Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Libraries Confront Digital Natives

In a justifiably self-congratulatory tone – after all, she IS the Chief Executive of the British Library – Lynne Brindley discusses the value of libraries to digital natives in “Challenges for Great Libraries in the Age of the Digital Native,” in Information Services & Use 29 (2003): 3-12.

She reports on the success of the British Library in responding to what she sees as the issues that major research libraries need to pay attention to, which are
- e-Science and E-Research, particularly helping the creators of this content manage the data generated from collaborative support tools.
- Web. 2.0 and Web 3.0 – demonstrating a willingness to consider user-supplied content as something other than a challenge to the library’s authority and role as supporter of the traditional assurances of authenticity of formal publication methods.
- Digitization of special collections material for access – does increased visibility of this material lead to new kinds of scholarship?
- Information literacy – the role of libraries in providing instruction in the development of analytic and evaluation skills so that the digital natives can assess the resources they tend to view rather than read.
- Digital preservation and long-term access – determining what is of continuing access and proposing methods of preserving it for continued use.
- Emphasizing the value of the physical spaces of the research library as “inspiring spaces to support creativity and innovation [and] to support networking.”

In the information economy, the value of intellectual capital held by library collections and their staff is measured by their success in the marketplace, so research libraries need to make sure that their products are available and attractive to the buyers.

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