If Madonna’s hit ‘Material Girl’ was rewritten to reflect the trends of 2015, she would probably come up with lyrics about being a digital girl living in a digital world. We are, of course, much more tied to the internet and web-enabled devices than we were thirty years ago.
For academic librarians, it’s important to understand how trends like these affect the campus community. Years ago, it was all about books, but today, it’s a different story. With the ease at which students can access the internet they are shying away from physical books and moving quickly towards research collections stored online. And who can blame them: they’re digital students living in a digital world. So how do you keep your digital collections up to par? Here are a few ideas:
Blend together digital and physical research
Nothing is more demoralizing to a student than finding that perfect resource, but then realizing it’s been checked out. Help students avoid this frustrating fiasco by building up your library’s reservoir of digital resources with collections you already have. By selecting the most popular or widely used collections and making them available online, more students will be able to access these collections than ever before. If they know relevant, easy to access research is readily available, students will be more inclined to use resources provided by your academic library.
Incorporate subject-specific research collections
Once you have the physical collections digitized, start incorporating subject-specific research collections to your library of digital resources. Does your institution have a large engineering program? Or is it more well-known for attracting students who are focused on journalism? Digital research collections that hone in on these specific subject areas can provide deeper insight into the fields that students study most.
You’ve built up your subject-specific collections and digitized your physical research library, now what? Get your answer straight from the source! Provide brief surveys for students to fill out via email or while visiting the library. Their answers can help your library understand what kinds of digital software and tools students are looking for could keep your library on the cusp of academic digital trends.
How is your library prioritizing digital collections?
Think your library is on the cutting-edge? Time to find out! Take Mango Language’s Quiz to see if you are up to snuff on academic innovation.