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Highlights from the 12th Fiesole Collection Development Retreat

The 12th Fiesole Collection Development Retreat was held April 8-10, 2010 at the Central Library of K.U. Leuven in Leuven, Belgium.  K.U.Leuven is the oldest university in Belgium, founded in 1425; its Central Library has a dramatic history — destroyed in WWI, it was rebuilt in part with support from libraries across the U.S. and then was burned again during WWII.  A fitting setting for our international gathering which brought together participants from the U.S., from across the UK and Europe, and even several from Australasia and the  Middle East to consider the theme “Reinventing Collections:  Challenging Our Assumptions.”

With thanks to Derek Law, Closing Speaker for the Retreat, following are just a few quotes which give a flavor of the highlights of the meeting’s excellent papers and presentations:

“Elsevier is an aberration.”  Opening Keynoter Arnoud de Kemp, reminding the audience that most of the world’s 100,000 journal publishers are not commercial and publish only two titles.  “There is no diploma for being a publisher.”

“How to preserve the digital heritage is one of our biggest challenges.  There is little harmony or synchronization.” de Kemp, referring to the new OCLC/NSA Blue Ribbon Task Force Report issued in March 2010.

“Working together is key.”  Elizabeth Chapman, London School of Economics and Political Science.

“We do not expect to get back to where we were anytime soon.”  Charles Lowry, ARL, reporting on a survey of his members and noting “back to where we were” means returning to 2007 funding levels.  Lowry also noted that “The current economic crisis is speeding up changes that would have occurred anyway.”

“Scholars are not clear about the rewards of the new Open Access models and other approaches.  Most researchers are not blogging.  Researchers will publish works in progress within a private network, but not on the open Web.”  Michael Jubb, Research Information Network (RIN).

“If we have moved to the digital environment but have not added value, then we have only added costs to publishing.”  David Worlock, Outsell Leadership Programs.

“Discoverability is key.  Adding Springer records to the library catalog increased usage dramatically.  Users did not find the information when it was solely in SpringerLink,” Jim Mouw, University of Chicago.

“We know huge amounts about what users do and how they behave, but we lack any serious attempt to synthesize this data.”  Derek Law, University of Strathclyde.

“With the impact factor, we are using data that is 7 years old.  We need reading maps versus citation maps.”  Johan Bollen, MESUR Project, University of Indiana.

“If your users don’t want it, don’t make it.”  Claire Warwick, UCL, referring to surveys of Humanities Scholars and their requirements in the digital age.

“The learning center is an evolution of the library designed around the needs of the students and not the needs of the collection,” Mel Collier, K.U.Leuven.

“Information should be discoverable by a navigation system like GPS.  This should be the model for information access in the future.”  deKemp.

For the complete Program and List of Speakers, as well as all papers and powerpoints from the 12th Fiesole Retreat, logon to the Fiesole Retreat Repository, http://digital.casalini.it/retreat/.

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