International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries

IATUL News Alerts

Archive November 2010

Transforming roles for academic librarians: Leading and participating in new partnerships

Friday, 26 November 2010 11:40:12 a.m.

As a beginning point to look at the changing roles of academic librarians, a brief scan of library websites uncovers a dizzying array of titles assigned to library professionals. Just take a look at a few of the titles of librarian positions in academic libraries these days: Repository Architecture Specialist, Bioinformationist, Intellectual Property Officer, Digital User Experience Librarian, Metadata Harvesting Librarian, Global Health Librarian, Curriculum Integration Librarian, Digital Research and Scholarship Librarian, Outreach Librarian, Interface and User Testing Librarian, Instructional Design Librarian, Chief Technology Strategist, Translational Science Information Specialist, and the list goes on.

One might ask if these new titles have confused our users or even librarians themselves. Perhaps. But, does the typical faculty member or student even know our titles. The answer I am quite sure is, “no.” Why should they care what librarians are calling themselves? They do care about what we are doing for and, perhaps more importantly, with them.

The point is not what we call ourselves. I’ll grant you an argument could be made that some of these new titles may intrigue our colleagues on campus and may even garner new respect. And, I’m the first to admit I like some of the new titles and some degree of re-branding for librarians may be desirable. It matters less what we call librarians and matters more that we have confidence that what we offer is valued and that the roles we play are in sync with and critical to the mission of our university.

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Research support services: What services do researchers need and use?

Friday, 26 November 2010 11:36:23 a.m.

The RIN and OCLC Research have undertaken a comparative study to investigate information-related support services for researchers in the UK and the US.

This collaborative research project was composed of two separate, but linked, analyses. It identifies and examines information-related support services throughout the lifecycle of the research process.

The project’s goal was to discover researchers’ needs and desires in a small sample of UK and US universities and to identify the significant patterns, intersections, gaps and issues from researchers’ points of view, whatever the source of such services.

This study documents the nature and scope of research support services, providing examples of good practice, recommending areas where new practice might emerge, and identifying possible areas and scope for collaboration within and between institutions.

Comparing national academic practices will provide evidence and encourage coordination to meet the needs of academic research internationally.

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Trends in large-scale subject repositories

Friday, 26 November 2010 11:34:50 a.m.

Noting a lack of broad empirical studies on subject repositories, the authors investigate subject repository trends that reveal common practices despite their apparent isolated development. Data collected on year founded, subjects, software, content types, deposit policy, copyright policy, host, funding, and governance are analyzed for the top ten most-populated subject repositories. Among them, several trends exist such as a multi- and interdisciplinary scope, strong representation in the sciences and social sciences, use of open source repository software for newer repositories, acceptance of pre- and post-prints, moderated deposits, submitter responsibility for copyright, university library or departmental hosting, and discouraged withdrawal of materials. In addition, there is a loose correlation between repository size and age. Recognizing the diversity of all subject repositories, the authors recommend that tools for assessment and evaluation be developed to guide subject repository management to best serve their respective communities.

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Taming the metadata beast: ILOX

Friday, 26 November 2010 11:33:27 a.m.

We propose a framework for organizing multiple metadata specifications in a container that can be handled as a whole. This framework, named Information for Learning Object eXchange (ILOX), is developed as part of the IMS Learning Object Discovery & Exchange (LODE) specification that aims to facilitate the discovery and retrieval of learning objects stored across more than one collection. While thus far ILOX has been demonstrated to resolve a number of challenges specific to the e-learning domain, it is a generic framework that can be profiled to organize metadata about any type of digital content.

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Truth be told: How college students evaluate and use information in the digital age.

Friday, 26 November 2010 11:31:42 a.m.

A report about college students and their information-seeking strategies and research difficulties, including findings from 8,353 survey respondents from college students on 25 campuses distributed across the U.S. in spring of 2010, as part of Project Information Literacy. Respondents reported taking little at face value and were frequent evaluators of Web and library sources used for course work, and to a lesser extent, of Web content for personal use. Most respondents turned to friends and family when asking for help with evaluating information for personal use and instructors when evaluating information for course research. Respondents reported using a repertoire of research techniques—mostly for writing papers—for completing one research assignment to the next, though few respondents reported using Web 2.0 applications for collaborating on assignments. Even though most respondents considered themselves adept at finding and evaluating information, especially when it was retrieved from the Web, students reported difficulties getting started with research assignments and determining the nature and scope of what was required of them. Overall, the findings suggest students use an information-seeking and research strategy driven by efficiency and predictability for managing and controlling all of the information available to them on college campuses, though conducting comprehensive research and learning something new is important to most, along with passing the course and the grade received. Recommendations are included for how campus-wide stakeholders—faculty, librarians, and higher education administrators—can work together to help inform pedagogies for a new century.

