Rebalancing the
Investment in
H. Thomas Hickerson, Vice Provost for Libraries and Cultural Resources
and University Librarian, University of Calgary
ood morning, it is a pleasure to be here today and have a chance
to contribute to this rich dialogue regarding the research library
of the 21st century. To lay the groundwork for my
presentation, I will talk briefly about the nature of preserved information and
how this contributed to shaping the research library collection of the 19th and
20th centuries. Then, while I will say a few things about my views regarding the
nature of tomorrow’s collection, I recognize that you have heard during the last
24 hours compelling presentations and comments regarding the various elements
comprising this future. In my remarks, I will focus on two information types—
visualized data and special collections—that I feel are evocative of my general
position that it is not just the information itself that determines the value of
tomorrow’s collection, but also where and how the information is and can be used.
I will then turn to the effort to delineate a new holistic framework for
analyzing the aggregations of information presently available, and I will suggest
steps to assist in positioning us to make reasoned decisions regarding current
and future planning. I hope to introduce a new prism through which we can
view the information universe and the portions of that universe we make
explicit efforts to support the use of. This holistic approach includes an
understanding of the full spectrum of information available to scholars and
students and the technological capabilities, rights of use, and services necessary
for full utilization of these resources. The holistic framework’s raison d’être is
RLI 277
Editor’s note: The author presented this paper on October 14, 2011, at the ARL-CNI Fall
Forum on “21st-Century Collections and the Urgency of Collaborative Action,” held in
Washington, DC. Audio recordings of the forum sessions are available on the ARL website
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