I’m delighted to share with you our Annual Report 2014-2015. In it you’ll find stories about the ways that our services, information resources and spaces support the university’s strategic framework, as well as key facts and figures. The stories are like the tip of the iceberg: while only a few are highlighted, everyone knows there is mass below the surface as well. Thank you all for your roles in all our contributions to learning and research. And, I’d like to thank Jen Amos for all her work on producing the report. If you have ideas for next year’s edition, please let her know.
Our information resources strategy has been top of mind for many people for many months. I’d like to draw your attention to several developments you’ll be seeing in coming weeks.
- The fall in the Canadian dollar is raising longstanding issues in scholarly communications. I’ve been working on a discussion paper, with a view to addressing problems that we face at Queen’s and can’t address alone. It should be available in early February. Essentially, in my view, Canadian universities need to take a two-pronged approach: develop joint strategies to challenge the costs of existing subscription models, including working together to tackle “the big deal,” and at the same time allocate resources to developing collaborative, sustainable scholarly publishing infrastructure. This is about disruptive change, not sustaining the status quo.
- The Library Leadership Team has agreed on a set of groups to cover various aspects of strategy development and implementation. A new Information Resources Working Group will oversee strategy as a whole and manage various sub-groups such as the existing Electronic Resources Working Group, a significant gifts working group, and a Downsview project group. It will also liaise with other working groups focused on particular elements of the research lifecycle, such as the Research Data Management Working Group. The LAMP Collections project group is wrapping up, having completed its role in developing a layered approach to print collections access. I’d like to thank all the members of that group for their foundational work in moving these matters forward.
- Various paths are being planned for further communications with users about the layers of access concepts, in particular in relation to bound journals and plans for moving Music collections, and acquisitions budget planning.
- The Library Leadership Team is looking into the possibility of a campus event this spring on the topic of sustainable scholarly publishing, building on a suggestion from the Scholarly Communications Working Group.
- Heather McMullen and Anne Smithers are meeting with each unit head to review the status of accounts for this fiscal year. Plans for next fiscal year will be developed with advice from them as members of the new Information Resources Working Group.
The Teaching and Learning Working Group terms of reference were revised last fall, a call for membership was issued in December, and the new group is now ready to get under way. Members are Paul Clifford, Jackie Druery (chair), Susan Korba for the QLC Services Team, Cory Laverty as a liaison with CTL, Amanda Ross-White, Jillian Sparks, Mark Swartz and Sara Wickett.
The Library Leadership Team has had several updates on other groups and initiatives as well:
- Implementation of the new service model continues, and we’re hearing great suggestions for course corrections in some aspects of operations; as well, we reviewed a wrap-up report on the service development project that summarizes that first stage of public services renewal implementation. We expect there will be continual “check-in” moments ahead, such as at the end of this term.
- The service philosophy project is nearing completion: the group will be seeking feedback on a set of service guidelines to accompany the philosophy statement.
- A set of principles for the development and operations of LINQs will be posted shortly, and designs for a site on the first floor of Watson Hall have been drawn up.
- A social media strategy is ready for input from units and operational aspects are next.
- We’ll soon be hosting faculty writing sessions one morning a month in library space at the request of the Vice-Principal Research, following on a recent popular session held at the Donald Gordon Centre. Watch for further information as details are confirmed.
As you may recall, the Provost initiated an Advisory Committee on Student Services Strategic Planning last year, in response to a Board-Senate retreat discussion about the importance of strong student services to support the university’s strategic priorities. “Student services” refers to services across the university, including those provided by Faculties and Schools, the Library, Student Governments and Student Affairs. I was on the advisory committee, along with several deans and other representatives of various areas. The framework document is now posted on the Provost’s website, and will be provided to Senate this month for information.
It was a pleasure to host visitors from Library and Archives Canada on Wednesday. We discussed opportunities for connections that would enhance learning and research and the services offered at both institutions, such as student learning experiences, visiting staff and projects of mutual interest. There will be follow-up over the next few weeks, and we hope to arrange a return visit including a public talk. Some of our students had a treat already – a special surprise visit by the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Guy Berthiaume, during a class in our Archives.
The President and Executive Vice-President of SSHRC were on campus last week. I was included in the schedule and took the opportunity to talk about challenges and strategies around providing information resources for social sciences and humanities research, as well as support for data management plans (DMPs). (SSHRC is interested in working with CARL/Portage on a demonstration project involving an identified set of researchers using DMP Assistant, to be carried out in 2016 in conjunction with the adoption of the Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management.) Other discussions during the day highlighted researchers’ needs for support with DMPs, and this also came up on a conference call the next day with the Tri-Agency Data Management Advisory Committee. All of this is very much on the radar of our Research Data Working Group, and of course we’re fortunate that the chair of the Portage DMP Expert Group is our very own Jeff Moon.
2016 is off to an energetic start – my own calendar has been filled with great discussions of interesting things ahead, and I hope you’ve had similar immersions in the new year. Certainly an All Staff meeting with Sidney Eve Matrix at the start of this week was a delight! This coming Monday, be sure to enjoy another treat: Jillian Sparks will have a pop-up exhibit celebrating Robert Burns Day in Stauffer Library, and in Jordan Library you can get a close-up look at Burns’ very own chair and more books. Drop by between 11am and 2pm. If you’re lucky, the popular haggis button or Burns button might still be available!