Na een hels coronajaar laden we de batterijen terug op in de bossen in Auvergne. Geen betere plek om alles even te laten bezinken, nieuwe energie te tanken en om even over de toekomst van het werkveld te mijmeren. Een e-mailinterview met Lorcan Dempsey (OCLC) helpt hier natuurlijk bij. En omdat we daar in het vakantiehuis geen wifi hebben en geen stabiel 4G-bereik, trekken we regelmatig naar een Frans cafeetje om de nieuwe antwoorden te lezen. Van de nood een deugd maken, heet zoiets.
A lot of your work on library services mentions a change in collection directions. Is it fair to say that the traditional just-in-case model no longer works?
We might say that the just-in-case collection is an acquired collection. The library purchases or licenses a range of material for local use. In this model, the library is at the centre and students and researchers come to the library or visit the library website. However, we know this has been unsustainable for a variety of reasons. The first is cost. But more importantly, no single library can continue to acquire enough materials to satisfy all local demands. This is not just a volume issue, where publication volumes continue to grow. It is also a variety issue, where there is increasing diversification of the resource base of interest.
Think of the changes open access have made and will continue to make. Think of interest in podcasts, videos, and the growing interest in newsletter and other manifestations of the creator economy. Think of how science has changed in a network environment, so that there is interest in research data, preprints, software, workflows, and so on. Given this volume and variety, we have seen a move towards what I have called the ‘facilitated collection,’ where the goal is to better support students and researchers by assembling a range of network resources around their needs. The student or researcher is now at the centre. The library’s goal is to arrange for a coordinated mix of local, external and collaborative resources responding to varied user needs. This activity peels away from the locally managed collection and grows to include advice and consultancy about creation and information practices in a complex environment.
In this context, we could say that the borders of collections have become more fluid.
Exactly. The boundaries between discovery and delivery are being hidden, resources are assembled to meet particular needs. Think for example of the phenomenal rise of strongly curated discovery (library guides and reading lists) which links to resources of interest whether or not they have been acquired by the library. Think of cooperative services, where a user has access to resources across a group of libraries. Think of on-demand acquisitions. Think of providing discovery access to resources elsewhere – collections of e-books, open access collections, and so on.
In fact, we have seen something of a reversal of roles between collections and discovery. The collection used to drive discovery – the catalogue or the discovery layer allowed you to prospect the acquired collection. However, now, discovery drives the collection. Directly in relation to demand-driven acquisition models, but more generally in the sense that the library wants to help the user with what is broadly accessible, not merely locally acquired.