable the exchange of ideas, expertise, and information across the Business School community."
Kennedy was quick to stress that Baker Library and its holdings are not only completely intact, but, in fact, they will benefit from the strengths of the new, dynamic, and multidisciplinary organization.
"Our team demographics have changed," Kennedy stated. "Today, in order to deliver on our mission, 50% of our group is library-science-focused. But that's not the case for the other 50%. We have journalists, statisticians, computer scientists, and web designers. We've created a melting pot for information and knowledge management and named it Knowledge and Library Services."
Library users should not be directly affected by the new name. Baker Library holdings will continue to appear in the Harvard University Library catalogs, including HOLLIS and VIA.
"Information is something that we all use," Kennedy said, "and HBS Knowledge and Library Services is a knowledge-based organization in support of knowledge creation at HBS overall and the University as a whole. Libraries have a very fundamental role in knowledge-creating organizations.
"We must ask a number of questions. How do we provide access to relevant information regardless of the origin of that information, specifically in the context of the work that people are doing? How can we take into account the way people interact with information on electronic devices? How can we leverage IT so that information is easily findable, usable, and meaningful? How do people create new knowledge, and how do we support that in physical and virtual environments? There is huge middle ground between traditional libraries and traditional IT, that we have taken on in our organization of Knowledge and Library Services."