When Research is Relational
New Report on Supporting the Research Practices of Indigenous Studies Scholars
I am excited to announce the publication of the capstone report from Ithaka S+R’s Indigenous Studies project, which brought together teams at eleven academic libraries to study the research support needs of Indigenous Studies scholars. Indigenous Studies places Indigenous perspectives at the center of inquiry, with unique protocols for defining, describing, sharing, and preserving information.
The project provided a unique opportunity for academic librarians to come together, learn from Indigenous Studies scholars, and reflect on how those scholars’ needs can inform ways to improve research support services at their institutions and beyond. The ten research teams we partnered with on the project interviewed Indigenous Studies scholars at their own institutions and published local reports as part of ongoing relationship building efforts with those scholars:
- Dartmouth College
- Haskell Indian Nations University/University of Kansas
- Northwestern University
- University of Alberta
- University of Arizona
- University of British Columbia (forthcoming)
- University of Hawaii System (forthcoming)
- University of Saskatchewan
- University of Toronto
Ithaka S+R’s capstone report is a companion publication that provides a summary analysis of the findings across the local reports. It provides context on Indigenous Studies as practice–how Indigenous scholars work with information collections and gray literature, manage information, share research and articulate its value. We conclude by identifying next steps for growing institutional capacity, broadening opportunities for information discovery and access, building collections, and conducting further research to support information needs in Indigenous Studies. Crucially, this work requires contributions from and collaboration between a variety of stakeholders, including the Indigenous Studies scholarly community, Indigenous communities more widely, museums, archives, libraries, special collections, scholarly publishers and digital tool providers, among others. We offer our findings towards informing that work, and hope that our collaborative project can serve as an example for how research on and information services for Indigenous Studies scholars can be developed through an ethos of mutual respect and beneficence.
The Indigenous Studies project emerged through Ithaka S+R’s ongoing Research Support Services program, which endeavors to explore the unique practices and needs of scholars in a variety of disciplines – as well as the common challenges they face. As part of this program we recently published findings on the practices of civil and environmental engineering scholars, and research on the practices language and literature scholars is currently underway. We are looking ahead to future projects on the fields of psychology and computer and electrical engineering, as well as a project focusing on the research support needs for scholars working with big data across the social sciences. If you have an interest in your library partnering with us to study these or any other fields, please reach out to Danielle Cooper (firstname.lastname@example.org).