Library and repository groups investigate librarian skills

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Four library and consortium organisations have launched a joint task force to examine the skills that librarians need to support e-research and scholarly communication. The groups involved are the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), and the Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER).

The aim of the task force is to outline the skills needed by today's librarians as they undertake new roles such as research data management plans, hosting collaborative virtual research environments, managing institutional repositories, and disseminating research outputs through open access mechanisms.

The first step, according to the organisations, will be 'to identify the various avenues of service for libraries within the context of e-research, repository management, and scholarly communication'. These services and roles will be mapped to the competencies required by librarians and library professionals and the task force will make note of the organisational models evolving to support new services.

The task force will also produce a toolkit that aims to help build capacity in libraries for supporting new roles in scholarly communication and e-research. The toolkit aims to allow library managers to identify skill gaps in their institution, form the basis of job descriptions, enable professionals to carry out self-assessments, and act as a foundation for the development of training programs for librarians and library professionals.

A preliminary report is expected in spring 2014.