Reimagining Librarianship

Reimagining Librarianship

SIF55 Reimagining Librarianship

Project Manager: John Unsworth, Library

The purpose of this project was to support the formation of the preliminary strategic plan as part of a 3-year pilot to develop an updated library system to support research and scholarship at UVA.

BoV Approved: September 2016

Project Dates: 10/20/2016 – 10/19/2017

Total Funding: $250,000

Executive Summary

At the time this proposal was submitted, the University of Virginia Library was uniquely positioned to accelerate research productivity and innovative teaching by bringing the skills of library and information science professionals to bear directly on the research and instructional work of faculty and graduate students. To that end, and guided by the Cornerstone Plan's emphasis on research and instruction, the Library proposed to reimagine its support for research and scholarship. The project team originally proposed a pilot project employing a cadre of postdoctoral specialists and current graduate students with diverse digital skills and expertise. They were to be trained, supported, and deployed to serve as front-line resources in addressing a range of challenges facing researchers at all levels, such as:

  • Technical and methodological problems that emerge in the course of externally funded research projects;
  • The increasing complexity of research infrastructure, from cloud technologies, virtual machine platforms, dizzying arrays of options for storage and computing resources, and proliferating tools for analysis, among which the best choices may change over the lifespan of a research project;
  • New and rapidly evolving expectations and requirements from funding agencies, especially for the preservation and dissemination of original data and results;
  • The universal need among students, scholars, and citizens for information literacy and digital fluency; and
  • The erosion, because of these challenges, of the time available to principal investigators to focus on their actual research questions.

The Library would design its new, flexible academic support team to include close collaboration with such entities as the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH}, the Sciences, Humanities and Arts Network of Technological Initiatives (SHANTI), the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE}, the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, and many other central and school-based services and centers. The activities proposed could also contribute to many of the projects proposed for SIF 2016 funding by other units, including the Curry School proposal to hire research-funded faculty (SIF39) and the IT proposal (SIF40) to improve the research computing infrastructure of the University, and work to expand into new research (and programmatic) areas such as data science.

Current Status: Completed


The funds were spent as planned, on consultants to help develop the strategic plan. Updates to this page are in progress on the plans that were developed.