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Expanding the Role of Transportation Libraries to Support Technology Transfer


The traditional library model is out of alignment with current trends. Technological advances have dramatically changed the needs and expectations of patrons. While some still prefer paper-based resources, at least under certain circumstances, other patrons want digital and virtual resources. The high cost of these resources is problematic for special libraries with limited funding. However, libraries may be able to expand their role and services to customers through technology transfer and research marketing efforts.

Some of the ways transportation libraries might take on a greater role in technology transfer that could reasonably be included in this research are 1) improving literature searches on important topics requested by customers and instructing them on how to perform literature searches, 2) partnering with learning centers for training opportunities, 3) embedding librarians within project teams, 4) positioning the library as the epicenter for knowledge management, and 5) involving the library in marketing of research results and other innovations. Expanding the services of a transportation library would enhance the ability of its staff and available technology resources to fill an elevated role in technology transfer.


The objectives of this study are to expand the role of transportation libraries into other disciplines, provide case studies about how libraries have helped with technology transfer, and provide tools that libraries or management can use to sell the expanded role to organizations’ management.

Related Research:

Guide to Accelerating New Technology Adoption through Directed Technology Transfer, NCHRP Report 768, Project 20-93, 2014. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrprpt768.pdf

Iowa DOT Library Services, Collection, & Technology Assessment, Iowa DOT, prepared by HS Infocus LLC, July 2014. http://publications.iowa.gov/18227/1/IADOTIHRBHSInFocusTR-670IowaDOTLibraryAssesment2014.pdf

Improvement of Research Report Distribution and Access and Promotion of More Effective Use of Technical Report Documentation Page USDOT Form 1700.7 [from Transportation Library Connectivity and Development Pooled Fund Study TPF-5(237)], Missouri DOT, prepared by TransAnalytics, LLC, September 2014. http://www.pooledfund.org/Document/Download/5337

Proving Your Library’s Value: A Toolkit for Transportation Librarians [from Transportation Library Connectivity and Development Pooled Fund Study TPF-5(237)], Missouri DOT, prepared by HS InFocus, LLC, September 2012. http://libraryconnectivity.org/files/Proving-Your-Librarys-Value.pdf

Communication Matters: Communicating the Value of Transportation Research. NCHRP Report 610, Project 20-78, 2009. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrprpt610.pdf

Transportation Librarian’s Toolkit, Second Edition [from Transportation Library Connectivity Pooled Fund Study TPF-5(105)], Wisconsin DOT, prepared by CTC & Associates LLC, September 2009. http://libraryconnectivity.org/files/Toolkit-Second-Edition-Web-Final1.pdf

Seven Keys to Building a Robust Research Program, NCHRP Synthesis 280, Project 20-5 FY 1997 (Topic 29-01), 1999. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrpsyn280.pdf


The project will comprise, at a minimum, the following tasks and is expected to span an 18-month project period inclusive of NCHRP or pooled fund panel reviews:

  1. Assemble an NCHRP or pooled fund panel and through it work to identify additional stakeholders representing both managers and customers of transportation libraries.

  2. Engage the stakeholders (including NCHRP/panel members) via survey(s) to identify and categorize needs and priorities associated with expanding the role of a transportation library to support technology transfer of transportation innovations.

  3. Perform a literature review to synthesize previous work on technology transfer efforts by transportation libraries that addresses the needs and priorities identified by the project stakeholders.

  4. Research and document applicable tools that libraries have used to sell the expanded technology transfer role to organizations’ management.

  5. Prepare a technical memorandum to the stakeholders, recommending tools that libraries can use to sell the expanded technology transfer role to organizations’ management.

  6. Convene a meeting with the stakeholders to apply the selected tools to engage the various stakeholders in a process to identify, rank, and prioritize candidate library technology transfer techniques that best meet the needs and priorities identified by the stakeholders.

  7. Summarize the results in a final report to the NCHRP or pooled fund panel. The final report will present a concise summary of all project efforts including literature review, stakeholder meetings and consensus building. It is anticipated that the primary product of the project will be a detailed guidebook to expanding the role of a transportation library to support technology transfer of transportation innovations. The guidebook will then be available as a tool for various members of the targeted user community to improve transportation libraries and increase technology transfer capabilities.

  8. Work with the NCHRP or pooled fund panel and the Transportation Research Board Technology Transfer Committee to seek additional opportunities to disseminate the project results.


User Community: State DOT research managers, other research program managers (e.g., FHWA, TRB), transportation librarians.

Funding Sources: NCHRP, State departments of transportation research programs, Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Pooled Fund Program.

Sponsoring Committee:AJE35, Research and Innovation Management
RNS Developer:Cameron Kergaye, Utah Department of Transportation et al.
Source Info:Technology Transfer Committee Members
Date Posted:08/03/2016
Date Modified:09/12/2016
Index Terms:Technological innovations, Digital communication systems, Financing, Quality of service, Libraries, Training programs, Knowledge management, Marketing,
Cosponsoring Committees: 
Administration and Management
Data and Information Technology
Education and Training
Transportation (General)

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