at The Evergreen State College

Research Library

From booktorrent

Jump to: navigation, search
The north gallery at The Kenneth Spencer Research Library. Image credit: LJ World


Research Library

A library containing a comprehensive collection of materials in a specific field, academic discipline, or group of disciplines, including primary and secondary sources, selected to meet the information needs of serious researchers (example: Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C.). The primary emphasis in research libraries is on the accumulation of materials and the provision of access services to scholars qualified to make use of them. In most large research libraries, access to collections containing rare books and manuscripts is restricted[1].

The Rise of the Research Library

Prior to the established "research library," colleges and universities held smaller repositories that had limited accessibility (hours, staffing, etc.) and were not necessarily geared towards students and faculty needing large collections within specific fields.

Under the leadership of late nineteenth-century library pioneers such as Justin Winsor at Harvard and Melvil Dewey at Columbia, hours were dramatically expanded, literary society libraries were absorbed by the university library, stacks were opened to readers, interlibrary loan and reserve collections were implemented, and reference service was initiated. In short, the modern and recognizable research library had begun its ascendancy. The rise of the research university and the founding of scholarly organizations created, through peer review and criticism, scholarly standards and professional expertise that extended knowledge in a variety of disciplines[2].

The Usage of Interlibrary Loan Systems

Interlibrary loan systems allow libraries to pool material resources, specifically by allowing patrons to electronically request eligible materials from libraries that are part of the loan system. This makes it so that materials need only be purchased for one or a few libraries to own and house while providing access to all connected libraries. Requested materials are sent to the patron's "home" library, and are subsequently returned there to be sent back to the library of origin.

Started in 1974, the Online Computer Library Center, Inc., is a "not for profit computer service and research organization whose systems help libraries locate, acquire, catalog, and lend library materials." With "more than 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories around the world have used OCLC services to locate, acquire, catalog, lend and preserve library materials[3]"

The Evergreen State College uses the ILLiad Interlibrary Loan system, which is a service underneath the OCLC[4]!

The Future of Research Libraries?

There are many directions research libraries can go, and though attempting to predict the future of anything is difficult, here are a few ideas for the research libraries of 2030 as discussed and presented in a meeting of the Association of Research Libraries.

  1. "Corporations and philanthropists directly support the best and brightest, who 'produce insights that dazzle readers, leaders, and markets,'" making accessibility limited to a chosen few, and monetary investment in output high.
  2. "With fewer resources to support pathbreaking new work, research projects depend on reusing existing "knowledge resources" as well as 'mass-market technology infrastructure.' Research is likely to be less ambitious and to be 'cobbled together in ephemeral and often small-scale projects,'" so that there is a large volume of information available, but only because its being rehashed.
  3. "'Computational approaches to data analysis' rule the research world. Scholars in the humanities as well as the sciences 'have been forced to align themselves around data stores and computation capacity that addresses large-scale research questions within their research field,'" making for a closely watched pool of high-quality information available to those who are permitted access.
  4. "A research climate much like what we know now, except that the Middle East and Asia take the lead in providing money and support for the research enterprise. Globe-spanning collaborations crop up around large-scale projects," so that information is now collaborative and accessible on a global scale, and new geopolitical locations are set as research and data generation centers[5].


External Links

Further Reading

Related Pages