Monday, October 31, 2016

MIT task force releases preliminary “Future of Libraries” report

MIT task force releases preliminary “Future of Libraries” report. Peter Dizikes. MIT News Office. October 24, 2016.
    An MIT task force released a preliminary report about making MIT’s library system an “open global platform” enabling the “discovery, use, and stewardship of information and knowledge” for future generations. It contains general recommendations to develop “a global library for a global university,” yet strengthen the library’s relationship with the local academic community and public sphere.  “For the MIT Libraries, the better world we seek is one in which there is abundant, equitable, meaningful access to knowledge and to the products of the full life cycle of research. Enduring global access to knowledge requires sustainable models for ensuring that past and present knowledge are available long into the future.”

The MIT task force arranged ideas into four “pillars":
  1. Community and Relationships: interactions with local and global users
  2. Discovery and Use: the provision of information
  3. Stewardship and Sustainability: management and protection of scholarly resources
  4. Research and Development: library practices and needs
The report suggests a flexible approach simultaneously serving students, faculty, staff, alumni, cooperating scholars, and the local and the global scholarly community. It recommends study of changes allowing quiet study as well as new types of instruction and collaboration. The library system needs to enhance its ability to disseminate MIT research, provide better  digital access to content, and generate open platforms for sharing and preserving knowledge. The report encourages the institution to help find solutions for the “preservation of digital research,” which the report says is a “major unsolved problem.”

The report engages advocates finding the right balance between analog and digital resources, since  “the materiality of certain physical resources continues to matter for many kinds of research and learning.” They see this as a high priority.

The Future of Libraries site has a link to the full PDF report.

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