Posts tagged under: Research

New Model Library: Plan for positive change in the midst of challenges

Co-authors:  Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D. | Brittany BrannonBrooke Doyle | Brian Lavoie, Ph.D. 

When we did the research for the New Model Library: Pandemic Effects and Library Directions briefing, a term that came up often was “normal” (Is this change part of a new normal? When will this activity get back to normal?). While interesting, these questions don’t acknowledge that libraries are incredibly diverse in terms of culture, size, type, goals, and locations. And the term “normal” isn’t really helpful without additional context. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic is a singular, global upheaval that affects everyone who works at and uses libraries.

So how do we discuss the impact this global upheaval is having on a set of very different institutions and individuals and their plans for the future?

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Build on strengths when responding to a crisis

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As the REALM project (REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums) continues to gather and adapt science-based information to inform local decision making by libraries, archives, and museums, it’s been essential to listen to the real-world experiences at these institutions. These perspectives ensure that the information is relevant to the operations and services of the field. In a collection of nine interviews, leaders of libraries, museums, and member associations describe how they leveraged their institutions’ core strengths and drew upon trusted partners to navigate the crisis, helping to protect the health and well-being of staff and community members. These interviews help identify common ground among institutions in their response to a global crisis and spotlight opportunities for local partnerships between different types of cultural heritage institutions that can strengthen resources and local impact.

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The Wikipedia research conundrum: Is it citable?

There is a disconnect between how students are taught to use Wikipedia and the way that they actually use it. The notion of an encyclopedia that anyone can edit has led teachers to warn that Wikipedia is unreliable and should never be used or cited as a source of serious research. In reality, most of us use Wikipedia all the time in our research. Defenders of Wikipedia’s contribution model even point out that democratization of contribution is beneficial and necessary for the level of breadth, depth, and reliability it has achieved. If Wikipedia’s open contribution model doesn’t stop researchers from using it, why are students taught to avoid it?

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The rapid pace of change in research university libraries: An interview with Keith Webster

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Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Keith Webster, Dean of University Libraries and Director of Emerging and Integrative Media Initiatives at Carnegie Mellon University. We discussed how academic libraries have changed in the last two decades, reflecting on the growth of digital content and the rapidly evolving scholarly record. I also asked Keith to imagine the research library of the future and to share where his own library is heading in the near term, with investments in multi-purpose repositories, RIM systems, and increasing support for research analytics and institutional reputation management.

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The OCLC Global Council survey on discovery and fulfillment: an important baseline

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How do library users navigate their paths from an initial point-of-need to the final moment of getting the resources they require? That process can be as fast as a single search and one click, or it can encompass many stops and starts, false trails, frustrations, and wrong turns … as I think we, as information professionals, can testify from our own research efforts.

Understanding and improving those journeys is among the most important work we do.

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Public libraries generate social capital that can save lives

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When disaster strikes, libraries are there to help. In California, where many have been forced from their homes due to forest fires and power outages, libraries like Folsom Public Library have become a refuge for people who need to charge devices, use WiFi, or just have a place to go. In March of 2011, a powerful earthquake triggered enormous tsunami waves in the Tōhoku region of Japan, killing thousands of people, driving hundreds of thousands from their homes, and leaving millions without electricity and water service. In the months after this horrific disaster, as hundreds of government services, NGOs, and private and international relief agencies struggled to help communities recover, residents also looked to public libraries for help.

Why is that? Libraries don’t provide food, water, electricity, or medical services. In many cases, libraries had suffered the same catastrophic losses as their neighbors; staff had perished or been injured, buildings completely destroyed or unusable, resources gutted. Why, then, did people so quickly turn to libraries after a disaster? Because of social capital.

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Open content: where we are and where we’re going

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Last year during Open Access Week, I wrote to you to encourage your participation in our Open Content Survey. The timing was fortuitous, as there was (and is) a great appetite for understanding the evolving open content landscape and what it means for libraries. At OCLC, we were forging ahead with research, product development, MARC proposals, publisher agreements, and more. All with the goal of enhancing the visibility and accessibility of open content for library users. You can learn more about responses to the Open Content Survey in this results summary, and watch a recording of our “Works in Progress” webinar, “The Shift to Open at University and Research Libraries Worldwide.” In this webinar, my colleague Titia van der Werf (Senior Program Officer, OCLC Research) shares more results from the study.

Now it’s Open Access Week 2019, and over the last year we’ve made some excellent progress.

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Reenergize your marketing strategy in three simple steps

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Having worked in public libraries of all sizes for the past 15 years, I’ve found there’s one common thread. Actually, there are many, but one really critical thing stands out. We don’t toot our own horn nearly enough, yet marketing always seems like an easy target to kick off our overflowing to-do list. And while we’re generally great planners, when it comes to marketing, we’re not always the best implementers. This is why I wasn’t surprised that 40 percent of public libraries have a communications strategy, but only 17 percent keep it current.

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What is the top novel of all time?

Skip Prichard

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What is the top novel of all time? War and Peace? Moby Dick? Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? Dream of the Red Chamber?

The answer is, of course, “it depends.” It depends on your definitions and measures. Sales? Number of copies published?

One way of measuring is to look at library collections. Libraries reflect popular interest. However, they also reflect scholarly and cultural interest over time. Libraries are where the world’s literature is stewarded and defined.

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