LIBER – a network of European research libraries


Before writing about the 45th LIBER annual conference, held this year in Helsinki 29 June-1 July, it is worth saying something about LIBER itself, why it matters for UK research libraries, and its strategy, which fits closely with our work across a whole range of interests, both on research and teaching support.

LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche) was founded in 1971 “to give European research libraries, national and university a distinctive and compelling voice in the international library community”.  Cambridge University Library has a long history of membership.

Its current strategy has three strands:

Helsinki University Library

Enabling Open Science is being progressed through participating in or leading EU projects relating to research data infrastructure and access, text and data mining, training for the research community, and  scholarly communication.  LIBER lobbies the European Commission on issues of importance to researchers and research libraries, particularly copyright reform, e.g. on text and data mining and the digitisation of orphan works.

The Changing Scholarship strand includes developing access to digital collections and leadership and workforce development, while the last strand is about embedding libraries in innovative research environments.

Initial thoughts on the 2018-22 strategy are developing around the themes of:

  • Libraries as platform for innovative publishing
  • Libraries as a hub for digital skills and services
  • Libraries partnering in research infrastructure

Some interesting assumptions are being made about where research libraries will be by 2022:

  • Open Access is the predominant form of publishing
  • Research data is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.
  • Digital skills underpin a more open and transparent research life cycle.
  • Research infrastructure is participatory, tailored and scaled to the needs of the diverse disciplines.
  • Cultural heritage of tomorrow is distilled from today’s digital information.

All of these have significant implications for us, with work already in progress in each area in Cambridge.


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