Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: New Library World, Volume 109, Issue 5/6.
During his keynote speech at the Internet Librarian International Conference, Stephen Abram commented that Google was a huge challenge. He asked what it could mean for librarians if Google Scholar and vendors supplied a user with all the relevant articles, and said that if librarians did not invent services, then Google would. If Google is good at “who”, “what”, “where”, and “when” questions, librarians existed for “how” and “why” questions. The article from Hartman and Mullen provides a good review of both the literature and the trends regarding Google Scholar in the context of academic libraries. They report on their latest study of Google Scholar’s integration into ARL (Association of Research Libraries) libraries websites. Their article illustrates future directions for integrating new categories of resources into academic library web sites.
Another theme that came up at the Internet Librarian International Conference was that librarians are using the new tools to provide better access to information. In a technology-mediated world, librarians must be willing to reveal themselves technologically in an academic institution, this means going where users are and making yourself a known entity. Devlin et al., in their paper, report on their analysis of a sample of “chat” transcripts to determine whether librarians were utilising opportunities for instruction in the “chat” medium. They have developed a list of “top ten” practices for instruction through “chat”, which can be used for training purposes.
The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) is developing an overall advocacy campaign for the future alongside their campaign for professional standards. To date this has included a research review on what is required for the professional standard of service that the public demands, a meeting between CILIP Chief Executive, Bob McKee, and the Libraries Minister, Margaret Hodge, and a report on the local services that are accused of falling short. Advocacy is the topic of the article from Funk, who demonstrates how librarians have used library standards to make a case for improving the quality of library services and also to promote the values of the library. This is presented in terms of a case study of the Medical Library Association, but is applicable to other library services.
CILIP surveyed successful heads of service to gather evidence that the skills, knowledge and qualifications of staff are essential to offer the quality service that users deserve. Among the list of skills and knowledge that these heads expected from professional librarians in their service were knowledge of resources, information literacy skills and resource discovery techniques. Guise et al. demonstrate in their how article how these skills can be used to develop new opportunities. They discuss the summer research/writing workshop for new university students and the framework used to set this up, which could be adapted by other institutions which want to implement a similar programme.
Durham University Library has won the Award for Care of Collections for its North East Collection Care Scheme. The collections ranged from early printed books, to maps and plans, rock art, mining plans, archives in regimental museums and children’s literature collections. In their article, Darbey and Hayden take a different angle to special collections the scenario within which a library can be presented with the acquisition of special collections. They consider the subsequent problems and possible solutions, and offer advice to libraries that might find themselves in a similar position.
Library and information services have traditionally gathered information on the usage of their services for many years. There has been some date about whether qualitative or quantitative data should be collected. Compared to quantitative data, qualitative data is usually considered richer and more likely to present a fuller picture. Mansourian’s article focuses on qualitative research. He reflects on his exploratory research journey. He discusses how his research naturally evolved through seven stages despite some unavoidable vagueness in early stages, which should be reassuring to new researchers who may encounter new horizons. He illustrates the procedure of an exploratory study which began with a high uncertainty but ended up with satisfactory results.