Research Question 4: Significant Challenges

What challenges do you expect to have a significant impact on academic and research libraries over the next five years?

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

NOTE: The Significant Challenges are sorted into three difficulty related categories -- solvable challenges are those that we both understand and know how to solve, but seemingly lack the will; difficult challenges are ones that are more or less well-understood but for which solutions remain elusive; wicked challenges, the most difficult, are complex to even define, and thus require additional data and insights before solutions will even be possible. In your responses to the trends below, feel free to explore why or why not the challenge should be in its specific category.

As you review what others have written, please add your thoughts and comments as well.

Please "sign" each of your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Sam Sam Mar 20, 2015

We encourage you to add new challenges you don't see on the list! Compose your entries like this:

Challenge Name
Add your ideas here, with few sentences of description including full URLs for references (e.g. And do not forget to sign your contribution with 4 ~ (tilde) characters!

Please also be sure to justify where or not the new challenge you add is solvable, difficult or wicked.

Bolstering Local Participation
Library professionals have similar responsibilities as museum professionals in working with other individuals and organizations to grow their resources. As a response to this challenge, several universities and cultural centers, such as Wake Forest University and North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, are frequently contributing digital collections to the Digital Public Library of America. These kinds of partnerships require major considerations for the development of effective technical and social frameworks, especially with the amount of data associated with the sharing of each article, book, or other resource. - dianeb dianeb Apr 18, 2015 this is certainly a solvable challenge as long as entities like DPLA accept materials in formats that libraries can output in. What this is going to require is more staffing in library systems areas.
- ahaar ahaar Apr 27, 2015 agreed.solvable but requires resources, which can be scarce.

Capturing and Archiving the Digital Outputs of Research as Collection Material
One of the essential purposes of academic and research libraries has been to collect the outputs of academic research. Traditionally this has consisted of collecting textual, audio, video, and image-based outputs. With the introduction of new digitally-generated materials and processes, research outputs are growing in variety and types of format. It is important for these new digital data sets to be preserved alongside the research derived from them for future use and in longitudinal studies, but this presents a perpetual challenge for library acquisition and archiving practices as formats continue to evolve. The shift to new materials and processes has not only affected how material is captured and archived, but also how it is accessed and retrieved by other researchers and the general public. Compounding the challenge is that some large funders are requiring researchers to increase transparency and to develop research data management plans as a prerequisite to receiving funding. This topic is closely connected to research data management. Traditionally libraries focused on published information but they have to care more and more also for non explicitly published materials. This materials have to be integrated into discovery tools. This task asks for new skills by librarians.- rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Apr 16, 2015 Agree, very closely tied to new roles/skills - mstephens7 mstephens7 Apr 19, 2015 - oren oren Apr 19, 2015 agree - mkloes mkloes Apr 19, 2015 Agree - JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Apr 20, 2015 - ahaar ahaar Apr 27, 2015 This is solvable as we are already dealing with it and making it a part of the normal workflow. - dianeb dianeb Apr 18, 2015 - jan.howden jan.howden Apr 19, 2015a significant challenge but solvable. Institutions will want a record of outputs, after that evolving discovery will support this. Agree that this is solvable but will require significant investments in both technology and in new skills . In my mind a very important challenge. - erik.stattin erik.stattin Apr 19, 2015 - mkloes mkloes Apr 19, 2015 - ahaar ahaar Apr 27, 2015
Agree that this is a challenge. - Sandy.hirsh Sandy.hirsh Apr 19, 2015 Digital outputs are becoming the most important resources for research, however, it is not easy to collect there materials, librarians have to "search" and find them, but is solvable challenge.(- liusq liusq Apr 19, 2015) - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph Apr 20, 2015
Increased complexity with increasing possibilities of forms of digital output, e.g. outcome is simulation, software depending on frameworks / the used digital infrastructure - mkloes mkloes Apr 19, 2015 A significant challenge in terms of scale and participation. The rapid shifts in technology will make it difficult and sometimes cost-prohibitive to keep up with capture and preservation of born-digital information. - janice.welburn janice.welburn Apr 20, 2015
Capturing the non-traditional outputs of academics is something worth considering. There are projects that archive legal blogs, for example, and it would be interesting to see projects to capture and archive an institution's or a field's blog output. RSS feeds are there and many of the blogs will have a CC license of some sort or other. - jdupuis jdupuis Apr 27, 2015 Increasingly digital content is both dynamic (changing), executable (interactive), and embedded in a much larger context required to give it meaning. This creates a range of technical challenges. Also increasingly the range of outputs recognized as scholarly contributions and the range recognized as necessary context for understanding and verification are growing -- increasing the importance of capturing this area. - escience escience Apr 27, 2015 Agree strongly that this is a challenge - we need also to remember software curation/preservation - or we might end up with lots of data but no way of executing it - see for example - cmkeithw cmkeithw Apr 28, 2015 Development of Archival Standards For archives, the long term impact trend is the development of standards. We’re seeing a growing adoption of Encoded Archival Description (EAD), and we’re seeing the development of EAC (Encoded Archival Context). I would also say metadata standards (usually locally defined) are also driving technology, and will continue to do so as we see more consistency in defining our digital objects. All of this, of course, has an impact on accessibility to archival materials, and the increased demand to have materials identifiable (if not actually accessible) on line. - janice.welburn janice.welburn Apr 20, 2015 [Editor's Note: Adding to existing RQ4 challenge discussion for Capturing and Archiving the Digital Outputs of Research as Collection Material.] Digital File Storage File storage is a complex problem, and from the standpoint of archives, it has a few basic issues:
The first storage need is for digital surrogates of analog materials – digital objects that WE are creating. We’re creating enormous digital projects in the hope of increasing access to materials that were previously only available in paper format via a visit to the archives. Projects like the Tribune project, the St. Gall’s parish ledger books, and the proposed Dorothy Day project require large, dedicated storage resources. People are also expecting to see more resources online – which presses the issue for archivists to create large digital projects from analog materials.The second storage need is for born-digital materials – digital objects that will come to us as a part of our workflow. We have only just started to gather records that were created in digital formats, but the proliferation of the digital age is upon us. We see it in many ways: the University photographer, the need to gather university websites, organizations we are collecting which are generating their records in electronic formats, etc. We’re going to come to the same crisis as many archives have with physical storage space: we’re going to run out of room. We’ve heard people say that digital storage is cheap and plentiful, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Servers are still expensive, cloud storage seems to be a profit point for many companies. Space is limited by the ability to purchase it, and as we know that purchase price is high. Yet as we gather electronic records, we must consider where we’re going to house them. Here in our archives, we’ve cobbled together a combination of library server space, use of portable hard drives, and the like. But as we enter the electronic records arena, we must have ongoing resources that can be designated for storing critical digital records. Third, the storage space necessary for special collections materials has to have multiple functionalities. In addition to maintaining storage for access copies, we also need to maintain digital preservation copies. Essentially, all digital storage is “double” storage when it comes to archives. What is more, some of that storage must be “dark” – inaccessible to anyone outside of the archives – because of a need to maintain the integrity of restricted records. What all of this translates to is, indeed, a crisis for digital archival storage. It has to be a factor in every electronic project we undertake, whether that is us creating digital projects or accepting electronic files for our collections. It also requires us to be judicious in our selection: we have to prioritize digital projects, and we have to be able to fully appraise and weed any electronic material that comes into our repository. This is due diligence – something we have to pursue as we go forward. - janice.welburn janice.welburn Apr 20, 2015
Geoblocking. Wicked challenge. We are seeing more media being created that is streaming-only, i.e.- it has no tangible or even downloadable manifestation that we can collect and archive, e.g.- Netflix and Amazon original programming, YouTube content, European publicly funded television, etc. Geoblocking means that we have no mechanism to make it available to our users unless we choose to enter into the gray areas of VPN, etc. Netflix's recent change to their user agreement stipulating that they can cancel a user's account if they are using VPN is likely an indication that the rightsholders are becoming more, not less, interested in geographically restricting their content. Copyright is already a wicked challenge of its own; geoblocking creates an even more vexing issue for libraries as it cuts off any ability to collect and preserve. - askeyd askeyd Apr 20, 2015

