Online LIbrary Challenges


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Challenges of the online library.

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  • Welcome and thank you for this opportunity to present in the process of hiring a librarian for Yorkville University. I trust that you have viewed my ePortfolio and blog. Online contact addresses for Twitter, ePortfolio, and blog are on this slide and on my CV sent in support of my application.I will be forwarding a PDF of this presentation including speaker notes, image credits, and bibliography to you later today.
  • I have been given a topic for this presentation: What do you see as the challenges and opportunities of the online library?‘ I have taken the past two weeks to reflect upon this question as I moved through my workday. I spoke with my peers and specifically my Chair on the topic. I found that my ideas and perceptions were in keeping with those of my colleagues. I conducted a literature search to learn more about library service models, and to understand better the evolution of an online library. Paula Kaufman wrote an article in 2007 stating that the most intriguing challenges & opportunities for libraries “centres on the juxtaposition between traditional library and digital information and knowledge management” p.5It is with this juxtaposition in mind that I present challenges and opportunities for online libraries.
  • It is my aim that this presentation present challenges and opportunities not only for libraries but for users, the library community. This presentation will: access, content, culture, mobile, & concept. An online library has distinct characteristics: 1) the content is in the form of electronic or digital information resources presumably durable and sharable2) The primary mode of delivery in the Internet3) Potential to share a higher variety of information without physical boundaries4) Centers on knowledge transference emphasizing quality and usefulness5) Enables the same information source to be shared by many people simultaneously6) Shifts from collection ownership to access to information7) Presupposes the absence of human intermediariesHow does this benefit the user and the library?No physical boundary2) 24 /7 availability3) Multiple access point to services, collection4) Presumed longevity of documents5) Potentially cost effective delivery of resources and services
  • In my view the most central challenge and foundational challenge for online libraries is access. This has been the topic of many narratives in library literature and research for over 2 decades now. From the time that CD – ROM’s were introduced in the late 1980’s to current day licensing, open access, and archiving issues, access to library services and resources have been reviewed, explored, assessed, and compared. In my view, access to library resources and services is a constant challenge and not one to be entirely resolved any time soon.One aspect of access to resources centers around existing and future licensing agreements, simultaneous and multiple usage, copyright, and digital locks. Another aspect of access pertains to availability and levels of technologies and equipment.The ACRL 2008 Standards for Distance Learning Library Services prefacing notes speak to a principle or philosophy of entitlement. Specifically, stated in those standards are that any member of an institution of higher education is entitled to library resources and services regardless of where enrolled, or where located. Inherent in this principle are access issues and challenges and opportunities.
  • When academic libraries striveto meet the information and research needs of all these constituents. Libraries are challenges to determine the best use of resources and investments. Libraries consider and explore platforms, formats and technologies available to strategically implement access points. Libraries conduct pilots, develop plans to institute technologies, negotiate partnerships, draft budget requests, design assessment plans, and collaborate across departments. Continual consideration and assessment of vendor agreements, licensing and subscriptions, copyright, digital locks, open access, financial commitments, are all challenges to access for an online library.An online library blurs the distinction between main campus users and distributed or distance learners. Users, regardless of proximity to a physical library, use online resources and services. When I first began to work with virtual reference I naively thought of those users at a distance from campus. I have had experiences where users contact the library via Meebo chat service asking questions about citation, or material location, or database use and sometimes reveal to me that they are the student sitting at a computer terminal within sight of the reference desk and raise a hand to wave at me. An online library is used by the university’s community both on-campus and off. Online libraries have opportunities to reach more users because geographical proximity is no longer required to access a wealth of resources, making information potentially more accessible.
  • Access to consistent levels of Internet service is not a prevalent as we might believe. Though there is an Internet café situated atop a canopy village in a rain forest in Central America from where my sister spoke with me using SKYPE in 2006, there are still many areas where Internet services are still unavailable or is offered through “old technology” – remember dial up?Many people in Canada still do not have Internet bandwidths that are required to access many library services and resources. This is, in my view, a great and constant challenge facing online libraries. We create interactive sites, instruction using games and videos, offer databases heavy with images – all of which require large bandwidths and current computer systems. How do we ensure that users without bandwidths and newer systems access library sources and resources? This is an area for opportunity. I don’t have an answer for this but believe that partnering with Internet service providers and campus IT departments might find workable solutions.
