– by Wilma van Wezenbeek –
We have published our new strategic plan, in which we explain our mission and vision. The plan is a course that we have set out together with our employees and in accordance with the needs of our users. We believe that knowledge should flow freely, and we are aware that the sources of knowledge must be recognised and that sustainable accessibility is essential.
Once, not so long ago, our motto was ‘more than books’. That was designed to convey the message that we handle all kinds of information: images, videos, datasets, maps, databases, and almost anything in digital format. That is still true, but there’s even more to it than that. We are also responsible for the management archives and we want to digitalise those too, and since the New Media Centre became part of the Library, the online teaching material that is produced here also needs to be managed and made accessible.
So in fact, our building, which has traditionally been known as ‘the library’, really has become about “more than reading and learning”. Even during the process that saw the library transformed into the Library Learning Centre, a few years ago, we added an element of working together, meeting and inspiring. The kind of inspiration that books alone can hardly provide any more. This means that Studium Generale also belongs naturally within the Library. We provide a neutral setting for discussion and debate and do not seek to advance any particular position ourselves. Except, perhaps, that knowledge should flow freely.
And I will elaborate on this last point in a little more detail. Open access has long been a high priority for us. The importance of the availability of research results was underlined by the moral appeal that our Minister of Education addressed to us all. Within the UKB, the consortium of university libraries and the National Library of the Netherlands, we have been working hard on developing scenarios for the transition to open access, as part of the forthcoming licensing negotiations. The scenarios are meant to outline how, together with all the stakeholders involved, we can move from toll access to open access. Over the last few months in Delft, at each of the rector’s Faculty meetings, we have had some constructive discussions about open access to publications and data. Our other core activities – Research Support & Research Data Services – have also come to the fore in these discussions.
We support researchers and research groups by creating a safe environment in which to share research data, help with the preparation of data management plans, and ensure that the data and publications can be shared properly. We know the ins and outs of dealing with publishers and we can give advice to researchers when it comes to obtaining an ISBN, starting a journal, and providing DOIs for data so that this can be shared and accessed. We see ourselves in a lead role when it comes to supporting researchers and this is certainly a focus area for us.
Recently, the Code of Ethics has been the subject of some discussion within the University. Our Education Support group is contributing to this discussion. We provide an information literacy course for all students at different points in the degree programmes. We teach all students, whether Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD students, how to search for and process information in a much richer way, how they should handle their sources and how they can share and publish their work. And of course, we do all these things in conjunction with other University departments such as ICT, E&SA, Communication and Valorisation.
I also take part in a number of partnerships, both nationally or internationally. My own areas of involvement are now mainly in innovation in the Library, research data, open access publishing and the Library Environment, i.e., the library as a place. TU Delft Library is seen as a role model, especially in the Netherlands. Many places now have a Library Learning Centre and are seeking to provide broad-based research support. It is certainly our ambition to retain this pioneering role.
Finally, I will briefly consider social innovation and the new way of working. Often, when organisational changes occur, there is much focus on structure and strategy, but the way in which we do things is just as important. In recent years we have been working hard on the following aspects of the new way of working: freedom, trust, responsibility and connectedness. We have given our staff members the option of ‘mobile’ working so that they can meet each other more often and reflect on the best way to achieve this. The “Living campus” concept, once a mind map sketched out on the kitchen table, has come to life and FMRE has been named as part of the campus vision. Our role in that is to optimise user involvement in the process itself, to give “content” to popular spots and really make the campus come alive. Together with Sports & Culture, the Science Centre and the Aula, among others, we will help organise activities to bring this campus to life.
After an academic year during which our attention was on the loss of our national activities and the cuts we were faced with, we are now able to look forward again. Everything that we have discussed above shows that we are active in many areas within the university. We have decided to bundle our products and services into four domains. The domain of ‘Discovery & Delivery’ relates to the search for relevant resources. The essence of ‘Data @ Work’ is making it simple to make valuable data accessible. The domain of ‘Publication and Impact’ focuses on academic visibility, such as facilitating the creation and publication of scientific output. And finally, from our ‘Library Environment’, we aim to provide a place of inspiration and creation. We can look forward to a beautiful summer!