Changes in research practices and scholarly communication are creating new faculty needs for expert consultation and training in technologies such as visualization and research data management, the best use of new publication and dissemination venues for scholarship, and intellectual property issues. The source of these demands is shifting from early adopters to the faculty at large. Libraries and IT organizations are hiring or training new types of staff with the skills to support faculty in their digital scholarship and e-research activities. Many institutional programs are still in early or pilot stages and may reach a limited number of faculty and departments. Institutions are experimenting with new organizational structures as well. Assisting institutions in understanding how to develop services at scale will continue to be a programmatic focus in the coming year. Humanities faculty, who often receive much less grant support than their counterparts in the sciences, have a particular need for institutional services to support their digital scholarship. We are working in partnership with the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR) to develop a paper on supporting digital humanities; EDUCAUSE and CNI have assembled a working group of individuals with a variety of roles on campus to inform the scope and content of the paper. We are also a partner in the NCSU Data Science and Visualization Institute for Librarians, which will be held April 24-28, 2017.
For several years we have been highlighting digital scholarship centers as an emerging area of interest in both research and college libraries. These centers typically provide high-end technologies, in-depth consultation for faculty, graduate students, and upper-level undergraduates working on capstone projects, and a suite of spaces. They represent an institutional response to the need for services to support new kinds of scholarship. In spring 2014 we hosted a specialized workshop that explored digital scholarship centers in the humanities and other disciplinary areas. CNI issued a report encouraging better understanding of the rationale and mission for a center, suggestions for good practice, and models of staffing, funding, and provision of services and supplemented the report with related materials on our website.
One of the topics that engendered the most spirited discussion during the workshop was drawing distinctions between centers supporting digital scholarship in libraries (or other units serving the entire campus) versus centers that are faculty-sponsored and limited to specific digital scholarship research activities. In spring 2015 we convened a workshop to further discuss the continuum of organizational models that support digital scholarship in order to provide clarity on the purposes of various types of centers and their diverse programmatic and support configurations. In spring 2016 we offered a conference, co-sponsored by ARL, to help institutions plan for a digital scholarship center. We issued a report in summer 2016 summarizing the event and including information on such topics as staff expertise, physical space and technologies, funding models, and research, teaching, and learning faculty partnerships. We are planning another conference or workshop on digital scholarship centers in 2017.