Research Student: Lydia Lantzsch

Research Topic

University Libraries between Traditional Understanding and Technological Progress: The Future of Academic Libraries


Lydia Lantzsch’s research project investigates how academic libraries are dealing with the technological changes of the 21st century.

Although various case studies of how specific libraries are dealing with these developments as well as studies on selected technological aspects have been conducted, no comprehensive scholarly research investigates the relation between academic libraries and their respective institutions of higher research in this context. Drawing and expanding on what Nicolas Barker calls “distinctive signifiers of excellence”, this project looks at the way academic libraries are addressing the changing academic demands. Two questions will be the main focus of the investigation: Firstly, how are university libraries renegotiating their traditional role; and, secondly, how are they are providing the most innovative and useful services in this changing environment.

To answer these questions, a representative survey of selected German and English university libraries will be conducted. The way in which academic libraries are renegotiating their role will be explored through an investigation of changes in their mission statements. The second research question will be explored through a questionnaire. The libraries’ relationships with their institutions of higher education will be examined. Of interest will be how the libraries are distinguishing themselves, for example what role special collections play, and whether and how they are taking another turn towards service and customer-orientation in response to changing academic demands. The results will be summarised and the most useful and innovative services and strategies which might indicate sustainable ways of handling new technology will be highlighted.

In times when information is only a click away and everything seems accessible via the web, when academic libraries are facing cuts and reductions, when libraries are becoming invisible through their integration in portals, and the importance of libraries as institutions therefore seems to be decreasing, this research is topical. The wider implications of this project will be, firstly, to see what ways individual academic libraries have found to successfully deal with the changes; and, secondly, whether common strategies or trends can be derived that could benefit all.

Research Interests

Provision of services in the academic library of the 21st Century; changing roles and missions of academic libraries; interaction between institutions of higher education and their respective libraries in the changing learning and research environment; developments in the library profession; history of reading; new technology; business strategies

Academic and Other Activities

M.A. Media and Communication Studies and English Studies, University of Leipzig, Germany

Teaching Certificate, University of Leipzig, Germany


2010: ‘Introduction to Diachronic Linguistics: The History of the English Language’, Tutorial, University of Leipzig, Germany


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Supervisor: Dr Jane Potter, Steve Ball,

Posted on 18 May 2011

Filed Under Publishing