Competition from Alternative Avenues of Discovery
Before the rise of the Internet, libraries were widely perceived as the ultimate gateways to knowledge. They served as central locations for visitors to discover new information, compile research, and draw upon the expertise of librarians to direct them to the most helpful resources. In the past two decades, as the Internet has expanded, so has the array of educational content made easily accessible to people. This shift has not only impacted how people research, but also where they conduct research. Performing a simple web search on a topic, for example, often conjures pages of relevant articles, reports, and media. Furthermore, advancements in the semantic web are refining research results and enabling data to be shared across applications. These advents in Internet technology are fostering changes in patron behavior, challenging libraries to either participate in the online knowledge exchange or risk becoming obsolete over time. As a result, libraries are tasked with rethinking how new information can be creatively delivered and discovered within their physical spaces. - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph Apr 20, 2015 - kevin-johnson kevin-johnson Apr 9, 2015 This is a big concern. Those of us born with the book are fine, but what of digital natives? Even in the Preschool to Grade 8 international school where I work as Librarian our physical collection is moving mostly towards supplying the needs of recreational reading. Since last year I have used PDA (patron-driven acquisition), a good model for keeping the physical collection relevant, but perhaps less warranted in an academic or research library. - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Apr 10, 2015There is a real challenge here, but I'm not at all convinced it's about "competition" from alternative avenues of discovery. Libraries are actively, engagingly, and creatively participating in the online knowledge exchange, so they don't appear to be at risk of becoming obsolete for lack of participation. The final line of the original description--"...libraries are tasked with rethinking how new information can be creatively delivered and discovered within their physical spaces" could easily be augmented with a clause "...and within their virtual spaces" along with the acknowledgement that this is well underway--making this both a challenge and a trend. Also, regarding Kevin's concern over whether our younger library users are using and/or comfortable with printed books: there seems to be plenty of documentation showing that it's not an either-or equation--younger readers continue to find a place for books within their information landscape. One new example (which I haven't yet read) is Naomi Baron's book Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World. Corey Doctorow's boingboing article on the book begins with an observation that the book "cites surveys that say that young readers increasingly prefer to read books from paper, not screens": The article also includes a graphic (from the Washington Post) showing that ebooks represented only nine percent of textbooks used by students for the fall 2014 semester.
- pongracz pongracz Apr 17, 2015I agree with Kevin that this is a big concern, but for slightly different reasons. As publishers and aggregators, e.g., Elsevier, Pro Quest etc., open their databases for search engine indexing, our patrons will by-pass the library for discovery altogether. This is already happening, as many use-studies indicate, but most users still have to come back to the library because there is not enough to be found in Google Scholar. But there may be a tipping point after which if they cannot find it on Google, the item "does not exist". In other words, I foresee an upcoming shift in the perceived universe of available materials (not unlike what we saw happen when periodicals went digital -- there was a point after which if it was not available digitally "it did not exist"). Once this shift happens, the library's domain will shrink once more. We better make sure that our Link Resolvers and EZ Proxies are optimized for this new environment. - Jacqueline.Fritz Jacqueline.Fritz Apr 18, 2015 I agree with this feed-back. - mkloes mkloes Apr 19, 2015 - ahaar ahaar Apr 27, 2015 - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph Apr 20, 2015 agree; importance to to constantly rise awareness what part the library plays in availability of content (e.g. licencing, OA infrastructure) → as mentioned in Marketing/Promoting our Services in Useful Ways. The rise of Open access will make library's concern about discovery moot I believe. It's the ultimate library bypass reason. - aarontay aarontay Apr 19, 2015 - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph Apr 20, 2015 I agree with this! Open access has potential to really disrupt our traditional approaches. - mstephens7 mstephens7 Apr 19, 2015 I agree as well. - melissa.bowles-terry melissa.bowles-terry Apr 20, 2015 Adding my agreement, and the notion that this is the ultimate outcome of our advocacy for OA, aka the "oh no, we won, what now" problem. - askeyd askeyd Apr 27, 2015 I agree with the interpretation - remain a little unconvinced that it is a threat - cmkeithw cmkeithw Apr 28, 2015 This is something we constantly struggle with now. Libraries are looking for the next great "discovery tool" that will bring our users back to us or make them start with us for their research. Students now-a-days like the Google experience. It is easy to search and find information, although the information is far less useful and relevant than what they would find with academic resources. I think our greatest resource is our very own faculty. If faculty require students to use certain databases or journals, it pushes students back to the library as their starting point. I think our greatest partner to solve some of this lies at our very own universities. I think this is solvable. - dianeb dianeb Apr 18, 2015 I'd argue the ship has sailed for bringing students back to the library as a starting point - I think we need to bring the library to them as well as create a space for co-discovery. - mstephens7 mstephens7 Apr 19, 2015 - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph Apr 20, 2015 Agreed. We aren't even a competitor in the search/discovery arena any longer, so need to find new areas where we can provide value. - askeyd askeyd Apr 20, 2015 Definitely. Students find Google and Google Scholar eminently useful. Why should we compete? We have other contributions to make, in shaping students' learning experience and bringing scholars together across disciplines. - melissa.bowles-terry melissa.bowles-terry Apr 20, 2015
Agree that this is an important challenge. - Sandy.hirsh Sandy.hirsh Apr 19, 2015 This challenges libraries for some years and libraries have been trying best to keep relevancy. However, students still like use Google-like tool, why our discovery tools and next-generation platform still do not work ? we still have to struggle with this situation with the fast development of open access, it is a difficult challenge.(- liusq liusq Apr 19, 2015) - oren oren Apr 20, 2015 agree with most of the above comments but also worth noting that conversations around the "demise" of library discovery are going on for +10 years, since the launch of Google Scholar, yet many libraries continue to invest in library discovery tools and services. I would argue that this goes beyond inertia and fear of change, and relates to a believe that libraries are in better position to provide contextualized, integrated and tailored services to their users, with increased focus on supporting teaching and learning (eg reading/resource lists), specialized collections, including local digital collections, learning content, research outputs and other scholarly objects relevant to their users communities (both research and learning). I think that going forward we will be seeing greater focus on push services (eg notifications, smart current awareness services, reading lists, etc) rather than "pull" services like the traditional search.
- ahaar ahaar Apr 27, 2015 In my academic community we have not seen that the library is no longer a starting point for student's research. This is partially due to our specialized art & design focus but also, as mentioned above, because we have great faculty who partner with us to bring their students in. One element of the discussion that I find missing here is instruction, particularly as we are almost all coming from academic communities. We have cohorts of students moving through and it is our job to teach them how to make sense of available print and digital resources. So I am also uncomfortable with the term "competition" as I see it as part of our job to teach students about alternate avenues of discovery and how to use those when necessary.
- As David Weinberger has pointed out, we need to go beyond discovery to make libraries a place not only a place where discovery of information occurs, but where communities can add community-relevant meaning (e.g. through annotation, links), - escience escience Apr 27, 2015

