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Research Report
September 27, 2016

Reflections on Ethnographic Studies in a Community College Library System

Montgomery College, the community college of Montgomery County, Maryland, has made an enormous contribution to the study of libraries in community colleges with a series of reports about ethnographic studies on all three of its campuses.[1] Tanner Wray, Director of College Libraries and Information Services, led the studies, which gathered information from students and faculty members on how students do their academic work and how library resources, spaces, and services support this work. The Montgomery College project was…
Research Report
September 20, 2016

Reconfiguring Auburn University’s Main Library for Engaged Active Student Learning

Introduction The effects of technological innovation have been rapid, significant, and well documented, and libraries have responded to changes in the way people read, communicate, and do research by providing digital content and renovating buildings so that they support new, technology-enhanced ways of work. But what about teaching and learning? More and more colleges and universities provide “hybrid” courses, “flipped” classrooms, and “active learning.” Instructors put lecture material online and engage students in group exploration and problem solving during class…
Research Report
March 8, 2016

A Day in the Life of a (Serious) Researcher

Envisioning the Future of the Research Library

Reflections on Cornell University Library’s “Day in the Life” Project by Nancy Fried Foster In 2014, Kornelia Tancheva and I met to discuss a question of great interest to Cornell University Library: how would you design a research library to respond to the preferences and needs of today’s researchers? That is, if you could create a mental space in which you learned from the past without being encumbered by an uncritical acceptance of the status quo, what kind…
Research Report
October 8, 2015

Exploring Group Study at the University of Nevada, Reno

Libraries continually struggle with how to make the best use of their space, and collaborative study spaces have been added to support the perceived requirements for group projects. The University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) wanted to know what kind of spaces students actually need to do their work, and brought in Ithaka S+R’s senior anthropologist, Nancy Fried Foster, to help them explore this question. Using the methods of design anthropology, collecting artifacts and conducting interviews, the Ithaka S+R and UNR…
Case Study
August 17, 2015

Making a Place for Curricular Transformation at the University of Technology Sydney

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is committed to research and learning in technology-based disciplines, such as engineering and information technology, and fields that rely heavily on technology, such as design, architecture and building. Located in the center of Sydney, Australia, the university aims to achieve world-class status through embedding of advanced technologies across the curriculum, strong academic performance in science, engineering and technology, orientation to industry and professions, and alignment with Australian economic and educational priorities.[1] Over…
Issue Brief
November 13, 2014

Information Literacy and Research Practices

On November 12, 2014, ACRL released the third draft of the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education and called upon the community to provide additional feedback. Against this backdrop, this issue brief is particularly timely. In "Information Literacy and Research Practices," Nancy Fried Foster, Ithaka S+R's senior anthropologist, demonstrates how "researchers in the wild" are adhering to many of the goals described in the draft Framework. While recognizing that the move away from the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, in…
Issue Brief
February 14, 2014

Designing a New Academic Library from Scratch

In this issue brief, Ithaka S+R senior anthropologist Nancy Fried Foster asks what it would be like to design academic libraries based not on precedent, but rather on everything we can learn right now about the work practices of the people who already use them.  Foster demonstrates how through participatory design we can build  a new type of library that considers both the practical needs of the community and the higher ideals of cultural institutions.