The University of Melbourne defines 'scholarly information' as having four dimensions.
- Published information and collections used by our scholars to inform their learning, teaching and research. Published information and collections may be in many formats and may or may not be provided through the University. Of particular interest from a planning perspective are the information and collections the University (normally through the library but not always) negotiates access to or collects. These include books, refereed journals, maps, monographs, images, DVDs and videos, audio recordings and other physical materials. Increasingly information is produced in digital format and we are seeing a growing tension between free access and market-driven models of publishing. The term ‘scholarly information’ also refers to other primary sources typically collected by a library, museum or archive: for example letters, financial documents, mementoes and other contents of personal and business archives; or museum collections of instruments, samples or other objects.
- Materials created for learning and teaching purposes. These could include, for example, course notes, presentation slides, customised ‘packs’ of selected readings for a particular subject, audio and video versions of lectures, and a range of digital objects that can be stored in a learning management system and reused in different ways and at different times.
- Information created in the course of research activities. Examples of such information are numerical data collected from scientific instrumentation and laboratory work; information collected from surveys, interviews and other social studies; records of meetings and conversations between collaboration partners; models, plans or images created in the course of design, architectural or ethnographic research.
- Research outputs such as papers, chapters, monographs, articles, letters, presentations, posters, demonstrations and speeches, processed research data, visualisations of large datasets, models, web sites and multimedia objects. Information produced for the purposes of community engagement can be considered a subset of this category.
We cannot separate a discussion of our plans for scholarly information from a discussion of the underlying information technologies, given the inter-connectedness between the information and the form in which it is used.
Scholarly information technologies include the tools, systems, infrastructure and processes by which we create, identify, manipulate, classify, index, store, preserve, search, retrieve, deliver and use scholarly information.
New technologies are evolving rapidly — not only in the online world but in the built environment, requiring reconceptualisation of learning and teaching spaces, libraries and social spaces.
With new technologies and ideas come new expectations for physical spaces, for how we design, inhabit and reconfigure them to fit a variety of purposes.