- A Delphi Study on the Future of Academic Libraries
- No.28, p.21-59
To predict the future of academic library activities in the 21st century, the author undertook a three round delphi study including O round study. Panelists were selected from the academic library field. 143 panelists (Japan 65, other countries 78) joined this study.
This study has three main purposes as follows:
(1) To clarify academic librarians’ predictions on changes of social environment which will influence the academic library activities in the 21st century.
(2) To evaluate the expected new services which will be introduced in future academic libraries, and predict the period of introduction as the time when academic librarians would introduce them on regular basis.
(3) To evaluate the technologies which influence future academic library activities, and predict the period of introduction as the time when academic librarians introduce them on regular basis.
From the results of the O round questionnaire, 35 statesments were formed. Panelists were asked to rank the importance of each statement, and their prediction of introducing year for each statement.
The total results were analyzed using median, average and standard deviation, and the findings of these analyses are presented in a series of tables and graphs.
In this study, the author points out the following topics:
1. Academic librarians showed more interest in changes related to “information”, than in general social change, like the reduction of working hours and low economic growth.
2. Concerning new services that academic libraries will introduce, panelists were interested in services relating to information delivery using computer and communication networks. From the answers, it was apparent that these services were already one of the standard services in academic libraries in the U.S.A.
3. Technologies which panelists were interested in, were laser disks, preservation and conservation of materials, and electronic publishing. But the interest in robot technologies and automatic translation was very low.
4. Panelists were divided two sub-groups, Japanese and American. When the results of these two sub-groups were compared, there was no great difference between Japanese and Americans in understanding the importance of each statement. But the prediction of the period of introduction of each statement were different. The answers of Japanese panelists tended to be 5-10 years later than the answers of the American panelists.
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