  • Access, specifically ease of access, Web page design, reference support and instruction are critical library services that play a role in supporting the online learning community.Online libraries are positioned within a Library 2.0 model which, as a core practice, leverages technologies to create a multimedia experience in collections, content, and services. The relationship, the juxtapositioning of electronic resources, reference and instruction services, web page design, and ease of access creates complex relationship each co-dependent upon the other.As mentioned, not everyone (specifically students) has the same access to online resources or band with to support e-resources presents the greatest challenge. Following that issue is the reality thata lot of people (students and faculty) still aren't sure HOW to access online resources; not everyone is comfortable with the internet. That is where instruction plays a major supporting role. There is an opportunity to embed tutorials or short videos within course management systems; however, if users have not the bandwidth to support videos and tutorials, delivering online library instruction is challenged. Opportunities to present instruction differently are considered. Perhaps, printable PDF’s, or web site subpages. Perhaps a Pinterest board or Facebook page. Web page design is critical – is the text readable? Is the positioning of features intuitive? Are there less than three click to any one piece of information or resource? Is there a unified authentication, a on-time log in? At Thompson Rivers University, I find that it is the use of technologies and the uncertainty about that same technology that thwarts student success. Why? Here there are different log ins for nearly every service and many resources – email has one log in, Moodle another, on-site computer system, wireless laptop, database access each have their own separate log in. Each is perceived as a barrier to accessing resources and services. Partnering with IT to create simpler authentication practices is an opportunity. Creating instruction and reference materials in various formats is another. Simplifying routes to resources is another opportunity.Access to resources and services is a far reaching challenge to overcome and from which online libraries have opportunities to explore creatively.
  • Providing adequate and quality content within online resources and online libraries are limited to a degree by licensing agreements, technologies, digital locks. . . This seems anti-thematic or paradoxical. The more resources that are available electronically, the more complex access to those resources becomes. And, then there is the reverse problem - the assumption that EVERYTHING will be available online. Getting content and resources online was once viewed as inexpensive is more and more expensive, but at the same time people expect everything to be available to them while library budgets can't keep up. Libraries have difficulty keeping up to the Googleization of Everything.The Googleization of Everything challenges the perceived value of library resources. Students have been lulled into the notion that everything is available online and is found by using Google.In Siva Vaidhyanathan’s book “The Googleization of Everything and why we should worry”, he cites research conducted in the UK in 2007, (one by Alison J. Head found on First Monday and the other by Tara Brabazon, The University of Google: education in the (Post) Information Age) that found “45% of students choose Google as their prime search technology when doing research assignments. “ and only 10% consulted the library catalogue. pg 189. This is disheartening and present a major challenge for online libraries. In 1996 Nancy R. John wrote an article titled Putting Content onto the Internet in which she sentimentally observes that “Academic libraries in the twentieth century owe much of their reputations to the sheer magnitude of their collections - how many kilograms and pieces of printed matter are available on-site to their users. For much of this century, access to remote information was discouraged in libraries by the length of time it took to procure it and by the associated costs (e.g. postage, copying, loan fees) that were often passed over to the user by the library.” She continues in a tone reflecting her awe of technology that “The power of technology has not only allowed libraries to share resources more easily and less expensively, it has also allowed the library to bring more information and more up-to-date information to its users” and “Access to electronic information is highly dependent on access to computers and to networks.” and “The library is now becoming the distributor of information online, moving this function from a locally-based one designed just for the library's own clients to a national, and even international, one serving many information seekers from around the world.” She wrote that in 1996. It was collaboration between librarians, computer services, and a university press that saw the creation of Project Muse, a widely used and highly regarded online database providing high quality peer-reviewed content. A library’s reputation and value is no longer based upon the volume or expanse of it’s collections’ content. The challenge online libraries face is to demonstrate value by ease of access to content and immediacy of that content. The strength of online libraries depends on the relationships libraries develop and maintain with the creators, publishers, and aggregators of e-resources, as well as with those who use, learn from, and evaluate these resources. Library have an opportunity to partner with IT departments to help resolve some of these issues. Nancy R John wrote an article about getting content onto the Web in 1996, stating that “Through partnerships with organizations inside and outside the university, we've demonstrated that the academic library can leverage its expertise to help realize a goal of abundant, useful, and easily-accessible information for all.” That was in 1996. We are still working to develop partnerships inside and outside the university and the library. We have bot yet realised a goal of abundant, useful, and easily-accessible information for all.Fiscal constraints challenge value for dollar in the context of content. Libraries take a closer look at curriculum and collection development. Increasing costs on eResources can be perceived as an opportunity for libraries to look at open access, look to collaborating with faculty to align library content / materials with needs of students.
