Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Saur May 27, 2008

Measuring for Sustainability: A Multi-dimensional Measurement Framework for Library and Information Services

Martie J. van Deventer and Retha Snyman
From the journal

Knowledge economy literature indicates that proof of an organization's sustainable future and growth lies in multi-dimensional evaluation rather than in the traditional one-dimensional monetary or financial capital perspective. This article attempts to provide a multi-dimensional framework within which a library and information service (L&IS) could measure its performance. As prerequisite, for implementation of the stated framework, the L&IS management (and staff) needed to understand that:

  1. measuring should be done for local development and progress using the L&IS's mission and a strategy for a sustainable future as the focal areas;

  2. sustainability requires more than providing proof of spending the stakeholder's money wisely; and

  3. adding value for the customer in isolation also does not ensure sustainability.

In order to be sustainable in the knowledge economy it is necessary to understand that the relationships between the human, structure, customer and stakeholder capitals are vital. The L&IS sector would therefore, in the first instance, be required to ensure that customers could trust that they are receiving the services and products that maximise their own productivity and asset utilization. Secondly L&IS stakeholders would need to be assured that they are receiving the best value for their investment. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, L&IS staff would have to be assured that they have the necessary skills and resources to provide for a motivating environment and that the infrastructure created will ensure continuous improvement for all.


Corresponding author: Martie J van Deventer. CSIR Information Services, PO Box 395, Pretoria 0001. E-mail:

Received: 2003-06-24
Received: 2004-02-18
Accepted: 2004-02-23
Published Online: 2008-05-27
Published in Print: 2004-March

© 2004 by K. G. Saur Verlag GmbH, Federal Republic of Germany