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Assessing the impact of new technology on internal operations: With special reference to the introduction of mobile phone services at UNISA Library

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to discuss issues surrounding implementation of technology in libraries. The paper aims to focus on the process of implementing mobile phone services at the University of South Africa (UNISA) Library, and how the introduction impacted on internal operations. It is based on a survey of staff concerning the impact of the first six months of the service implementation. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper is based on a limited survey conducted within the University of South Africa (UNISA) Library. It discusses the impact and potential on staff within the library and the service processes. The study provides information for management decisions if there should be changes in the operations. It outlines lessons learned. It further stresses the need to monitor and evaluate processes of introducing new technology in libraries. Findings ‐ The paper indicates that the introduction of new services should not be simply an add-on- service, but should also be followed by monitoring and evaluation of impact. Research limitations/implications ‐ The paper is limited to the University of South Africa (UNISA) Library. Applications in different settings may yield different results. Practical implications ‐ The findings could be used as lessons learned by other libraries wanting to introduce mobile phone services. Originality/value ‐ This is an original paper, not previously published providing useful information on the impact of new technology on library internal operations.
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Keywords: Africa; Libraries; Mobile communication systems

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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