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Publications

Research Report
June 9, 2022

Streaming Media Licensing and Purchasing Practices at Academic Libraries

Survey Results

University instructors and students have a huge appetite for streaming media, and demand is growing apace as the format achieves mainstream market dominance over earlier technologies such as DVDs. University libraries purchase and license the bulk of this content intended for campus-wide (as opposed to personal) consumption and are facing numerous challenges associated with integrating streaming media into their collecting strategies. Pricing models can make it difficult to fully meet patron demands, and some collections feature content that is not…
Research Report
April 12, 2022

Aligning the Research Library to Organizational Strategy

Ithaka S+R was commissioned by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) to examine the strategic directions of research universities with the objective of identifying common themes that research libraries can consider in aligning to advance the research and learning mission both individually and collectively. This project draws on interviews and other forms of engagement conducted in 2021 with more than 60 university leaders (presidents, provosts, senior research officers, and chief information officers)…
Research Report
December 1, 2021

Big Data Infrastructure at the Crossroads

Support Needs and Challenges for Universities

Ithaka S+R’s Research Support Services program explores current trends and support needs in academic research. Our most recent project in this program, “Supporting Big Data Research,” focused specifically on the rapidly emerging use of big data in research across disciplines and fields. As part of our study, we partnered with librarians from more than 20 colleges and universities, who then conducted over 200 interviews with faculty. These interviews provided insights into the research methodologies and support needs of researchers working…
Research Report
October 18, 2021

COVID-19 and the Future of the Annual Meeting

In February 2020, the Biogen conference in Boston, Massachusetts, became one of the first superspreader events in the United States—one now linked to perhaps 300,000 cases of COVID-19. By mid-March, in-person conferences, a staple of scholarly communication and community, came to an abrupt halt. For the many professional societies for whom a conference is a core offering, the necessity of charting a new path for their annual meeting was among the most difficult organizational challenges created by the pandemic. As…
Research Report
June 22, 2021

What’s the Big Deal?

How Researchers Are Navigating Changes to Journal Access

The dominant mode by which research libraries have provided maximum journal access as cheaply as possible—subscription bundles or “Big Deals”—is giving way to new approaches. This transition is taking place through a combination of negotiations, activism, business modeling, user needs research, and decision support, among other factors. To support these processes, Ithaka S+R partnered with 11 academic libraries to understand researcher perceptions to help inform their ongoing strategic decision making about Big Deal journal subscriptions.
Research Report
March 23, 2021

Teaching with Primary Sources

Looking at the Support Needs of Instructors

Encounters with primary sources—historical or contemporary artifacts that bear direct witness to a specific period or event—are central to the pedagogy of many disciplines, especially in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. Their use in undergraduate instruction aligns with universities’ commitments to experiential and inquiry-based learning and library initiatives focused on media and information literacy. Reflecting the importance of the topic within higher education, “Supporting Teaching with Primary Sources” attracted the largest cohort of any Ithaka S+R program to date.
Research Report
March 3, 2021

Student Focused

Fostering Cross-Unit Collaboration to Meet the Changing Needs of Community College Students

Ensuring that community college students have access to academic and student support services requires more than simply understanding students’ needs—it also requires relating those needs to actionable service models and organizational strategies. Community college students navigate ecosystems of services provided and supported by academic affairs departments, student affairs departments, libraries, and faculty. How can these ecosystems best be organized and developed to adapt to changing student needs—particularly amidst the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic?…
Research Report
September 9, 2020

Supporting Research in Languages and Literature

Ithaka S+R’s Research Support Services program investigates how the research support needs of scholars vary by discipline. From 2018 to early 2020, Ithaka S+R examined the changing research methods and practices of language and literature scholars in the United States with the goal of identifying services to better support them. The goal of this report is to provide actionable findings for the organizations, institutions, and professionals who support the research processes of language and literature scholars.
Research Report
May 7, 2020

