Tag Archives: Academic Libraries

Rethinking the library proves a divisive topic at many liberal arts institutions

“Several library directors at liberal arts institutions have lost their jobs as they clash with faculty and administrators over how much — and how fast — the academic library should change. None of the dismissals, resignations or retirements are identical. Some have resulted from arguments over funding; others from debates about decision-making processes or ongoing personal strife. One common trend, however, is that several of the library directors who have left their jobs in recent years have done so after long-term disputes with other groups on campus about how the academic library should change to better serve students and faculty.” (via insidehighered)

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At OER conference, speakers push for academic libraries to promote adoption

“Academic libraries can help promote the adoption of open educational resources, but ultimately the push for open content has to be about more than textbooks, advocates said this week during the Open Ed Conference. The conference, which concludes today, comes on the heels of two reports suggesting that adoption of OER has the potential to grow dramatically in the next three years — if faculty members are able to discover the resources they need.” (via insidehighered)

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Library archivists face contractual, technical challenges in preserving digital materials

“Archivists at Stanford libraries face contractual and technical challenges in keeping an increasing amount of digital material, like eBooks and email, safe and accessible for future generations. For one, words in paper books don’t spontaneously disappear, but words in eBooks can. Because eBooks and electronic journals are licensed, not owned, libraries may not be able to ensure long-term access to them. Depending on the contract between the publisher and the library, publishers can sometimes remove or alter content without the library’s consent. According to Hannah C. Frost, services manager at the Stanford Digital Repository, this issue is a long-standing problem for research institutions like Stanford.” (via Stanford Daily)

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New report urges university libraries to reconsider their role in discovery

“As faculty members and students find new ways to locate scholarly research, a new report encourages college and university libraries to re-evaluate whether their efforts to connect users with content are money well-spent. The challenge comes from the nonprofit research organization Ithaka S+R, which promotes innovative forms of teaching and scholarly communication. In a report that builds on Ithaka’s annual library survey, Roger C. Schonfeld, program director for libraries, users and scholarly practices, asks university libraries to examine what he called one of the “linchpin issues” scholars face in their research: How can they find what they need, and how can libraries help them?” (via insidehighered)

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The University Library as Incubator for Digital Scholarship

“With origins in the digital humanities, digital scholarship in recent years has seen investigators from other disciplines — including the sciences and social sciences — embrace its tools and possibilities. New hybrid communities of inquiry are increasingly visual, collaborative, and spatial, or simply seek to make new connections possible in a digital world. Much of this is owed to advances and convergences in data visualization, mapping applications, and web development. Outstanding projects from the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab are forging new connections with history, geography, political science, sociology, and other fields through their Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States and Voting America portals. In public health, the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care is visualizing variations in how medical resources are distributed and used in the United States today. In biology and ecology, digital initiatives — such as the Center for Conservation Biology Project Portal from the College of William and Mary and the Virginia Commonwealth University — are tracking regional concerns involving land use and bird species populations.” (via EDUCAUSE)

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As Researchers Turn to Google, Libraries Navigate the Messy World of Discovery Tools

“Many professors and students gravitate to Google as a gateway to research. Libraries want to offer them a comparably simple and broad experience for searching academic content. As a result, a major change is under way in how libraries organize information. Instead of bewildering users with a bevy of specialized databases—books here, articles there—many libraries are bulldozing their digital silos. They now offer one-stop search boxes that comb entire collections, Google style.That’s the ideal, anyway. The reality is turning out to be messier.” (via The Chronicle of Higher Education)

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Bridges and Barriers: Factors Influencing a Culture of Assessment in Academic Libraries

“In an environment in which libraries need to demonstrate value, illustrating how the library contributes to student learning is critical. Gathering and analyzing data in order to tell the library’s story as well as identify areas for improvement require commitment, time, effort, and resources – all components of a culture of assessment. This paper presents the results of a survey designed to understand what factors facilitate the development of a culture of assessment of student learning in academic libraries and what factors may hinder it.” (via ACRL)

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Education Dept.’s Biennial Report Examines State of Academic Libraries

“Academic libraries lent about 10.5 million documents to other libraries in the 2012 fiscal year and borrowed some 9.8 million from their peers and commercial services during the same period, according to report released on Friday by the National Center for Education Statistics, the Education Department’s statistical arm.” (via The Chronicle of Higher Education)

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Coherence at Scale and the Research Library of the Future

“The dilemmas that higher education library and IT professionals are now facing and the way we characterize them—centralizing or decentralizing—or the ways we distinguish between them—the library or the IT department—have very much to do with the origins of the modern research university and its growth and development in the period that many people call “the age of modernity.” In the mid-to-late nineteenth century, many people thought that the increasingly complex world that was emerging could be managed by reducing each problem to discrete parts and tasks. The library embodied this idea: the separation of spaces into distinct work areas and the development of library stacks, file drawers, and filing cabinets were closely linked with modern corporate techniques of classifying information and categorizing tasks. The birth of the silos that we often bemoan in our libraries, our colleges and universities, and other parts of our world seems to have begun in a moment when we thought that we could build a universal library, a vast research university, a giant corporation, and even a powerful nation-state by breaking up the work into discrete tasks.” (via EDUCAUSE)

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Library hours do not encourage academia

“An essential part of a university experience occurs at the library. It is a place of studying, of commiserating and of learning. Most of all, it offers students a quiet study environment. However, The University of Alabama’s libraries have variable hours that change with activities, especially with football. Gorgas Library, McLure Library and Bruno Business Library, for example, are almost always closed on home football Saturdays. Even the UA library with the most expansive hours, Rodgers Library, closes Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and opens on Sunday at 1 p.m. These hours encourage a culture of cramming and are a symptom of a university that does not emphasize academics first.” (via The Crimson White)

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