Transforming Research Support Services

So yesterday Jennifer Rutner (Senior Analyst, Ithaka S+R) and Roger Schonfeld (Director of Research, Ithaka S+R) were here on campus to give the talk, Transforming Research Support Services: Understanding Faculty Research Practices in History and Chemistry, based on their work in Ithaka S+R’s “Research Support Services for Scholars” program, whose goal is to “engage scholars and research support professionals in building a deeper understanding of the needs of researchers, the research support landscape, current and evolving research practices, and the challenges both communities face in conducting and facilitating innovative research.”

They shared some of their preliminary findings, which you can see at the The RSS4S Project Blog. This is great work they’re doing, but I think it’s important to remember that we librarians need to talk directly with our primary clientele (i.e., our faculty, our students) ourselves, too. Genuine, in-depth, ongoing interest and involvement in the work our faculty and students are doing in our local institutions simply needs to be part of any library’s liaison / outreach / engagement / user experience (call it what you will) program — how can we support our researchers optimally if we don’t really know what they’re doing?

So more power to Ithaka S+R! and I’m hoping to see this approach trickle down into every library imaginable. I should probably say, every academic library imaginable, because it’s my experience that public libraries talk directly with their clientele constantly, and that we academic librarians can learn a lot from the methods public librarians use to connect with their users.

More as it happens,


Cheryl LaGuardia About Cheryl LaGuardia

Cheryl LaGuardia always wanted to be a librarian, and has been one for more years than she's going to admit. She cracked open her first CPU to install a CD-ROM card in the mid-1980's, pioneered e-resource reviewing for Library Journal in the early 90's (picture calico bonnets and prairie schooners on the web...), won the Louis Shores / Oryx Press Award for Professional Reviewing, and has been working for truth, justice, and better electronic library resources ever since. Reach her at, where she's a Research Librarian at Harvard University.