  • Technologies create different cultures within campuses. Paula Kaufman prognosticated in 2007 that “ the Internet will evolve to become much more universal, ubiquitous, and pervasive” . . . Page 3 & 11. The Internet has evolved into the social web, Web 2.0, which in turn has produced various cultures on campuses. The social web has created an ‘on-demand’ culture centered on the user, on our users, who use Web 2.0 technologies as primary places for research or fact checking. Challenges arise for the online library when users expect to use Web 2.0 technologies in their university courses. How do online libraries respond to the demands of the social web user? Do we start to offer resources through Facebook pages? In my view, this on-demand culture presents opportunities to explore cloud computing and open library instruction classrooms. This is an area about which I am just beginning to learn. MOOCs are one innovative response to a social web created, on-demand culture. Online libraries shifting to cloud computing might offer access to service and resources on demand. For a user, removing the concern about downloading documents or installing programs on their computers would be a boon. This may also be an opportunity to resolve the bandwidth issue presented earlier. Cloud computing has the potential for “new ways of thinking and learning design and learning experiences” as explored in a recent paper by Rita Kop and Fiona Carroll. In their paper, “Cloud Computing and Creativigy: Learning on a Massive Open Online Course, Kop and Carroll reported that participants indicated that “their active production and interaction with others enhanced their learning.” page 8. In my view, libraries paying attention to this trend and determining how cloud computing and MOOC’s influence their methods of delivering resources and services would be positioned to better respond to the on-demand culture, the social web oriented student. While their paper reports on a cloud-based learning space, I believe that libraries would benefit from looking at cloud computing for access to resources, services, and perhaps to create a MOOC library learning environment.
  • When I mentioned that students entering university expect to use Web 2.0 technologies, I believe that also means accessing Web 2.0 technologies on their handhelds, their mobiles. A recent OCLC research paper by Bruce Washburn cautions that “as expectations and capabilities evolve, it will be important to take a careful and objective look at how” libraries approach the mobile user and provide access to library resources and services. In my view, I believe that librarians will create mobile apps to better and simply access resources and services. Librarians will partner with developer and vendors to create such apps. Mobile users are scanning QR codes populating library catalogues. University of Lethbridge and TRU post QR codes so users can book group study rooms on their handhelds. Mobile versions of LibGuides by Springshare have been possible for several years now. In preparation for this presentation I read and article titled “Library Support for Mobile Device Projects” by Billie Anne Gebb. Gebb present strategies to implement and evaluate mobile devices and software in the context of use by health care providers for reference, data tracking, and administrative tasks. Gebb concludes that librarians are the ideal professional to partner with health educators to support student learning. I agree however and aware that with every service, instruction and reference opportunity, librarian and library resources are taxed to allocate resources for supporting these opportunities. Financial constraints continue to inform library's abilities to respond to, implement and support, this emerging group of online library users.Yet, there are does exit creative opportunities for the online library to respond to the mobile user.For example: MIT’s Mobile site: or Boopsie
  • For example, MIT’s Mobile site: Boopsie Library services on MIT’s Mobile app include options to find people, places, events, course news, shuttle schedules, and more.
  • Library Research specific apps are: EBSCO, ACS Mobile, PubGet, WorldCat Mobile, and Wolfaphram Mobile. There are apps for note taking, reading, organizing, and writing using a mobile device.
  • Where are the greatest opportunities for online libraries? Nancy John wrote that “Through partnerships with organizations inside and outside the university, we've demonstrated that the academic library can leverage its expertise to help realize a goal of abundant, useful, and easily-accessible information for all.” She wrote that in 1996. Libraries have created partnerships and collaborated with other agencies and online libraries are still working to develop partnerships inside and outside the university and the library.We are witnessing a convergence of technology, content and culture. This convergence is informed my the demands of the social web user and technological developments. The Chronicle Research Services report “College of 2020: Students (2009) indicates that up to 60% of students will be in online classes by 2020. Students are expecting more flexibility of when and how they attend classes. This is an area of great opportunity for online libraries, LubnaAlam, Lecturer, Faculty of Information Sciences and Engineering, University of Canberra instructs a class is called “Social Infomatics” I recently presented Twitter as an instructional tool to faculty at TRU and viewed a video in which Lubna speaks to the convergence of social media, technology, and student culture commenting that students entering university are expecting to use social technologies in their studies. What are we doing to respond to this? In my view, this convergence provides libraries greater opportunities to collaborate and partner, with various agencies – internal and external. Here is an example. At Red Deer College and here at Thompson River’s University, the library’s ability to provide access to a wide range of resource and services is hampered by the IT departments. Both libraries are required to go through IT every time a new program, resource, and service is considered and offered online. This creates some tension and protracts the time it takes to launch any online service or resource.
