Evaluating benchmarking as a methodology for the enhancement of quality in academic libraries
Benchmarking can be defined as a methodology where business processes, performance metrics and best practices are compared. Usually, the comparison is done between two organizations, but one can also choose different settings for comparison, e.g. when benchmarking is performed statistically, the number of organizations compared can be much larger– for example, all the libraries in one country or even in the world. The main function of benchmarking is to enhance one’s own practices and processes; if one can achieve a win-win situation, this is usually the most motivating kind of approach. We have been practicing benchmarking between the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona Library (Spain) and the University of Eastern Finland Library (Finland) for about ten years. The aim of our paper and presentation will be 1. To take a critical look at benchmarking as a process in quality enhancement, 2. To summarize the findings emerging from our benchmarking project and 3. To devise a model sheet for the most fruitful approach to benchmarking between academic libraries. The results also reveal the best practices of benchmarking in these institutions; recommendations are given for the further development of the library benchmarking and co-operation between libraries.