International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries

IATUL News Alerts

Archive October 2010

Call for papers - IATUL 2011

Friday, 1 October 2010 2:30:50 p.m.

The call for papers for the 32nd IATUL Conference in Warsaw, Poland from 29 May - 2 June 2011 is now live and the closing date for submissions is 8 November 2010.

The theme of the conference is ‘Libraries for an Open Environment: strategies, technologies and partnerships.’

The themes to be considered for contribution focus on:

A. Library strategy for advocating Open Scholarly Communication and Open Access:
1. Library partnership for Scholarly Communication (self-archiving, disciplinary repositories, national repositories) — ways for providing navigation and searching; EU programs for co-ordinating Open Access across Europe or between countries;
2. Costs and benefits of Open Access – the impact on the university and the library budget; bibliometric studies of OA;
3. Quality assessment of library services as a part of university certification and rankings based on an open scholarly communication.

B. Library and university partnerships for implementing new tools and methods of learning:
1. Blended Learning and E-learning information literacy programs for Long Life Learning projects at the science and technology universities (targeted at teenagers, seniors as well as university regular patrons);
2. Open Resources for Higher Education – the library’s role for archiving and circulation;
3. e-Learning platforms in the libraries for communication with patrons.

C. Library organization management for implementing open environment:
1. Needs for new librarian’s skills and qualification (LLL project for librarians);
2. Managing change in libraries to improve access to Open Resources.

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Value in Libraries: Assessing Organizational Performance

Friday, 1 October 2010 2:28:49 p.m.

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has published a special issue of Research Library Issues (RLI) on demonstrating library value by assessing organizational performance. The special issue focuses on ways in which ARL assessment tools help libraries improve their services and programs and show their value to stakeholders.

In an introductory essay, " Library Value May Be Proven, If Not Self-Evident," guest editor Martha Kyrillidou, Senior Director, ARL Statistics and Service Quality Programs, highlights the range of articles in this issue and discusses the need to assess, improve, and prove the value of library services.

Other articles in the special issue are:
• A Decade of Assessment at a Research-Extensive University Library Using LibQUAL+®
o Colleen Cook and Michael Maciel
• LibQUAL+® and the “Library as Place” at the University of Glasgow
o Jacqui Dowd
• Service Quality Assessment with LibQUAL+® in Challenging Times: LibQUAL+® at Cranfield University
o Selena Killick
• ARL Profiles: Qualitative Descriptions of Research Libraries in the Early 21st Century
o William Gray Potter, Colleen Cook, and Martha Kyrillidou
• The ARL Library Scorecard Pilot: Using the Balanced Scorecard in Research Libraries
o Martha Kyrillidou
• Lib-Value: Measuring Value and Return on Investment of Academic Libraries
o Regina Mays, Carol Tenopir, and Paula Kaufman
• The Value of Electronic Resources: Measuring the Impact of Networked Electronic Services (MINES for Libraries®) at the Ontario Council of University Libraries
o Catherine Davidson and Martha Kyrillidou

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How Much Space Does a Library Need? Justifying Collections Space in an Electronic Age

Friday, 1 October 2010 2:27:14 p.m.

In 2002, plans to merge Penn State's Physical Sciences Library and Mathematics Library provoked a controversy in the Eberly College of Science over the size of the library needed to support its departments. The College contended that a physical collection no more than 5 years old was adequate. A study of astronomy, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and statistics faculty publications showed that a much older collection was required to include 90% of their cited references. How much older varied by discipline. These data were then used to determine collection space allocations in the new library. A follow-up study in 2007 found that the patterns were generally still valid. Although the results are specific to Penn State, the data may be similar to other U.S. institutions with similar degree programs. The method is easily adaptable to other institutions.

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E-book readers: what are librarians to make of them?

Friday, 1 October 2010 2:24:33 p.m.

A recurring thread in many library mailing lists in recent years has been e-book readers and, more specifically, what are library services meant to do with them? In July 2009 on LIS-SCONUL, Bournemouth and Staffordshire Universities said they were experimenting with e-book readers; in October 2009 on LIS-E-RESOURCES City University London and the University of Rome said the same thing, with similar messages appearing on the CoFHE (CILIP’s Colleges of Further and Higher Education group) list and LIS-LINK. So this subject keeps resurfacing. The devices have been around for a long time but only now are they entering their adolescence.

E-book readers have been an interest of mine for some time. In my JISC role I have done blog posts about e-book readers, demonstrated them at library managers’ meetings and dealt with queries from universities and colleges about them.In my other job at Aberystwyth University I have also had queries from other university librarians and written a report on e-book readers for information services back in October 2008, after we had purchased our first devices, and on World Book Day 2009 our graduate trainees demonstrated them as part of a stall, letting users try them out in exchange for their feedback. I will be doing the same at our forthcoming ‘New Technology and Innovations Day’.

