Researchers use of academic libraries and their services

Added by Sarah on 01 September 2006

This study provides a forward-looking view of how researchers interact with academic libraries in the UK and informs the debate on the development of academic libraries and the services provided to researchers.

The foundations of the relationship between researchers and research libraries in the UK are beginning to be tested by shifts in the way that researchers work. The rise of e-research, interdisciplinary work, cross-institution collaborations, and the expectation of massive increases in the quantity of research output in digital form all pose new challenges. These challenges are about how libraries should serve the needs of researchers as users of information sources of many different kinds, but also about how to deal with the information outputs that researchers are creating.

Key Perspectives Ltd undertook this study on behalf of the RIN and CURL. The work surveyed 2250 researchers and 3000 librarians, and included an intensive series of focus group discussions and interviews, we have sought to establish a solid base of evidence on how libraries have been developing their services and strategies, and how researchers have been making use of those services. But we have also sought to look forward, to gain a perspective from both researchers and librarians as to how they envisage library services developing in the future. 

The report is available below.

Follow-up activities

We held a workshop in April 2007 to discuss the findings and implications of the report and to consider the implications, particularly from the point of view of libraries and host institutions.

Following this event, we set up a working group of researchers, librarians and senior institutional managers to set out strategic courses of action to be taken in particular by higher education institutions to address the issues outlined in the report.

The group completed its work in June 2008, and produced a new guidance document, Ensuring a bright future for research libraries: a guide for vice-chancellors and senior institutional managers, to give practical advice to ensure library and information services keep pace with the evolving needs of researchers.


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