International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries

IATUL News Alerts

Archive July 2009

Ithaka Case Studies in Sustainability

Wednesday, 29 July 2009 11:59:22 a.m.

Tens of millions of dollars, pounds, and euros are invested each year by government agencies and private foundations to develop and support digital resources in the not-for-profit sector. As budgets tighten, will these digital resources be able to survive and thrive?

This question is at the heart of the Ithaka Case Studies in Sustainability project, a multi-year, international exploration of the strategies being used to support digital initiatives over the long term. Twelve detailed case studies present the steps project leaders have taken to achieve this, with special attention paid to their strategies for cost management and revenue generation. These studies include financial data, and explore the decision-making process that project leaders undertake when experimenting with different strategies to find the best fit for their organization.

Sustaining Digital Resources: An On-the-Ground View of Projects Today, serves as a guide to the cases, outlining the stages that successful projects undertake in developing sustainability models: from empowering leadership and developing accountability structures, to crafting a strong value proposition that responds to user needs, to securing the resources needed to help the project thrive.

By highlighting the benefits and challenges of a wide range of models, this work is intended to serve as a starting point to understanding the options and obstacles facing digital projects today. We hope that they prove to be as eye-opening and thought-provoking for you as they have been for us. We encourage you to share your thoughts with us and with the community by sending us your comments using the comment feature below.

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The Transformative Potential of Open Educational Resources (OER)

Wednesday, 29 July 2009 11:56:48 a.m.

Four pioneers from the Open Educational Resources community offered their insights into “The transformative potential of Open Educational Resources (OER)” at the SPARC-ACRL Forum, held during the 2009 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Denver, CO.

The forum, hosted by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), introduced OER and the philosophy behind them to the wider library community, highlight examples of how different constituencies were currently advancing OER on campuses, and offered suggestions for how libraries could further engage to support OER.

OER are a logical extension of what the library community supports in the Open Access movement, and underscore the need for the larger playing field on which scholarly communication takes place to be made more equitable. OER focus not only on journals, but also on full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials or techniques that are critical in the learning environment.

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Studentsí Use of Research Content in Teaching and Learning: A report for the Joint Information Systems Council (JISC) 2009

Wednesday, 29 July 2009 11:54:09 a.m.

The environment in which research is disseminated and used is undergoing a radical change and the task of modern HEIs is to better understand this change and support new ways of accessing content. It is now beyond doubt that the internet has revolutionised the way that research content is discovered, accessed and used. Content which once needed specialist skills to find is now widely available and searches which once took days of painstaking work can now be done in a matter of seconds. Increasingly, learners and new teachers’ needs are defined by their capacity to differentiate information: to recognise what is and what is not research content, to sort out the good from the bad, the useful from the merely relevant. The internet also appears to have had an impact on the way that research content is used in the real world. Many universities have invested heavily in learning spaces designed to facilitate the kind of social interaction that the internet promotes. Networks – online and offline - are increasingly a part of the way that the modern world evaluates information, including research content. Yet all this presumes that modern users will best know how to find their way in this new information environment, that they have the skills to find the right databases, enter the right search terms, to discover the most appropriate research content for their teaching and learning and use it in the most appropriate way.

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Libraries and Learning Centres; Current Approaches

Wednesday, 29 July 2009 11:52:41 a.m.

Talking about the library as a learning space or learning centre turns out to be somewhat difficult because there is no common definition. A lot of different concepts and theories have been developed by librarians and scholars. IFLA’s Library Buildings and Equipment Section wants to present some of them in this special issue of the Newsletter. Our goal is to bring forward the discussion about the public and academic library as a learning space in the context of deliberations about new concepts for library buildings in the 21st century.

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The End of Institutional Repositories & the Beginning of Social Academic Research Service: An Enhanced Role for Libraries

Wednesday, 29 July 2009 11:49:34 a.m.

The concept of the institutional repository (IR) is too narrowly focused to develop the value that universities should be extracting from its existence. Is it not possible for IRs to serve as full-fledged electronic libraries and thereby serve the greater purpose of collecting, disseminating, analyzing and exchanging useful digital information for academic purposes? Should not the IR be coupled with the full range of academic and research support services that new technologies permit? In an era of social networking, why is the university not moving quickly to develop what I call a social academic research service that can enhance the role of libraries, librarians, and IT specialists in the academic endeavor? It is the assertion and questions above that I hope to address in this presentation. Many of the points will be made by using the example of the Catherwood Library of the ILR School (School of Industrial & Labor Relations) at Cornell University.
The basic issues that I will cover are as follows:
(1) How did IRs become so narrowly focused? – including a brief background on IR development.
(2) How marketplace developments in IR technology allowed for a broader conception of use for a library that did not lose sight of its core business.
(3) Using the new technology to reinvent academic and research support services.
(4) Developing new directions and possibilities for support of the academic endeavor.

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Spaces in ARL Libraries: Snapshots of Installations and Experiments

Wednesday, 29 July 2009 11:48:03 a.m.

Learning commons and other spaces to support individual and group productivity have emerged in the majority of ARL libraries in the past decade. Respondents to a survey conducted by ARL during the late winter and early spring of 2008 described their work to provide learning and research spaces for their constituents.

The survey invited all ARL libraries to describe innovative and noteworthy experiments in three areas: instructional programs, virtual resource development, and space initiatives. Of the 123 member libraries, 77 participated in the survey, for a response rate of 63%. Responses to the first two elements of the survey (instructional programs and virtual resource development) were summarized in an earlier article with accompanying database.

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Journals and repositories: an evolving relationship

Wednesday, 29 July 2009 11:46:10 a.m.

It is now widely accepted that there are two routes to open access (OA): OA repositories and OA journals. It is often assumed these are distinct alternative parallel tracks. However, it has recently become clear that there is potential for repositories and journals to interact with each other on an ongoing basis and between them to form a coherent OA scholarly communication system. This paper puts forward three possible models of interaction between repositories and journals; services such as arXiv and PubMed Central, and the work carried out by the RIOJA project, are working exemplars and pilot implementations of these models. The key issues associated with the widespread adoption of these models include repository infrastructure development; changing ideas of the 'journal', 'article', and 'publication'; version management; quality assurance; business and funding models; developing value-added features; content preservation; policy frameworks; and changing roles and cultures within the research community.

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