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portal: Libraries and the Academy 4.2 (2004) 305-307

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Leadership, Higher Education and the Information Age: A New Era for Information Technology and Libraries, ed. Carrie E. Regenstein and Barbara I. Dewey. New York: Neal-Schuman, 2003. 233 p. $75 (ISBN 1-55570-455-7)
Organizing and Managing Information Resources on Your Campus, ed. Polley Ann McClure. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003. 153 p. $20 (ISBN 0-7879-6665- 7)

It seems that those of us who administer libraries and other information resources on campus have been looking for guidance about improving our performance since the dawn of time. The need for this kind of direction has been exacerbated as libraries, computer centers, instructional technology offices, and others jockey for position on turf that we share. These two collections of essays represent attempts to meet that demand, bringing together experts who work in a variety of settings for comment about their experiences in dealing with the problems that confront campus knowledge managers.

In Leadership, Higher Education and the Information Age, Carrie Regenstein, the associate chief information officer (CIO) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Barbara Dewey, dean of libraries at the University of Tennessee, have collected essays from participants in the inaugural Frye Leadership Institute held in Atlanta in June 2000 and sponsored by EDUCAUSE, the Council on Library Resources, and Emory University. The eleven essays presented in this book are the work of CIOs, library directors, faculty, and other administrators who have an interest and/or institutional responsibilities for managing information resources. They sit at all levels in big and small institutions and bring different perspectives to their essays.

As might be expected from such an eclectic group of people, the approach taken to these topics, the quality of the essays, and the audience addressed vary widely. Most of the essays have a philosophical bent, and much of it is a repackaging of old information and ideas of long [End Page 305] standing in librarianship. If there is a theme that ties the essays together, it is that the management of information resources is best served when managers learn to collaborate as questions are posed relating to hardware, software, and content.

However, there are some gems here. For instance, Patrick Kohrman from a branch campus of Penn State University and Dennis Trinkle from DePauw University have developed as good a design for strategic planning for information technology operations at a small campus as I have ever seen. The design could serve as a template for small universities, but it also seems scalable for larger institutions. In addition, Pattie Orr has offered a fine article on technology training based on her experience at Wellesley, and Barbara Dewey ends the volume with a good overview of the state of the digital library and the kind of leadership that will be required as these operations continue to develop. Dewey's piece will date quickly, but it does present a snapshot of where we were six months ago.

There are other contributions of note that are a bit different. Chris Ferguson and Terry Metz's essay on the cultural differences that sometimes stand in the way of the integration of libraries and computer services is not ground breaking, but it is worth reading. Elizabeth Hammond's piece on competing as an internal candidate for senior management positions gives a perspective that I have not previously encountered in the literature. It is a very personal essay, and one that should be noted.

Organizing and Managing Information Resources on Your Campus is a different kind of book. It is the seventh volume in EDUCAUSE's Leadership Strategies series and is meant to be a very practical guide to the state of the art in the management of information resources operations. Polley McClure has a well-established reputation as a successful CIO, and the authors of the essays included in this thin volume are CIOs who have gained reputations as leaders in the field. The...


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