Embedding Academic and Research Libraries in the Curriculum
While libraries often provide general support to institutions, it is a challenge for librarians to make the case to faculty and curriculum committees that they should play a critical role in the development of information literacy skills. Ideally, instruction about information should occur at various points in a student's career, and there can be a variety of approaches including online tutorials for basic skills, one-time classes, in-depth classes/workshops on strategies and tools for specific disciplines, and classes focused on information policy issues, such as intellectual property. Librarians need to broaden their own concept of their role in the design of curriculum and provide outreach to faculty to help them understand how librarians can add to the education of students. While embedding in the curriculum is, indeed, a challenge, I don't think it's a new one. I also don't think that the concern is making the case that libraries should play a role in developing information literacy skills, but rather in making the case that information literacy skills need to be taught at all. In a challenging academic environment, there is a strong sense that students should "just figure that out". Where there is a focus on information literacy, libraries are usually engaged. - mcalter mcalter Apr 13, 2015 I agree! - rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Apr 16, 2015 - ahaar ahaar Apr 27, 2015 - jan.howden jan.howden Apr 19, 2015this year's US NSSE report indicated that information skills embedded in the curriculum had a significant impact on student attainment. Research literature in this area is substantial yet it remains a mixed picture of embedding across most universities. I see this as a significant long term and developing challenge. For me, the challenge is to have both librarians and faculty think of information literacy in a much broader way. I believe currently much time is spent teaching students to search databases and distinguish when something is popular literature vs. scholarly. These can (and are, in some universities) taught largely through online tutorials. There is a much richer set of concepts that could be incorporated into many aspects of the curriculum, such as teaching about the economic value of information (including concepts of open access, ownership, haves/have nots, etc.), how one gains authority and what that means for less privileged voices, and other concepts, laid out in the Framework for Information Literacy, developed by an ACRL Task Force of which I was a member - JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Apr 20, 2015 - oren oren Apr 24, 2015 agree. I believe this is a difficult challenge given the way curriculum is built and the relatively lack of interest and/or incentives for academics (faculty) to change it. - ahaar ahaar Apr 27, 2015 - jdupuis jdupuis Apr 27, 2015 I agree with Joan that the great role libraries and librarians can play in this area is curriculum development. Librarians need to engage in building information literacy/critical thinking/inquiry into general education programs and into every department and program. We don't own it and we can't teach it on our own -- it must be built in and scaffolded throughout a student's experience, which happens best when it is built in across multiple courses with meaningful research activities and assignments. - melissa.bowles-terry melissa.bowles-terry Agreed. The challenge is to get on faculty curriculum committee where curriculum is developed. This can be a long-term relationship building challenge and definitely a goal to strive for. - jdupuis jdupuis Apr 27, 2015 I think this has always been a challenge, and the emphasis now needs to be on the role of the librarian in the development of online course spaces, entirely online program's of study and online instruction of information literacy and digital media literacy skills. [[user:Jacqueline.FritzThough this is an important component for both libraries and the shifting model of the university, I hope it will not be an overwhelming challenge. It will rely on librarians advocacy and expertise being shared widely. - janice.welburn janice.welburn Apr 20, 2015

Embracing the Need for Radical Change
Academic and research libraries are facing ongoing leadership issues that impact every aspect of their facilities and offerings, including updating staffing models and addressing a lack of financial resources. Compounding this challenge is the need to adapt to the rapidly evolving landscape of technology and to understand its impact on patron behaviors. Once patron needs have been identified, libraries are tasked with revising or building new infrastructure to support more effective research practices, yet the change in focus on integrating innovations seems to be at odds with traditional modes of thought that govern academic and research libraries. Library leadership will require radically different thinking to provide adequate and sustainable support for new initiatives and business models. In order to be effective, this type of thinking will need to extend across the entire organization from the top down — from deans and directors to librarians, support staff, and new hires.* I think this is still a complete relevant challenge. One aspect of this issue is from an administrative perspective, what matters for rankings, what impacts funding requests? Until those systems change, our administrators will be unable to change, even if willing (which is a whole other topic).- lcshedd lcshedd Apr 14, 2015
The need for innovating new services, business models and products is very important from the costumer's point of view. Internally this means that libraries have to adapt continuously their organization, processes and so on. Libraries are not so good in giving up not so successful services like companies (for example Google). And librarians often chose this profession because they thought it would be not so stressful. So the need for radical change is also a big challenge for librarians. But they have to be ready for change for the sake of their institution.- rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Apr 16, 2015
The academic culture is not a risk-taking culture. And yet embracing radical changes implies a willingness to take on risks. IMHO we are reaching a point in which not taking risks is even riskier, but it is tricky balance. - pongracz pongracz Apr 17, 2015 - ahaar ahaar Apr 27, 2015
I too think this is a relevant challenge. I see the lack of succession planning in the profession as part of this challenge. - Jacqueline.Fritz Jacqueline.Fritz Apr 18, 2015
This is still a relevant challenge. Being an IT person, I am use to change and embrace it. Being an IT person in the library is difficult. I'm used to change but the library environment, although needing to change almost as frequently as technology, doesn't embrace that radical of change. Libraries are comfortable to a certain extent but I find many that just try to apply the same old solution to a new problem instead of looking for a new solution to a new problem. I agree with the person above who said not taking risks and not changing is riskier. I actually this this as a difficult challenge as we are talking about trying to change a culture. - dianeb dianeb Apr 18, 2015 - ahaar ahaar Apr 27, 2015 That's my opinion too. Up to now the general image of a "library" (=media storehouse) stays alarmingly static. But the advancing digitization of media and the mobilization of media use enforce new meaning and content. - Achim.Bonte Achim.Bonte Apr 18, 2015
I think this is an overarching challenge for academic libraries, and in my opinion it's a difficult one to take on. Not only does technology constantly change, but research is in its nature innovative, constantly looking for new areas of discovery. Academic libraries will have to foster a new kind of innovative and entrepreneurial organization and mindset to not be outdated, and it boils down to bold leadership. - erik.stattin erik.stattin Apr 19, 2015
This is a very important challenge, and one that must be solved for academic libraries to remain relevant. - Sandy.hirsh Sandy.hirsh Apr 19, 2015
It is easy to start, but it is hard to continue for many years. I do not think it is a solvable challenge.(- liusq liusq Apr 19, 2015)
Change management is always difficult, particularly with personnel, and the shifting contexts in academic surrounding tenure and faculty-status for librarians may heighten the reaction to large-scale change among library staff and librarians. - janice.welburn janice.welburn Apr 20, 2015
Agree! I want to give here a short input from the conference #emtacl15: we heard several keynotes on new forms of management (agile, management 3.0, institutions as ecosystems and similar concepts). For me it was clear that most libraries are far away from these agile, dynamic forms of organization. They are mostly still hierarchical and linear. In this way they won't be able to interact successfully with external partners (i.e. from research) that are organized in a different way. And they aren't ready for radical change. You can't find out a new business model if you are stuck to old structures and think in closed patterns.- rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Apr 23, 2015 People have moved on but we remain too focussed on just supplying information. Libraries have always provided places for people to rework information but we have not really trained our teams to support people in the learning environments in using information. Some libraries will have academic literacy support people working alongside them. there are very few examples of technology being the leading element I the support offered. We need to make this more explicit. I think it is a challenge of recruitment and training and perhaps need a professional lead As well as a management lead.- jan.howden jan.howden Apr 27, 2015

