Remaining Relevant: Critical Roles for Libraries in the Research Enterprise

HICKERSON, Thomas and BROSZ, John (2019) Remaining Relevant: Critical Roles for Libraries in the Research Enterprise. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2019 - Athens, Greece - Libraries: dialogue for change in Session 82 - Academic and Research Libraries & Health and Biosciences.

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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


Remaining Relevant: Critical Roles for Libraries in the Research Enterprise

With the advent of the internet and the increasing effectiveness of search engines, libraries’ contacts with researchers have steadily diminished. Moreover, the traditional disciplinary silos used to organize library collections and services have become less relevant to the multidisciplinary approaches required in addressing today’s “grand challenges” research. Academic libraries have reached a point at which they must fundamentally reposition themselves within the campus research enterprise. New research at the University of Calgary has identified a constellation of services and expertise that will be necessary to enable today's multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research. With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of Calgary’s library undertook an evidence-based study of scholars’ needs through direct partnerships with faculty research teams in twelve competitively selected sub-grant projects. The study revealed new avenues by which libraries can become key collaborators in research. These include moving from disciplinary-based to functional, cross-disciplinary support; bringing together of digital media and analytical tools to offer a more integrated digital experience; enhancing data curation, visualization, digitization, and metadata services; providing collaborative lab spaces; and taking a partnership rather than transactional approach to working with researchers. This new paradigm will demand fundamental changes in how libraries staff, fund, and organize their operations. But there are signs that libraries are responding, redirecting their focus and energies in order to remain essential participants in research success at their institutions.

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