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Publications

Research Report
January 29, 2019

Library Acquisition Patterns

The Library Acquisition Patterns (LAP) project was undertaken with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with the aim of examining trends in US academic libraries’ book purchasing. The findings of this report consist of two distinct areas: 1) an analysis of library book acquisitions within the specified sample for fiscal year 2017 at 124 US academic institutions, and 2) a trend line analysis of print and e-books acquired within the specified sample, the university press presence in these…
Research Report
January 28, 2019

Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey 2018

In order to gauge the extent to which progress has been made since 2015 towards increasing staff diversity in art museums, in 2018 we undertook a second iteration of the demographic survey. At a high level, the study has found some meaningful progress in the representation of people of color in a number of different museum functions, including the curatorial. We also found an increase in the number of women in museum leadership positions from 2015 to 2018. Nevertheless, the…
Issue Brief
January 24, 2019

Doing More, With More

Academic Libraries, Digital Services, and Revenue Generation

The axiom to “do more with less” in university research libraries is increasingly untenable, as budgets continue to shrink and demand for novel services continues to rise. The impacts of such existential uncertainties are self-evident and widely discussed in the current literature—staff burnout, lowered morale and increased toxicity, weakened local collections, and limited capacity for ambitious and genuinely innovative work. Like many institutions, the University of Maryland (UMD) Libraries has found itself reinventing many of its services and initiatives to…
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Research Report
January 10, 2019

Enrolling More Veterans at High-Graduation-Rate Colleges and Universities

Higher education plays a vital role in raising income, moderating income inequality, and increasing economic growth and global competitiveness. But U.S. higher education attainment continues to lag for lower-income and underrepresented-minority students, particularly at the colleges and universities that have the most resources and the highest graduation rates. As a stark example, research by economist Raj Chetty and his team found that there are more students from the top one percent of the income distribution at the Ivy-Plus colleges than…
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Research Report
December 17, 2018

A 2018 Report on the Progress of the American Talent Initiative in its First Two Years

This report offers the first look at the progress achieved during the American Talent Initiative’s first two years. Between the 2015-16 academic year (the year before ATI’s founding) and the 2017-18 academic year, ATI members increased their enrollment of low- and moderate-income students by 7,291, an increase that represents about 15 percent of the 50,000-by-2025 goal, achieved by about a third of eligible schools. During this period, more than two-thirds of ATI members increased Pell enrollment, and for about half…
Research Report
December 11, 2018

Mapping the Wild West of Pre-Hire Assessment

A Landscape View of the Uncharted Technology-Facilitated Ecosystem

The rise in technology-facilitated assessments has created a paradigm shift in employer talent acquisition. Traditionally, the process of assessing candidates’ skills has focused on resumes composed of credentials signifying successful participation in or completion of an experience (like a degree, a training program, or a prior job) and candidates’ own claims of competencies. Such a process favored intermediaries like higher education institutions, industry associations, governmental agencies, and former employers, who awarded credentials for successful program completion or could vouch for…
Issue Brief
November 28, 2018

Scholars ARE Collectors: A Proposal for Re-thinking Research Support

After fifteen years of digging into the research practices of scholars at Ithaka S+R, it is clear that scholars are collectors. We have found that they are creating and amassing increasingly complex personal collections of information over the course of their careers. These collections vary widely depending on the discipline and take many forms.
Issue Brief
October 29, 2018

The State of Digital Preservation in 2018

A Snapshot of Challenges and Gaps

Our cultural, historic, and scientific heritage is increasingly being produced and shared in digital forms. The ubiquity, pervasiveness, variability, and fluidity of such content raise a range of questions about the role of research libraries and archives in digital preservation in the face of rapid organizational and technological changes and evolving organizational priorities. Ithaka S+R is interested in exploring the current landscape of digital preservation programs and services in order to identify research and policy questions that will contribute to…
Research Report
September 26, 2018

The First-Year Experience in Two-Year Public Postsecondary Programs

Results of a National Survey

A student’s first year at a new college is a critically important period—academically, socio-emotionally, personally, and professionally. Whether transitioning from high school, other postsecondary education, or the labor market, students often need to adjust to a myriad of changes beyond just the new academic environment. They may be relocating, starting a new job in order to pay for tuition and living expenses, or facing new demands as they balance family responsibilities, work, and school deadlines. Students learn to navigate new…
Research Report
September 20, 2018

