Collections are at the core of library activity. We are seeing major changes in how we think about collections in a network environment. I wrote about these changes with colleagues Constance Malpas and Brian Lavoie in an article in portal: Libraries and the Academy. There is an open access version of the paper available here [pdf]. The article is part of a special issue of portal edited by Damon Jaggars, of Columbia University, and devoted to exploring the future of academic libraries. The whole issue is worth checking out. In the interim, as a taster, here is the list of drivers we identified at the end of our "Collection Directions" article:
- Ongoing policy attention to the outputs of publicly-funded research, the pressure to contain costs and to redistribute attention to greater engagement with research and learning, and the influence of the digital network will continue to drive change.
- Discovery will continue to be progressively de-coupled from the local collection as "facilitated access" emerges as a core service, which is not necessarily anchored in a local collection.
- The scholarly record is diversifying to include both the traditional outcomes of research and the products of enquiry (primary materials, data, methods, preprints, etc.), as well as derivative, repurposed, and aggregate works.
- This is driving an interest in an ecosystem of services organized around research workflows, discovery, communication, and assessment. Universities, publishers, and other service providers are all diversifying research and learning support services that support multiple disciplinary communities.
- As the library becomes more engaged in research and learning workflows, in supporting the creation, curation and disclosure of institutional research and learning materials, it needs to rebalance investment in "commodity" materials.
- This drives an interest in rightscaling the investment in print, shifting it from local to shared environments, and licensed electronic resources, moving to consortial and demand-driven licensing models.
- To increase operational efficiencies, library workflows will need to be more intelligent and data-aware, using demand-side usage data to trigger acquisitions, collection balancing between institutions, triage for digitization, consolidation in shared print environments, transfer or withdrawal decisions, and so on.
- An inside-out orientation will become more important as universities focus attention on distinctive institutional assets and libraries direct increased curatorial attention toward special collections, new scholarly products, research preprints, and pedagogical resources.
Reordering Ranganathan: Shifting User Behaviors, Shifting Priorities
This report reorders Ranganathan’s laws to reflect today’s library resources, services and user behaviors.