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Libraries – Continuing to Create Solutions to Meet the Needs of Our Community

March 3, 2021

It has been a year since the UW-Madison campus pivoted to remote learning and work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the pandemic is still ongoing and continues to adversely impact research and scholarly activities in many ways, The UW-Madison Libraries, like many other areas on campus, have invested time in reinventing ourselves in ways that we are able to continue delivering robust support to our academic community. 

We’ve developed solutions to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on our community’s academic endeavors, including changes to our study spaces, introducing ‘curbside’ services like Pickup by Appointment, expanding virtual support and consultations, to name a few. Furthermore, through our partnership with HathiTrust, more of our collections were available digitally than ever before through emergency access for several months, and through carefully thought out access to our physical collections. In all of this, we are leveraging the feedback we are receiving from our academic community, including conversations with faculty and other researchers, the graduate student survey conducted by the Graduate School, as well as information garnered through a myriad of our liaison interactions across campus. We’ve used this over the past year to reenvision, develop, and deliver modified services. Your feedback has been invaluable in enabling us to address specific requests made, and continually adjust and enhance our services as circumstances have evolved.

Our outlook for summer and fall 2021 will focus on using what we have learned during the past year to continue delivering support in the physical and virtual environments, to meet the changing needs of researchers in the emerging hybrid research environment. Our summer services schedule, as guided by campus, will reflect the gradual return to normalcy, while also retaining the innovative service delivery options that were birthed during the height of the pandemic. We look forward to a vibrant fall that includes interactions with our users in virtual and physical environments as we continue to develop new ways to support their research and scholarship. We will provide ongoing communication about services and operational changes. We will also continue to create tools and resources that enhance the research experience of our academic community. For example, featured this month is a new tool for researchers – the Data Storage Finder. This tool, based on Cornell University’s module, was built in partnership between DoIT and Research Data Services (RDS). It is aimed at helping researchers navigate the centralized campus research data storage options available to them. It allows users to answer questions about their data storage use case, compares services, and then email the results to themselves or RDS for further assistance. 

The Libraries are expanding services that can help tell the story of your research and its impact.  Librarians provide customized support to individuals and groups of any size – from research teams to departments to centers – to examine research impact, develop profiles to showcase research and build greater visibility.  These new services will be available mid-March and will be added to our current services   Please note that ongoing tailored research support is accessible via our research support website.

Libraries continue to seek and utilize your feedback. Your input helps us create a service profile that benefits our entire campus community – to which we are wholeheartedly committed. If you have feedback you’d like to share with us, please reach out through Ask a Librarian.