International collaboration for quality: A case study of fostering collaboration across an international network of University Libraries through an activity based benchmarking project
Amos, Howard; Hart, Simon
The risks in collaborating are high, but the rewards can be significant. Like any business investment, collaboration requires considered planning, clear communication and careful relationship management. The reward of working with others outside of traditional boundaries offers great potential for realising innovation beyond what one party can achieve alone. In a climate of competition for local and national resources, sharing on an international level offers great potential for harnessing collaborative activity. This paper outlines the initial stages of establishing collaboration across an international network of university libraries through an activity-based benchmarking project. The Matariki Network of Universities includes: Dartmouth College, Durham University, Queen’s University, the University of Otago, Tübingen University, the University of Western Australia, and Uppsala University. The university libraries are collaborating on developing a series of common international measures. Rather than measuring and comparing traditional processes, the project focuses on activities that support wider institutional strategic imperatives. This will provide a better understanding of our progress in an environment of increasing need to demonstrate value and provide evidence of successful outcomes. Sharing in this endeavour on an international level will offer more scope to assess measures than could be achieved at a local or regional level. Using the collaboration continuum as a framework, the activities and approaches employed by the project team are mapped out. A variety of communication methods and tools are successfully employed in the project. Face to face meetings provide opportunities to acquire tacit knowledge to support project decisions, to build relationships, and to develop shared visions. Developing a collaborative workspace enables information exchange to suit timeframes and to promote engagement. Attention to varied and competing priorities continues to be required as the long term benefits of collaboration are considered. This case study provides strategic and practical aspects in developing a collaborative activity-based benchmarking project.
Conference: 34th Annual IATUL conference
Keywords: Collaboration; Project management; Benchmarking; Academic Libraries; Matariki Network of Universities.
Research Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper published in proceedings)