Librarians - supporting the research process

Models of scholarly communication are evolving. Academic libraries must be responsive to these changes while being mindful of institutional missions and strategic goals.

Research - conversational and collaborative

How can librarians make good decisions about the services and resources they should provide to support - and participate in - research?  At Internet Librarian International two librarians shared their perspectives on some of the new opportunities presenting themselves to librarians.

Research is a collaborative and conversational process, bringing together current and past research outputs and experts across disciplines. Increasingly research demands, and thrives on, rapid exchanges.  Librarians are perfectly placed to facilitate these new research methods and enrich the research conversation.  Starr Hoffman (Columbia University and Pratt Institute) outlined some of the many potential roles and responsibilities open to librarians

  • Connecting researchers across disciplines, geographies and institutions
  • Data curation
  • Data literacy
  • Defining OA strategies
  • Disseminating research
  • Educating colleagues on OA
  • Educating users on research and dissemination options and services
  • Ensuring discoverability
  • Helping faculty and students track scholars across disciplines
  • Helping make software decisions
  • Hosting and administrating institutional repositories
  • Promoting content
  • Providing data storage/archiving services
  • Supporting collaborative research spaces

The library as digital publisher 

Terence Huwe (University of California, Berkeley) described how he has taken advantage of another opportunity by becoming an institutional digital publisher.  Not only are publishing roles up for grabs, but librarians already have many of the essential skill sets – content creation, production, facilitating access and marketing and promotion.  Our proximity to research and teaching helps us understand user needs.  Additionally we are champions of open access and we are less concerned with profit than 'traditional' publishers.  This is our golden bullet! 

Identifying priorities

With so many opportunities, how do you make appropriate strategic decisions and choices?  Starr Hoffman reminded the audience of the importance of prioritising new services and technology according to existing strengths and institutional mission and requirements.  Consider the expertise of your library staff and the services you are already offering.  Think about which services you may need to stop, and not just about new ones.

Key lessons: Start small.  Stay strategic and selective. 

Image courtesy of Tim Morgan via Flickr.