International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries

IATUL News Alerts

Archive April 2010

Aligning Investments with the Digital Evolution

Thursday, 29 April 2010 6:19:19 p.m.

Ithaka S+R has released  results from its fourth faculty survey in the last decade examining changes in faculty attitudes towards the academic library, information resources, and the scholarly communications system as a whole.
In a published report, Faculty Survey 2009: Strategic Insights for Librarians, Publishers, and Societies, Ithaka S+R analyzes responses from over 3,000 faculty members based at US four-year colleges or universities and offers a unique comparative look at 2009 against previous surveys from 2000, 2003, and 2006 on a variety of key questions facing information service organizations and their parent institutions.

Trends in faculty attitudes and behaviors on issues ranging from the library as information gateway and the need for preservation of scholarly material, to their engagement with institutional and disciplinary repositories and thoughts about open access are addressed. For the first time, Ithaka S+R also looked at the role that scholarly societies play and their value to faculty.

“Faculty views are moving in clear directions. Libraries, publishers, and societies need to be attuned to this and, in some cases, to dramatically shift gears or even to catch up.” said Roger C. Schonfeld, Ithaka S+R Manager of Research. “Based on our findings, for example, libraries could consider moving even more rapidly away from print-based holdings, and they should be very cautious in making costly investments in local finding aids for online information as their role as gateway continues to wane. They should also be aware that the value of institutional repositories remains tenuous in the eyes of faculty.”

In addition to possible areas for strategic re-thinking, the report also reveals some new opportunities on the horizon. One of the bigger questions raised is whether faculty will require tailored information solutions to meet their needs over time. Google and Google Scholar play increasingly important roles in their research, but specialized disciplinary sources for scholarship do as well. This is an area where the need for new services deeply knowledgeable about and able to serve particular research interests – whether provided by libraries, publishers, societies or others – may be on the rise.

Among the most valuable aspects of the work done by Ithaka S+R and utilized in the report, is the analysis of trend data and the study of faculty by discipline. “Faculty attitudes are changing, but it is evolutionary” said Laura Brown, Ithaka S+R Managing Director, “After ten years, we are now seeing clear trajectories emerge and the places where all faculty are aligned and where they diverge. We hope the work we have done helps organizations in the higher education community to position themselves for success in the future, armed with the knowledge of what changes can be made that will serve faculty as a whole.”

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Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication: An Exploration of Faculty Values and Needs in Seven Disciplines

Thursday, 29 April 2010 6:17:58 p.m.

Since 2005, the Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE), with generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has been conducting research to understand the needs and practices of faculty for in-progress scholarly communication (i.e., forms of communication employed as research is being executed) as well as archival publication. The complete results of our work can be found at the Future of Scholarly Communication’s project website. This report brings together the responses of 160 interviewees across 45, mostly elite, research institutions to closely examine scholarly needs and values in seven selected academic fields: archaeology, astrophysics, biology, economics, history, music, and political science.

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Inform: Beyond the campus

Thursday, 29 April 2010 6:16:42 p.m.

The new issue looks at how relationships with students, businesses and the public can be changed through digital tools.

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Periodicals Price Survey 2010: Seeking the New Normal

Thursday, 29 April 2010 6:13:42 p.m.

Budget strains force radical change
The year 2009 will be remembered as one of angst, with the economy dominating news around the world. Few libraries were immune to the extraordinary financial pressures. The library marketplace by year's end was in a weakened position, with prospects of a long recovery at best. Concern persists that even deeper budget cuts will come when federal stimulus money expires in the 2012 budget cycle. Even when the economy improves, increased funds for libraries are not likely to be at the top of the list for new spending priorities.

Riding out the storm may not be an option in the face of a drastically changed landscape. A survey conducted in fall 2009 by CIBER research group at University College London, in conjunction with the Charleston Conference, YBP Library Services, and ebrary found that nearly one-third of libraries have seen their budgets reduced by five percent or more. Two-thirds of libraries expect budgets to remain flat over the next two years. The same libraries acknowledge that they could instead face more cuts. For institutions reporting budget reductions, materials budgets were the most likely to be slashed, with print journal subscriptions being one of the chief target areas.

In November 2009, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) identified one of the root sources of cuts to libraries when it released a report detailing the “Coping strategies of public universities during the economic recession of 2009.” Based on a survey of its 188 member institutions, the APLU report documents the scope and magnitude of state reductions in public education support, showing that 64 percent of statescut funding for higher education in 2009–10.

Libraries may not see a “return to normal” once the economy improves. Evidence suggests instead a search for a “new normal,” one that requires varied approaches to services and collections. For example, the shift from print to digital is likely to accelerate greatly. The delivery of information might become more important than ownership. Open access business models might become more attractive to avoid the costly venues of commercial publishers.
To fund new delivery service models and to manage harsh budget cuts, additional reductions may have to be made in subscriptions, and this will include packages. Libraries like the University of Arizona, University of North Carolina, and University of Washington have already eliminated hundreds of journal subscriptions, with the expectation that user demand would have to be met via interlibrary loan.

