From Information to Meta Knowledge: Embracing the Digitally and Computable Open Knowledge Future (abstract)
Dr. Xiaolin Zhang, Director, National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Science
In China average distance of a user to a library is 1000km. Main body of students is graduate students. No broad variety of courses – taught what advisors know.
Chinese Academy of Sciences now taking lead in research and innovation, education etc – dividing institutes into four categories: centres for Excellence; for Innovation; for Big Science Facility; for Special [regional] Needs.
National Science Library coordinates institutional libraries. From beginning of digital library development taking an “e-first” approach to push resources to where researchers are. Federated searching, integrated browsing, ChinaCat, ILL, real-time digital reference. Most print subscriptions cancelled. Can’t subscribe to everything for everyone so organising consortia.
Subject librarians embedded in research institutes. Information analysts. Embedded info systems.
Print-based communication is a mistake borne out of historical practicality. Knowledge is inherently multi-media. Only e-journals are real journals; only smart books are real books. Transition from subscription journals to open access journals.
Research more inter-disciplinary, collaborative, open. Means most researchers are ignorant of most of the stuff they’re working on! Great need for research informatics: have to quickly analyse unfamiliar field. Tech trends: the machine is the new reader.
What’s the place of the library? Embed in R&D processes: environmental scanning, idea and design testing, data management and analysis, etc. Analyse needs of researchers – not just those in lab (need help with search and retrieval) but also primary investigators (help with discovering, exploring, designing) and deans and directors (help with trend-detecting, road-mapping). Variation between kinds of institutes too. Have to work out who needs what.
So repurposing the library: informational productivity; R&D win by analytics; support open innovation. Huge focus on open accessUser-driven digital information systems – knowledge mapping services and research profiling services based on institutional repositories.
Building teams with domain knowledge – resources for data mining, networks of experts, embedded mechanisms. Hiring scientists more than library school graduates. (Library school recruits from undergrads so these students have no STEM background. Traininable over 5 years but need them to work in field now. Suggesting library school change structure to get needed experience in there.) Developing from a collection library to a creation library to a R&D knowledge service provider.