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ARL, CNI, EDUCAUSE Release Final Report on Research Libraries’ Use of Emerging Technologies

emerging technology graphic
image © iStock.com/NicoElNino

Today the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), and EDUCAUSE released Crest or Trough? How Research Libraries Used Emerging Technologies to Survive the Pandemic, So Far by Scout Calvert, an ARL visiting program officer and data librarian at Michigan State University.

This is the final deliverable of the ARL, CNI, and EDUCAUSE joint initiative to advance research libraries’ impact in a world shaped by emerging technologies. This report returns to 11 participants in interviews conducted for the initiative, to find out how their perspectives have changed in the year and a half since the initiative began, given the disruption to research and learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In these new conversations, the interviewees retain optimism for the same transformative technologies discussed in earlier interviews, but they observe that the intense activity of the pandemic months has been largely related to adoption and refinement of existing technologies rather than innovating truly novel technological solutions to research and learning challenges.

The report is organized in three parts: first, reflections by the interviewees on how their libraries and universities have fared in the pandemic so far, and to what factors they attribute their successes. Six socio-technological thematic areas emerged from the conversations about changed expectations for the futures of technologies—these form the second section of the report. Finally, the report shares some factors to consider in technological adoption going forward.

Download Crest or Trough? How Research Libraries Used Emerging Technologies to Survive the Pandemic, So Far.

Other reports in this series include Emerging Technologies for Research and Learning: Interviews with Experts, Future Themes and Forecasts for Research Libraries and Emerging Technologies, and Mapping the Current Landscape of Research Library Engagement with Emerging Technologies in Research and Learning.


About the Association of Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in Canada and the US whose mission is to advance research, learning, and scholarly communication. The Association fosters the open exchange of ideas and expertise; advances diversity, equity, and inclusion; and pursues advocacy and public policy efforts that reflect the values of the library, scholarly, and higher education communities. ARL forges partnerships and catalyzes the collective efforts of research libraries to enable knowledge creation and to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.

About the Coalition for Networked Information

The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) is a joint initiative of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and EDUCAUSE that promotes the use of information technology to advance scholarship and education. Over 200 organizations representing higher education, publishing, information technology, scholarly and professional organizations, foundations, and libraries and library organizations, make up CNI’s members. Learn more at www.cni.org.


EDUCAUSE is a community of IT leaders and professionals working together to tackle challenges and leverage opportunities that are constantly evolving within higher education. EDUCAUSE welcomes diversity, in viewpoints and experience, and believes in the transformative power of uncommon thinking for the common good. Visit www.educause.edu.

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