International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries

IATUL News Alerts

Archive March 2009

ACRL 2009 Strategic Thinking Guide for Academic Librarians in the New Economy

Monday, 30 March 2009 10:53:46 a.m.

This project was originally conceived as an environmental scan that would generate discussion at the ACRL 14th National Conference in March 2009. In the wake of dramatic economic developments, government action, and a flood of higher education trends reports, we felt that a strategic thinking guide would better complement the current literature. This guide considers three important drivers in the current environment and poses questions to stimulate conversations and action in your libraries and on your campuses. Along the way, we point to the work of higher education associations, private foundations, government agencies, and individual experts for further “assisted reading.”1

The ACRL 2009 Strategic Thinking Guide examines the current economic and financial turmoil affecting all of higher education. The current situation is so critical that Gordon Gee, president of The Ohio State University, speaking at the American Council on Education annual meeting in February 2009, issued a call for “intentional upheaval at our colleges and universities just when fiscal chaos already places us on the edge.”2 Our choice, he said, is between “reinvention or extinction.” Gee urged leaders to resist the temptation “to hunker down, hide out, take refuge in the fox hole, and wait for the storm to pass.” The federal government is leading the way: President Barack Obama’s 2010 budget proposal was immediately hailed for its “blockbuster ideas,” “sweeping changes,” and “bold and breathtaking set of proposals.”3 Over the past decade, notable library leaders have also called upon librarians to embrace systemic change; however, the stakes have never been high enough to make radical reinvention imperative.

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Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning

Monday, 30 March 2009 10:49:33 a.m.

Higher education is in the midst of transformative (but exciting) change. Over the next decade, the practices of teaching and learning “will undergo fundamental change” as universities and colleges respond to global, social, political, technological, and learning research trends. A duality of change – conceptual and technological – faces higher education. Large-scale transitions, such as were evident in the democratic revolutions across Europe in the late 18th century (conceptual) and industrial revolution in the late 18th and early 19th century (technological), transform the large institutions of society: government, education, and religion.

Today, the duality of conceptual (new models of education, advancement of social learning theory) and technological (elearning, mobile devices, learning networks) revolutions offers the prospect of transformative change in teaching and learning.

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Harnessing the Power of Digital Data for Science and Society

Monday, 30 March 2009 10:46:05 a.m.

January 2009 report of the Interagency Working Group on Digital Data to the National Science and Technology Council.

The Interagency Working Group on Digital Data of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Science has released a report describing a strategy to promote preservation and access to digital scientific data.

The report furthers the goals of President Obama’s open government policy, including the need to “disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use” and represents a step forward in the Data.Gov concept of Federal CIO Vivek Kundra to “democratize data and give data access to the public.” The report provides a strategy to ensure that digital scientific data produced by and for the Federal government can be reliably preserved for maximum access in catalyzing progress in science and society.

Digital imaging, sensors, analytical instrumentation and other technologies are becoming increasingly central to all areas of science. Increases in computing power drive advances in modeling and simulation that extend the reach of science. Improvements in networking increase access to information, instrumentation, and colleagues around the globe. Digital data are the common thread linking these powerful trends in science.

“Science and engineering research and education are increasingly digital,” said Dr. Arden Bement, Director of the National Science Foundation and Co-Chair of the Committee on Science. “New observation systems are prime examples, expanding the scales for conducting observations from the sub-atomic to the cosmic; from a billionth of a degree to millions of degrees; and from sub- picoseconds to light years. A broad framework for promoting continuing access and interoperability for scientific data is key to progress in this digital age.”

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Learning Spaces

Monday, 30 March 2009 10:38:29 a.m.

EDUCAUSE Review Volume 44, Number 2, March/April 2009 (US)

To create sustainable learning spaces, we must Partner with others for Pedagogy-rich designs, Assess learning in the new spaces, Integrate ideas for Innovation, and Revisit design methodologies.

Learning Spaces: Involving Faculty to Improve Pedagogy

The interplay between focused analysis of the curriculum and pedagogical style, and the implications for the way classrooms are set up and equipped, can have major dividends for both students and faculty.

Assessment: The Key to Creating Spaces That Promote Learning

Without assessment of learning spaces, institutions may miss the important connections between context, institutional culture, students' specific needs, and pedagogical practices that yield optimal learning.

Signposts of the Revolution?
What We Talk about When We Talk about Learning Spaces

Innovative efforts to design new learning environments point to a path for the future; following this path requires using a common language to describe learning environments and their aspirations.

Space Strategies for the New Learning Landscape

Revisiting design methodologies and applying the Learning Landscape approach leads to campuses that are "networks" of places for learning, discovery, and discourse between students, faculty, staff, and the wider community.


