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December 5, 2019

What Are the Larger Implications of Ex Libris Buying Innovative?

Earlier today, news began leaking out that Ex Libris will purchase Innovative Interfaces, one of its largest competitors. The deal, which is expected to close in early 2020, further cements Ex Libris as the leader in the library systems marketplace and can be expected to put added pressure on OCLC. It will also raise concerns about Ex Libris’s dominant market position.  Library Systems Ex Libris’s core business is in library systems,…
November 6, 2019

A Methodology for Testing Service Concepts

New Issue Brief

As academic libraries continue to evolve beyond a focus on collections, their leaders have long recognized the importance of developing new services that add value for learners, instructors, researchers, and other stakeholders. Sometimes, the demand for new services is self-evident, but in other cases the library must develop services speculatively and in a competitive environment. In these cases, planning and assessment tools can be of tremendous value in allowing library leaders to focus their new service initiatives most…
October 21, 2019

Beyond Innovation: Emerging Meta-Frameworks for Maintaining an Open Scholarly Infrastructure

There are numerous free and community-based academic and cultural resources that are designed and built on open source or open access principles. Undertaken by not-for-profit mission-driven organizations, such services and technologies aim to introduce innovation to various stages of scholarly communication from designing research projects to publishing results.  Today, amid growing concerns about their long-term durability and agility, there is renewed interest in sustainability, business models, revenue, and maintenance. In our previous post, we looked back at some…
October 1, 2019

Sustaining the Open Sector: A Brief Look Back

During the last two decades, we’ve seen the emergence of several open source (OS) and open access (OA) initiatives designed to support the academic and cultural community’s needs for more effective, versatile, and cost-efficient tools. Since 2006, Ithaka S+R has explored the sustainability requirements of these resources, investigating both the factors that lead to success and the reasons behind setbacks and failures. Today, amid the failure of several cross-institutional “open” initiatives and the broader search for funding to…
March 26, 2019

A New Survey of Art Museum Directors

Art museums are in the midst of substantial transformations while trying to stay true to their values. They are buffeted by changes in technology, demographics, and how individuals and families choose to spend their leisure time or seek opportunities for cultural enrichment. How are leaders in this sector addressing these challenges? And, what future directions are they pursuing to stay relevant and achieve greater impact?  With support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Ithaka S+R is launching a…
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March 6, 2019

Scale Is Existential

New Issue Brief on Library Collaborations

For more than a hundred years, academic libraries in North America have understood that they must seek scale greater than that of their own institution in order to provide the collections and services that their communities need. In search of cross institutional scale, libraries have developed an array of consortia and other collaborative vehicles. But as the nature of the collections libraries seek to provide, and the services that their user communities require, has evolved, so must their…
March 1, 2019

What is Content Syndication?

Over the past year, there have been some important developments among the major publishers as they move towards a new model for distributing their content. The principal driver has been the fear of “leakage,” which is to say usage for which publishers cannot provide COUNTER statistics and therefore are unable to monetize. There is real fear of losing library sales altogether due to leakage to SciHub, ResearchGate, and similar sites, which in one view is what has happened,…
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 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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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…
October 18, 2018

Universities Are Changing and So Are Their Libraries

New Report from OCLC Research and Ithaka S+R

OCLC Research and Ithaka S+R, both known for exploring the implications for libraries of changes taking place in higher education, joined forces to work on a research project, generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, that examines variations in institutional missions and how those missions affect the services offered to library users. The resulting report, University Futures, Library Futures: Aligning Library Strategies with Institutional Directions, has just been published. Our hope is that both academic administrators and librarians…
April 2, 2018

Oya Y. Rieger to Join Ithaka S+R

I am thrilled to announce that digital preservation expert and scholarly communications leader Oya Y. Rieger will be joining Ithaka S+R as a Senior Advisor on our Libraries & Scholarly Communication team on July 1.   Oya has worked at Cornell University for over 25 years and currently is the Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Resources & Preservation Services. When Oya joins Ithaka S+R, she will continue her affiliation with Cornell, staying on as…
March 16, 2018

The Services Portfolio of an Academic Library: A Framework

Academic libraries have been rethinking their strategic directions and services portfolios. I have argued recently that academic libraries face certain essential transformations, as they move beyond print general collections towards a variety of other roles. In a current project, Ithaka S+R and OCLC Research have been developing a typology of higher education institutions to explore the different ways that libraries are evolving at a service level. An essential…
January 23, 2018

Making Strides towards Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Examples from Four Art Museums

Over the past three years, Ithaka S+R has conducted three wide-scale analyses of employee diversity in cultural organizations. These have included academic research libraries, the cultural sector in New York City, and American art museums. In all three studies, a common picture has emerged: staff in professional–and especially leadership–roles are more predominately white than is the population more broadly. But, as…
January 12, 2018

Essential Transformations

The academic library is transforming. This diagram illustrates some of what I see as its most essential transformations. Libraries are transforming in terms of their collections – towards electronic collections, towards shared collections, towards open access, and towards distinctive holdings. Complexities abound for discovery, access, processing, and preservation. And libraries are also transforming beyond collections, towards a partnership with scholars and students in support of research, teaching, and learning workflows. This…
January 10, 2018

Research Infrastructure and the Strategic Decisions of Universities

For the past several years, I have been writing about the turn to research workflow tools. These tools reach deeply into the laboratory and are increasingly important to scientists and other scholars, and they impact the university research office and scholarly communications programs. Scholars need seamless end-to-end research solutions. Major publishers are making substantial investments in this area as they seek to pivot their businesses beyond content licensing. The strategic choices that universities make today…
December 13, 2017

What is Researcher Workflow?

Over the past two years, I have been urging that academic information professionals, including librarians and publishers, give greater attention to how they might support a growing share of the researcher workflow. But what is researcher workflow? The researcher workflow can be defined in a number of ways. For laboratory scientists, it includes research design and funding, moves through data collection and analysis, and takes them to assessment and showcasing. This very rough schematic offers…
October 17, 2017

Putting the Red Light, Green Light Model Into Practice

Last week, ASERL’s John Burger facilitated a webinar about licensing scholarly content. I provided an overview of the “Red Light, Green Light” model for internal library alignment that I proposed earlier this year. John Ulmschneider of Virginia Commonwealth University reflected on some the challenges that research libraries face and endorsed proceeding with a model of increasing alignment. Participants discussed the strengths of the Red Light, Green Light model and some of the ways…
October 11, 2017

The Preservation of Government Publications

Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond

I was honored to be asked to testify before the House of Representatives’ Committee on House Administration, as part of a hearing on “Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond.” The hearing also included testimony from Robin Dale of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and R. Eric Petersen of the Congressional Research Service. A video of the hearing is included below along with the written testimony I submitted to the committee. Written Testimony Chairman Harper, Ranking Member Brady, and…