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Association of Research Libraries (ARL®)

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ARL Strategic Plan 2010–2012

Strategic Direction: Transforming Research Libraries: Outcomes & Strategies

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Transforming Research Libraries

ARL will articulate, promote, and facilitate new and expanding roles for ARL libraries that support, enable, and enrich the transformations affecting research and research-intensive education.


As ARL moves forward in this strategic direction, some expected outcomes in the next three years include:

Outcome A: ARL and its members will have a clear and dynamically evolving vision of new roles and key transformations that must occur to ensure that library expertise and assets are aligned with and advance the research process. The value of these new roles and services will be increasingly understood by the research and university community.

Outcome B: ARL members will be engaged in a variety of innovative collaborations and partnerships at their institutions and among the membership that enhance the capacity of the research library to contribute to advancing research, scholarship, and graduate education.

Outcome C: ARL members will be making significant contributions to e-research and cyber-infrastructure development and will be engaged in a variety of partnerships for data management and sharing of research content with faculty. They will be an integral part of university centers and collaboratives for cyberinfrastructure, including multi-institutional programs.

Outcome D: Faculty and researchers at ARL institutions will have more and better access to material in any form that extends their capacity for research. Individually and collectively, ARL members will have increased their capacity to manage, preserve, and make accessible unique content in all formats for which they assume primary responsibility, including institutional memory documents and materials harvested from the web. Members will have a balanced relationship between physical and digital collections appropriate to changing methods of research and scholarship, and an effective base of practice for managing and preserving print and digital collections.

Outcome E: ARL libraries will have a diverse and growing body of professionals prepared to develop new roles and work in new modes.

Outcome F: ARL will have close ties to and highly visible collaborative undertakings with organizations that focus on advancing the processes of research and the scholarly research enterprise.


Strategies that ARL may pursue in moving forward include:

Strategy 1: Initiate visioning and scanning activities focused on emerging roles for research libraries in the processes of research, scholarship, and graduate education. Encourage and facilitate member engagement in adopting new roles in advancing research and scholarship.

Strategy 2: Promote efforts to reconceptualize collection development including in areas of special collections (broadly defined), global resources, and other content distinctive to research libraries. Encourage new approaches, including global partnerships, to ensuring and enhancing the value of research collections through preservation, management, and access for existing collections as well as evolving digital content (including digital preservation and data curation).

Strategy 3: Engage in assessment of new library roles, articulate the value propositions for new services, promote and publicize successful collaborations, and encourage and promote conversations about them with scholarly organizations and throughout the research and higher education communities.

Strategy 4: Work with the scholarly community and societies to develop discipline-specific strategies for monitoring and analyzing trends in research practices. Identify opportunities for library/scholar partnerships and clarify the resource and service implications of libraries adopting new roles in advancing research.

Strategy 5: Promote and facilitate the development of a diverse group of library professionals who have the expertise and knowledge to lead and participate in new partnerships with researchers and university faculty.

Strategy 6: Build and strengthen ties with allied organizations (the Coalition for Networked Information and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and other organizations that engage actively in complementary activities relating to e-research, digital preservation, data management, and cyberinfrastructure.