A skills refocus for digital
Linda Ashcroft
Liverpool John Moores University
‘Is the education of digital libraries
Yan Quan Liu
survey analysed course syllibi relating to
education for digital libraries in North
America, Europe, Asia
drastic increase in such courses over past 4
balance of theory and technology
‘the Technocrats’
‘the Librarians-as Guides’
• not only course syllibi for digital libraries,
but new ways of delivery – e-learning
• students becoming used to working in the
electronic environment
• student perceptions (Gregory)
• staff attitudes (Newton)
• which will influence delivery and student
• even on-campus students access learning tools and
info electronically
– eg WebCT, Blackboard, remote access to library
• public libraries also delivering material
electronically, eg
– North Lanarkshire
– community learning hub
• eg e-books
– Park Ridge Public Library Chicago, US
– London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, UK
Users and e-materials?
• now full text databases appreciated by many users
• but after initial problems resolved, requiring skills
for addressing
relevance of bundles
ease of access
Users and e-materials?
• some initial difficulties similar to e-journal
• relevance of bundles
• ease of access
• licences
E-book use
• Manatee County library
– 20,000 titles via netLibrary, but only 70 titles
used in first 3 months
• Texas A & M University
– about 70% of netLibrary titles used
• NoWAL consortium
– about 80% use of 25% of netLibrary titles
E-resources - Take up?
• Google v quality resources
• how many clicks?
• Athens?
– (JMU change)
• skills to make it easy for users to access
quality resources
Digital reference
24 hour reference and partnerships
• 24 hour reference services increasing
– partnerships between countries increasing to provide
these services
• University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
– expansion as part of a global network of digital
reference partners
• Answers Now
– UK, USA & Australia
• Global Librarian
– UK & Canada
Digital reference
the question point model (
web-based communication
collaboration at heart of system
network for global participation
digital skills required
but communication and collaboration skills
LIS education
• library educators increasing focus on digital
environment (Liu)
• concentration on technology
• dismissal of areas that don’t fit with technology
• important skills being neglected
– eg cataloguing & classification
– but demanded in context of semantic Web?
Professional bodies
• accredits courses based on schools own vision &
mission rather than national standards
• does not stipulate precise requirement for course
• considers the wide range of skills now needed
Professional associations
• requirements will vary from country to
• very different if variation within country
• if professional associations do not have
specify the same core skills or are ‘flexible’
in their approach, how can quality curricula
design be developed on international basis?
Curricula and library practice
• changing curricula re diversity of
information work
• education programmes becoming
increasingly generalised
• variation between countries and within
• mismatch between curricula and employers’
Traditional core skills
• analysing, evaluating, cataloguing
• enquiry work
• user education
• training and facilitating
• customer service
All applicable in the digital environment
Collaboration skills
Consortia purchase
• e-journals
• now e-books and other e-resources
• increases purchasing power
• expertise sharing
• but increases the number of different parties to
work with
• requires good collaboration skills
Collaboration skills
Working with faculty
• Kingston University VLE
• Sesl initiative
• librarians working with faculty to develop
e-collection across a range of disciplines
• group work to construct e-learning activity
to embed in a course
Negotiation skills
• provision suitable for users of all consortia
• finance groups
• IT personnnel
• faculty
• professionals from other libraries
• e-resource suppliers
the skill you can’t download
• yes, have to communicate online
• but also have to communicate with more
and more players involved in the digital
library scenario
• full range of communication skills need to
be built into the curriculum
Communication skills requirements
• staff training (CPD)
– at different levels – different requirements
• users – some remote
– different groups will have different needs
• all other collaborators in library provision
– each with different interests and concerns
• so wide range of communication skills
• technology skills needed by digital
• traditional core skills also required
• skills requirements for accreditation
• communications skills are vital