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Topic: Libraries

Blog Post
July 8, 2020

What about Research? Scholarship and COVID-19

While there have been a number of research initiatives centered on supporting faculty in shifting to virtual instruction in light of the COVID-19 pandemic—and deservedly so—we have learned far less about the challenges that faculty are facing as researchers during this disruptive time. Back in March, our colleague Danielle Cooper speculated on the ways that “technologies at hand” could partially alleviate disruptions to research, and…
Blog Post
July 1, 2020

Transforming Library Leadership Strategy in a Time of Crisis

Introducing the Special Edition Library Survey 2020

Since the Library Survey 2019 survey was fielded, the COVID-19 pandemic—and more recently, organizing around the Black Lives Matter movement—has greatly impacted academic libraries and higher education as a whole. At the start of the pandemic, many libraries remained open with increases in safety protocols. Within weeks, it became clear that there would be a greater impact…
Blog Post
June 30, 2020

University Presses in the Age of COVID-19, Part 2

How Press Directors are Looking to the Future

There are so many unknowns in this pandemic that it is hard to predict the future—for the economy, for education, for so many parts of our world. The scale of change we have already experienced is frightening and could easily lead organizations to hunker down and hope for things to get better. But in the spirit of never let a serious crisis go to waste, we asked a set of university press directors how they were planning for the long…
Blog Post
June 30, 2020

Why Stakeholder Engagement Matters More than Ever

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, academic libraries have experienced unprecedented change. For many libraries, anticipated budget reductions, the realities of remote work, and responsibilities related to rapid campus closures and tentative reopenings have put a strain on resources. At the same time, libraries have new opportunities to play a prominent role on campus in supporting online learning and helping researchers work…
Blog Post
June 24, 2020

University Presses in the Age of COVID-19

How Press Directors are Navigating the Challenges of the Pandemic 

Over the past few weeks, Ithaka S+R has conducted conversations with a variety of university press directors to get a sense of how they are faring during this uncertain and challenging time. We spoke with a total of 11 directors representing small, medium, and large presses from public and private universities, all in the US. The discussions were wide ranging, touching on everything from how they were coping with the practical issues around pivoting to a remote workforce,…
Blog Post
June 15, 2020

Organizational Trends in Academic Health Science Libraries

Over the past 20 years, the organization of academic health sciences libraries (AHSL) has changed markedly. While once medical libraries—as well as libraries supporting schools of nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and public health—were separate entities, many are now consolidated under a larger university library. Have these consolidations and mergers improved the accessibility of health sciences information and other AHSL services? Have they impacted cost or service quality? What new…
Blog Post
June 1, 2020

Data Communities in the Health Sciences

A Webinar with the Long Island Library Resources Council

Data sharing in the health sciences has never seemed more urgent. The National Institutes of Health, the US’s major health science research funder, has been experimenting with ways to promote data sharing. Additionally, the race to combat COVID-19 has brought the urgency of making patient-level clinical data, as well as other types of health-related data, easily accessible to researchers while still maintaining individual privacy. Against this backdrop, Danielle Cooper and I had the…
Blog Post
May 28, 2020

Project Launch: Canceling the Big Deal

Earlier this spring we announced that we were going to begin a new collaborative project on the impact of Big Deal cancellations on users, including their strategies for accessing content, and their perceptions of the library’s role in providing access. While at the time Ithaka S+R was only just beginning to anticipate the conditions universities and their libraries are facing now, it is already clear that the research is more important than ever. Ithaka S+R…
Blog Post
May 27, 2020

Speeding Up the Dissemination of Scholarly Information 

New Issue Brief on Preprints 

Preprints have been getting a lot of attention recently. Since the pandemic, dozens of articles have appeared in the scientific and popular press about both the role of preprints in accelerating scientific communications and the associated concerns, including in venues such as New York Times, Bloomberg, Economist, Mother Jones.  Ten years ago when I became the…
Issue Brief
May 27, 2020

Preprints in the Spotlight

Establishing Best Practices, Building Trust

Preprints have been getting a lot of attention recently. The COVID-19 pandemic—the first major health crisis since medical and biomedical preprints have become widely available online—has further underscored the importance of speedy dissemination of research outcomes. Preprints allow researchers to share results with speed, but raise questions about accuracy, misconduct, and our reliance on the “self-correcting” nature of the scientific enterprise. As scientists and health care professionals, as well as the general public, look for information about the pandemic, preprint…
Blog Post
May 18, 2020

