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Publications

November 6, 2019

What Do Our Users Need?

An Evidence-Based Approach for Designing New Services

In the face of evolving user needs, many academic libraries are reimagining the services they offer. As instruction moves online, how can libraries best provide support for teaching and learning? As research becomes more reliant on data, computation, and collaboration, where can libraries best add value? As colleges welcome more diverse student populations and greater contingent faculty labor to campus, what is the library’s role? As budgets shrink, how should a library prioritize which resources and services to provide?…
Research Report
July 10, 2019

Organizing the Work of the Art Museum

The career trajectory of art museum directors typically gives them deep exposure to, at most, a handful of institutional settings. While museum directors connect through leadership meetings such as those we host at the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), and thereby learn from one another, few have the opportunity to assemble a system-wide perspective on how changes in strategy might, or perhaps should, affect their institutional leadership. Given the strategic transformations that many art museums are undertaking or considering,…
Issue Brief
March 6, 2019

Restructuring Library Collaboration

Strategy, Membership, Governance

Academic libraries typically serve individual higher education institutions, yet their objectives require that they achieve greater negotiating power, more efficient distribution of collections, and stronger systems and services than even the largest academic library can provide itself. As a result, academic libraries have sought for more than a century to generate cross-institutional scale. In this paper, I examine efforts to generate that scale, including consortia and other membership organizations, which collectively I term “collaborative vehicles.” Yet collaboration is not good…
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…
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…
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…
Case Study
January 23, 2018

An Engine for Diversity

Studio Museum in Harlem

The Studio Museum in Harlem is a contemporary, culturally specific, artist-centric museum located in New York City that has played a singular role in defining and promoting the art of African Americans and the African diaspora. The museum has contributed substantially in bringing this art into the canon and equally in providing opportunities for African Americans to gain access to the cultural sector, especially for artists and curators. Through its collections, program, and employees, the Studio Museum’s impact has come…
Case Study
January 23, 2018

“I Recommend Dancing”

Brooklyn Museum’s History of Inclusion and Moment of Transition

Brooklyn Museum Façade Photo by Brittney Najar The Brooklyn Museum has pursued a number of unconventional directions to address its community’s current and emerging needs. It practices a contemporary approach to its encyclopedic collection, allowing intersectional feminist theory and critical race theory, for instance, to inform and problematize ancient works. It has opted for accessibility rather than grandeur in its facade. Many Brooklyn residents are introduced to it through its crowded Saturday night parties, rather than its substantial collections of…
Issue Brief
January 4, 2018

Big Deal: Should Universities Outsource More Core Research Infrastructure?

Research universities have developed in symbiosis with a robust set of commercial providers that serve their needs. From food service providers to run dining halls to private equity firms to manage parts of the endowment, outsourcing has allowed universities to remain more focused on their core educational and research functions. But universities have also at times elected to outsource academic infrastructure. Commercial firms have developed a major role in several significant university functions, including scientific publishing, library management systems, and…
Research Report
August 30, 2017

Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity: Members of the Association of Research Libraries

Employee Demographics and Director Perspectives

The library community considers diversity to be a core value.[1] But, the academic library sector has struggled with addressing equity, diversity, and inclusion. One key shortcoming has been in its efforts to ensure representative numbers of library employees of color.[2] In recent years, many academic librarians and observers of academic libraries have worked toward understanding this issue and the shortcomings of efforts to diversify, focusing on staffing, library education, and advocacy for diversity and social justice…
Issue Brief
August 16, 2017

Red Light, Green Light: Aligning the Library to Support Licensing

There is widespread frustration within the academic library community with the seemingly uncontrollable price increases of e-resources, especially of licensed bundles of scholarly journals. The scholarly communications movement has vastly expanded academic and indeed public access to scholarly content. Yet prices for certain scholarly resources continue to outpace budget increases, and librarians do not feel in control of budgets and pricing. What if libraries found ways to bring together the whole library behind the objective of stabilizing or reducing what…
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
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…
Research Report
August 18, 2016

Organizing the Work of the Research Library

Established in an era when the collection was truly at the heart of the library, and when building and maintaining it was the focus of its work, the research library is today moving away from organizational structures centered around building and supporting the general collection. Research libraries are undertaking a number of radical transformations: from print towards electronic, from local towards shared, from licensed towards open, from general towards distinctive, from collections towards engagement, from selector towards partner. To…
Research Report
June 16, 2016

Barriers to Discovery of and Access to the Scientific Literature in the Corporate Sector

The offices that provide scientific information resources in major research companies – sometimes still called libraries – seek to make these resources available as seamlessly as possible. Barriers exist both for discovery and access. Corporate information professionals also face barriers in administering these information resources. In this project, Ithaka S+R examined the degree to which these various barriers are seen to exist in pharmaceutical, chemical, and food companies. The project had as its objective to inform the design of solutions…
Research Report
June 15, 2016

UK Survey of Academics 2015

Ithaka S+R | Jisc | RLUK

Research is changing. New technology brings increased computational power and virtual representation of physical objects, allowing us to pose and answer previously unimaginable research questions. Big data can be mixed, linked and mined to reveal new unsuspected connections. Enhanced connectivity allows us to collaborate beyond traditional geographic and disciplinary boundaries. Funders demand greater demonstration of impact and engagement with non-academic communities and audiences. As research changes, so do researchers. Their behaviour and expectations shift, evolving to take advantage of new…
Research Report
May 2, 2016

Diversity and Inclusion in New York City’s Cultural Sector: BRIC

Efforts towards quantifying the diversity in various industries have gained a great deal of attention in the last few years. From the #OscarsSoWhite controversy,[1] to the initiatives towards transparency in Silicon Valley,[2] to the recent benchmark survey in publishing,[3] quantifying diversity has become a central component of highlighting areas in the workforce that are notably homogenous in order to approach diversity initiatives strategically. In the summer of 2015, Ithaka S+R administered a survey to…
Research Report
April 4, 2016

Ithaka S+R US Faculty Survey 2015

Ithaka S+R’s survey of US faculty members has been fielded regularly since 2000. This project provides a periodic snapshot of practices and perceptions related to scholarly communications and information usage. The scholar-centric nature of the questionnaire ensures that potential changes in research and teaching inform our thinking, not only about academic libraries and scholarly publishing, but about changes in the educational enterprise more broadly. Our findings this cycle are a strong indication of the value of an ongoing tracking enterprise…
Research Report
January 28, 2016

Diversity in the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Community

New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the United States at a city level, ranking fourth in the country based on 2010 census data.[1] There are over 1,000 cultural organizations in the five boroughs, each with specific ties to communities, each with vastly different organizational structures and sizes, and each integral to the diversity of culture that defines New York City. Over the summer of 2015 many of these organizations participated in a survey…