Buckland on Serving the User

Michael Buckland, Redesigning Library Services, 1992:

The people whom libraries are to serve are making increasing use of the new information technology of computers and electronic storage, in addition to the old information technology of pen, paper, and photocopier. The new tools provide powerful options for working with data, text, sound, and images. As examples, consider the reduction in labor now required for sending an (electronic) message or text to distant collaborators, for the compilation of concordances, for complex simulations and calculations, for image enhancement, and for the analysis of large sets of numeric data. There is, predictably, an increasing departure in information handling from the simple pattern of read, think, then write. Computers are used for so much more than the traditional notion of “computing.”

Since library services are provided for people to use, two relationships become important: How will changes in the provision of library services affect library users and what they do, and how should changes in the tasks and work habits of library users affect the provision of library services?