Academic libraries are important for research and innovation. Libraries were once in hard copy form but as technology advanced into the system they took on the form of electronic databases. A report by Sage helps highlight how developing countries are beginning to seek the importance of evaluating their libraries to support research and teaching. These libraries are seen as a method for academic improvement and overall performance.
The report used surveys and interviews to triangulate information. The study took six months of data and came to some conclusions about the growing use and need for electronic libraries in developing nations. They found that many libraries and university staff were not aware of the potential benefits of their libraries. The inter-connectivity of the internet and improved bandwidth is creating content rich libraries.
The report has a few recommendations:
Communication: Research libraries should try and connect with other libraries and create resources that further enhance their abilities. Making researches, faculty and students more aware of the libraries offerings are extremely important. This includes the ability to market the library to main academic clients.
Support from the University: It is important to support library usage throughout the university. At times this means rising the status of librarians but at other times it could be something as simple as keeping people focused on the benefits of libraries.
Collaborating with Publishers: Continuing to populate the database with new information and publications is important for creating relevance. If students and researchers can find benefit in searching through the available databases it will create higher levels of familiarity. It is this familiarity which will help people use it on a continuous basis.
The report evaluated how online libraries are utilized by academics, management, and students in the U.S., U.K., Scandinavia, and developing countries. Interesting enough Scandinavia and developing countries seemed to use and appreciate their libraries more. This could indicate a level of innovative growth in the future as the information makes its way into new products and services in the market. Management seemed to value the libraries least when compared to academics and students.
The report didn’t indicate this concept, but I would also suggest the use of library research in courses. This specifically becomes more important in graduate education as students are either preparing for their doctorates or take their position in the market with their freshly minted MBAs. The use of research helps raise the effectiveness of management as they ponder the evidence in their decisions.
Reviewing the report also helps in understanding how growing economies use and value their libraries more than many developed countries. Scandinavia and Asia are considered innovation markets and they have interest in obtaining information. It is difficult for executives to make accurate decisions if they are not using new information, new research, and evidence in their understandings. The road is full of paths but only a few will lead to business and national growth.
Let us also not forget that there is many reasons why innovation exist around universities.
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