9-11 October 2018
Lisbon
Europe/Lisbon timezone

From local collections to global services. The new service strategy of the British Library

Not scheduled
15m
Lisbon

Lisbon

ISCTE, University of Lisbon
Poster Posters

Speaker

Dr Torsten Reimer (The British Library)

Description

The environment in which research libraries operate is changing along with advances in technology and user expectations. This presentation will discuss key challenges, in particular those posed by the open science agenda, and describe how the British Library is responding with a new service strategy – a strategy that signals a shift from a model of local collections to one of global content services. This presentation will start with a situational analysis of the challenges faced by research libraries. Historically, their role has been to assist their users in discovering and accessing content from their collections. The switch to digital technology has expanded this role somewhat, for example by adding remotely served subscription content into the mix. However, it hasn’t fundamentally challenged the role of the library as access provider. This is now changing with the increase of freely available online content and the open science agenda. Open access in particular raises a fundamental question about the role of libraries: if scholarly content is available openly on the web and mostly discovered through tools outside the library, what role can libraries still play? We have to face the fact that freely available online content is growing at a rate much faster than our collections – relatively speaking they are shrinking. Even in areas where libraries have unique offers, e.g. special and heritage collections, we do not always serve our users well: material is either not available in digital form or access and reuse are restricted due to legal and licensing issues. This means our users have to travel to access content – and if there is a ‘good enough’ resource available online elsewhere they might not. The second part of the presentation will outline how research libraries can respond to these and other challenges. It will discuss the process through which the British Library has developed a new service strategy for its purpose as a global research library, summarise key elements of the strategy and outline the delivery programme. At the heart of the strategy is the approach of enhancing our unique local collections by linking them to relevant content globally. The presentation will challenge the approach of national libraries thinking mostly in terms of a national collection. Instead it will suggest that the best way of supporting our local users is to work with organisations across the globe to help them to make their content available openly, in a persistent fashion that facilitates long-term reuse. In order to deliver this vision, the British Library is in the process of renewing its whole digital infrastructure to improve local services and to allow others reuse not just our content but our infrastructure. This transformation is supported through the ‘Everything Available’ change management portfolio that includes new projects in areas such as open access discovery, persistent identifiers, improved remote access, shared digital collection management and shared digital repository and preservation services. The presentation will close with an invitation to work with us on this mission.

Summary

The environment in which research libraries operate is changing along with advances in technology and user expectations. This presentation will discuss key challenges, in particular those posed by the open science agenda, and describe how the British Library is responding with a new service strategy. The strategy signals a shift from a model of local collections to one of global content services that support researchers by enhancing a global research infrastructure that provides persistent access to content for everyone.

Type of abstract Presentation

Primary author

Dr Torsten Reimer (The British Library)

Presentation Materials

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