Finding a Place for Privacy
Libraries place a great deal of importance on user privacy and confidentiality. How this is enacted varies across the world but in places where it is seen as an absolute it can hamper assessment, customization, and service development. The protest of "but privacy!" isn't any more helpful than "no one care about that any more!" Finding a place for privacy in our interconnected world while also ensuring robust services (an equally important library value) is key. - JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Apr 20, 2015 - jdupuis jdupuis Apr 27, 2015 Privacy issues have already been mentioned in R1: Cloud Computing, R1: Adaptive Learning Technologies, R1: Learning Analytics, and R1: Virtual Assistants so it clearly is a topic that has impact and should be looked at as a broader challenge. - lcshedd lcshedd Apr 17, 2015 Definitely - aarontay aarontay Apr 19, 2015 While I value privacy as much as anyone, I suspect that the sense that libraries can be a safe place where one's privacy is somehow protected is naive. For starters digital collections are not in our control, and who knows what happens to the user data once there -- and "there" is as far as the discovery layer itself. It would be perilous to make promises we cannot keep! It is also critical to point out that our profession needs to balance a desire to protect the users' privacy with the need to remain competitive in a marketplace that uses personal data to improve the user experience. What if without that data we will we fail to meet our users' service expectations? - pongracz pongracz Apr 17, 2015 - dianeb dianeb Apr 18, 2015 agree! I think this falls in the difficult category. - mkloes mkloes Apr 19, 2015 agree - many interests to balance - ahaar ahaar Apr 27, 2015
it is difficult to keep privacy for libraries in a high digitally inter-connected world.It belongs to difficult category (- liusq liusq Apr 19, 2015)
There is growing interest in rethinking privacy in library systems. NISO recently announced a project in this area, and CNI is drafting a review/commentary following a series of small workshops on this. A huge advantage of the library in discovery and meaning creation is the relationship it has with communities of users/patrons -- however, an absolutist view of privacy hinders the ability to learn from patrons use of systems and content. - escience escience Apr 27, 2015

Improving Digital Literacy
Library professional training still does not fully acknowledge the fact that digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession. Despite the widespread agreement on the importance of digital media literacy, training in the supporting skills and techniques is not always present in library education and continuing professional development. This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that digital literacy is less about tools and more about thinking, and thus skills and standards based on tools and platforms have proven to be somewhat ephemeral. - JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Apr 20, 2015
- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Apr 1, 2015Carrying over some thoughts from the 2015 Higher Education Edition wiki and expanding on them a bit...We still face the unresolved challenge of adequately defining what digital literacy is and then finding ways to foster digital literacy among faculty/learning facilitators as well as among learners. Howard Rheingold's work in defining "crap detection" (in his book Net Smart: How to Thrive Online, in numerous interviews, and his recorded "Crap Detection Minicourse" at and Doug Belshaw's doctoral thesis at provide wonderful glimpses of how expansive a challenge it is to define and address this topic. Other first-rate resources on the topic include the "Digital Literacy, Libraries, and Public Policy" report from the American Library Association's Office for Information Technology Policy's Digital Literacy Task Force (January 2013: and links, from the PLA Digital Literacy page ( to Digital Literacy sites. There is a real need for us to think of each of these challenges in terms of connections and results. Digital literacy, for example, makes no sense if it isn't connected to something concrete (e.g., an ability to effectively engage in lifelong learning, or an ability to meet and exceed the requirements of our contemporary workplaces). That's why I'm so strongly behind colleagues who suggest that this is at least a two-part challenge: defining what digital literacy means for our learners and those they serve, and designing and facilitating learning that supports digital literacy. - kevin-johnson kevin-johnson Apr 9, 2015 Yes, I agree with Paul that the definition and member needs for digital literacy will vary from place to place.
Paul, this is wonderful. In so many ways, digital literacy is fundamentally the same as information literacy, which at a fundamental level is how do we help students (users) make informed, evaluative judgments/assessment? - lcshedd lcshedd Apr 10, 2015 - ahaar ahaar Apr 27, 2015
- Jacqueline.Fritz Jacqueline.Fritz Apr 18, 2015 Complete agree, and there are some great examples here. The ACRL is currently working on establishing revised standards by which academic librarians establish literacy curriculum. - jan.howden jan.howden Apr 19, 2015I would take this further as a challenge; difficult and significant. The overlap between digital and information literacy is high and each profession will have its own lead role across both as technology impacts on everyone's roles. What is our role,are we doing enough to lead the development of both within the profession and as learning tools for students and academics?
digital literacy is important especially for the researchers of social sciences and humanities who tend to be worry about how to use new digital tool. Digital information and technologies are evolving dramatically and librarians have to keep learning in order to improving digital literacy, it is indeed a solvable challenge.(- liusq liusq Apr 19, 2015)