  • I was cheered recently when while researching for another presentation on trends in teaching and learning, I found this web site Technology @ Berkley. This is part of the University of California IT campus wide strategic plan. This document demonstrates concerted effort by the IT department to identify core teaching, learning needs in the context of providing technological support. Reading through the items is rather remarkable in my view. These are three items that were identified as challenges. Each of these statements and many others in the document echo points I have made in this presentation. Technology is available yet not always adopted ahead of user demand. Knowing HOW to access resources is an issue. We know that search tool interfaces are often more complex than need be.I perceive this as inclusive of cross campus departments, a heightened awareness of all stakeholders, and a willingness to identify and support online presence, service, and practice. This positioning of an IT department as partner with the library, teaching and learning, is foreign to me and I am buoyed by this stance.
  • In summary, in my view, online academic libraries are change agents, adaptable and often early adopters of technologies, strategies, and methodologies. Access is the greatest challenge online libraries experience. Access to resources is complicated by licensing agreements, digital locks, copyright changes, Internet bandwidths, end-user adaptation issues, and know-how. Opportunities to overcome such complex issues center around developing partnerships with publishers, service providers, and creating alterative formats for online access.Delivering content as needed is challenged when library resources and ease of use are devalued in a climate of Googleization. In 2006, J. Maness wrote in an article that online libraries, those libraries functioning under a Library 2.0 model, are committed to assess, improve, integrate, and communicate library services using the newest information technology. Maness in Kwanya et al. pg 3 I believe online libraries do assess service levels and return on investment, and use the latest information technologies looking for opportunities to improve access, vary content, create partnerships, in a culture that is social and mobile.With every identified challenge, online libraries have opportunities to explore different models and platforms to ensure the highest levels of services and reliable access to relevant resources. Thank you.
  • Online LIbrary Challenges

    1. 1. JAUa LeI E [ c d mic L i b E NaT ] K rari n@ a g e n t l i b r a r i a nTra n s l i t e ra c y l i b ra r i a n . w o r d p r e s s j u l i e . ck me n t . c o a 1
    2. 2. ONLINE LI BRARYChallengesOpportunities 2
    4. 4. ACCESS 4
    5. 5. ACCESSon campus off campus 5
    6. 6. ACCESS 6
    7. 7. r e f e r e n c e s u p p o r t r e s o u r c e s O N L I N E L I B R A R Y i n s t r u c t i o nW e b p a g ed e s i g n 7
    8. 8. CONTENT 8
    9. 9. C U LT U R E 9
    10. 10. MOBILE 10
    11. 11. MOBILE 11
    12. 12. MOBILE 12
    13. 13. COVERGENCE 13
    14. 14. Instructors and students do not understand how to access many of theresources that are available both on campus (e.g., library and museumcollections) and off campus (via the Internet, including the "hidden web").Instructor use of course websites, webcast, and other instructionaltechnology tools is not always keeping pace with student demand.Some library and other search tools are not as user-friendly as they could be. COVERGENCE 14
    15. 15. SUMMARY 15
    16. 16. IMAGE CREDITSSlide 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7,Microsoft Images. Retrieved from 6Speed Test. Retrieved from 8File:Städtische Bibliotheken Dresden Ecke Prager Straße - Rechnerpool medien@ge.jpg. Retrieved from 9By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad Runge [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsSlide 10By A.Fanslau (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsSlide 11 and 12MIT. Mobile Web. Retrieved from 13By Oleg Alexandrov (self-made, with en:matlab) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsSlide 14University of California, Berkley. (2012). Campus IT strategic Plan. Retrieved from 16
    17. 17. BIBLIOGRAPHYCOFA Online. (2011). Teaching with web 2.0 technologies: Twitter, wikis & blogs - Case study. Retrieved from Research Services. (2009). The college of 2020: Students. Retrieved from, B. A. (2010). Library support for mobile device projects. Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries. 7.165-170. DOI: 10.1080/15424065.2010.483155Kaufman, P. (2007). It’s not your parents’ library anymore: Challenges and opportunities in the new webs of complexity.Journal of Library Administration . 46 . 1. p. 5- 27. Retrieved from http://jla.haworthress.comKop, R. and Carroll, F. (2011). Cloud computing and creativity: Learning on a massive open online course. Retrieved from, T., Stilwell, C., and Underwood, P. (2012). Library 2.0 versus other library service models: A critical analysis.Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. 44. 145. doi: 10.1177/0961000611426443Vaidhyanathan, S. (2011). The Googlization of everything (and why we should worry). Berkley, CA: University ofCalifornia Press.Washburn, Bruce. 2011. “Library Mobile Applications: What Counts as Success?” Information Outlook 15,1(January/February). Pre-print available online at: 17