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The future of publishing

Friday, 26 November 2010 11:30:13 a.m.

From newspapers to popular magazines, from scholarly journals to e-books, from smart phones to print-on-demand “vending” machines, publishing is more complicated than it once was. The Internet has created new patterns of using information—both in terms of creating content as well as consuming it. Publishers are blending their print business with new digital brands, adding a new level of engagement. Thousands of individuals, companies, schools and businesses have taken the tools of literary and scholarly production into their own hands.

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Wait! You canít retire without sharing that with us

Monday, 1 November 2010 8:31:32 a.m.

Retaining the institutional knowledge of librarians who will soon leave the profession.

As libraries face the departure of staff with well-honed reference skills, years of experience in the community, and deep knowledge of the collection and traditional resources, how can we identify and retain their departing expertise—the gold in the library’s intellectual vault? How can we ensure that newly minted employees with e-knowledge skills have access to and a growing appreciation of what is most valuable in traditional knowledge? Now, perhaps more than ever before in the history of our profession, what we do and what we are will be affected by retirement’s brain drain. We need to be proactive in finding ways to hold on to valuable skills and knowledge. This is more than just succession planning; it is the redefinition and reinforcement of our core services and values.

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Building Research Cyberinfrastructure at Small/Medium Research Institutions

Monday, 1 November 2010 8:30:08 a.m.

• While cyberinfrastructure was initially seen as support for scientific and engineering research, scholars in nearly every discipline increasingly require the same range of support to enhance their studies.
• The nearly ubiquitous demand for cyberinfrastructure places an especially heavy burden on institutions not in the top tier of the research hierarchy.
• Defining research needs, setting priorities for research support, developing support strategies, developing a funding model, and building partnerships to support research are key steps in building research cyberinfrastructure at small/medium research institutions.

Along with teaching and service, research is a critical component of the mission at most universities. Creating and sharing new knowledge across a broad range of disciplines enhances the intellectual life of both faculty and students, and research productivity often serves as a yardstick by which university reputations are measured. At larger universities, research may be deeply embedded in the institutional culture, while at small/medium research institutions, a research agenda might require incubation, nurturing, and development of appropriate support. Small/medium research institutions might have fewer large projects, less indirect cost recovery, and fewer possible economies of scale than large universities. Nevertheless, research remains important to the well-being of those institutions, and their faculty expect and deserve the best support possible.

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Gone Mobile? (Mobile Libraries Survey 2010)

Monday, 1 November 2010 8:28:35 a.m.

Mobile catalogs, SMS reference, and QR codes are on the rise—how are libraries adapting to mobile culture?

Librarians, like patrons and researchers, are caught between traditional library service models and the promise of evolving information technologies. In recent years, professional conferences have strategically featured programs and presentations geared toward building a mobile agenda and adapting or adopting services to meet new demands of mobile users. Yet for every librarian with a mobile success story, there are many more seeking to identify how, when, and why to develop mobile library services. Adding to the complexities of the mobile puzzle, even vanguard libraries report relatively little overall usage of mobile services. So while mobile interest and capabilities are increasing, libraries with taut budgets must carefully weigh the benefits of specialized services with the costs of delivery.

To set a baseline on the extent of current mobile services and to identify desired features, LJ recently conducted an email survey of public and academic libraries. Results from the 483 respondents indicate that many libraries are endeavoring to participate in the mobile environment, either by implementing or planning to implement mobile services. Overall, 44% of academic libraries and 34% of public libraries currently offer some type of mobile services to their customers; two out of five libraries of all types, academic and public, report plans to “go mobile” in the near future.

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The Simple Publishing Interface (SPI)

Monday, 1 November 2010 8:26:10 a.m.

The Simple Publishing Interface (SPI) is a new publishing protocol, developed under the auspices of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) workshop on learning technologies. This protocol aims to facilitate the communication between content producing tools and repositories that persistently manage learning resources and metadata. The SPI work focuses on two problems: (1) facilitating the metadata and resource publication process (publication in this context refers to the ability to ingest metadata and resources); and (2) enabling interoperability between various components in a federation of repositories. This article discusses the different contexts where a protocol for publishing resources is relevant. SPI contains an abstract domain model and presents several methods that a repository can support. An Atom Publishing Protocol binding is proposed that allows for implementing SPI with a concrete technology and enables interoperability between applications.

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