'Thinking the unthinkable': radical developments for academic libraries

The future of academic libraries under the spotlight: part 2 of our UKSG coverage.

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The future of academic libraries was under scrutiny at this year’s UKSG conference, which took place last week in Harrogate. Speakers including Utrecht University’s Simone Kortekaas explored radical new approaches to the library’s mission and function.

In her presentation entitled 'Thinking the Unthinkable: doing away with the library catalogue', Kortekaas explained that in 2012, Utrecht made the decision to  shut down Omega, its custom-made discovery system. They opted not to replace it with an alternative discovery system, and to focus predominantly on delivery.

By September 2013 the library no longer offered a discovery system for scientific articles. For the moment, the library continues to offer access to the traditional catalogue, but the ambition is to get rid of that as soon as possible too, guiding users to find collections through web search engines.

According to Kortekaas, the decision was made in response to the belief that "universities have lost their role in the discovery of scientific information". Faculty and students were already looking elsewhere for search help.

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The future of academic libraries under the spotlight: part 1 of our UKSG coverage.

Posted 21 April 2014