8 Survey Results: Executive Summary
planning (79%) or project management (67%) as one of their three primary roles, yet another indicator
that theses libraries have moved toward understanding digital research and scholarship from a holistic
perspective, and are considering its growth and development in their work plans and hiring.
The number of positions that have responsibility for each task reveals that these tasks are highly
distributed—even the more technical and IT or administrative tasks are also provided by a substantial
number of people in the libraries. That so many also support digital publishing (47% and 20% as primary
task), visualization (37% and 10%), and interface design and/or usability (38% and 9%), shows that these
elements of digital research output as part of online projects is being contributed by libraries where it
had once been left to outside contractors. However, very few of these staff (10% or fewer) are reported
to be primarily responsible for 3-D modeling and printing, database development, statistical analysis,
technical upkeep, or software development, and those who do this work are likely concentrated in digital
scholarship centers and hubs. Again, a significant fraction of these individuals contribute to work outside
the 19 primary DS categories, many run outreach events and workshops, teach, or contribute to scholarly
communications work, including advice on intellectual property, copyright, and author rights, as well as
data consultations.
In terms of supervisory level and institutional hierarchy, a great number of these staff have a
significant administrative role or are placed in mid-career ranks (Q19). Ninety-five of the 224 positions
(42%) report to a dean/university librarian, or assistant or associate dean/university librarian. Another
42% report to a department or unit head, manager, or director. Unsurprisingly given the number of
associate librarians and directors in the list of titles, 95 of these positions supervise staff that include
students (27%), support staff (26%), professional staff (21%), librarians (17%), and a few graduate
assistants (7%) or other post-doctoral positions (2%). The greater experience and education required
for many of these positions is apparent in the breakdown of degrees held: 47 (20%) have PhDs, with the
majority in the humanities, especially English, literature, and history social sciences or information
and library sciences. Several have earned their degrees in geography, with a few that stand out in
pathobiology and molecular medicine, computer science, and mass communication for example, but also
a few in the hard sciences. Those with MA or MS scatter more widely across the disciplines, with similar
groupings in the humanities and library and information sciences, but also a notable group of fine arts
and design degrees (MFA, visual design, studio art), interdisciplinary work (area and cultural studies,
ethnomusicology), and more diverse sciences or medical degrees (biology, psychology). All staff have a BA
or BS with the vast majority in humanities and social sciences (Q21).
Skill Gaps
Responses to a question on significant DS skill gaps indicate that libraries offer the strongest support
in the areas of digitization, digital collections and exhibits, and metadata creation with only a slight
gap (5 to 15%) between demand and capacity (Q22). The greatest gaps remain in visualization (65%),
computational text analysis and support (64%), statistical analysis support (60%), and in developing
software (54%). There are also significant demands for other services that are only met between half
and one-third of the time, from project planning, digital preservation, database development, content
encoding, and 3-D modeling and printing, to digital publishing, interface design, and project management.
Visualization (35%), data curation and management (35%), and computational text analysis and support
(28%) were identified as the three areas most critical to improve to meet demand and emerging trends
in research. Some libraries are not seeking to increase capacities—for example in 3-D printing—because
it is available elsewhere on campus. A review of respondents’ comments reveals that several libraries are
concerned with both capacity and sustainability, growing services strategically, and refining assessment
techniques to keep abreast of emerging trends, for example how demand rises and falls over the course of
a semester or year. Others point out that related roles such as scholarly communications, legal and ethical
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