Academic library collaborations with faculty can come in many forms and, in the digital age, may take place completely online via information technologies. Due to the expertise librarians bring to research, collaborations with faculty are increasingly important and may be started formally or informally. Collaboration can take place in different ways (seeembedded librarianship) depending on the nature of the partnership and goals of the project. Librarian and faculty collaboration requires finding common, cooperative goals for both faculty member and academic librarian. The partnership by its nature is broad and flexible because collaboration can vary and may depend on whether the partnership has been struck for teaching purposes or research. Some academic librarians view collaboration as an extension of their outreach and liaison activities, or as a form of research consultation and reference service.
Faculty and students who choose to work closely with academic librarians do so for a number of reasons. Many believe that this kind of collaboration increases productivity, maintains motivation and stimulates creative thought for both parties. Librarian-faculty collaborations can also be part of an overall strategy in producing better research and better prepared graduate and post-graduate students. Sometimes complex problems accompany the librarian-faculty collaboration such as difficulty concerning evaluation (if there are any search assignments, for example) and assigning any credit for work that has been produced. Because of the increasing popularity of collaboration in promoting media and information literacy, academic librarians are encouraged to maintain annual goals in forging research-based relationships with faculty.
How can academic librarians improve research activities?
Academic librarians help to teach and inform faculty as well as undergraduate and graduate students about:
the role of the academic library and academic librarians at the university
efficient retrieval of information and use of databases, e-resources & journal literature
needed advanced research skills to find and evaluate information, including grey literature
differences between web searching and controlled searching in the scholarly literature
collaborations and optimal learning opportunities; students learn what strategies and quality resources are central to disciplines
web-based, course-specific, subject research guides which are meant to be a complement to in-class instructional resources
new media, including web 2.0 and library 2.0 and what these tools mean in the scholarly enterprise
Collaborating with an academic librarian in highlighting scholarly expectations and issues ensures that students have the information they need to make good choices in their scholarly work.
Google Docs as collaborative writing space
Check out this short two (2) minute YouTube video, and let me know what you think. Is this not a terrific way of writing a paper with your colleague(s)?
Until recently, using Google Docs as a collaborative, co-authoring space presented some problems. There was an obvious lack of fidelity between it and Microsoft Word (in fact, all Word applications). Since Google has known about this problem for some time (and recognizes the power of the “cloud” for collaboration), it has worked on making some changes to the application. The most interesting change is being able to see what your partner is actually typing now, in real time as the document is being updated. (In April 2010, I tested it with a colleague, and it works).