Digital data centers in libraries provide a particularly useful service to scholars and
students. The strongest examples go beyond collecting and providing access to data and
digital content by bringing together subject specialists, statisticians, and digital media
experts to support a spectrum of services and expertise. This centralized service helps to
accelerate the use of content and discovery, and the creation of new forms of scholarship.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Educational Resources, of which the libraries
are a partner, provides impetus “away from print-based repositories to electronic
collaboratories that enable application of digital collections and networked
services to new approaches in instructional and scholarly communication.”
The Alderman and Clemons Libraries at the University of Virginia
support a scholars’ lab catering to the digital research and scholarly analysis
needs of faculty and advanced students in social sciences and humanities. The
lab combines software applications for data analysis, geographic information
systems, visual presentations, scanning, and text encoding.
And Columbia University has launched two digital centers: one for social
sciences and a second for humanities that will open in 2010. The Digital Social
Science Center (DSSC), located in Lehman Library and operated jointly by the
Libraries & Columbia University Information Technology, provides a wide
range of information and technology assistance for students and faculty.
Faculty and Graduate Student Spaces
Faculty and graduate students have begun to look to their libraries to provide
customized spaces for scholarship, training, quiet concentration, and socializing. A
growing number of libraries are working with these constituents to define and deliver
The University of Washington’s Health Sciences Library has partnered
with dentistry, nursing, medicine, pharmacy, and public health to provide a
learning commons for graduate and professional students. Among the
amenities are specialized classrooms, a drop-in computer lab providing
specialized software and expert assistance with presentations and special
projects, and liberalized food and drink policies.
Learning and Research Spaces in ARL Libraries: Snapshots of Installations and Experiments
C O N T I N U E D
JUNE 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC