Friday, 11 July 2008

Mind the skills gap : Information-handling for Researchers : the RIN report

This report by Research Information Network looks at how researchers in HE acquire the appropriate skills to discover and handle information resources and services, the training opportunities offered for them and the take-up. Unsurprisingly they uncovered patchy, uncoordinated provision with insufficient evidence of potential audience size or take-up. Library involvement was significant but often uncoordinated with other University training. There was a mismatch between the terms and content librarians and researchers thought appropriate. Librarians were often unclear of the paramenters of their role, and there were few examples of strategic application to researchers' training at institutional or faculty level. Attempts to bring researchers up to date with Web 2.0 services had met with "at best mixed success." More worrying, library input tended to focus on information seeking, citation of sources and library services, with much less emphasis on evaluation, organising, managing, transforming or communicating information , or copyright and open access. The latter are key areas in 2008 - the Web 2.0 world : librarians have a duty and opportunity here.
RIN will be consulting with Research Council UK , Vitae, RLUK , SCONUL and other relevant bodies. I hope that librarians will make a forceful contribution by widening their commitment, and increasing the scope of their contribution to ensure researchers have the information skills appropriate in the 21st century.

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