Research on Libraries and Librarianship in 2000

Council on Library and Information Resources

Late in 2000 the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) announced the publication of results of one study on preservation and the plans for a second study in that same arena. Preservation Science Survey: An Overview of Recent Developments in Research on the Conservation of Selected Analog Library and Archival Materials was published by CLIR in cooperation with the European Commission on Preservation and Access. The report provides summaries of recent significant research on the preservation of paper, film and photographic materials, and magnetic tape. Henk J. Porck, conservation scientist at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB), the National Library of the Netherlands, and René Teygeler, consultant to the library, conducted the survey and wrote the report. It is available on CLIR's Web site at (in PDF or text format).

At about the same time, CLIR announced that it was joining forces with ARL, the University Libraries Group (ULG), and the Oberlin Group to conduct a thorough examination of the state of preservation programs in American libraries. Using both quantitative and qualitative evaluation techniques, the authors of the study will document current conditions and challenges in preservation, identify indicators of health in preservation programs, and suggest new strategies to equip these programs for an increasingly complex technical environment. Among the areas to be investigated are the following: library trends, digital development, aging assumption, national leadership, education and recruitment, collaboration, and economics.

The impetus for this study comes from the fact that after a period of considerable activity in the 1980s and 1990s to preserve library and archival materials, progress seems to have slowed. This study will address issues and serve as the focal point for convening a conference of senior preservation administrators, library directors, representatives of professional organizations, scholars, and other stakeholders to consider the viability of preservation programs in the face of changing circumstances and to develop an action plan to promote the long-term well-being of these programs.

In October 2000 CLIR and the Digital Library Foundation (DLF) named Denise Troll a DLF distinguished fellow. Troll, assistant university librarian for library information technology at Carnegie Mellon University Libraries, is the third fellow CLIR and DLF have appointed since the program was established in May 2000. She will spearhead the part of DLF's program that aims to identify and evaluate measures that are appropriate for assessing the use and effectiveness of digital library collections and services. Work will be conducted on a number of fronts: through a study of a selected group of universities and colleges that want to explore how use of their libraries has changed since the inception of the Internet and how to respond to this change; through a broad-based survey to identify effective mechanisms for assessing use of digital library collections and services; and the design and conduct of a broadly comparative investigation of digital library use that deploys these mechanisms. The DLF program seeks to expose and evaluate how current online collections and services are being used for the benefit of institutions that are currently building their digital libraries. It aims to identify tried-and-tested digital library performance measures, and to inform digital library developments generally by assembling and analyzing benchmark data and usage trends.

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