72 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 294 2018 Iterative Evolution of the Liaison Librarian Role: A Brief Case Study Jenifer Flaxbart, Assistant Director of Research Support and Digital Initiatives, The University of Texas Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin Recognizing a need to evolve subject liaison responsibilities and related skill sets with an emphasis on digital research and pedagogy, The University of Texas Libraries (UTL) at the University of Texas at Austin has reorganized its Academic Engagement division and related approach to liaison work twice in the past two years. The first iteration (in August 2016) established a large Research department comprised of four subject-specific liaison teams, still reflected in the four core collections foci of arts and humanities global studies science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and social sciences. These four teams were led by staff who were also liaisons themselves. The Research department also included Collections and associated staff managing print and electronic monograph, journal, and database subscriptions at the UT Austin and UT System levels. The Teaching and Learning Services department added service-point coordination and related staff to its team of instruction-focused functional experts. A newly created Digital Scholarship Team, comprised of functional experts aligned with the research life cycle, rounded out the Academic Engagement division. While aspects of this arrangement worked well, the Research department was too large and there was limited cross-collaboration between and communication among liaisons on the four subject- specific teams. As of fall semester 2017, UTL created multidisciplinary “Engagement Teams” comprised of liaisons with individual subject-based portfolios working together with a particular focus. This transition aligned liaisons with similar strengths and interests, including teaching, data and digital approaches to research, and collection management, while
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