The following proposals represent strategic initiatives identified as critical for the University Library to pursue, or as initiatives already recognized in the University Library Strategic Plan (2006), but requiring renewed commitment of resources. Competition for scarce resources available for support of strategic initiatives requires the Library to take a balanced approach to making progress in each area over the next three years, but also one that is guided by concrete benchmarks and operational goals.
Over the past several years, the term “E-Science” has been used to describe new research methods in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities that take advantage of increases in computing power, storage capacity, and measurement techniques to ask new questions, as well as new information and communication technologies that link data, people, and computational services together in virtual organizations. E-Science encompasses computationally-intensive inquiry carried out in distributed environments, science that uses large data sets requiring grid computing, as well as inquiry in the social sciences and humanities that requires the management and use of quantitative data or the systematic mining of textual data. Pursuing this proposal will ensure that the University Library will be in a position to provide ongoing support to established and emergent e-science and e-scholarship programs across campus and with external partners.
Establishing a robust scholarly communications program has already been identified as a strategic priority for the Library, and this proposal provides support for the coordination of existing scholarly communications programs in place, as well as for the enhancement of those programs through more effective integration into Library-wide service programs. The Budget Group Plus recommends that the Library invest in the human resources, information technology infrastructure, and staff training and development programs needed to support campus-wide attention to critical scholarly communications issues while building on the many successful initiatives already pursued by the Library in this area.
Building on the success of the Biotechnology service model established several years ago, and recognizing the significance of campus trends, including the establishment of the Illinois Informatics Initiative (I 3), the success of interdisciplinary research and teaching programs like the Game Research Program, and the establishment of Professional Science Master’s (PSM) programs, the Budget Group Plus recommends that the Library look anew at the ways in which Library services are developed and promoted in emergent areas of research and teaching not defined by traditional disciplinary boundaries (or easily served through departmental libraries). In some cases, this will require the creation of new faculty positions (e.g., Biotechnology, Multicultural Outreach); in others, it will provide an opportunity for re-envisioning the scope of an existing position. The opportunity to explore new models for subject specialist services in libraries is significant, as is the opportunity to look at how the Library can be more agile in developing service programs relevant to the needs of emergent fields of inquiry on campus. Relevant areas already identified in the University Library Strategic Plan include Gaming Studies and Health and Wellness Studies.
Establishing a “ culture of assessment” has already been identified as a strategic priority for the Library. The Budget Group Plus recommends that the Library invest in the human resources, information technology infrastructure, and staff training and development programs needed to foster the development of an environment in which decisions can be made based on user feedback and other defined data points, and progress toward strategic goals consistently noted and disseminated.
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