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Quality Systems in LIS – The real key to quality

A personal and pragmatic view

Andy Dawson

School of Library, Archive & Information Studies



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Contents of this presentation

  • Some general thoughts on the success - and failure - of quality systems in LIS
  • What are the factors in achieving a successful system?
  • Some personal thoughts
  • The real key to quality

  • Please feel free to interrupt & discuss throughout!

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Quality in LIS

  • Background of LIS Quality implementation in the UK
  • Approaches to quality
    • Quality Circles
    • Customer Care
    • Quality Assurance
    • Total Quality Management
    • Investors In People
    • Chartermarks, Service Level Agreements
    • Performance Indicators, Benchmarking
    • Best Value

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Summarise approaches to quality as

  • Quality philosophies
  • Quality systems
  • Quality mechanisms
  • Quality mentality

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What has worked?

  • All of the above!
  • WHEN:
    • Commitment to a quality ideal
    • Practical, measureable, appropriate systems
    • Involvement

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What hasn’t worked?

  • All of the above!
  • WHEN
    • Quality is not truly recognised or properly defined
      • Quality is subjective
      • Quality and fitness for purpose
      • Quality vs value
    • Operational needs are overridden
      • The quest for an external standard
      • Bureaucracy
    • The system is subverted
      • People don’t care
      • The means become the ends

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  • What should we be looking for?
  • The importance of a quality mentality
  • The importance of a mechanism to implement it
  • The importance of an operational needs basis
  • The importance of PEOPLE

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When should we address these issues?

  • All the time!
  • Planning
  • Development
  • Implementation
  • Operation
  • Maintenance

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How do we make it work?

  • Vision
  • Leadership by example
  • Transparency and honesty
  • Teamwork and involvement
  • Proof by execution
  • “Keep your eyes on the prize”

  • Doug Phrang’s point of view

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Some personal thoughts

  • On the UK experience
  • Pervasiveness of true quality management
  • Importance of commitment
  • Internal and external use of quality systems
  • Dangers of subversion
  • Need to define your own system
  • Importance of including formal, verifiable mechanisms
  • Real benefits of a quality system
  • Being serious – “The house that Jack built”

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The Continuous Improvement Model

  • Analyse
  • Design
  • Implement
  • Review

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The real key to quality

  • Our systems are FOR people
  • They are created BY people
  • They are delivered THROUGH people
  • Quality comes by understanding and generating the INVOLVEMENT of people
  • The PEOPLE are more important than the SYSTEM
  • People drive the system –
    NOT the other way round!

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Thank you for listening – please ask questions!

Andy Dawson

School of Library, Archive & Information Studies


EBIB: Conference Proceedings, no. 1
    A. Dawson: Quality Systems in LIS - The real key to quality