Bad Pets


2 dog-shaped buildings at the Dog Bark Park Inn located at Cottonwood, Idaho
Dog Bark Park Inn via Alan Levine at

It is a particular pet-peeve of mine to hear the phrase “economies of scale” when it is used in reference to anything outside of manufacturing & distribution.  The traditional definition of this term is “…the inverse relationship between the quantity produced and per-unit fixed costs; i.e. the greater the quantity of a good produced, the lower the per-unit fixed cost because these costs are spread out over a larger number of goods.” ( Source: Investopedia)

The reason I find the concept so irksome when applied to LIS is that in most cases, the terminology is used to explain away consolidation that usually results in reduced services and/or quality.  It is a stop-gap, temporary fix…if the problem can’t be resolved and cuts are inevitable – let’s spread the misery!  Why reduce one institution’s services when you can reduce two or more at the same time?

You’d think that as we have some of the brightest minds in the information field, we’d at least come up with a better word for the situation and stop borrowing from tired, business tropes…or at least get clever with our terminologies.


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