The Global Dimensions of Scholarship and Research Libraries: A Forum on the Future brought together faculty, administrators, librarians, and representatives from scholarly societies, associations, and funding agencies for two days in December 2012 to consider the future of research libraries and their role in advancing international scholarship and the globalization of the universities of which they are a part. The Forum, supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and co-hosted by the Duke University Libraries and the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), covered broad ground. Participants considered shifts in the directions of research; the new global information pipeline; the tension surrounding traditional “area studies” programs and the transition to “global” thematic programs; the expansion and diversification of information formats and sources; and the challenges to libraries of new roles, demands, and means of access and discovery. The Forum synthesized trends in scholarly attention and in how universities are organizing to address overarching issues of relevance to more than one region, and the ways that research libraries are — or should be — responding to these changes.
This preliminary report shares a vision of the new, broad-gauged information infrastructure and services that will energize scholarship on issues of local and international concern, now and into the future. Its recommendations are offered as a point of departure for discussions among Forum participants and other stakeholders, whose responses will inform a more comprehensive final blueprint that proposes specific strategies to address the challenges of locating and using global information. Consensus around a few overarching principles will thus lead to a concrete action agenda.