Maintaining Ongoing Integration, Interoperability, and Collaborative Projects
Research institutions have become more reliant on creating strong partnerships with other institutions to enhance their visibility and reinforce their standings in order to earn funding from agencies that are setting the bar higher and higher. As a result, producing quality research and quantifying outputs has never been more important; however, the existing infrastructure for publication and dissemination often weighs down researchers with time-consuming administrative tasks. To make this process more efficient, interoperability has become a key issue for many academic and research libraries. Interoperability, in this context, is the ability to make research systems work together so that scientific knowledge and data can be exchanged seamlessly across institutions, sectors, and disciplines. The ultimate goal is to make it easier for institutions to share their findings with funding agencies and other stakeholders. Maybe the topic cooperation (or radical cooperation) is more a challenge than a trend... I agree that this will be an important issue for libraries today and in the future. It seems a solvable challenge to me, but it needs a big effort from the libraries. So they have to give up traditionally beloved tasks and be ready to think in completely new ways how to fulfill this taks in cooperation with others - with other libraries or with other partners. Linked Open Data are pushing in this direction - rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Apr 16, 2015 I would argue that "Integration and Interoperability" are challenges not only between institutions but between different tools within the same institution. For example integration and interoperability between the library's tools and the LMS are critical issues as more courses more online.- pongracz pongracz Apr 17, 2015 Sure, it is important, but it is wicked challenge to maintaining interoperability, we have made many standards and protocols, but it seems they do not work well as we expected.(- liusq liusq Apr 19, 2015) While traditionally libraries have been good at collaborating and interoperating with other libraries (solvable challenge), and OK at interoperating with institutional systems (difficult challenge), I think that the goal of effectively and consistently interoperating with the "outer" realms of scholarly communication and general web environments remain a wicked challenge - oren oren Apr 24, 2015

Managing Knowledge Obsolescence
Simply staying organized and current presents a challenge in a world where information, software tools, and devices proliferate at the rate they do today. New developments in technology are exciting and their potential for improving quality of life is enticing, but it can be overwhelming to attempt to keep up with even a few of the many new tools that are released. User-created content is exploding, giving rise to information, ideas, and opinions on all sorts of interesting topics, but following even some of the hundreds of available authorities means sifting through a mountain of information on a weekly or daily basis. There is a greater need than ever for effective tools and filters for finding, interpreting, organizing, and retrieving the data that is important to us. This is a service libraries can provide for others, as well as for themselves. - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Apr 1, 2015This is one of those extremely important, perennial never-going-to-go-away challenges, and I'm wondering whether we even have the right subject heading for it--perhaps "Managing the Overwhelming Flow of New Technology & Information Resources" would better reflect the description attached to it and the basic issues making this a fascinating topic to explore and address. Reading Curtis Hougland's opinion piece for Knowledge @Wharton ("The Next Tech Take-off Is on Its Way," earlier this month provided timely reminders that we face the dual challenge of keeping up with new IT and knowledge resources and facing challenges of differing adoption rates of new technology by those the technology is meant to serve (library staff, library users, and many others). Thinking about how (as Hougland notes) there really is no "keeping up" and that what many of us do is share resources with colleagues rather than trying to master every bit of new educational technology that comes our way may be one fruitful path to follow. - kevin-johnson kevin-johnson Apr 9, 2015 My recent reading suggests that technological knowledge doubles every two years, so the explosion is very real, as Paul suggests. One important idea here is that of "distributed leadership", i.e., every one leads (teaches / knows) - librarian, professor, teacher, student, member; the ideas are so vast and the innovations are so fast that we must involve everyone in the leadership. One person cannot master all of this "content" / "service". I would agree with Paul and Kevin and like the idea of "distributed leadership." Information is coming at us so fast; it's like trying to drink from a fire hydrant. This challenge isn't going to go away. I would put it in the difficult category. - dianeb dianeb Apr 18, 2015 - mkloes mkloes Apr 19, 2015 agree. At a basic level, the challenge places ongoing demands on the roles and skills of librarians, and definitely IT too. Another challenge beyond this is defining and developing parameters for determining what is obsolete within each field of study. And as interdisciplinary research continues to grow, the outdated information of one discipline may very well be considered ripe for analysis by another field. - janice.welburn janice.welburn Apr 20, 2015

Meeting Patron Needs in the Digital Age
New technologies, changing study habits, and efforts to manage the rising costs of higher education put both library facilities and their purpose in flux. Libraries are tasked with staying abreast of how students use their facilities through data-collecting, surveys, etc. to make sure they are efficiently and effectively using their space and budgeting to invest in the tools students need to work both individually and collaboratively. I think one of the big parts of this question is what do we do with all of the data we have and how do we really determine impact? I see much of what this topic is trying to address as assessment. We have to have functional assessments in place to help inform us of user needs. So often we use our assessment measure and statistics to show what we are doing well and what we are providing, but how often do we use them to determine what's missing or what we could do better? Since we use assessment measures (usually) as a way to show value or impact within the organization (I'm thinking SACS and ARL reports, etc), we rarely consider what we could find by looking at our information another way. I know that I've spent the last year trying to track what we can't do, what our patrons still need of us even though I run a highly successful and well received unit within our libraries. - lcshedd lcshedd Apr 10, 2015 - rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Apr 16, 2015 - dianeb dianeb Apr 18, 2015- JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Apr 20, 2015 - oren oren Apr 24, 2015 yet, still a difficult challenge: to shift the focus of usage-based assessments from inside-out to outside-in; from assessing what patrons do (what library resources and services they use, and how) to what patrons need (what information resources they actually need but don't find or don't use the library for; what services are they missing) In order to better understand our users we will have to reconsider our stance on patron privacy -- the two concepts are in conflict.[[user:pongracz|1429282014]* users needs are personalized in a digital environment, it is a challenge for libraries to meet each individual's needs, however, we could meet most of them, it is a solvable category. (- liusq liusq Apr 19, 2015) Again an input from the #emtacl15 conference: we talked a lot about user experience to be in the focus of library work. It starts with knowing what users really do and then to find out what they want and what they need. Observation methods give interesting insights into user behavior. Then users should be able to participate in the development of new services, i.e. in focus groups. And some speakers showed examples of how agile prototyping could be a way how to develop new services.- rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Apr 23, 2015
And I would like to add another aspect: the need for engaging patrons. There are new concepts of participating patrons in the creation of new services. And another newer concept is connected to the makerspaces: libraries should give possibilities to explore new technologies and experimenting with them. So the library becomes a lab. At #emtacl15 there were examples from University of Manchester Library's DigiLab or from University of Oslo Library.- rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Apr 23, 2015