Interrogating Institutional Practices in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Lessons and Recommendations from Case Studies in Eight Art Museums

In 2015, a demographic survey of the staff of North American art museums conducted by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), American Alliance of Museums (AAM), and Ithaka S+R found that the staff composition of museums in the United States is not remotely representative of the country’s population....In 2015, a demographic survey of the staff of North American art museums conducted by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), American Alliance of…
Case Study
September 20, 2018

Free for All: Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Upon its founding in 1948, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) was the first museum devoted to contemporary art in the region. Since its inception, this 16,000 square foot gallery, located between the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) and Rice University, has responded to its rich environmental context. Houston has long been known for its remarkably diverse population, as well as its contributions to civil liberties, from Smith vs. Allwright in 1944, which ended the common practice of “white…
Case Study
September 20, 2018

Becoming a Public Square: Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Institute of Arts Facade, Courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Arts Located in midtown Detroit’s cultural center, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is one of the largest encyclopedic museums in the country, housing nearly 66,000 works of art. From the outside, described by many of its staff as looking like a castle on a hill, one would not guess at the museum’s turbulent history, stemming from a complex relationship with the city of Detroit. Today, DIA…
Research Report
September 19, 2018

CIC Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction II

Evaluation Report for the Second Course Iteration

Introduction The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction began in 2014 with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to determine if small, independent colleges could collaborate in developing online, upper-level humanities courses that would give students at these institutions a broader range of courses from which to choose. The success of the first Consortium (2014–2016) motivated the Mellon Foundation to support a second Consortium that was formed in the summer of 2016 with…
Research Report
August 13, 2018

Amplifying Student Voices

The Community College Libraries and Academic Support for Student Success Project

The Community College Libraries & Academic Support for Student Success (CCLASSS) project examines student goals, challenges, and needs from the student perspective. Through this project, we aim to provide community colleges and their libraries with strategic intelligence on how to adapt their services to most effectively meet student needs. In spring 2018, we conducted semi-structured interviews with students at seven partner community colleges on student objectives and goals, definitions of success, challenges faced, and coursework practices. Key findings Across…
Research Report
July 19, 2018

Library Acquisition Patterns: Preliminary Findings

Several years ago, we set out to better understand how both library acquisition practices and the distribution patterns of publishers and vendors were evolving over time.[1] Within the academic publishing community, there is a sense that academic libraries are acquiring fewer and fewer books and that university presses are struggling amid declining sales. The latter may certainly be true—a recent UK study found that between 2005 and 2014, retail sales of academic books dropped by 13 percent…
Research Report
June 27, 2018

The Talent Blind Spot

The Case for Increasing Community College Transfer to High Graduation Rate Institutions

In addition to expanding access and enhancing educational quality, there is a compelling economic case to be made for increasing transfer students. Specifically, supporting community college transfer pathways may offer four-year colleges a financially sustainable strategy to provide an affordable education to substantially more low- and moderate-income students.
Research Report
June 21, 2018

Supporting the Changing Research Practices of Asian Studies Scholars

Executive Summary Ithaka S+R’s Research Support Services Program investigates how the research support needs of scholars vary by discipline and includes reports on history, chemistry, art history, religious studies, agriculture, and public health. In 2017-2018, Ithaka S+R examined the changing research methods and practices of Asian studies scholars conducting research through U.S. institutions. This project was undertaken collaboratively with research teams at 11 academic libraries with the goal of identifying services to better support Asian studies scholars. This report…
Case Study
June 7, 2018

At Fifty, Remodeling for Equity

MCA Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA Chicago) occupies a premier location in Chicago’s downtown. Situated in the city’s historic Gold Coast, one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the country, the museum is buffered by two public parks, which grant it a view of Lake Michigan.[1] It is the largest contemporary arts museum in the country, with around 140 full-time and 200 part-time staff, and almost 3,000 works in its permanent collection. In 2017, MCA Chicago celebrated…
Case Study
June 7, 2018

Small but Mighty: Spelman College Museum

Spelman College Museum of Fine Art is located on the serene campus of a prominent Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in Atlanta, Georgia. A women’s institution located in the Atlanta University Center, which also includes Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and the Morehouse School of Medicine, Spelman College is ranked as the top HBCU in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.[1] The museum fits neatly within the scope of its host institution; its mission is…