Envisioning the future

Filed Under (Built Learning Environments, General, Professional practice, Research) by ronan on 01-10-2010

I have been reading an interesting collection edited by Sue McKnight called Envisioning future academic library services; initiatives, ideas and challenges published by Facet 2010. It was brought to my attention not by the marketing efforts of Facet but rather it was well reviewed in the Times Higher over the summer, which on reflection, the marketing reach of Facet may have had a hand in; I don’t know much about the dark art of book marketing.
There are some interesting contributions Derek Law as always is provocative – one of his sub-sections headed “academic partners, not servants” will strike a cord with many.

Andrew McDonald looks at libraries as place while Liz Wright  opens her chapter on future leadership with a quote from William Gibson which I paraprase here: “Only charlatans say they really know the future”.

Paul Coyne, from Emerald and a good friend of Bradford College, writes very well and covers much ground in his look at ‘the discovery and consumption of scholarly content’. He provides a great definition of Library 2.0 (from  Maness (2006)) – it has four essential elements:

  • it is user-centred
  • it provides a multimedia experience
  • it is socially rich
  • it is communally innovative

Martin Lewis – University of Sheffield – Information Commons – gives a policy level overview of the role libraries might play in managing research data, this is also taken on an international level. His sub-section ‘what libraries can do about data’ gives a clear rationale for what should be done locally, nationally or internationally. He also usefully looks at funding although I suspect that will date quite quickly.

So its a good collection of essays and will be a good text to accompany the discussions of the newly-formed Bradford College library futures group in which about a dozen library staff have already expressed an interest. I’ll deposit the book in the staff library when I’m finished with it –  promise.

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