When Knowledge Breaks

As research, teaching, and learning in higher education drastically changed over the course of a few weeks earlier this term, effectively providing campus communities with relevant—yet continually changing—information has been critical. However, as we have documented in a recent multi-institution service planning initiative, students already were facing substantial challenges with navigating the college landscape prior to the pandemic. A few years ago, LaGuardia Community College developed an online platform to provide students with answers related to college services and…
Playbook
May 18, 2020

Planning, Partnering, and Piloting

A Community College Library Service Innovation Playbook

Service Concept Testing As part of a multi-year student service innovation project, co-led by Northern Virginia Community College and Ithaka S+R, we developed and implemented a new mixed-methods assessment approach: service concept testing.[1] With participation from six additional community college partners and support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, we designed, evaluated, and piloted a variety of service prototypes. In this playbook, we describe the services generated and piloted as a result of these collaborations and…
Blog Post
May 14, 2020

Launching Two Projects on Supporting Data Work

Last summer we announced that we were going to begin two new collaborative projects on data, one focused on teaching, and one on research. While we couldn’t have anticipated then the conditions we are facing now, we believe the research is more important than ever. The first project will examine instructors’ support needs teaching with data in the social sciences, while the second project will study the support needs of researchers who work…
Blog Post
May 12, 2020

Leading the Library by Looking Beyond the Library

Library directors face a number of leadership dilemmas. Rising from the ranks, many feel the pull—or the need, given resource constraints—to work shoulder-to-shoulder with front-line employees as a “member of the team.” At the same time, many feel the need to engage with non-library constituencies across the campus and beyond in ways that take them out of the library. Which of these leadership models best positions the library for success? Last month, we released findings from our national survey…
Blog Post
May 8, 2020

Assessment Across Higher Ed

Join Us for a Webinar on May 13

Over the last few months, all units on campus have needed to plan in unprecedented ways for how best to support students, faculty, and other communities in response to the pandemic. As the activities related to teaching, learning, and research continue remotely during the spring term amid incredibly challenging circumstances, understanding the barriers students and faculty face has become more important than ever. Assessing and addressing community needs is also important for developing  appropriate supports for these communities…
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…
Blog Post
May 6, 2020

Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility

African Memory Institutions and the Response to COVID-19 

The implications and consequences of the COVID-19  pandemic can vary greatly depending on demographic, political, social, cultural and economic factors.  Therefore the regional documentation initiatives–now being undertaken by cultural heritage institutions throughout the world–are essential to capturing local circumstances and experiences. This work is vital to help future generations understand the extent of the pandemic and its vast impact.  To this end, and in collaboration with several international preservation advocacy organizations, UNESCO recently made a public…
Blog Post
April 30, 2020

Leading a Library Today

How Library Directors Are Approaching the Challenges of the Current Moment

Over the past two weeks, Ithaka S+R has organized five roundtables for academic library leaders to help support their leadership during this time of disruption and uncertainty. In total, 40 library directors and two associate university librarians attended these sessions, representing every four-year institutional type. Participants introduced themselves by describing what has been working well for their libraries, the challenges they are facing, and their budgetary expectations. The discussion that followed–with minimum facilitation–then focused on the participants’ most…
Blog Post
April 28, 2020

Five strategies for humanely conducting surveys in higher ed during a global crisis

The world has changed drastically in the last few months and so have the challenges that are facing our communities. Decision-making informed by evidence, gathered and acted upon quickly, is as important—if not more important—than it has ever been for higher education leaders. These are not normal circumstances for conducting research, let alone working or living. Under normal circumstances, my colleagues and I might start the development of a major survey by building an advisory board…
Blog Post
April 21, 2020

Research Library Digitization Has Found Its Moment 

Long-term Investments Pay Off and Provide Lessons for the Future

Academic libraries have been on the leading edge of universities’ digital transformation for two decades. As a result, they were prepared for this moment of crisis. The broader lesson here, not just for libraries but for the entire higher education sector, is to continue investing “just in case” in enabling capacities—rather than, in this time of looming cutbacks, budgeting narrowly for today’s immediate needs only.  Recent weeks have seen the collapse of…