Rethinking the Roles and Skills of Librarians
As more universities incorporate new technologies into teaching and learning, there is an increasing demand for technological and instructional support for faculty and students. Libraries are uniquely situated to meet those needs. These evolving expectations are leading libraries to rearrange their organizations, resulting in the creation of new departments, new positions, and new responsibilities for library professionals. A seminal analysis of ARL staffing requests for 113 universities in the United States and Canada found that more than half the advertised positions were for newly created or significantly redefined roles. While new roles are being created in traditional library areas, there is a clear hiring trend that emphasizes finding more functional specialists that have a strong digital or technology background. Academic and research libraries are being approached from many different directions and are expected to fulfill new and more specialized capacities. The challenge is in keeping institutions flexible enough to adapt to these new roles while finding leaders that can build sustainable models and collaborate across departments to meet the ever-changing needs of their institutions. - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Apr 1, 2015It's probably no surprise to any of us that organizations as dynamic and responsive as libraries would continually need to have staff willing to think about balancing the importance of continuity in librarianship with the need to rethink the roles and skills of librarians (and other members of library staff) to remain responsive to library users' needs. San Jose State University has produced a great snapshot of "Emerging Career Trends for Information Professionals ( that documents some of the changes currently underway; p. 15 of the PDF, for example, addresses "common features of information profession jobs" (e.g., "proficiency to use and offer instruction in various information technology systems and tools" and "data and metadata management, website maintenance, social skills, and proficiency with electronic resources"), and pp. 26-27 offer a variety of job titles related to virtual and digital libraries and to web and social media work in libraries. Our Library Edition expert-panel colleague Sandra Hirsh might have plenty to say about the topic and the survey. Agree. - g.payne g.payne Apr 17, 2015 - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph Apr 20, 2015
- kevin-johnson kevin-johnson Apr 9, 2015 The identical shift towards Librarians with technical skills has also swept through K to 12 institutions.
- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Apr 10, 2015Just found this Washington Post article on the changing nature of college librarians' roles ("BDSM and Beheading Videos: The Evolving Role of the Librarian": courtesy of our colleagues at AL Direct (from the 4/10/2015 edition online). - Marwin.Britto Marwin.Britto Apr 12, 2015 ACRL recently released a white paper of a collection of essays centered on this theme but from a broader perspective: see It's also a big challenge for the education of librarians. LIS faculties have to develop the curriculum together with libraries in order to provide the skills needed in professional life - at the moment and in future (which is quite difficult to determine...). Another problem I see at least in German speaking countries is that we have to address also new types of students with different competences and interests. Nowadays still many students come to our faculty because they love reading and because they want to avoid stress. But then we tell them that they should be specialists in new technologies and play the role of an agent of innovation in libraries.- rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Apr 16, 2015 agree - mkloes mkloes Apr 19, 2015 - edlef edlef Apr 20, 2015 agree, it seems that our students often do not expect any special and/or helpful knowledge from our librarians. And they dont want to "learn" new GUIs or "discovery interfaces" From my perspective libraries are shifting from being hardware operations (think p-books, shelves, furniture etc) to becoming software operations (think search algorithms, link resolvers, user data etc). The need to know how to use technology is no longer enough, we need a growing cadre of software experts who can code. Without them we are relegated to being tinkerers, and we will have to outsource our tools. - pongracz pongracz Apr 17, 2015 Agreed. This is a difficult if not wicked challenge; library schools have not responded well. - askeyd askeyd Apr 20, 2015
- dianeb dianeb Apr 18, 2015 Difficult challenge - mstephens7 mstephens7 Apr 19, 2015 I was really struck by a Librarian Shaming tumblr post - "I want to replace all librarians with tech people with great customer service skills and teaching ability. I want the library to have its own Genius Bar" I wrote about it here: So in the vision shared at Librarian Shaming, librarians are out the door and tech-savvy, user-focused, service-driven folks would replace them. Who could that be? More librarians? Better librarians? The statement, while shocking and a bit frustrating, may be rooted in truth. Isn’t this the evolution we are seeing in libraries? If you’ve done any future visioning or strategic planning of late, haven’t the conversations turned to more active, technologically enhanced spaces and services? More classes, more space for working with creation tools, more time spent showing people how things work? Is this what people are asking for? Consider this option in our evolution: we might continue to hire degreed librarians who will be managing projects and guiding services but also some very specialized folks—maybe they’ll have a library degree, maybe they won’t—who work with users and new technology in these collaborative spaces. - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph Apr 20, 2015 - mstephens7 mstephens7 Apr 19, 2015 Also, it might eb good to address the fact that we need new skills, need to teach in more ways, etc but also embrace our "inner" extrovert or vice versa! And I'd argue for academic librarians to put themselves out there as much as possible! Take a look at Oregon’s Multnomah County Public Library “My Librarian” page for inspiration. This glimpse of the staff is not steeped in “Oh, look, we’re not shushing” or attempts to be overly cool that reek of desperation. It’s really folks from all walks of life sharing themselves. I can’t tell if Edna K. or Eric G. are introverts or extroverts, but does it matter? They are putting themselves front and center for library users, making themselves available for personalized recommendations of books, media, and more. Very important - emphasis on technical skills required - working closely with IT, learning technologists and designers to create new opportunities and service enhancement - DaveP DaveP Apr 19, 2015 This is extremely important challenge, and something I focused as a key theme in my new edited textbook: Information Services Today: An Introduction, published by Rowman & Littlefield. - Sandy.hirsh Sandy.hirsh Apr 19, 2015 This is a big challenge, A survey conducted last year in China said "librarians" as a position may disappear in next 15 years, I don't think so ,however, librarians have to enhance themselves and improve services. But it is not easy, it is a difficult challenge.(- liusq liusq Apr 20, 2015) This will be very challenging as it requires collaboration and discussion with Information Science programs, likely through ALA. As the MLIS degree is rethought and redesigned, the input of actively practicing librarians will be crucial. Librarians’ strengths and expertise lie in their understanding of the nature and structure of knowledge (how to create metadata for it, how organize it and how to make it accessible and discoverable and how to preserve it), and their service orientation. Librarians will continue to have role in research and scholarly communication using their expertise. The development of tech skills to support new endeavors is paramount. This must encompass the skills acquired in library and info studies programs and the training and development of existing staff. - janice.welburn janice.welburn Apr 20, 2015 - jdupuis jdupuis Apr 27, 2015 This is critical. Academic libraries must move from a pure service orientation to a combination of service and collaboration. This requires both domain knowledge, and a different set of skills - escience escience Apr 27, 2015 We need to have our universities separate the notion of librarians from the notion of libraries. We can be/are information specialists in the research process today, not merely custodians of print collections. Let's shout that out! - cmkeithw cmkeithw Apr 28, 2015 The transition from subject-based faculty liaison librarians, to specialisation in either teaching and learning librarianship, and research librarianship. To provide the expertise to partner with researchers to foster research data management planning and data publication now mandated by many funding authorities, advice on demonstrating research impact, assistance with training around visualisation techniques, advice on which metadata schemas are appropriate for research description now requires staff that focus on these aspects of what is emerging a data science. And the traditional research related specialised advice and searching continues. Similarly teaching and learning related work increasing relies on specialised skills, such as educational design skills, creating open educational resources for information literacy, and skills in integrating these resources into presentation of curricula in learning management systems, as well as traditional reference work. - g.payne g.payne Apr 17, 2015 - JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Apr 20, 2015 - oren oren Apr 20, 2015 agree, though see this as a long term trend. Libraries involvement in the life cycle of research products (could) include also help and guidance in measurements and impact of researchers scholarly work. - Jacqueline.Fritz Jacqueline.Fritz Apr 18, 2015 Evolving literacy standards: [Editor's Note: Added here from RQ3.]
Transitioning from a mainly a role as a "Wallet" for resources to other roles. Ithaka S+R reports show Faculty value libraries role as a purchaser of resources over any other role. The challenge for academic libraries is to advocate for open access (which will remove the purchaser role), while ensuring that the academic librarians value can be recognized and valued beyond that of a purchasing role. This would also require transitioning of librarian skillsets that will no longer be useful in a largely open access environment to valued skill sets. - aarontay aarontay Apr 19, 2015 Agree- cmkeithw cmkeithw Apr 28, 2015 This is a huge challenge. Many faculty see libraries and librarians in a very one-dimensional way. To get at the table for so many of the discussions that all of these challenges are about, we need to find a way to broaden our perspective and our perception on and of our campuses. Sometimes I think that only a very small handful of challenges really matter -- around IL & curriculum as one example and library-as-place as another. One that haunts me is how to transition to a globally fairer and more equitable scholarly communications ecosystem, one where readers all over the globe can access the scholarship they need without price barriers. This is kind of a pipe dream in many ways but it's also a kind of moral imperative for libraries and libraries, a cause we can get behind, A conception of libraries beyond the wallet role is fundamentally about how to advocate and create this system, how to integrate a system of so many players -- commercial publishers, societies, nimble startups like PeerJ or F1000 or Science Open or OLH and so many others. I've written about these challenges at some length. . - jdupuis jdupuis Apr 27, 2015

