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LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE RESEARCH PROGRAM

In responseto the growing national need for better library and information services, Congress, under Title II-B of the Higher Education Act of 1965, authorized the Office of Education to initiate a research support program concerned with the use of library resources, the development of library and information services, and the training of librarians and other information personnel. To support the program’s first-year research effort, Congress appropriated $3,550,000 for projects which hold the promise of improved services and practices for all types of libraries. The program is administered within the Office of Education by the Bureau of Research’s Division of Research Training and Dissemination.

Under Title II-B of the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Commissioner of Education is authorized to award grants to school districts, colleges, universities, state governments, and other public or private nonprofit agencies, organizations, or groups after proposals have been recommended for approval by Office of Education staff and appropriate nongovernment advisory personnel. Research subjects are as varied as the questions confronting individual librarians and information scientists. Among the critically important topics suggested to the Office of Education in the library and information community are the following:

Education:the techniques, philosophy, and scope of training and education for librarianship.

Use and users:information and reader services; expressed and unexpressed goals for different kinds of users (students, specialists, and the public); variations in user patterns caused by geographic, economic, or other factors.

Organization of library and information services:administration, management, personnel (including manpower utilization, job descripttion, and staffing), finance, and governmental relations.

Role of libraries and information centers in

society:purposes, values, goals; relationships with other educational and cultural institutions; influence of various communication media; public relations; recruiting; the profession of librarianship.

Integration of library services in school and academic instructional programs:curriculum development, school planning, and, in particular, instructional programs at the elementary and secondary levels.

Control of resources:documentation; book and card catalogs; subject analysis; classification; indexing; abstracting; provision of an optimum collection for teaching and research needs; network and system planning and analysis; automation (software).

Technology:preservation of materials; storage and physical access; reprography; automation (hardware).

A range of project types can be supported: State-of-the-art studies: collection and integration or interpretation of existing research (may include stage of development of each of the subjects within an area; should include a ranking by priority of research efforts to be expended in each subject field).

Feasibility studies:identification of the need for and feasibility of research, development, or other research-related activities within a clearly defined subject field (should include cost estimates and manpower requirements as an aid to planning).

Prototype development and hypothesis generation:formulation of an hypothesis or development of a model to aid in the solution of a problem (should include the methodology for testing and the criteria for evaluation).

Testing and evaluation:test of hypotheses or models in a controlled situation and evaluation of the results (should include conclusions and generalizations deduced from the results).

Demonstration and implementation:application of the generalization to a noncontrolled situation to verify and, if necessary, to modify the formulation developed (should serve as a means for making necessary adjustments to fit a realistic setting).

Two types of projects may be supported under the Library and Information Science Research Program—small projects under $10,000 and larger projects over $10,000.

Small project support is designed to facilitate exploratory research, hypothesis generation and theory building, analysis of existing data, or pilot studies which may serve as the first stage of a larger research or demonstration activity. Applications for this type of support are administered through OE regional offices and can be funded with minimum delay. Support may be approved for as long as eighteen months, and the maximum of $10,000 includes both direct and indirect costs.

Funds are also available for support of projects in excess of $10,000. The decision to support, however, is based upon the overall merit of a proposal submitted to the Bureau of Research, whereas the amount to be funded is determined by Office of Education staff at the time of grant or contract negotiations.

A common format is required for all proposals formally submitted under any research program administered by the Bureau of Research. Guidelines are set forth in two Bureau of Research booklets, “Office of Education Support for Research and Related Activities,” and “Small Project Research,” both available upon request.

Preliminary descriptions of proposed activities may be submitted to the Library and Information Science Research Branch at any time for comment, criticism, and discussion. Formal proposals should be sent to the Research Analysis and Allocation Staff, Bureau of Research, Office of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202. Although proposals may be submitted at any time, about three months should be allowed between the date of submission of the proposal and the expected start of the project in order to permit appropriate review by staff and by nongovernment experts in library and information science.

Proposals are evaluated according to the following criteria.

1. Significance of the proposal to the Office of Education’s responsibility in the total library and information science research effort; that is, to provide balance with available funds, it may be necessary to forego support for one worthy project in order to finance another in a neglected area.

2. Place of the proposed study in relation to existing knowledge, and its promise of making a contribution to the improvement of library or information science.

3. Sound design or operational plan; indication that the proposed research will meet its stated objectives.

4. Competency of personnel and adequacy of facilities.

5. General applicability of local projects; they must be significant in other settings.

For further information write to Library and Information Science Research Branch, Division of Research Training and Dissemination, Bureau of Research, Office of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202.

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