International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries

IATUL News Alerts

Archive August 2010

Letís all go down the Strand!

Monday, 30 August 2010 10:08:16 a.m.

Commuters, residents and shoppers who regularly tread one of London’s most famous streets are now being asked to contribute to a new online resource.

The aim is to use social networking and mobile technologies to foster a sense of community in the Strand area of central London through a technique known as life-writing.

Life-writing is a broad and creative field which explores personal life stories, and how they intersect with accounts of the lives of others. Residents, business owners and employees working in the area will all be visited by researchers from the JISC project, Strandlines Digital Community based at King’s College London.

The researchers will also visit local community centres and events, digitise materials from the King’s archives and interview staff at King’s and launch a website in the autumn to generate contributions.

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ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee: 2010 top ten trends in academic libraries

Monday, 30 August 2010 10:06:57 a.m.

The ACRL Research, Planning and Review Committee, a component of the Research Coordinating Committee, is responsible for creating and updating a continuous and dynamic environmental scan for the association that encompasses trends in academic librarianship, higher education, and the broader environment. As a part of this effort, the committee develops a list of the top ten trends that are affecting academic libraries now and in the near future. This list was compiled based on an extensive review of current literature. The committee also developed an e-mail survey that was sent to 9,812 ACRL members in February 2010.

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Retooling Libraries for the Data Challenge

Monday, 30 August 2010 10:04:32 a.m.

Eager to prove their relevance among scholars leaving print behind, libraries have participated vocally in the last half-decade's conversation about digital research data. On the surface, libraries would seem to have much human and technological infrastructure ready-constructed to repurpose for data: digital library platforms and institutional repositories may appear fit for purpose. However, unless libraries understand the salient characteristics of research data, and how they do and do not fit with library processes and infrastructure, they run the risk of embarrassing missteps as they come to grips with the data challenge.

Whether managing research data is ‘the new special collections,’ a new form of regular academic-library collection development, or a brand-new library specialty, the possibilities have excited a great deal of talk, planning, and educational opportunity in a profession seeking to expand its boundaries.

Faced with shrinking budgets and staffs, library administrators may well be tempted to repurpose existing technology infrastructure and staff to address the data curation challenge. Existing digital libraries and institutional repositories seem on the surface to be a natural fit for housing digital research data. Unfortunately, significant mismatches exist between research data and library digital warehouses, as well as the processes and procedures librarians typically use to fill those warehouses. Repurposing warehouses and staff for research data is therefore neither straightforward nor simple; in some cases, it may even prove impossible.

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University Investment in the Library, Phase II: An International Study of the Library's Value to the Grants Process

Monday, 30 August 2010 10:02:47 a.m.

Academic libraries must find ways to measure and demonstrate the value of their collections and services to all of their stakeholders. Academic library collections (both print and electronic) and library services provide value in many ways, including value to research, teaching, and student development. Return on investment (ROI) is one way to quantify the value of the library. This study examines the ROI of the library in one functional area—ROI in all stages of the grants process. This project expands and tests a case study conducted with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Luther, 2008) which developed a methodology for calculating the library’s ROI to the university through grants received. This new study expands that methodology to 8 institutions in 8 countries to see if the methods are widely applicable in academic research libraries worldwide. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected, including surveys of faculty, interviews with university administrators, and data on grant proposals, grant income, and the library budget.

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Climate data to be opened up

Monday, 30 August 2010 10:00:56 a.m.

Climate scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) will soon be demonstrating new methods of providing open access to research data thanks to a major new investment from JISC to improve the way UK university researchers manage their data.

Dr Simon Hodson, programme manager at JISC, says: “Climate scientists have been under the spotlight recently: there have been technical and cultural challenges to making data and methods openly available, and a perception of failure to do so has been taken by critics of mainstream climate science as an indication of unsound science.

“Clearly, confidence in research findings – among scientists and the general public – depends upon the underpinning data and methods being open, reusable and verifiable. What is more, researchers aren’t just producers of data; they are also consumers, so by funding projects which will improve practice and will give climate scientists and others better guidance on research data management JISC aims to help them make that data more usable and valuable,” he added.

Three independent reviews focused on hacked emails from climate scientists at UEA. The reviews found that the CRU researchers’ scientific rigour and honesty was not in doubt, but the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee said that climate scientists should take even more steps to make available all their supporting data – right down to the computer codes they use – in order that research findings should be properly verifiable.

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Trove: Innovation in Access to Information in Australia

Monday, 30 August 2010 9:58:50 a.m.

In late 2009 the National Library of Australia released version 1 of Trove to the public. Trove is a free search engine. It searches across a large aggregation of Australian content. The treasure is over 90 million items from over 1000 libraries, museums, archives and other organisations which can be found at the click of a button. Finding information just got easier for many Australians. Exploring a wealth of resources and digital content like never before, including full-text books, journals and newspaper articles, images, music, sound, video, maps, Web sites, diaries, letters, archives, people and organisations has been an exciting adventure for users and the service has been heavily used. Finding and retrieving instantly information in context; interacting with content and social engagement are core features of the service. This article describes Trove features, usage, content building, and its applications for contributors and users in the national context.

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