Richard Akerman continues to be one of the few bloggers I follow in a full day full of meetings that has no opportunity for me to read, let alone write, tweets and posts. In this piece Richard highlights 3 key areas where academic libraries can take a leadership role in the research domain, redefining what we do and how the research enterprise can best be supported. It will come as no surprise that I think this is the only emerging service for academic libraries which will allow us to grow and prosper. Without this we will fade slowly into the world of print embalming and coffee shop-equipped study halls. Don't get me wrong - these traditional and newer functions are and will remain critical to our mission, but they will not help us remain a healthy and core part of the academic institution. The Library needs to be the information crossroads for all information management functions on campus: research, learning and administration. For now all the low-hanging fruit are in the research landscape, so go there we must.
I had the pleasure of speaking with external reviewers looking at our Chemistry department from a couple of perspectives (accreditation and new program) and it is clear to me from our discussions that that our research-intensive faculty colleagues want our expertise and support, but we are not responding. While some institutions in Canada, like UPEI, are responding with extensive partnerships between researchers and the library, we are failing from a community perspective to develop a clear and effective strategy. Where is the leadership in the Canadian library community for these efforts? Richard points to CISTI's Research Data Canada initiative, an important project which we should all support, but there is nothing else beyond individual efforts. I would suggest what we need is a national summit which pulls all the players together with the specific goal of developing that national approach. The ICSTI Conference in Ottawa may well be the best place to try and plan something, so I would hope that the academic library community is able to attend.