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Impact Measures in Research Libraries

Friday, 1 October 2010 2:08:51 p.m.

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has published Impact Measures in Research Libraries, SPEC Kit 318, which explores the tools and methods libraries use to gauge the difference they make for their user community, the topics assessment practitioners probe and the results they get, the impacts of impact assessment, and whether institutions that publicize positive impact evidence seen a difference in the level of financial or political support from their parent institutions.

The survey asked ARL member libraries whether they have investigated five major areas of possible library impact: correlations between measures of library use and student success pre- or post graduation; correlations between participation in library instruction and information literacy skills; correlations between measures of library use and research output; attempts to calculate how much financial value the library contributes to the parent institution or user community; and any other areas of library impact. Within each of these five areas, the survey asked which measures were correlated, which methods were used to collect data, what conclusions were drawn, who instigated the study, whether the study was one-time or ongoing, whether the results were shared outside the library, and whether the results were used to influence decisions at the library or parent institution. By the March deadline, responses had been submitted by 55 of the 124 ARL member libraries for a response rate of 44%.

Nineteen respondents (34%) report having conducted a study in one or more of the five impact areas and 13 others (24%) are planning to conduct studies. Relatively speaking, library instruction is the area that has seen the most impact assessment activities; 15 respondents (27%) have studied this area and 12 others (22%) have plans to. Each of the other areas has been studied by between one and five libraries; between three and nine other libraries plan to conduct studies in the next 12 months. The remaining 23 respondents (42%) report their library has not and has no plans to study impact measures.

While impact assessment appears to be in its infancy for research libraries, it is encouraging to learn that those activities that took place have been initiated by libraries; that among the surveyed areas, correlating instruction with measures of student success is getting more established; and that some of the assessment results have influenced decision making at the library or the parent institution level.

This SPEC Kit includes documentation from respondents in the form of impact assessment goals, user surveys, and calculations of library value.

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Trends in the finances of UK higher education libraries: 1999-2009

Friday, 1 October 2010 2:04:41 p.m.

The last decade has been a period of unprecedented change for university libraries. The rapid growth in numbers of students and staff across the higher education sector has been accompanied by the move to a substantially-digital environment, with some fundamental changes in how libraries and their users operate.

As they have responded to new developments over the past decade, and changed their operations, most university libraries have seen continued growth in their budgets in real terms. The next few years are going to be much more difficult in financial terms. Libraries therefore face a period in which they will have to cope with continued rapid, perhaps transformational, change, accompanied by reductions in their budgets.

In that context, this briefing paper looks at how the financial position of libraries in the higher education sector has changed over the period between 1999 and 2009 (the latest year for which statistics are available). It is based on an analysis of data collected by SCONUL, and also draws some comparisons with the US. For some twenty years SCONUL has collected annual figures for a wide range of activities and costs amongst its members in UK higher education. SCONUL data are available in annual volumes from academic year 1993-94 onwards.

Overall, this briefing presents a picture in which library expenditure has been rising in real terms, but not as fast as expenditure – and activity – in the HE sector as a whole. So libraries face some real challenges as they prepare for a more difficult financial climate, with real and substantial cuts in expenditure.
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E-Science and Data Support Services

Friday, 1 October 2010 2:01:59 p.m.

A Study of ARL Member Institutions, which synthesizes data collected in a 2009 survey with subsequent interviews of several responding libraries. Authored by Catherine Soehner, Catherine Steeves, and Jennifer Ward, the study was sponsored by the ARL E-Science Working Group to build an understanding of how libraries can contribute to e-science activities in their institution and identify organizations and institutions that have similar interests in e-science to leverage research library interests.

The study draws on data from 57 of 123 ARL member libraries (a 46% response rate for the survey). Over 75% of survey respondents reported that their institution either provides infrastructure or support services for e-science or is planning infrastructure for such activities. This finding demonstrates research libraries' rapid engagement in e-science in recent years. Both the survey and the authors' interviews detail how institutions are quickly rising to meet the challenge of managing data and their diverse strategies for doing so in the face of significant challenges regarding infrastructure, funding, and staff resources.

The report presents the findings of the survey of ARL member libraries and also includes six case studies compiled by the authors to elaborate library e-science activities and collaborations. Strategies for resourcing e-science services, staffing patterns, and the influence of institutional culture are explored. In addition to the case studies and survey findings, the report includes a bibliography of related articles, reports, and Web sites, along with the survey instrument and a selection of recent research library position descriptions with significant e-science support components. A free and open webcast is being planned for the fall.

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