Power to the Librarian: Exploring the impact of the 21st Century librarian
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The library staff at Technische Universiteit Delft (TU Delft) in the Netherlands provides integrated support services to its researchers. Library Director Wilma van Wezenbeek considers support services for each stage in the research cycle: idea discovery, securing funding, experimentation and analysis, and dissemination.
The library works closely with the department responsible for monitoring the availability of grants and helping researchers to find projects and meet the appropriate deadlines. In terms of publishing and disseminating research papers, the library liaises with the university’s marketing and communications services to help promote the work the university carries out.
Naturally, the library supports researchers with the range of books and periodicals it houses, but that is only the start. “Nowadays it’s about far more than having books on stacks,” says Van Wezenbeek. “It’s about multimedia, it’s about datasets, it’s about courseware. We give our students and researchers information skills courses to help them find their way through all these resources and also learn how to use that information in a validated manner.”
As part of the information skills program, researchers learn how to use software tools such as Endnote for managing references and social media tools for collaboration. In November 2011, TU Delft organized a seminar entitled “How to Write a World Class Paper.” Within a week of its announcement, the seminar was full.
To support a research workflow methodology the library provides a modular system called Tulib, which researchers can access online. It includes a search facility called Discovery and modules that guide students and researchers through various stages of a typical research project, such as how to draw up a search plan and how to make use of references.
The library is closely involved in a data center project that catalogs and stores formal papers and theses produced by students, researchers and faculty. It also acts as a repository for raw research material that may have been collected for a paper intended for an academic publication but was not used in the final analysis.
By working with a number of university departments, Van Wezenbeek’s team has been able to offer a greater depth and breadth of services to its researchers.