Exploring library support for researcher needs in an academic context

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The international reputation of a university is heavily based on the quality and influence of its research and hence the competence of its researchers. To provide support and enable the research community, an university library needs to have a good understanding of their current needs, and insight into areas for future support. To gain this information, a survey of Massey University researchers was undertaken by the Library in 2014. The survey instrument was based on the Research Libraries UK (RLUK) Re-skilling for Research report and used a ranking scale response to statements of current and potential areas of support through the stages of the research life cycle. The data was further analysed according to respondents’ faculties and their career stages to highlight specific areas that needed to be addressed. Traditional academic library services, such as strategies for keeping up with published research and managing literature search results, rated highly desirable across all faculties and career stages. Researchers rated assistance to maximize the visibility of their own research and help in understanding the potential of emerging information technologies, in order to achieve the former, as highly desirable. Support with data management, curation and preservation, however, did not feature highly. The survey responses provide us with data to inform our Library strategic planning in terms of research support, but will also enable us to design appropriate professional development for librarians in order to better support the research community.