Barbara Opar and Barret Havens, column editors
Column submitted by Janine Henri, UCLA Architecture, Design, and Digital Services Librarian 

In preparation for a panel at the 2013 AASL conference in San Francisco, architecture school librarians were surveyed about architectural publishing trends and information access challenges. These survey results were used to formulate questions for the discussion session: Archizines, blogs, web portals, oh my! Current architectural publishing trends and information access challenges for the educational market (more details on this panel can be found on the conference program).  Twenty-nine survey responses were submitted between February 22 and March 14, 2013. A compilation of the survey results is available here.

In general, although survey respondents see increasing amount of online content as a trend, they still note some reluctance on the part of publishers to adopt digital formats.  Unfortunately, the majority of survey respondents do not see a trend towards an increasing amount of open source online publications.  Device-specific content and lack of IP authentication or site licenses are identified as access barriers. Lack of content indexing, uncertain format longevity or preservation, and content embargoes are also seen as information access challenges, as are prohibitive cost structures or unacceptable licensing terms.

Seven months have passed since AASL members were surveyed and it is likely that some of the challenging titles identified this spring may no longer be of concern (e.g. 2g is now available through additional ebook platforms). Nevertheless, some access barriers are ongoing, and, no doubt, new ones will emerge. By identifying these challenges and discussing them with publishers or suppliers, and by sharing possible solutions with fellow members, AASL members can work together to advocate for the information needs of architecture students and faculty.