Dean, University Libraries
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Dean of Libraries
University of North Texas
Using the recently published Association of Research Libraries report, “New Roles for New Times: Digital Curation for Preservation” (March 2011) as context, this briefing will highlight and discuss the implications of new trends in digital scholarship support within the research library community.
The digital scholarship arena is rapidly evolving, and its new modes of inquiry are yielding new knowledge and new means of publishing and sharing that knowledge. As universities begin to embrace these media-rich investigations and resources, they need support apparatus that can manage the content in a dependable and long-term manner. To date, few campuses have built the foundation for this capacity. Most have instead invested heavily in building digital scholarship expertise and technical capacity in silos with a lack of mutual knowledge or synergistic collaboration. The next generation of digital, academic scholarship needs a coherent structure, one that transcends disciplinary and other boundaries.
Research libraries have the opportunity to reposition themselves as the center of this activity by acting as vibrant knowledge branches that reach throughout their campuses to provide curatorial guidance and expertise for digital content, wherever it may be created and maintained. This briefing will consider why libraries can no longer expect that researchers and scholars will come to them for advice and assistance, but must instead find new ways to reach them wherever they may be. The session will also include discussion of how the library must adjust its service offerings to this new landscape in order to remain viable as an institutional form in the future, as well as highlighting the ramifications of ignoring these opportunities, including by outsourcing services that research libraries have historically provided for their campuses.
To illustrate some of the promising work that is happening in select libraries, several case studies that document important, emerging roles that libraries are cultivating in the digital scholarship and data curation arenas will be presented.