improved mechanisms for sharing holdings and a better understanding of the level of use expected of our physical holdings) and negative developments (such as diminishing numbers of librarians and tighter budgets) have converged and encouraged critical examinations of long-standing practices. Throw in the broader expectations of subject specialists for scholarly communications and user engagement so ably outlined by the University of Minnesota, Duke University, and others, and one finds a fertile environment—both locally and across our profession—for exploring new roles.4 In this environment, our community sees a renewed interest in cooperative collection development models, demand- driven acquisitions, and consortial acquisitions, as well as a desire to explore different models for facilitating our librarians’ engagement with the scholarly communities that they serve. It is in this environment that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign explored the challenges of acquiring and delivering small data for faculty and student scholars. The University Library contended that there were commercially available data resources that were previously ignored in its acquisitions activities, that acquiring these resources would help prepare library professionals to serve new roles on campus, and that services associated with small data represented a new opportunity for our services to reach the scholarly community that we serve. A Micro-Funding Opportunity Looking for an opportunity to meet these objectives, the library’s Office of Collections proposed and sponsored a pilot program. Seeking to explore some of the aforementioned challenges that small data offered, the Office of Collections requested that the library’s Data Services Committee solicit applications from faculty and graduate students who needed to acquire numeric or spatial data for their research. As a pilot program, the library targeted awards toward meeting smaller needs (in the $5,000 range). However, the amount awarded for individual proposals would depend upon the total number and suitability of applications received. This program would enable the University Library to test the waters and better determine the long-term interest in and viability of programming in this area. RLI 276 13 Collecting Small Data ( C O N T I N U E D ) SEPTEMBER 2011 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC Locally, this growing interest in managing data is part of a broader interest in exploring new options for acquiring resources that will meet the changing needs of our faculty and student communities.
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