International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries

IATUL News Alerts

Archive January 2014

Coherence at Scale and the Research Library of the Future

Friday, 31 January 2014 5:14:54 p.m.

The dilemmas that higher education library and IT professionals are now facing and the way we characterize them—centralizing or decentralizing—or the ways we distinguish between them—the library or the IT department—have very much to do with the origins of the modern research university and its growth and development in the period that many people call "the age of modernity." In the mid-to-late nineteenth century, many people thought that the increasingly complex world that was emerging could be managed by reducing each problem to discrete parts and tasks. The library embodied this idea: the separation of spaces into distinct work areas and the development of library stacks, file drawers, and filing cabinets were closely linked with modern corporate techniques of classifying information and categorizing tasks. The birth of the silos that we often bemoan in our libraries, our colleges and universities, and other parts of our world seems to have begun in a moment when we thought that we could build a universal library, a vast research university, a giant corporation, and even a powerful nation-state by breaking up the work into discrete tasks.

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Special Issue on the Research Data Alliance

Friday, 31 January 2014 5:12:43 p.m.

 The January/February issue of D-Lib Magazine is largely devoted to the Research Data Alliance (RDA), a new organization that we feel will be of great interest to our readers. As you will discover as you go through the issue, RDA has gotten off to an extremely strong start, catching and helping to propel the wave of activity in what our guest editorial refers to as "the collection and analysis of previously unimaginable quantities of data". RDA is intended to be a bottom-up organization bringing together scientists and data practitioners to discuss, plan, and help build the infrastructure needed to bridge disciplinary and operational boundaries and mine the potential riches of the data flood. We do not, of course, know precisely where this will lead or whether RDA will achieve its most ambitious goals. We do know, however, that in the relatively brief time since its foundation, RDA has already brought together disparate groups and begun to build consensus in various areas.
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Organizing, Contextualizing, and Storing Legacy Research Data: A Case Study of Data Management for Librarians

Friday, 31 January 2014 5:11:16 p.m.

Librarians are increasingly expected to work with researchers to organize and store large amounts of data. In this case study, data management novices undertake responsibility for a legacy public health research dataset. The steps taken to understand and manage the legacy dataset are explained. As a result of the legacy dataset experience, the authors of this study identified three main issues to resolve during a data management project: file organization, contextualizing data, and storage and access platforms. Finally, recommendations are made to help librarians working with legacy data identify solutions to these problems.

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The Value and Impact of University Libraries

Friday, 31 January 2014 5:09:30 p.m.

The following survey of resources has been compiled by CAUL's Quality & Assessment Advisory Committee (CQAAC):

For about 10 years there has been significant debate across the library profession on the merit of retaining traditional measures and the growing need for a new, alternative methodology. For the sake of simplicity the traditional method may be characterized as ‘counting’ – the size of collections, the size of the budget, the size of staffing complement, the number of issues/ downloads, and various ratios of collections & expenditure. Underpinning this is an assumption that bigger or more equates to better. However, in recent years newer measures have been promoted as qualitatively worthier illustrations of the use of the library by the communities served. This has shifted focus from ‘size’ to ‘impact’, and as newer suggests this necessitates the collection of other data. The emphasis has, therefore, changed from statistical data on user transactions to information about user needs and library services aligned to meet those needs. The scope of ‘new’ information includes: data from rubrics to assess the effectiveness of information literacy on outcomes; data from direct interaction with faculty & students for instance via Liaison Librarians; composite data for profiling of market segments (including personas & users journeys). The purpose here is not only to illustrate that (some) library resources have been used (quantitative data) but that resources & services are relevant and may be correlated to outcomes (qualitative information). This supports a shift of focus to the tailoring or customisation of services to ensure that outputs are aligned with the needs of various user groups.

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Supporting Public Access to Research Results

Friday, 31 January 2014 5:08:08 p.m.

We posed the question of what services an academic library can best provide to support the NIH Public Access Policy. We approached the answer to this question through education, collaboration, and tool-building. As a result, over the last four years we have engaged over 1,500 participants in discussions of public access to research results, forged alliances with dozens of partners, and built online tools to ease the process of complying with the NIH policy. We conclude that librarians working in collaboration with other key constituencies can have a positive impact on improving access to the results of scientific research.

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Scholarly Communication: Cultural Contexts, Evolving Models

Friday, 31 January 2014 5:03:45 p.m.

Despite predictions that emerging technologies will transform how research is conducted, disseminated, and rewarded, why do we see so little actual shift in how scholars in the most competitive and aspirant institutions actually disseminate their research? I describe research on faculty values and needs in scholarly communication that confirm a number of conservative tendencies in publishing. These tendencies, influenced by tenure and promotion requirements, as well as disciplinary cultures, have both positive and negative consequences. Rigorous research could inform development of good practices and policies in academic publishing, as well as counter rhetoric concerning the future of peer review and scholarly communication.
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IATUL Board of Directors - Call for Applications

Friday, 31 January 2014 4:40:02 p.m.

Due to unforeseen circumstances IATUL is renewing the call for interested and qualified candidates to represent the Americas on its board of directors.
The International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries is calling for interested and qualified candidates to serve on its board of directors.
IATUL is looking for candidates to represent the Americas on its board of directors, the executive body of IATUL responsible for the further development of the association.
According to the IATUL constitution ordinary and affiliated members may propose representatives for election. Nominations shall name the candidate and shall show evidence of the candidate's consent. The nomination must have a proposer and seconder, who must both be official representatives of a member institution. The decision as to who shall be invited to join the board will be made by the board and presented to the general assembly for approval at the annual conference. New board members will be expected to take up their office on the 1 January of the following year. Members of the board are elected for a term of three years, and shall be eligible for immediate re-election to one additional term.
Candidates are expected to take an active part in the endeavours of the IATUL Board of Directors, especially by attending board meetings and taking on responsibilities related to assigned tasks and roles on the board. 
Nominations may be sent to the IATUL office ( by the end of April 2014 and name the candidate, who must be the official representative of his or her institution.
Please use the nomination form.
On behalf of the IATUL Board of Directors
Reiner Kallenborn
IATUL President