Much of the data reported in the Periodicals Price Survey 2010 outlines the issues that are shaping the journals marketplace. Data is primarily drawn from serial renewals of titles in three ISI databases—Arts and Humanities Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, and Science Citation Index. In addition, data is included on titles in EBSCO's Academic Search Premier. Data is limited to prepriced print titles (as opposed to standing-order or bill-later titles) that can be ordered through a vendor and are current as of January 27, 2010. Cost data for electronic versions of journals is still not uniform enough to include in the pricing survey.

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Information Literacy: A Neglected Core Competency

Thursday, 29 April 2010 6:11:00 p.m.

Key Takeaways

• College students think of information seeking as a rote process and tend to use the same small set of information resources no matter their question.
• Information literacy is essential for lifelong learning and empowers individuals and societies.
• Our educational system should expose students to information literacy from elementary school through postsecondary education so that it is a habit of mind they can call upon throughout their lives.
• Collaborative efforts between faculty, librarians, technology professionals, and others can develop students who graduate with information literacy competency.

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American Libraries Spring 2010 Digital Supplement

Thursday, 29 April 2010 6:08:55 p.m.

The 12 library buildings featured in the supplement are noted for their environmentally friendly design. This trend has grown dramatically in the recent years.

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Communicating knowledge: how and why researchers publish and disseminate their findings

Thursday, 1 April 2010 1:18:25 p.m.

Researchers want to develop new knowledge and understanding of the world we live in and to communicate their findings to others. Increasingly, however, they are being pulled in different directions in deciding which channels of communication they should adopt, from professional society journals and conferences to less formal means such as social networking tools.
So just how do researchers decide when, where and how to communicate their work? Based on evidence gathered from an extensive literature review, bibliometric analysis, focus groups, interviews and an online survey, our report presents a comprehensive view of how researchers communicate their work across the range of disciplines in the UK.

The report examines the motivations, incentives and constraints that lead UK researchers in different subjects and disciplines to publish and disseminate their work in different ways. It explores how and why they cite other researchers’ work, as well as how their decisions on publication and citation are influenced by past and anticipated research assessment.

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Realizing and Maintaining Aggregative Digital Library Systems: D-NET Software Toolkit and OAIster System

Thursday, 1 April 2010 1:17:09 p.m.

Aggregative Digital Library Systems (ADLSs) provide end users with web portals to operate over an information space of descriptive metadata records, collected and aggregated from a pool of possibly heterogeneous repositories. Due to the costs of software realization and system maintenance, existing "traditional" ADLS solutions are not easily sustainable over time for the supporting organizations. Recently, the DRIVER EC project proposed a new approach to ADLS construction, based on Service-Oriented Infrastructures. The resulting D-NET software toolkit enables a running, distributed system in which one or multiple organizations can collaboratively build and maintain their service-oriented ADLSs in a sustainable way. In this paper, we advocate that D-NET's "infrastructural" approach to ADLS realization and maintenance proves to be generally more sustainable than "traditional" ones. To demonstrate our thesis, we report on the sustainability of the "traditional" OAIster System ADLS, based on DLXS software (University of Michigan), and those of the "infrastructural" DRIVER ADLS, based on D-NET.

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“Capture and Release”: Digital Cameras in the Reading Room

Thursday, 1 April 2010 1:14:43 p.m.

Digital cameras are revolutionizing special collections reading rooms and the research process, much as photocopy machines did for a previous generation. Reference routines focused on the photocopier are embedded in workflows of every repository; photocopying is accepted by repositories, tolerated by rights holders, and expected by researchers. Now technology is forcing repositories to confront change again. The ubiquity of digital cameras and other mobile capture devices has resulted in researchers desiring and expecting to use cameras in reading rooms. While some librarians and archivists have resisted digital cameras, others have embraced them—and rightfully so. The benefits to researchers, repositories, and collection materials are undeniable.

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Challenges for academic libraries in difficult economic times

Thursday, 1 April 2010 1:12:31 p.m.

A new guide from the Research Information Network focuses on how academic librarians are experiencing and responding to financial cuts in the current economic climate.

Based upon data gathered in the UK and internationally, and focus groups with senior librarians during late 2009, the guide looks at the financial position of libraries, their strategies for dealing with challenging economic circumstances, and the value of libraries.

After a decade of growth in budgets and services, academic librarians now expect a sustained period of cuts over the next three to five years. The scale of these cuts means librarians are having to reconsider the kinds and levels of service they can provide in support of their universities missions.

This guide shows how librarians are responding to the issues of balancing expenditure between information resources and staffing and how they plan to sustain levels of service, as well as developing new services to meet new needs. It demonstrates that library directors need the support of senior managers across the higher education sector, as well as from publishers and other information providers, to help address the challenges, as well as the opportunities, faced.

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