Thursday, 21 February 2008

ACRL environmental scan 2007

The Association of College and Research Libraries in the US recently published their Environmental Scan 2007 ( Their Top 10 Assumptions are:

  1. There will be an increased emphasis on digitizing collections, preserving digital archives, and improving methods of data storage, retrieval, curation, and service.
  2. The skill set for librarians will continue to evolve in response to the changing needs and expectations of the populations they serve, and the professional background of library staff will become increasingly diverse in support of expanded service programs and administrative needs. Mentions the idea of a "blended librarian" a hybrid of traditional professional competencies along with increasingly significant skills related to teaching and to the application of technology to library service - similar to the "data scientist" role advocated by Liz Lyon. Also mentions evidence-based practice.
  3. Students and faculty will continue to demand increasing access to library resources and services, and to expect to find a rich digital library presence both in enterprise academic systems and as a feature of social computing.
  4. Debates about intellectual property will become increasingly common in higher education, and resources and educational programming related to intellectual property management will become an important part of library service to the academic community.
  5. The evolution of information technology will shape both the practice of scholarly inquiry and the daily routine of students and faculty, and demands for technology-related services and technology-rich user environments will continue to grow and will require additional funding. Mentions cyberinfrastructure (3 reports specifically: "To Stand the Test of Time: Long-term Stewardship of Digital Data Sets in Science and Engineering" (ARL, 2006); "Our Cultural Commonwealth: The Final Report of the American Council of Learned Societies Commission on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences" (American Council of Learned Societies, 2006; "Cyberinfrastructure Vision for 21st Century Discovery" (National Science Foundation, 2007).
  6. Higher education will be increasingly viewed as a business, and calls for accountability and for quantitative measures of library contributions to the research, teaching, and service missions of the institution will shape library assessment programs and approaches to the allocation of institutional resources.
  7. As part of the "business of higher education," students will increasingly view themselves as "customers" of the academic library and will demand high-quality facilities, resources, and services attuned to their needs and concerns.
  8. Online learning will continue to expand as an option for students and faculty – both on campus and off – and libraries will gear resources and services for delivery to a distributed academic community.
  9. Demands for free, public access to data collected, and research completed, as part of publicly funded research programs will continue to grow.
  10. The protection of privacy and support for intellectual freedom will continue to be defining issues for academic libraries and librarians.

The Research Committee also identified a number of emergent issues including:

  • Library facilities and services will become increasingly integrated with research, teaching, and learning programs.
  • The ability to meet the needs of e-science and e-scholarship in the social sciences and the humanities will increase and require new approaches to the design and delivery of core library services.
  • The focus for academic libraries will shift from the creation and management of large, on-site library collections to the design and delivery of library services.
  • The tools and techniques of social computing will provide new opportunities for the design and delivery of library resources and services, but will also make increasing demands on library staff and systems.
  • Library patrons will use semantic Web search techniques to locate information resources

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