16 · Survey Results: Executive Summary
effective service by only four (7%). A small number
of libraries also use webinars, phone, and Skype for
reference services.
Research guides are the most widely used (57 re-
sponses or 86%) and the most effective (39 or 75%)
outreach method to encourage use of global resourc-
es. Email discussion lists are the second most used
method (49 or 74%) and the second most effective (26
or 50%). Physical exhibits, the third most widely used
promotion tool (44 or 67%), were identified as the most
effective tool by only five libraries (10%). Holding of-
fice hours in departments, on the other hand, though
practiced by a relatively small number of respondents,
is considered to be the third most effective method.
Fifteen libraries reported other outreach methods
such as announcements, participation in departmen-
tal meetings, monthly reports, and instruction for
local junior high students.
Forty of the survey respondents reported that
their libraries are taking specific measures to im-
prove access to global resources. Their comments
reflect that Unicode is now quite widespread among
ARL libraries. Other measures for improving access
include the display of diacritics in OPACs, handouts
and LibGuides, digitization, and web archiving. The
multilingual presentation of library materials and ser-
vices such as multilingual subject webpages, welcome
pages, instruction, and reference services were also
repeatedly mentioned, as was international collabora-
tion to tap into unique global resources. These initia-
tives deserve a special note as a promising frontier
of collaboration for further exploration. One of these
projects is an initiative by the East Asia Library, the
University of Washington, and the National Library
of China to digitize rare and unique Chinese mate-
rials in the University of Washington Library.7 The
other is a collaborative project of the University of
Washington with research institutes in Thailand to
create a bi-lingual Thai/English instance of DSpace,
with the goal of providing enhanced access to col-
lections of research materials and photographs from
Thai research institutes.8
Our assumption before the survey was that, while
global resources have always been an important
collection focus for North American research libraries,
the topic has taken on increased significance over the
past decade. In the post-9/11 landscape, more empha-
sis has been given to international studies and, conse-
quently, collecting international resources, both in the
traditional area studies disciplines and more widely
across all fields. The survey results confirmed our
assumptions. Support for global resources in North
American research libraries is strong and predicted to
remain so in the foreseeable future. In some instances,
the survey revealed patterns that suggest obvious
connections between global collections and shifting
research and political foci. For example, in today’s
post-Cold War era, budget support for Slavic and East
European collections tends to remain stagnant (or, in
some instances, to decline) whereas, since the 9/11
events, Middle Eastern and Islamic materials have
received more funding. And, it is not surprising that
Latin American collections emerge as consistently
strong, since immigration from Latin American coun-
tries to the US has been an important factor of US
life for a considerable amount of time, and US rela-
tions with Latin America are strong in many areas,
ranging from trade and energy agreements to coop-
eration in illegal drug control policy. Similarly, grow-
ing technological and economic strengths make East
Asia an equal player on the global stage. In particular,
the opening up of China that has occurred since the
1980s has resulted in an increased interest in learning
Chinese and in research on the culture, economy, and
politics of China. Global collections in ARL libraries
reflect these realities. At some institutions, the collec-
tions are the result of historical collection interests at
others they are a response to research interest in the
scholarly community, which, in turn, reacts to the
complex interactions and realities of our increasingly
globalized society.
While clearly tied to historical, political, and so-
cial developments, global collections also exist as
parts of research libraries and need to be seen in the
larger context of issues surrounding research librar-
ies today. Budget and space challenges, as well as in-
creasing electronic access to resources with resulting
changes in research habits of students and faculty,
will create new and different patterns in collection
growth. Within this framework, global resources
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