Contributed by Ina Smith, E-Research Repository Manager (SUNScholar) – Stellenbosch University
(Presentation: The ‘economics’ of research ‘shares’: what is the return on our open access investments? – Ina Smith & Naomi Visser)
I am of the opinion that the SAOIM conference organizers managed to bring together a huge variety of speakers and topics, all of importance for information and library workers. Creating this kind of opportunity is very important, and keeps the conversation on issues related to library and information science alive. The highlight for me, every time when I attend this conference, is that I know for a fact that I will learn something new and I will once again go away inspired and motivated to address the needs our users’ experience by trying out new things I learnt.
I’ve been in the library profession for the past 20 years, and gained valuable experience especially at the University of Pretoria, and for the past two and a half years at Stellenbosch University. I am interested in finding solutions on how we can better address the needs of researchers, how we can work together as a country and also on the continent, and exchanging ideas and solutions – also with international communities. Sometimes it can become frustrating if one knows the technology is there, but due to a lack of skills, work ethics, expertise and money, institutions can’t move forward.
So my message for librarians is: Look ahead, and see the bigger picture. The role of the library is and always will be to provide a much needed service, and we must adapt according to the needs of the changing user communities in order to stay relevant. Determine where the gaps are, and find ways in which the library can fill these gaps, especially online. Learn something new every day!
What is the next big wave as applied to SA libraries? Currently the top issues on the agenda are still open access, publishing, digitisation, digital curation.
See also the 2012 top ten trends in academic libraries: A review of the trends and issues affecting academic libraries in higher education, ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee
- Communicating value
- Data Curation
- Digital preservation
- Higher Education
- Information Technology
- Mobile Environments
- Patron driven e-book acquisition
- Scholarly Communication
- User behaviours and expectations
Universities should start publishing their own open access journals, and libraries can play a major role – hopefully they won’t miss the boat again. I also foresee that more online library services will move into the cloud, and some libraries might consider building their own clouds. Most of our e-journals and e-books are hosted in clouds, therefore working in the cloud should not be something new. As a physical space, I think the research library will more and more become a place where researchers can sit in quiet spaces and access online resources – I foresee libraries will consider investigating offsite storage, and move printed material out of their buildings.