A Qualitative and Quantitative Assessment of the Intellectual Capital of Library and Information Science Professionals

The transformation from an industrial to a knowledge economy and society are underway. In the knowledge economy, the knowledge of people and organizations – their intellectual capital assets – are the primary factor of production and the source of wealth. This is in contrast to other kinds of capital that fueled the industrial and the agricultural economies. Librarians have understood the shift to a knowledge economy and society as a shift to a digital environment where there is an expanded use of virtual channels to deliver resources. However, the nature of the knowledge society and economy is far more expansive than a digital environment. A knowledge society is one in which all members of a society engage in knowledge transactions – in the business environment, in the social sphere, in civic activities, and in everyday environmental actions.
How do librarians currently view their role in the knowledge society? The library science literature is rich with discussions of the future of libraries in the information society, in the digital age and the knowledge society. However, the focus of much of the current literature is on advancing the technology competencies of librarians for a digital future. It does not address the potential role and value of librarians in a broad knowledge society.
Intellectual capital is knowledge that produces or creates value. It is an organization’s source of competitive advantage and it is an individual’s most valuable competitive asset. A short list of reference is available here for your background reading. An organization’s intellectual capital includes its employees' knowledge, brainpower, know-how, and processes, as well as their ability to continuously improve those processes. Intellectual capital is defined (Andriessen (2004b) (Amidon Formica and Mercier-Laurent, 2005) (Kostagiolas and Asonitis, 2009) to include (1) Human Capital – tacit knowledge and skills, and attitudes; (2) Structural Capital – culture, procedural knowledge and explicit knowledge; and (3) Relational Capital – communication, knowledge and social networks as well as overall reputation and brand. Examples of these kinds of intellectual capital assets are provided in the attached table. In order to succeed in the 21st century knowledge economy, libraries must invest in, manage and grow their intellectual capital A library’s intellectual capital is an aggregation of the intellectual capital of all of its employees. Brief descriptions and examples of librarians’ and information scientists’ intellectual captal is provided here.

We invite you to participate in a national survey to assess librarians’ and information professionals’ sense of their current intellectual capital assets. The survey design and methodology are constructed around Dr. Debra Amidon’s Intangible Capital Model. This model aligns with Andreissen’s and Amidon’s characterization of Intellectual Capital. We seek and encourage participaton from all kinds of librares, from all regions of the country, and from those who work in any functional capacity of a lbrary. Before taking part in this study, please read the consent form below and click on the "I Agree" button at the bottom of the page if you understand the statements and freely consent to participate in the study.
Consent Form
This study involves a web-based survey. The study is being conducted by Dr. Denise Bedford, the Goodyear Professor of Knowledge Management at Kent State University. It has been approved by the Kent State University Institutional Review Board. No deception is involved, and the study involves no more than minimal risk to participants (i.e., the level of risk encountered in daily life).
Participation in the study typically takes less than 20 minutes and is strictly anonymous. Participation is limited to responding to the survey. The survey may be completed entirely online. All responses are treated as confidential, and in no case will responses from individual participants be identified. Rather, all data will be pooled and published in aggregate form only. Participants should be aware, however, that the experiment is not being run from a "secure" https server of the kind typically used to handle credit card transactions, so there is a small possibility that responses could be viewed by unauthorized third parties (e.g., computer hackers).
If participants have further questions about this study or their rights, or if they wish to lodge a complaint or concern, they may contact the principal investigator, Professor Denise Bedford at (301) 787-5257; or the Kent State University Institutional Review Board, at (330) 672-2704.
If you are 18 years of age or older, understand the statements above, and freely consent to participate in the study, click on the "I Agree" button to begin the experiment.

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