Involving university library staff in ongoing research

Swanepoel, Adriaan
January 2006
IATUL Annual Conference Proceedings;2006, Vol. 16, p78
Conference Proceeding
To embed university library practitioners in research, this paper proposes a strategy of maximum immersion. The strategy involves the inclusion of as many employees from as many sections or departments in the library as is practically feasible in research projects of an ongoing or repetitive nature. The paper argues that this strategy will overcome most of the obstacles that normally hinder research by library practitioners, including a lack of research experience and a lack of time. To succeed, the strategy should comply with a number of conditions, such as that the research has to be relevant and beneficial to the university, library and research participants, the research process should develop research experience and build capacity, the research technique should be relatively easy to apply, involvement in the research activity should create lasting enthusiasm, and the process should be dynamic. In the second part of the paper the author uses the example of citation counting of theses and dissertations as a research application that fits the conditions outlined in the first part. The paper concludes with the opinion that, although sufficient thought and planning should go into selecting a research application for ongoing research, it is no more than a means to an end. The ultimate purpose is to get libraries embedded in research - not for the sake of research, but for the sake of its benefits.


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