Annual Meeting Reports

Libraries and Librarians: A Changing Landscape

Those in publishing are not the only ones experiencing drastic changes in job responsibilities and industry due to technology and economic issues. The session titled “Libraries and Librarians: A Changing Landscape” explored the changing roles of libraries in the support of researchers and knowledge sharing. It also addressed ways for librarians, publishers, and editors to work together to improve scholarly communications.

With ever-increasing quantities of information and research, how will universities keep up with the “data deluge” and maintain data in ways that keep them both manageable and accessible to researchers? Bart Ragon, associate director for knowledge integration, research, and technology at the University of Virginia’s Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, discussed unique challenges presented by budget cuts and reduced funding opportunities as the library strives to meet needs for collaborative networked science. Concepts of data storage, data curation, the data life cycle, intellectual property, translational science, and data sharing are affecting how science is conducted. Ragon discussed how libraries are embracing changes and adjusting service models to meet the needs of highly networked and technology-savvy patron groups. He addressed the look of libraries in the future and explored the evolving nature of science, university responses, and new roles for libraries.

Jean Shipman, director, University of Utah Spencer S Eccles Health Sciences Library, also serves as principal investigator for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, MidContinental Region and the NLM Training Center. Shipman addressed the shift of libraries from repositories for stored information to vibrant centers of discovery and knowledge creation in her presentation titled “Librarians Supporting Research”. At the University of Utah, the administrative offices associated with the university’s Clinical and Translational Science Award and a biomedical-device innovation center are housed in the library. The library leads the university’s health-sciences inter-professional education initiatives, and an inter-professional student organization is also headquartered in the library. Librarians support all those occupants by conducting traditional literature reviews and offering new services, including data management, presentation-skill development, and training on federated clinical database searching and statistical database design. Libraries are changing their focus from organizing materials to organizing people, inasmuch as librarians are members of many mission-based teams to enable the effective use of high-quality, relevant, and timely information.