Tag Archives: libraries

Trends in academic information services (2011-01)

I wrote this in January, 2011, for members of the Academic Information Center.

Trends in academic information services

There are quite a few lists of short-term and long-long trends in academic libraries and information services. Some are speculative, and some are visible now. Here is my attempt to reduce the number of trends to a list of significant challenges that we face in the AIC. I believe that we should develop plans to respond of these challenges by the end of the 2011 academic year.

1. Budget pressures require clearly defined spending priorities. KNDU divisions face continual pressure to limit spending. All expenditures should support the mission of the university. Moreover, budget requests should be clearly ranked by importance and dared for urgency.

Importance. How essential is this objective to our mission?
Urgency. How soon must we meet this objective?

2. Demands for compliance and self-assessment reporting require careful data collection, management and analysis. We must report details about our ITS, ETS, and Library services to various government agencies and collective organizations. Furthermore, we must conduct self-assessments of our activities near the end of each academic year.

In order to avoid wasting human resources, we should try to automate the collection, management, and analysis of relevant data as much as possible.

We should assume leadership in data stewardship and the protection of privacy and the integrity of data. The U.S. Department of Education has recently produced two useful documents regarding student data [References].

3. Rapid technological changes require continual upgrading of AIC staff knowledge and technical skills . In order to keep up with changes in the technological environment and use of ICT by our clients, we need an ongoing staff development program. As an additional benefit of staff development, in some cases we may be able to offer workshops or lectures to others, including outreach to the local community.

4. Changing needs of students require creative ways to encourage and support learning. Some studies of academic library patrons show that contemporary students rarely seek help from librarians until the become desperate. Furthermore, in the eyes of students academic librarians tend to be anonymous or even invisible.

I think we can raise student library use and satisfaction by encouraging closer personal relationships between librarians and students. Since young people are extremely busy with various activities that rarely include serious academic use, we cannot hope to get everyone into the library.

5. The rise of e-books and digital scholarship requires rapid but critical responses to trends in commercial and scholarly publishing and digital scholarship. Electronic publishing raises many complex and contentious social and technical issues for AIC staff and KNDU faculty and students. For example, electronic publishing and academic databases challenge nearly all traditional practices in materials acquisition, collection development and curation (including copyright, ownership vs. DRM, and technical issues), lending services, equipment (e-readers, software, etc.), reference services, and technical support. AIC staff must lead the KNDU community in understanding and using of new means of producing, acquiring, and distributing knowledge in electronic formats.


Seastrom, Marilyn. “Basic Concepts and Definitions for Privacy and Confidentiality in Student Education Records.” SLDS Technical Brief 1, NCES 2011-601. National Center for Education Statistics. 23 Nov. 2010. 29 Dec. 2011 <http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2011601>.

Seastrom, Marilyn. “Data Stewardship: Managing Personally Identifiable Information in Student Education Records.”SLDS Technical Brief 2, NCES 2011-602. National Center for Education Statistics. 23 Nov. 2010. 29 Dec. 2011 <http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2011602>.



Librarianship in the 21st Century (2011-01)

Librarianship in the 21st Century – Original English Version

This essay was written in January, 2011, for KNDU librarians and LIS students, translated to Japanese by Akio Hattori, and printed in the KNDU Librarian and School Librarian Program Newsletter, Vol. 6 (PDF, Japanese): 京都ノートルダム女子大学 司書 司書教諭課程・ニューズレター 第6号.

In the 21st century librarians must possess knowledge and skills that my high school librarian, Mrs. Ruark, could not have imagined in the 1960s. Although librarians today share much in common with their predecessors, developments in information and communication technology (ICT) continue to bring revolutionary challenges and opportunities to their ancient profession.

Every day a flood of “content” is released on the Web, and anyone can find popular information with large commercial search engines like Google. However, finding the most valuable materials for particular needs may require sophisticated information retrieval (IR) skills and, in some cases, knowledge of subject-specific gateways, databases, organizations, and repositories.

The publishing industry is changing dramatically with the appearance of books in electronic formats (ebooks), online periodicals, and news on the Web. Consumers use a variety of electronic devices, such as PCs, ebook readers, digital cameras, video cameras, sound recorders, and mobile phones. Ordinary people have become authors and publishers as they create Web sites and blogs, participate in social networking (Facebook, etc.) and microblogging (Twitter, etc.), and share their photos (Flikr, etc.), audio recordings (iTunes, etc.), and videos (YouTube, etc.). Librarians must keep up with changes in technology, data formats, and trends in publishing in order to make wise acquisitions and serve their patrons well.

The legal use of materials requires understanding of intellectual property rights and restrictions. The use of copyrighted materials may be severely restricted or very open, depending on the conditions under which those materials are released. Without a clear understanding of copyright laws and conditions of use, it is quite easy to break the law.

Many librarians now create and maintain digital repositories in which digital objects such as texts, images, audio recordings, or video recordings are prepared, cataloged, and organized into collections. Some objects are digitized from handwritten or printed materials, audio recordings, photographs, films, or videotape, and some objects are born digital. Many repositories are accessible on the Internet, and now metadata about many collections can be harvested automatically for subject gateways and other information services. Digital repositories can be extremely valuable for the preservation and sharing of cultural heritage materials, creative works, research data, papers, monographs, and educational resources. Some universities have even placed the contents of entire courses on the Internet. Twenty-first century librarians must understand the principles of good digital collections, and they must be able to collaborate with members of their communities, technology experts, and others to make their collections valuable and accessible.

The 21st century is a very challenging time for those of you who study and practice librarianship. You need knowledge and skills that previous generations could not imagine. However, whatever challenges you may face, remember your predecessors. For thousands of years librarians have been accumulating knowledge and wisdom, and they have used their professional skills to serve their communities and maintain the vitality of human civilization. So will you.

Welcome to Greg Peterson’s Blog

Welcome to Greg Peterson’s Blog.

I live in Shiga Prefecture in Japan, about 10km from Lake Biwa, and I teach at Kyoto Notre Dame University (KNDU). Information about KNDU in English and other languages is at the International Education Center.

I’ve been teaching at KNDU since 1977. For many years I have been a university administrator in library/ICT services and international programs. I am currently Dean of our Academic Information Center (in Japanese).

You can find links to course information and audio recordings on my university site, Greg Peterson at Kyoto Notre Dame University. I also maintain some English language services at POETS.

Here at gpjp.me I’ll post essays on library and information services, intercultural communication, media, and other topics that interest me. I plan to include topics that extend beyond my professional interests.