Survey Results: Nine Questions On Technology Innovation In Academic Libraries

In February, we posted an invitation to an informal survey of “Nine Questions on Technology Innovation in Academic Libraries.”

The survey results were presented at the Technology Innovation in Academic Libraries panel session at the ACRL 2007 National Conference on Saturday, March 31st, in Baltimore, Maryland. Nancy Davenport, Eric Schnell, Jim Robertson, and Mary Mallery were the members of the panel, and they prepared these questions.

The following is a brief summary of the informal survey results with links to more complete information:

The survey received 136 responses in total, and 75% said that their library is not the center of technology innovation on campus, while 23% identified the library as the center of technology innovation on campus.

Overall, the majority responded that:

*Recent technology innovations in the library included blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, IM reference, and digitization projects.

*The driving force behind tech. innovation is student needs, followed by an Information Tech. Chief or Dean with vision, and the initiative of individuals.

*The biggest obstacle to tech. innovation in libraries is lack of money, staff, and time, with an unsupportive administration cited as one of the top four obstacles.

*The Library’s approach and the Library staff’s approach to technology innovation were both overwhelmingly described as “cautious but willing,” though the staff were more often described as “resistant and blocking” than the Library itself.

*Faculty and librarians were most cited as the introducers of disruptive technology on campus, followed closely by students.

*The most disruptive technology for academic libraries today is “Web 2.0” or Social Computing technologies with Google/Google Scholar coming up second.

*The Top Ten Models of Technology Innovation cited by the libraries that answered that their libraries are centers of technology innovation were very similar to those cited overall. The Top Ten Models are:

1) North Carolina State University – Endeca Project
2) University of Pennsylvania – PennTags
3) MIT – DSpace
4) University of Michigan – Digital Library Production Service (DLPS)
5) University of Minnesota – Primo library system
6) Cornell University – Digital Library Research Projects
7) University of Virginia – Fedora Open Source Institutional Repository
8) University of California – California Digital Library (CDL)
9) University of California, Santa Barbara – Alexandria Digital Library Geospatial Network
10) Oregon State University – LibraryFind Project

For more information on these Top Ten Models of Tech. Innovation in Academic Libraries, links and abstracts are posted on the ACRL-New Jersey Chapter Website at:

The overall quantitative results of the survey and the text of the nine questions are posted online at:

For the qualitative results, there are separate analyses for the libraries that answered “yes” they are the center of technology innovation and the libraries that answered “no.” The complete summaries of the “Yes” and “No” survey results are posted online, respectively, at: and

Finally, these results as well as the presentations from the ACRL 2007 Conference Technology Innovation Panel Session and related links are posted online at: .

Thank you for your participation and interest in the ACRL 2007 Technology Innovation Panel Informal Survey. Please feel free to contact Mary Mallery with any questions.
* Mary Mallery, Ph.D.
* Chair, ACRL-NJ Chapter Technology Committee
* Assoc. Dean for Technical Services
* Harry A. Sprague Library
* Montclair State University
* Upper Montclair, NJ 07043
* Phone: 973-655-7150
* Fax: 973-655-7780
* E-mail:

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