Since 2005, and in collaboration with the other university libraries in Alsace, the BNU has been drawing up a documentary map for higher education in the Region.Firstly, this involved a close analysis of purchasing policies and of the offers of documents and services, and drawing up a precise map of the documentary resources and services on offer to academics. This assessment was intended to facilitate the task of the various stakeholders in coordinating and thereby improving their documentary offer, so that they are able to provide a more specific and more complete response to the demands of students and researchers in Alsace.
The second phase, carried out from 2006 to 2008, involved an operation mobilising the university establishments in the Region (universities of Strasbourg and Upper Alsace, and INSA) and the BNU. The initial task was to provide an overall view of local documentary cover, in the fields of both human and "exact" sciences. A summary was drawn up (see document), and the commentaries as well as the tables and graphs have made it possible to identify strong and weak areas of the sites and establishments.
This resulted in a clear appreciation of the dividing lines (for literature, social sciences, the German cultural area); in other fields (such as history), a more nuanced approach will be necessary, as the acquisitions, made in substantial numbers by all the establishments, also meet substantial demand on the part of users. Whatever the case, the results thrown up by the work on the documentary map have committed the BNU and its partners to the joint drafting of reasoned development plans for the collections. For the BNU, this also means an important role for its future scientific council to play.
Work on the documentary map has also served as a reminder of the specific nature of the establishment, with its collections firmly anchored in a history that makes it essential to take a long-term view, in order to remain an independent reference tool for students, researchers and the curious working on ad-hoc projects that may develop here and there. In this respect, the documentary map reinforces the BNU's multidisciplinary dimension, and at the same time highlights clearly the importance of current acquisitions as tomorrow's written and scientific heritage.