Advancing Technological Equity for Incarcerated College Students

Examining the Opportunities and Risks

Higher education programs that teach in prisons take on a near impossible task: to provide their students with a high-quality education, equal to anything beyond the prison walls, while working under strict constraints. Incarcerated students rarely have access to learning resources typically taken for granted on the outside—computers, books, and internet access are all heavily restricted by various state Departments of Corrections (DOC)—and instructors must work with and around DOC security protocols while planning and teaching their classes. While innovative…
Research Report
December 12, 2019

Teaching Business

Looking at the Support Needs of Instructors

Business represents the most popular undergraduate major at American colleges and universities and was seen as the ideal discipline to begin with, especially as the potential number of students to be positively impacted is correspondingly large. The goal of this report, therefore, is to provide actionable findings for organizations, institutions, and professionals who support the teaching practices of business educators. This report describes the teaching practices of business instructors, both those that are common to all college level instruction as…
Research Report
May 30, 2019

Unbarring Access

A Landscape Review of Postsecondary Education in Prison and Its Pedagogical Supports

Postsecondary education in US prisons is a growing topic in both academic and political circles. While much of the discourse surrounding higher education more broadly focuses on students’ educational and employment outcomes, the conversation around postsecondary education in prisons often centers on the societal benefits of this programming, with a strong focus on reduced recidivism rates – the rates with which formerly incarcerated individuals engage in criminal acts that result in their re-arrest, re-conviction, or re-incarceration. With 1.5 million people…
Issue Brief
May 13, 2019

Data Communities

A New Model for Supporting STEM Data Sharing

As organizations and initiatives designed to promote STEM data sharing multiply – within, across, and outside academic institutions – there is a pressing need to decide strategically on the best ways to move forward. Central to this decision is the issue of scale. Is data sharing best assessed and supported on an international or national scale? By broad academic sector (engineering, biomedical)? By discipline? On a university-by-university basis? Or using another unit of analysis altogether? To the extent that there…
Research Report
April 11, 2019

When Research is Relational

Supporting the Research Practices of Indigenous Studies Scholars

In 2017 Ithaka S+R launched a project to explore the changing research methods and practices of Indigenous Studies scholars across Canada and the US with the goal of identifying services to better support them in ways that are also beneficial to Indigenous communities more broadly. The project was undertaken by a cohort of research teams at 11 academic libraries with guidance from a group of advisors comprised of Indigenous scholars and librarians. Each research team in the cohort developed findings…
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.
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…
Research Report
December 14, 2017

Supporting the Changing Research Practices of Public Health Scholars

Ithaka S+R’s Research Support Services Program investigates how the research support needs of scholars vary by discipline. In 2016-2017 Ithaka S+R examined the changing research methods and practices of public health scholars conducting research through U.S. institutions. This project was undertaken collaboratively with research teams at seven academic libraries with the goal of identifying services to better support public health scholars. This report aims to provide actionable findings for the organizations, institutions, and professionals who support the research process of…
Issue Brief
July 26, 2017

Rethinking Liaison Programs for the Humanities

For generations, most research libraries have had employees with deep subject expertise. Once known as bibliographers, these scholars and librarians originally focused their efforts on selection for collection building. Today, there is real anxiety about the role of subject expertise and academic liaisons in research libraries. We argue that evidence about scholars’ practices and needs should be a key input into reorganizing library subject expertise.[1] Librarian subject expertise and liaison roles At many research libraries, the role of…
Research Report
June 7, 2017

Supporting the Changing Research Practices of Agriculture Scholars

For America’s land-grant universities, agriculture is a field of bedrock historical importance and vital current relevance. While it is sometimes perceived by the general public as a field to help small farmers modernize, today it also includes advanced genetic research, economic and policy issues around  food security, and deep engagement with climate change. As a rich interdisciplinary field at the heart of so many research universities, the practices and needs of agriculture are of interest to many. For that reason,…
Research Report
February 8, 2017

Supporting the Changing Research Practices of Religious Studies Scholars

Ithaka S+R’s Research Support Services Program is a series of projects that investigate the research support needs of scholars by their discipline. In 2016 Ithaka S+R examined the changing research methods and practices of academic religious studies scholars in the United States, with the goal of identifying services to better support them. The project was undertaken collaboratively with research teams at 18 academic libraries and the American Theological Library Association with guidance from an advisory committee. The goal of this…