Why the library?
Academic libraries have long had a commitment to supporting research activities of their institutions. Provision of content (books, journals, databases) and correct bibliographic metadata still are the most obvious roles of the library, but academic libraries focus more and more on building an effective scholarly information infrastructure around that content and those metadata.
This more strategic role of the library is also mentioned in two recent OCLC research reports. They document how university research is assessed in five countries and the role libraries play in the various schemes. Libraries’ administrative role in supplying bibliometrics is - as already mentioned - the most obvious. However, the author advocates: to focus on the scholarly activity all around the library, to curate, advise on and preserve the manifold outputs of research activity.
Our library is intending to do just that, after a period of reorganization and re-staffing.
The academic library nowadays not only:
- manages bibliographic (meta)data, thereby increasing the visibility of the scientific output of their institutions
- manages licences and contracts with publishers of external databases like Web of Science and Scopus, giving thereby access to high-quality content: still a key foundation for good research
- has ample experience in searching complicated bibliographical and citation databases
- has experience in developing and maintaining large databases
- developes information literacy courses
- intends to improve the (meta)data quality in their repositories
- can advice on publication strategies and
- promotes and exploit new technologies and new models of scholarly communications.
The library's ambition is to be the main authority on the campus about the ways knowledge is generated and transmitted through all of the disicplines it contains. The library also is a neutral scholarly actor on the campus.