The inside-out library redux


Table of Contents

I have given a couple of presentations about the inside out library recently. Some links are below. Here is some of what I said …
By the inside-out library, I am meaning a view of the library as a more active and visible actor in the research and learning lives of its users. A major driver is the ‘workflow switch’. Once, in the physical world, the library could expect its users to build their workflows around the library.However, in the network world, the library needs to think about how it builds its services around its users’ workflows. This has some specific manifestations for discovery, collections and other network services which I discuss further below.
We can see this shift clearly in the focus on engagement – whether this is in the form of curriculum support; discussions around data management, scholarly communication, or digital humanities; support for bibliometrics and expertise or reputation management; support for homework or job-seeking; or the many other ways in which librarians are providing more direct support for the jobs their users are getting done.
Reference management provides a modest example. We have seen a move from support and instruction for one or two institutionally licensed products, to general advice about a range of licensed and ‘free’ resources (e.g. EndNote, Refworks, Zotero, Mendeley). And beyond that again, to consulting about research networks (e.g. ResearchGate), academic profiles, and campus/faculty bibliographies.
Space provides another example, as it is being reconfigured around broader education and research needs, and less around the management of print collections. It supports social interaction around learning and research, access to specialist expertise, equipment or communication facilities, and space for exhibition and interaction.
My main focus, though, has been on changes in network services. In particular, I have discussed four shifts ….


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