Future of Sci/Tech Libraries Notes

Future of Sci / Tech Libraries
Friday 1:30pm
Moderated by Bruce Slutsky, Notes by Anne Rauh

Books / Physical Materials / Space

  • Discussed Columbia Model (learning commons with books in storage)
  • Is this where we are all going?
  • Is it the same at all types of libraries?
  • Syracuse, Princeton, Cornell, University of Denver shared what they are currently doing. Syracuse, Cornell, and Princeton have storage with twenty four hour delivery of materials. Denver has two hour service.
  • Borrow Direct service is sometimes faster than delivery service from owning campus storage.
  • Cornell has a number of virtual libraries. The footprint of these libraries are still the same, now study space.
  • Engineering Library at Penn State secured permanent space by including classrooms in the library where classes are assigned. University of Wisconsin has done something similar with “flipped” classroom.
  • At Stanford, the students shush the librarians!

Electronic Access

  • How are we leveraging Hathi Trust? Some of us are concerned with actual access of Hathi materials. They are scanned but we can’t always get them. Stanford has their own local copies and even they can’t always see them. NYU and Cornell shared and example of an item that they are having very difficult time seeing. How are we applying US Copyright law to items that were produced in other countries? We even have examples of individual authors who cannot access their own works. Individual authors can request opening up their items but that is unsustainable.
  • Some institutions, like Rice, are more liberal with copyright. They are putting things up and waiting until people ask to take them down.
  • Wikipedia uses US Copyright law, the law of the country it was published, and the law of the country of the sender.
  • How do you support Computer Science classes of 700 students with current e-book licenses? We are seeing a number of resources with limited seats but our instruction sessions are larger than that limit.
  • Most libraries catalog ebooks along with books and they show up in virtual browsing tools. Maryland is working on a display of new ebooks on monitor like a new book shelf.


  • How do we as librarians who are interested in sharing data and ideas work with scientist and copyright holders who are not interested in sharing and are worried about others scooping them?
  • The cultural differences between the different subject areas within Science and Engineering is very large. Some are very open others are very closed.
  • General consensus is we know what to do with the books. We can’t keep them all, real questions are about controlling granular access to information and data.
  • We need to think about their cultural issues when talking to our faculty. There are so many difference in their cultures that we have to frame every conversation differently.
  • The amount of data we create is huge, and only growing. How do we even start to archive that? Libraries are set up to do so, but how do we fund this? Are funding agencies dealing with this when they review grants? From what we have seen, they are not, only published works and data related to those works are dealt with by funding agencies. Labs are responsible for their own data for years after the projects.

What do us Sci / Tech librarians do all day?

  • We don’t sit at the desk anymore
  • Collection Development has changed, approval plans are being used less, or selectively but we still fuss with contracts.
  • We deal with collecting data sources and other things that don’t necessarily know how to sell to libraries
  • Liaisons work with research labs
  • We advise students on information organization practices from the beginning of their grad careers
  • Visit department meetings
  • Attend graduate student meetings
  • Undergraduate student organization meetings
  • Citation management tools – teach people how to keep them selves organized and be efficient
  • Be advocates for the library, administration doesn’t always agree with the priorities of Science and Technology libraries, we need to make our needs known
  • Advocate for users needs (space, type of space, etc.)
  • Outreach, outreach, outreach!