Changes in Academic Libraries: Evolution and Innovation in Research Support Services

Sheila Corrall, Mary Anne Kennan, Waseem Afzal


Academic libraries support researchers with a range of services, including the development of collections and the provision of reference, information and instruction services. New services are emerging in response to technological, political, economic and social changes in the operating environment, particularly as a result of developments national research policy and networked data-driven science. Studies of library responses to the opportunities offered by e-research have been conducted in North America, but there has been limited investigation of the situation in other countries. The present study aims to complement surveys of emerging practice from the United States by investigating research support services in the academic libraries of Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland. The research questions are: What specialist research support services are being offered in the academic libraries? What new services are libraries planning? Are library staff constrained in providing specialist research support services? Do staff require additional education, training and support in research support roles? and How might library and information science schools respond to the evolving role of research support services in academic libraries? Emerging findings of the survey reveal varying levels of engagement with different types of research support services across the four countries. Bibliometric support services seem to be more prevalent than research data management at present, but data management services are more prominent in reported plans for library service developments in the future. The results of the study will also inform the design of education and training programs for the current and future library workforce.

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