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 <>.

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 <>.