Process Review Blog

Think in large enough wholes…

History is full of examples of people who took too narrow a view of a problem they faced. The French defensive Maginot Line along the border with Hitler’s Germany was bypassed when the German army swept through Belgium.



Another example: the 2000 Millennium exhibition was doomed to financial failure before it opened by the design of the Dome (in contrast to the Great Exhibition of 1851, guaranteed a profit before it opened, in part due to the cunning design of its central building – the Crystal Palace).


On a far more modest scale it is important to think in large enough wholes when considering library processes. An obvious example in a public library context is local demographics where an area with a large young immigrant population has needs and communication preferences that are different from an area of mostly older people.

2010_11_23_ILL There are more subtle traps though. For example, concerns about Interloan (ILL) processing have arisen on a number of occasions in Process Reviews that we have supported. ILLs are just one way of fulfilling a request from a borrower. This request might indeed be met by an ILL, but a suitable item might alternatively be found in the local catalogue, or specially purchased.

ILL processing should not therefore be thought of merely as a self-contained process. The wider context of borrower needs and acquisition handling need to be considered too. Even if you are not in a position to think big, at least you can think broad.

Leave a Reply