On the basis of constructivist learning theory, networked information technology, and a new kind of student and faculty, the traditional educational layers are inverting–a process nowhere more evident than in learning spaces.

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‘TILE’ project explores challenges facing libraries in the changing environment

Monday, 30 March 2009 10:32:11 a.m.

A new briefing paper has just been published by JISC, which informs dialogue around the current and future role of the library in a rapidly changing technological landscape.

The Modelling the Library Domain briefing paper resulted from JISC’s TILE project (Towards the Implementation of Library 2.0 and the eFramework); a programme of work with two key aims. Firstly, TILE investigated how libraries have incorporated web 2.0 applications and services into what they already do. Secondly, it sought to develop a draft conceptual framework (Library Domain Model) based on services it has specified for the international e-Framework. The project also makes recommendations on how the library community could the make the best use of web 2.0 approaches.

The TILE project was inspired by several key studies which indicated that libraries needed to review their services to remain more responsive and relevant to users’ changing needs and expectations in the web 2.0 world. These authoritative studies include the JISC and SCONUL Library Management Systems Study and the JISC and the British Library ‘Google Generation ’ report.

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An Awfully Big Adventure: Strathclyde’s Digital Library Plan

Monday, 30 March 2009 10:27:12 a.m.

Derek Law describes how the University of Strathclyde is choosing to give priority to e-content and services instead of a new building.
By Scottish standards, Strathclyde is a new university, being a mere two hundred years old. It is a large university with 20,000 students, some forty departments covering most disciplines other than medicine and a huge programme of continuing professional development (CPD). Set up as ‘a place of useful learning’ it has always specialised in the applied disciplines – business, engineering, professional training (teachers, lawyers and social workers) and has set out to be quite different from its better-known competitors. But in a world ruled by league tables, where it typically finishes fourth or fifth amongst the Scottish universities (with spikes of excellence!) it was determined that in the current strategic plan we should find ways of attempting to move all our activities into the top three. It was made quite clear that where excellence and methods of achieving could be identified, investment would be forthcoming. By extension, disinvestment would take place in underperforming areas. The strategic plan also quite specifically proposed ‘A revitalised and contemporary approach to the provision of library services and information resources.’

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eSciDoc Project

Monday, 30 March 2009 10:24:07 a.m.

eSciDoc is an eResearch environment developed specifically for use by scientific and scholarly communities to collaborate globally and interdisciplinary. It comprises a set of services and solutions that enable innovative eScience scenarios: Scientists, librarians, and software developers can work with research data, create novel forms of publications, and establish new ways of scientific and scholarly communication.

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The International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI) 2009 Public Conference

Friday, 27 March 2009 9:06:07 a.m.

The International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI) 2009 Public Conference: Managing Data for Science, will be held June 9-10, 2009, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. To register or for more information, visit:

The University’s Role in the Dissemination of Research and Scholarship — A Call to Action

Thursday, 5 March 2009 4:41:37 p.m.

The production of new knowledge through the practices of research and scholarship lies at the heart of the university’s mission. Yet, without effective and ongoing dissemination of knowledge, the efforts of researchers and scholars are wasted. Dissemination is thus a core responsibility of the university.

Traditionally, universities have relied largely on formal publication systems to ensure dissemination and their criti¬cal function in vetting new scholarship, but digital technologies have opened the door to an additional and broader range of dissemination possibilities and have generated entirely new forms of content that must be shared. This shift demands that universities take on a much more active role in ensuring dissemination of the knowledge produced by their institutions — both now and in the future. The shift also positions universities to play an increasingly active role in dissemination — particularly of new kinds of content.

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Ensuring a Bright Future for Research Libraries

Wednesday, 4 March 2009 12:39:00 p.m.

The RIN guide, Ensuring a bright future for research libraries: a guide for vice-chancellors and senior institutional managers which aims to inform this audience on how to ensure library and information services keep pace with the evolving needs of researchers. The guidance was written by the working group set up to consider the findings and conclusions from the RIN and RLUK report on Researchers’ use of academic libraries and their services (April 2007).

Good library and information services are an essential underpinning for research, just as they are for successful teaching and learning. Success in research, at both national and institutional levels, depends critically on the quality of the information services to which researchers have access.

Digital technologies and online information resources have brought fundamental changes in how research is done, and also in what researchers expect from library and information services. The services that librarians and information professionals provide have also changed fundamentally over the past decade, and they now offer much more in providing leadership that brings improvements in research performance and effectiveness. New resources, services and technologies continue to create new opportunities, new challenges and new expectations. Librarians and information services need the resources and the continuing top-level support within their institutions to ensure that they can fulfil their potential and meet these challenges.

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