collaborations never before thought possible. This global orientation is
encouraging the development of international scholarly inquiry that needs the
support of information and data managers to navigate effectively through the
changing landscape. In addition, with a growing emphasis on special and
unique collections, particularly in the humanities and arts, one would posit that
the acquisition, curation, and dissemination of said materials would require
cross-cultural competencies and language skills that will ensure the appropriate
management of these collections or their digital surrogates. Library and
information professionals will be needed with appropriate subject domain
expertise as well as technical skills to facilitate global collaborations and to
organize the resources, data, and content they generate.
We must develop a vital research library workforce ready to
enthusiastically provide support for collaborative learning and
research content creation, even on the undergraduate level.
As more and more resources become available via the Word Wide Web, and
research libraries deploy solutions (such as high-density storage) that free up
physical space, institutions are retooling facilities to create learning
environments that support collaborative study and expanded library services,
and that essentially respond to changing pedagogies in higher education. The
modern research library workforce must be equipped with expertise to support
these changing approaches to teaching and learning, and to assist in the creation
of multimedia or data-rich research projects that are increasingly part of the
educational enterprise. The mention of undergraduates in this imperative is
appropriate since high-level research output has, traditionally, been seen as the
domain of graduate students and faculty, but that is no longer the case. This
approach begs an assessment of the skills and competencies being taught in the
current master of library and information science (MLIS) curriculum. Technical
skills in multimedia production software, data-literacy competencies, or fluency
with metadata schema and standards will remain important in the modern
research library workforce. Equally important, however, may be the ability to
envision, create, and manage spaces for experiential learning exercises,
encourage experimentation and creativity in collaborative projects, or
many other social or soft skills—knowledge that may or may not be
reflected in MLIS curricula.
RLI 272
4
Developing a Vital Research Library Workforce
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C O N T I N U E D
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OCTOBER 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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