To stay robust and relevant, academic libraries may need to abandon hands-on collection development and big deal subscription packages in favor of patron-driven acquisitions (PDA), open access, and curation of campus specialties. College & Research Libraries released a pre-print of From stacks to the web: the transformation of academic library collecting by David W. Lewis, dean of the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) University Library. Lewis predicts that the academic library world will radically restructure itself in the next eight years. He forecasts that by 2020, effectively all content delivery will have become digital (with print on demand for the few paper diehards). Academic libraries will pack up their open stacks into a few centralized print depositories for preservation and loans. Open access witll be the dominant model for journals, many university presses will have gone under, and the rest will have reorganized into broader units that include libraries.
RLUK has published a major report by Mary Auckland on the changing needs of researchers and the effect on the subject/liaison role within libraries.
As research activities evolve, research support must evolve with them. RLUK has been keen to determine what the new requirements of researchers are, and how best these needs can be met by the library. We want to place the needs of researchers in the context of the libraries current offering, and look at how we must change to fulfil the new demands placed upon us.
This report, Re-skilling for Research, takes us a long way to mapping these requirements. It looks in detail at researchers’ information needs and begins to outline the skills and knowledge that are required to meet those needs. The Report offers a comparison of different models of library support for researchers, with valuable comparisons of current job descriptions. Finally, issues around the training opportunities for subject librarians to acquire the additional skills and knowledge they will need to fulfill their new roles are explored.
A report such as this does not provide a definite set of answers, but initiates a valuable process, highlighting a number of activities for individual institutions, associations such as RLUK, library schools, etc
This report explores patterns of national research excellence in a selection of the world’s top performing countries, the UK, the USA, China, Japan, Australia and Germany, using a new measure of excellence developed by Elsevier. National research funding systems and policies are areas of huge complexity and so the aim of this report has been to elucidate some of these processes and consider how these might affect research excellence.
This report is not a comprehensive guide to all research policies. Rather, it has been our intention to identify links, provoke thought and prompt the direction of future policy interventions. Whilst observations are made about national funding, higher education policy and its interaction with research excellence is considered in more detail.
New figures from RLUK university members have challenged the tired stereotype of academic libraries as being quiet, dusty, and increasingly empty. Figures for 2009/10 (the latest for which full data are available) show that there were over 35 million visits to RLUK’s 23 UK university member libraries. This represented an increase of 10% on the previous year and is the highest total since records began, with some institutions recording increases of over 20% in a single year.
The library retains its place as a keystone in any 21st Century university’s strategy for success in research and teaching. With expanding opening hours, innovative and flexible reconfiguring of space, and increased access to a variety of resources in a wide range of media, the library is an essential part of campus life.
Research on library trends has shown that this increase in the number of visits to RLUK libraries is reflected in an increase in the number of loans and renewals of the physical stock. The ‘traditional’ functions of the library continue to be valued, as well as the additional new services that our members are introducing. This value is reflected in the consistently high scores received for library provision in annual student satisfaction surveys.
“The modern university library is a vibrant and exciting place to be”, said Phil Sykes, Chair of RLUK. “Here at Liverpool University we have seen a 19% increase in visits over the past year. More than ever our researchers and students value both the resources and the physical environment we provide for them”.
“This is one of the sobering truths these librarians, representing a group of Illinois universities, have learned over the course of a two-year, five-campus ethnographic study examining how students view and use their campus libraries: students rarely ask librarians for help, even when they need it. The idea of a librarian as an academic expert who is available to talk about assignments and hold their hands through the research process is, in fact, foreign to most students. Those who even have the word “librarian” in their vocabularies often think library staff are only good for pointing to different sections of the stacks.”
Maybe we don’t want reminding of this, but it’s obviously very important, the above is from a story published in Inside Higher Ed about how poor most students research skills really are, and how little they understand about the help that is available to them. Interesting reading.
US internet activist, Aaron Swartz, co-founder of Demand progress, could face 35 years in prison and a US million dollar fine. It is alleged that he broke into an MIT building to download millions of articles from a non-profit journal, apparently to distribute them on file-sharing website.
CILIP produced this list of resources < http://www.cilip.org.uk/get-involved/advocacy/pages/further-education.aspx#government > to demonstrate the value and impact of Library services in Further Education (FE). It also contains a number of sources relating to Higher Education (HE). The complete long list has over 50 references; there is also a selected short list. Both are available to download. Sections include:
- FE Guidelines
- Case studies
- Impact of FE library and information services
- Support for teaching and learning
- Evaluating FE library and information services
- Evaluation of digital resources in FE
- HE in FE – opportunities and challenges
- Shared services
- Government FE policy
- General FE resources
Felix drew my attention to this [rather depressing] new report that describes the results of a joint study by OCLC Research and the UK’s Research Information Network. They surveyed the value to researchers of support provided by administration and libraries in four US and four UK universities. A lot of the focus is around institutional repositories which, compared with discipline/subject repositories, appear to be less appreciated by researchers.
MacColl, J & Jubb, M 2011, Supporting Research: Environments, Administration and Libraries OCLC Research, Dublin, Ohio.
The ACRL publication Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report is a review of the quantitative and qualitative literature, methodologies and best practices currently in place for demonstrating the value of academic libraries, developed for ACRL by Megan Oakleaf of the iSchool at Syracuse University. The primary objective of this comprehensive review is to provide academic librarians with a clearer understanding of what research about the performance of academic libraries already exists, where gaps in this research occur, and to identify the most promising best practices and measures correlated to performance.
For the full report go to : http://www.acrl.ala.org/value/
Two more articles about the Fisher Library, UNSW:
The curious case of shrinking libraries, coffee carts and ‘the dust test’ Gary Pearce (RMIT University) http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2730066.html
Everything e and d: what about the books? Andrew Wells, inCite June 2011
“It’s not often that libraries find themselves on the front page of a major newspaper. On Tuesday March 8, 2011, it was the University of New South Wales Library’s turn, right below the masthead. University Librarian Andrew Wells found himself on the frontline – and it got him thinking. The first paragraph in the front page story, titled Books Get the Shove as University Students Prefer to Do Research Online, stated the University was “throwing away thousands of books and scholarly journals as part of a policy that critics say is turning its library into a Starbucks”. The story had many inaccuracies and it is not my intention in this opinion piece to refute them. If you want to see how I responded to the UNSW community, there is a statement on collection management on the UNSW Library website. But the story -and reactions to it – have led me to consider wider questions about the role and perceptions of academic libraries. In my pessimistic moments, I often feel we fail in communicating the nature of the changes that are taking place, as well as the opportunities….” http://www.alia.org.au/publishing/incite/2011/06/ (You’ll need to logon using your ALIA member number and password. I’ll bring in a print copy next week and leave it in the tea room.