Thursday, 27 March 2008

Researchers Use of Libraries

This report from the Research Information Network [RIN] came out a little bit before bulib4reaserch came on-air. Although it is aimed at libraries and librarians it does summarise a few truths about the current trends in the use of libraries and the challenges for the relationship between researchers and libraries in the future. If you are a 'typical' researcher you may recognise some of this in your own attitudes/behaviours.


  • In general libraries under fund research resources giving greater priority to support teaching and learning. Although BU has set aside specific funds to rebalance resource provision in favour of research.

  • Researchers prefer to access digital resources from their desktops rather than visit the 'physical'library. We can evidence this at BU with declining book use and accelerating e-access to books and journals.

  • Researchers prefer to use digital finding aids and resources over print. In some cases, however, the print equivalent of journals, reference books and books have been superseded by e-access or simply never existed in print in BU in the first place. BU has access to c30,000 e-journals but only ever subscribed to c2700 print titles.

  • Multi/interdisciplinary research teams challenges libraries to provide equitable access to all team members. This is especially acute when topics cross big disciplinary boundaries for example art and computing or music and computing.

  • Technological advance has produced different forms of research output - which provide new challenges for libraries and researchers to manage and disseminate. Look at some of the more intersting examples here and here.

  • Librarians have to work harder to promote their advice and support services to researchers and open new channels of communication - like this one?

  • Should promote new channels to disseminate research for example the Open Access movement - institutional repositories like BURO are an example of this.

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