Written by Lucy Campbell, Librarian, NewSchool of Architecture and Design
Barbara Opar and Barret Havens, column editors

What if architecture faculty could research five times faster? What if all their information needs were right at their fingertips, readily available from their academic libraries? That may seem like an unattainable dream for most architecture librarians, but if librarians and faculty communicate more openly about the research needs of faculty, and how best to meet them, we could get closer to realizing it.

To that end, I am surveying architecture faculty across the United States about their information seeking habits in order to help librarians be even more efficient and helpful than they already are now. Student needs are surveyed, scrutinized and analyzed repeatedly in our field. Studies abound that tell us how they search, where they search, and what they search. However faculty can have very different interests. Librarians can analyze library usage statistics and engage in one-on-one research consultations with faculty, but if they don’t ask faculty about their research habits as a group, they are missing a key part of the story.

Architectural research is a peculiar multi-headed beast. As a profession, and field of study encompassing the arts, sciences, social sciences and humanities, architecture is all of these and yet none of them. Design encompasses an indefinable combination of disciplines which makes it both fascinating and frustrating. Because of this unique cross-disciplinary nature, I am especially interested in how information needs differ when applied to pedagogy, trends in the field, and personal inspiration.

This survey won’t provide all the answers, but I hope it will shed some light on the particular and unique aspects of how faculty engage with research on a daily basis. So I am asking architecture faculty to take the survey, and for AASL members to share my short survey with their faculty so we can gain some valuable insight. It will remain open through October 31st and results will be shared with all.

Librarians who send out the survey: please email me to let me know a rough number of recipients so I can keep tabs on response rates. Thanks in advance for your support.

Survey: Information Seeking Habits of Architecture Faculty

Author email: lcampbell@newschoolarch.edu