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February 13, 2019

The Right Tool for the Job

Fostering Strategic Approaches to User Research

In October 2018 we had the opportunity to engage with attendees to at the Digital Library Federation (DLF) conference about fostering strategic approaches to digital library assessment. During the session we briefly presented a framework for thinking through various user research avenues and related methodologies (suggesting that the user survey isn’t the only useful tool libraries could employ even if we use them a lot!) and then invited participants to consider what they…
January 29, 2019

Do Physical Books Still Spark Joy?

On the Material Reality of Today’s Academic Libraries

Marie Kondo of Tidying Up, the decluttering-as-self help phenomenon, recently met controversy for declaring that she strictly limits the number of books in her home to thirty. She has since clarified that the optimal physical book collection size is a personal metric, however, the underlying controversy echoes an issue that many academic libraries are facing around the role and presence of physical books.
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January 29, 2019

National Study Examines How Book Acquisitions at Academic Libraries Have Evolved

Library Acquisition Patterns

Academic books are an important part of scholarship and have traditionally been integral to academic libraries as they develop collections to support the research needs of students and faculty members. However, as library budgets shrink and students and scholars turn toward away from the liberal arts, university presses and other associated organizations have begun to express concern that book sales are in decline. But another phenomenon started happening simultaneously in this industry: Amazon began selling academic books, competing for customers…
January 28, 2019

Museums Grow More Diverse, But Change is Uneven

Today we are pleased to announce the publication of the Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey 2018. In partnership with the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ithaka S+R has conducted a study of the demographics of the art museum field. This report builds on findings from the  Art Museum Demographic Survey we conducted in 2015, showing that, while some meaningful progress has been made towards…
January 24, 2019

A New Issue Brief on Revenue-Generating Library Services

Academic libraries are grappling with how to respond to the the continuing introduction of increasingly more business-like approaches to the academy, such as through the popularity of “responsibility center” approaches to management, and “customer” or “client”-focused approaches to service. For example, while some embrace the concept of “entrepreneurial librarianship” others are taking an anti-capitalist stance through the lens of “critical librarianship.” Undergirding these rhetorical moves are the material challenges that academic libraries, and their institutions, are facing as…
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January 16, 2019

Supporting Civil and Environmental Engineering Research

Recommendations by and for Academic Librarians

In Ithaka S+R’s newest Research Support Services project – highlighted in our capstone report released today – we partnered with teams at 11 academic libraries in the United States and Canada to study the research practices and support needs of civil and environmental engineering scholars. (They join teams at 77 other universities who have participated in similar Ithaka S+R-led projects, including Asian studies and public…
January 16, 2019

Engineering for Impact: Practices of Civil and Environmental Engineering Scholars

The latest installment in Ithaka S+R’s series of Research Support Services projects investigates the research practices and support needs of civil and environmental engineering scholars. Today we are excited to publish the project’s capstone report. The field of civil and environmental engineering tackles pressing issues relating to our built and natural environments – from climate change to urban drinking water, bridge and highway upkeep to natural disaster planning. The need for research solutions to these problems…
January 16, 2019

Announcing a New Project on Teaching with Primary Sources

We are excited to announce a new research project designed to support effective teaching with primary sources. Teaching undergraduates with primary sources promotes student engagement and critical thinking skills and is a key ingredient in the current pedagogical push toward “inquiry-based” or “research-led” learning.* Although leveraging physical collections remains important, technological affordances have additionally transformed possibilities for teaching with primary sources: not only by increasing content availability, but by enabling digital discovery, curation, and annotation. The…
January 14, 2019

Defining Academic Support Services in Community Colleges

Last year, Ithaka S+R, along with a team of outstanding advisors from a variety of community colleges and college systems, embarked on the first phase of the Community College Academic Support Ecosystems (CCASE) project, a new research initiative to examine and develop recommendations for how academic support services can more effectively support student success. The project was inspired by earlier findings from the Community College Libraries and Academic Support for…
January 10, 2019

New Report: Enrolling More Veterans at High-Graduation-Rate Colleges and Universities

In November, Ithaka S+R and the College Board hosted “Improving Opportunities for Veterans.” This conference brought together leaders from higher education, the military, and veterans service organizations who share the goal of increasing the enrollment and graduation of veterans at colleges and universities with the highest graduation rates. In our new report with Catharine Bond Hill and Martin Kurzweil, we investigate the underrepresentation of United States military veterans at colleges that graduate at least 70 percent of their students.
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January 9, 2019

