Dartmouth Librarian Appointed to National Research Team

Elizabeth Kirk, associate librarian for information resources, has been tapped for a research team that will develop guidance for academic libraries seeking to support innovative services, such as publishing and data management activities, on their campuses. The project is funded by a grant from the Council on Library and Information ResourcesDigital Library Federation.

Elizabeth Kirk, associate librarian for information resources, has been tapped for a research team funded through the Digital Library Federation. (photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)

Librarians from four research libraries and OCLC will investigate business-planning literature and study established publishing and data curation services. The project will result in a series of publications, to be published between fall 2011 and August 2012, that will suggest a model for the business planning of new ventures and services. The model will help libraries determine whether a new service is feasible and, if so, how to make a persuasive case for the resources required.

Jeffrey Horell, dean of libraries and librarian of the College, notes, “As libraries plan for new services, the business models for their success are increasingly important. Elizabeth Kirk and her colleagues are exploring current models and proposing creative and sustainable ones going forward. The Dartmouth library and the greater community will certainly benefit from this research.”

The study team also includes Theodore Fons of OCLC, Mike Furlough of Penn State University, Carol Hunter of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Michele Reid of North Dakota State University. The team formed out of the 2010 Senior Fellows Program at University of California, Los Angeles, a professional development program for senior level academic librarians sponsored by the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and led by Beverly Lynch.

“Libraries have vast expertise in structuring and managing data and knowledge about how readers connect to published products,” says Furlough. “As scholarly publishing and scientific research evolve, we have seen new directives from the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies requiring that researchers give considered thought to the future life of research products of many types,” he continues. “We see important roles for libraries in support of our researchers, but only if our community can build and sustain these types of programs.”

Judy Luther will advise the project and facilitate discussions as the team analyzes the relevant literature, develops a model, selects case study candidates, digests outcomes, and shapes a final report. Luther is president of Informed Strategies, a scholarly publishing consulting company.

The team hopes that the lessons learned will be applicable to other library service areas. “In today’s economic and information environment, we must be able to analyze and justify every service we offer and become more comfortable with evaluating potential new service areas,” said Hunter. “This method and our conclusions will provide a model for doing that.”