Event

Understanding Work Practices to Improve Information Services in Health Sciences Libraries
Nancy Fried Foster at the UNYOC/MLA Annual Conference

Nancy Fried Foster is delivering a keynote address on "Understanding Work Practices to Improve Information Services in Health Sciences Libraries" at the Upstate New York and Ontario Chapter of the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting in Watkins Glen, New York, on Thursday, October 27. From the conference website: Libraries enjoyed a long period of stability, when a new library could look and work just like an older library, but over the past…


Blog

Farmers and Musicians

A few years ago, I had an interesting conversation with a farmer about a study I was then conducting on academic research practices. “That’s interesting about academics,” she said, “but what about how farmers do research?” This was a very special farmer, an authority on community-supported agriculture and a noted speaker and author: Elizabeth Henderson (check out her book: Sharing the Harvest). We talked some more and, with great enthusiasm,…

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Blog

Tools for Designing Learning Spaces

The UK Higher Education Learning Space Toolkit, produced through the collaboration of SCHOMS, AUDE and UCISA,[1] provides a robust set of tools for designing learning spaces for the 21st century and a conceptual framework for approaching design differently as well as designing different kinds of spaces. The toolkit is organized around a seven-step design process, the first step of which is mainly conceptual and the remainder technical and procedural. It…

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Blog

Redesigning Organizations and Spaces

In the summer of 2014, Yale University integrated eight separate units into a unified Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) that advises teachers, tutors students, leverages technology for teaching and learning, and fosters global teaching and learning partnerships. First an idea, then a plan on paper, and finally a new unit by administrative action, the new CTL became more of a reality when five of the eight constituent units moved…

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Blog

That Library Sound

Library Background Noise for Relaxation has over 150,000 views on YouTube. The hour-long audio is, as described by its creator, “just a long audio clip of some background white noise from my recent trip to the library…lots of page flipping, typing, sighing and people doing things near by.”  A similar offering on YouTube, Relaxing Sounds – 60 minutes of Library Ambiance, has over 120,000 views. Coffitivity, an online service that…

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Publication

Exploring Group Study at the University of Nevada, Reno

Libraries continually struggle with how to make the best use of their space, and collaborative study spaces have been added to support the perceived requirements for group projects. The University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) wanted to know what kind of spaces students actually need to do their work, and brought in Ithaka S+R’s senior anthropologist, Nancy Fried Foster, to help …


Blog

Using Evidence in the Design of Academic Library Spaces

For decades and even centuries, a new academic library could be built just like any other—on the same architectural plans and with the same scholarly accommodations in mind. But today this is no longer possible. Recent years have brought dramatic changes to academic work practices such as reading, writing, and communication. The means, speed, and extent of scholarly collaboration have also undergone tremendous development. The traditional library model that has…

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Blog

Designing a New Academic Library from Scratch

In our latest issue brief, Ithaka S+R Senior Anthropologist Nancy Fried Foster asks what it would be like to design academic libraries based not on precedent, but rather on everything we can learn right now about the work practices of the people who already use them.  Foster demonstrates how through participatory design we can build  a new type of library that considers both the practical needs of the community and…

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