Updating Physical Facilities and Developing New Services
While many people think that information or learning commons are pervasive in academic libraries, in truth many academic libraries have not been renovated in recent years or only small sections of their facilities have been renovated. There is very little entirely new construction of libraries taking place. Many US academic libraries have difficulty supplying even basic resources in their physical facilities such as adequate power outlets and wireless capability. While many libraries have created collaborative learning spaces, they have often not adjusted their programs and services to adequately support and market the capabilities. Services to support content creation in all types of media by students and others or services to support use of "big data" are present in a relatively small portion of libraries even if appropriate hardware and software are in place. There is a great need for updating library physical facilities and developing new types of services to support the digital needs of today's learners. - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Apr 1, 2015This is another huge, exciting, challenging, and long-term issue for us to consider and address. An interesting element that receives some--but never enough--attention is the question of how our learning spaces support our approach to learning. One example: if we're promoting collaborative learning, problem-based learning, or connected learning, how effective are learning spaces comprised of rows of chairs where learners' attention is focused on the learning facilitator at the front of the room? Tom Haymes' Idea Spaces presentation is one resource well worth examining: Another resource is the presentation I recently did for the Knowledge & Information Professional Association (KIPA) conference (March 2015)--slides with speaker notes available at - kevin-johnson kevin-johnson Apr 9, 2015 Yes, I have often read of the tragic underfunding of American public libraries in the "american library association" magazine. Paul is correct, we pick up these short term trends or new ideas without fully considering physical space issues. I think part of this happens when our people get ahead of our spaces. We certainly don't want to stop doing these things, but we need to be working to include better space planning in our strategic plans and budgets. This can be a high cost change, much more so than changing (or in most cases adding) services. - lcshedd lcshedd Apr 15, 2015 - dianeb dianeb Apr 18, 2015 Many have the false impression that as academic libraries shift to a greater percentage of digital items and reduce their physical collections, that suddenly "extra space" is suddenly available for non-library departments to acquire and re-purpose. With decrease state budget allocations and limited capital funding for new buildings on campus but a growing demand for space, this happens all too often. What happened to the concept of "library as place"? - Marwin.Britto Marwin.Britto Apr 16, 2015 Very important! Another aspect of the reduced space for physical collections is the challenge to make the library and their holdings and services still visible. We have to develop new forms of presenting holdings or access to information, like virtual shelves. Virtual services and electronic resources can not be easily promoted. How can we make them visible and how can these services be integrated into the physical space?- rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Apr 16, 2015 Fully agree, what does the physical library look like as research commons or learning commons in the digital world? [- frank.scholze frank.scholze Apr 17, 2015] And don't forget, how do we assess whether the changes we are making is having any kind of impact on student learning. - dianeb dianeb Apr 18, 2015 - mkloes mkloes Apr 19, 2015 agree Agree - relates to the topic of digital signage/displays and also to how libraries portray themselves on their websites - often they focus mainly or solely on access to information resources and it's almost impossible to find facility information via a library's homepage. - JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Apr 20, 2015 Imagination is required, flexibility, excellent design, a cognitive link between the digital and the physical - DaveP DaveP Apr 19, 2015 It is a long-term challenge and in fact a difficult one.(- liusq liusq Apr 20, 2015) It was the favourite challenge at #emtacl15 conference: new ways of presenting digital content. We also saw presentations of new technologies to make print collections (book-books) visible or interactive objects in the virtual world like conductive ink or NFC chips for interaction with books or posters.- rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Apr 23, 2015~ Investments in library buildings over the last 15 years have had a technology base. The transformational change that a well planned series of learning spaces with embedded technology can bring is evident in the usage rates. Yet we do fail to go all the way with new spaces and taking risks around developing support models. Many did secure funding for development around the waves of developments of collaborative spaces.There is a general lack of new and emerging ideas around learning environment developments. So do we do more to measure the impact of the current modes of change, say for example on student attainment, or do we encourage new models to encourage investment? - jan.howden jan.howden Apr 27, 2015

Marketing/Promoting our Services in Useful Ways
(- lcshedd lcshedd Apr 2, 2015) Solvable Challenge. We can talk about new services, expanding resources, digital publishing, etc all day long, but if our campus community does not know about what we have and what we are doing, we've missed the point. While this topic is connected to the BYOD issues, library apps for single platforms, silos of information and resources access, I want to argue that it's a fundamental flaw in how we think about the role of libraries and librarians. How many of us think about truly marketing ourselves or our services? How often do we come up with a great program idea, spend a ton of time developing that idea and either can't get money from admin to use for marketing or just have a few lines about posting the event on the campus calendar, sending announcements to a listserv or making a poster (which may or may not be pretty enough to be noticed). We know we are changing/have changed, but do they, our users, know this like we do and how do we tell them? - lcshedd lcshedd Apr 10, 2015 Completely agree with Lindley Schedd's comment, and wonder if we could connect this even more strongly to the Horizon Report approach by noting how technology continues to provide us with a larger toolbox with which we can approach this marketing challenge.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Apr 14, 2015 yes, Paul, that would be great. - lcshedd lcshedd Apr 15, 2015 Agreed. ALA developed a set of resources entitled "Frontline Advocacy for Academic Libraries"which provides plenty of ideas, worksheets, messaging, and advice on how to successful advocate and self-market within your institution and community. Similarly, ALA created a more general version directed at all types of libraries and called "Advocating in a Tough Economy Toolkit"- Marwin.Britto Marwin.Britto Apr 16, 2015 I agree! And I mentioned above the challenge to make virtual services visible. This seems closely connected with this challenge.- rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Apr 16, 2015 - mkloes mkloes Apr 19, 2015 agree Agree this is one of the most important challenges - it is only solvable if libraries place priority on promotional activities - JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Apr 20, 2015 yes Joan, it's about priorities and how we as librarians think of ourselves and how to show ourselves to the community. - lcshedd lcshedd Apr 20, 2015 Role of digital signage/displays, other types of displays in and out of the library, and using the library website plus in some cases social media. - JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Apr 20, 2015