Redoubling Our Commitment to Museums and the Arts

In recent years, Ithaka S+R has completed a number of major research and advisory projects focusing on the museums, arts, and cultural communities. In 2019, we are redoubling our commitment through a number of new projects and growth on our team. Many in the museums community are most familiar with Ithaka S+R because of our ongoing partnership with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), and the American Alliance of…
January 9, 2019

CNI Fall Meeting Presentation on the State of Digital Preservation

Video Recording Now Available

At CNI’s Fall Meeting in December, we had the pleasure of presenting some of the highlights from the recent Ithaka S+R brief on the state of digital preservation. It was one of the talks selected for recording and is now available on CNI’s YouTube and Vimeo channels. At CNI, we shared some of what we have learned to gather feedback and additional perspectives…
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January 3, 2019

Meet the Surveys Team

The Ithaka S+R surveys team has continued to grow to support our exciting and expanding portfolio of projects, including the US Faculty Survey, US Library Director Survey, Local Surveys program, Community College Libraries & Academic Support for Student Success (CCLASSS) project, and the Community College Academic Support Ecosystems (CCASE) project. Through these and…
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December 19, 2018

Three Questions for Strada Education Network’s Beth Bean

Thanks to support from Strada Education Network, Ithaka S+R published Mapping the Wild West of Pre-Hire Assessment: A Landscape View of the Uncharted Technology-Facilitated Ecosystem earlier this month. We asked Beth Bean, Vice President, National Engagement , Philanthropy and Policy at Strada Education Network, to tell us more about the organization’s focus on education-to-employment transitions. Strada Education Network has made innovative solutions in education-to-employment transitions a priority area for its philanthropic work. In your view, what are…
December 17, 2018

American Talent Initiative Publishes First Public Report on Progress

In December 2016, 30 leading colleges and universities joined forces to address a persistent problem: Too few talented, low- and moderate-income students from across the country were enrolled at the U.S. colleges and universities with the highest graduation rates. By joining the American Talent Initiative (ATI), an initiative co-managed by the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program and Ithaka S+R, these colleges and universities committed to work together to change this reality. Specifically, these colleges and universities set a…
December 11, 2018

Uncharted Territory: How Employers Are Using Big Data and AI to Redesign the Hiring Process

Candidate screening in the United States is in the midst of rapid innovation. Traditional processes of assessing candidates’ skills focused on resume screening that evaluated candidates’ degrees, training programs, or prior work experiences—a process that favored credentialing intermediaries like higher education institutions, industry associations, and former employers. Today’s employers, however, are turning to advanced algorithmic solutions for verifying candidate competencies and predicting best job fit. The tools—such as resume filtering, talent analytics, online simulations, cybervetting, digital interviews, gamification,…
December 10, 2018

Learning at LAC

Notes from the Library Assessment Conference 2018

This year, the Association of Research Libraries and the University of Washington Libraries hosted their biennial Library Assessment Conference (LAC) in Houston, Texas. Having recently joined the Ithaka S+R survey team in November, this was my first time attending LAC, and I was eager to immerse myself in the sessions described in the schedule. I knew I was in the right place when the conference started with “Wednesday Metrics with Steve.”…
December 7, 2018

The Place of Manuscript Management Systems in a Consolidating Marketplace

It was my great privilege last month to facilitate a virtual workshop on the topic of The Place of Manuscript Management Systems in a Consolidating Marketplace. These services are at the heart of the publisher workflow, and they are the basis of fascinating consolidation today. Elsevier’s acquisition of Aries has brought its competition with Clarivate, which owns ScholarOne. Can these providers integrate manuscript management into their broader publishing…
November 28, 2018

Collectively Supporting Faculty in New Zealand

In 2018, the majority (six out of eight) of New Zealand academic libraries undertook the Ithaka S+R faculty survey in order to explore and deepen understanding of scholars’ research and teaching practices and needs. The project was initiated by the Council of New Zealand University Librarians (CONZUL) with the Ithaka S+R instrument chosen as this is a well-established tool with a strong track record in evaluating the relationship between scholarly researchers and the use of libraries. The goal…
November 28, 2018

New Issue Brief on Scholars as Collectors

Today we publish an Ithaka S+R issue brief that is aimed at reframing how academic research support is conceptualized to better address scholars’ needs. Research support services in university settings are currently focused on aiding scholars as they work on specific research tasks or content, which is largely diffuse and often insufficiently funded. We contend that research support services would be more effective if designed to holistically reflect how scholars work. Looking to scholarly practices in a…