Culture, code, silence, surveillance: the changing spaces of the research library
This paper will explore the shifting physical and digital spaces of the contemporary research library, by drawing on early findings from two exploratory library-based research projects undertaken with the University Library and the National Library of Scotland. The projects combine ethnographic work, interviews with students and staff, and data science methods to examine the relationship between the day-to-day use and organisation of libraries and library data. The first project focuses on organising practices in the University Library, exploring key themes arising around atmosphere, translation and navigation, and the ‘disembodied librarian’. The second project develops the theme of ‘being organised’ further, through creative exploration of anonymised data on library use at both libraries, as a way of understanding better the relationship between library buildings, staff, collections, software, data and library users. Particular attention is paid to research methods and the ethical use of library data.