Tuesday, 9th June 2020
Our recent survey on the challenges, pressures and opportunities for information centres explored with participants the pressures relating to the visibility and value of their services, how they are juggling budgets and managing the licensing arena, particularly in the context of open access, and still keeping up with other changes in technology. Our report "Jinfo survey - challenges facing information teams" summarises the detailed feedback and the analysis of the responses.
Responses identified continuing challenges for corporate information centres in effective communication to enable executives and managers to understand the value of information skills and resources; participants felt this was more of an issue than helping users to understand this value, perhaps because communication with the latter audience is easier to achieve; communication with more senior stakeholders within organisations is often limited by accessibility and time constraints, whilst a lack of two-way engagement means that quality feedback on services is harder to elicit.
On another level, organisational changes often impact the information centre with:
New reporting structures which disrupt their reporting lines and communication routes
Global organisations may have to work across different time zones and with parts of the organisation with different working practices
In many industry sectors, consolidation and mergers disrupt communication routes and prevent easy access to larger or new audiences within the user and stakeholder communities.
Our analysis also applied some scrutiny to the assessments information centres apply to evaluating products to be purchased as new resources, as well as how existing resources are confirmed for retention.
Respondents see an opportunity for vendors to support the process of evaluation by improving their transparency on the real costs of access and content; by providing case studies which demonstrate proven ROI and time and cost savings; and by providing assistance in gathering valuable user feedback and usage statistics.
When looking at the open access arena, corporate information centres may be behind the curve compared to academic libraries, in integrating open access resources into their portfolios. The survey feedback suggests this has something to do with concerns about the quality and reliability of open access materials, but many see the positive impact of open access in enabling their budget to be stretched further. People also recognise that the open access route for authors to publish their research is developing in importance, and therefore see a role for information centres to ensure a good understanding of open access publishing options, as well as the risks posed by predatory journals in this arena.
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