Report says university libraries must re-evaluate role in research discovery

October 9, 2014

University libraries must re-examine their role in the research process, says a new report from nonprofit organization Ithaka S+R. The report focuses primarily on “discovery,” defined as “the process and infrastructure required for a user to find an appropriate item.” The authors say that while a significant majority of library directors surveyed agreed strongly that “it is strategically important that my library be seen by its users as the first place they go to discover scholarly content,” discovery is increasingly taking place outside of the library and away from the library's home page. More users are turning first to a general-purpose search engine or a specific electronic resource rather than their library’s online catalogue. Library directors seem to recognize this, and only a slim majority said that they believed their library was the best place to start a search for scholarly material. The study urges libraries to reconsider their role in facilitating research, and to examine other ways to remain relevant in the discovery process. Full Report