Added as a New Challenge from RQ3

Impact of In-House Research on Library Innovation
...and the Customer Orientation of Libraries "In the future, libraries will not only support research with scientific literature; to a considerable degree they will actively and creatively carry out research of their own – both at the national and international level. Research will take place within the disciplines of applied computer science, in particular media informatics, and information sciences. With this research, libraries aim to continually provide their online services in close cooperation with their customer groups and at a high level of innovation. Libraries will thus become equal partners in the research community and as a part thereof can meet the continuous change in research on equal footing. Thus, libraries will be able to adjust their services in literature provision even better to customer requirements." Thesis 2 by Klaus Tochtermann, in:
I would love to see this happen, but the research/work load models would have to change for this to have reaching impact. This thesis conflicts with our reality of more and more positions being converted to Clinical faculty or technology professional positions. If it happens at all it will be a long term trend. - lcshedd lcshedd Apr 15, 2015 I could more agree to this topic being a challenge for libraries - to be accepted as partners of researchers. Only few libraries really manage to have their own research and I think it would be more useful to cooperate with LIS at universities.- rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Apr 16, 2015 - andreas.kirstein andreas.kirstein Apr 25, 2015 I think we will see some differentiation here. Some (few?) libraries already follow this strategic aim (including Tochtermann's ZBW) some do not even dare to think about doing r&d. [- frank.scholze frank.scholze Apr 17, 2015] - dianeb dianeb agreed. At many universities, faculty are the researchers; librarians assist them with their research. There would have to be a huge shift in those thought processes for this to happen. - andreas.kirstein andreas.kirstein Apr 25, 2015 agree I'm of the opinion that if libraries don't involve themselves in this way, there's a real issue — there's a need to be an expert on the cutting edge of the things happening in libraries & that only happens via research - rurik.greenall rurik.greenall Apr 19, 2015 Libraries and Librarians need to work with learning technologists and produce rapid prototypes for service enhancement based upon research and observation - DaveP DaveP Apr 19, 2015 - ahaar ahaar Apr 24, 2015 critical point. There is significant international participation in evidence based librarianship practice - see the the open access journal, Evidence Based Library and Information Practice - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph Apr 20, 2015 I don't think so ,it is difficult for libraries to become EQUAL partners in the research communities, librarians could involve with research partly, but it is hard to devote much due to limits of time and energy.(- liusq liusq Apr 20, 2015) - edlef edlef Apr 20, 2015 I have an amazing relalationship with the faculty on my campus. I will also add that while I do presentations and writing as an equal partner with faculty it's about what we do, which I don't consider research. For example, some of the titles are “Dubbing Narratives as a Way to Enhance Language Learning in Content-­‐Based Instruction,” "Art, Science, Multimedia: Changing the Freshman Art Experience through Collaboration and Technology," and "Using Digital Stories to Promote Learning in Graduate-Level Education Coursework." I do not consider that research, but that's the kind of writing and presenting we do in libraries. It's also a question of time. We are expected to meet all of the Professional Contributions and Service requirements for tenure after we work a full 40+ at our "regular" job. - lcshedd lcshedd Apr 20, 2015 This is challenging, and not well-supported by libraries. Witness the closing/repurposing of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab. We are having some initial success at MIT with the program on information science -- working with faculty in several research efforts in information privacy, online educational systems, big data, etc. - escience escience Apr 27, 2015 We are also having some progress in this area at Carnegie Mellon - collaborating with computer scientists - cmkeithw cmkeithw Apr 28, 2015 [Editor's Note: Based on these wonderful discussions, it sounds like this fits in better as a Challenge and is being moved to RQ4.]

Moved to RQ3 Trends

Assistive Technology to Foster Accessibility to Library Services and Resources
New difficult challenge. - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Apr 1, 2015Creating access to library services and resources for those with disabilities is hardly a new topic; the American Library Association's ASCLA (Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies) division is among those offering guidance through its "Library Accessibility -- What You Need to Know" page ( and the link to its "Assistive Technology" tip sheet ( A library colleague's recent comment about the difference between what libraries strive to offer in this area and what library users' experiences with the technology actually are raises an interesting question: are we effectively using assistive technology to create the highest levels of access possible? Glancing at an online description for an assistive technology workshop scheduled for April 8, 2015 through the Pacer Center ( suggests there are plenty of options to be explored here, e.g., "wearable technology, 3D printing, mobile devices, and more -- and their potential to help children [and other learners] with disabilities and learning differences" ( Might be interesting to see what other members of the Library Edition panel of experts are seeing within their own libraries and whether they agree that this is a difficult challenge in the sense that much more could be done to make library services and resources available through more creative and widespread use of assistive technology.
- kevin-johnson kevin-johnson Apr 9, 2015 I also think Paul's reminder here is warranted - we need to consider this minority; it should be our democratic duty.- I agree! and I refer to the topic accessiblity of online resources - a field on which still a lot of work has to be done. There are formats like EPUB3 that give many options but still only few e-books are really accessible. - rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Apr 16, 2015 While not a new topic, it's a topic with new life. On our campus we formed the "ADA Technology Compliance Working Group" in late 2011 in response to these two letters:, Discussions included point of need vs. new standards for providing more accessible resources as part of regular workflows. Our group developed a Technology Accessibility Plan that was submitted to our administration in late 2012. This was a HUGH cross-campus effort that included a number of people from the libraries (including myself). Accessing Higher Ground is a great resource for this topic( Their focus is "Accessible media, Universal Design and Assistive Technology in the university, business and public setting; Legal and policy issues, including ADA and 508 compliance; The creation of accessible media and information resources, including Web pages and library resources." Here's an example of the workshop options being offered on our campus for accessibility (this is not a library effort). - lcshedd lcshedd Apr 16, 2015. I agree that this is an important topic and not just for the library community but the entire campus. Regardless of how small the community might be on your campus, we have an obligation to make resources and services accessible to all. Our library has an Assistive Technology group that works on these issues all the time with guidance from our Disability Services department. We have a link on our website to talk about the services we offer. As the person responsible for our website and all the technology in the library, I make sure that our products are accessible to all. - dianeb dianeb Apr 18, 2015 [Editor's Note: This reads like a trend and the discussions here will be moved to RQ3.]

Generating new tools for researchers to manage their data in ways that improve researcher productivity and facilitate publication and curation - g.payne g.payne Apr 17, 2015 Solvable challenge. Imagine your discipline utilises three or four standard tools to gather data and submit them for analysis in a a few workflow engines. And that these tools time stamp all updates to your active data set so you can retrieve the data that supports a research publication by re-running the same time stamped query you used to prepare the data for analysis in the original research. And you can pull down any data set of interest from the virtual archive maintained by university libraries word wide and know it is authentic and can be queued to the workflow engine without re-formatting. And your favourite tool includes collaboration mechanisms, and a publish button and a share button. that meets your data deposit obligations. And citing use of your favourite tool is all you need do to meet data management planning requirements. It will take time but it is achievable, and motivations are emerging. Trying to clean up data for curation at the end of, or worse still after the end of a research project is not a viable alternative. [Editor's Note: Added to RQ3 discussion on Increasing Focus on Research Data Management.]