As a member of ACRL’s Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS), I attended several ANSS sponsored events in New Orleans. The ANSS social was held at Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar and Restaurant where I met and dined with other anthropology and sociology librarians. I also went to the Anthropology Discussion Librarians Group where such topics as institutional repositories, open access projects, communications technology for anthropology (i.e. social networks, blogs, etc.), and ordering e-books were discussed. Many of the librarians in attendance stated that while e-books are popular with the students they serve, faculty requests for e-books are not forthcoming. Possible reasons given include some e-books don’t contain graphics and there is a lack of e-book publishing in the discipline. I have really benefited from being a member of ANSS in learning more about the discipline of anthropology, its resources and issues, and networking with other anthropology librarians.
This ALA, I also began my 2-year appointment as a member of the ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee. Each month a committee member answers a different question on cataloging issues (e.g. subject headings, name authorities, etc.) and policies, and a list of new LC subject headings in the social sciences is posted. For October, I will be writing on social tagging, their use, and whether they enhance searching in library catalogs. I am very excited to be on this committee as it is directly related to my primary work responsibility, cataloging, and that it will enhance my work and knowledge as the liaison to Wake’s anthropology department. My fellow committee members seemed excited that I am now a part of this committee as well.
RDA, Cataloging and Classification Research, Value of Grey Literature, and 21st Century Scholarly Communication were some of the other topical ALA sessions that I attended.
“Will RDA Kill MARC?” was the title of a panel discussion put together by ZSR’s Steve Kelley. Panel speakers Karen Coyle and Dianne Hill made some very philosophical and thought-provoking statements as to the benefits for catalogers and the library world to abandon MARC and embrace RDA.
Coyle stated, “RDA is a savior and an opportunity to save library data. We can’t redeem MARC, but we can rescue its content.” She pointed out that MARC contains mixed data, administrative (e.g. OCLC record number) and nonadministrative (e.g. bibliographic fields) and that the rules in MARC are not coordinated with cataloging rules. Some MARC data is in more that one place which demonstrates librarians’ ingenuity of getting around MARC’s inflexible structure by making nonreapeatable fields repeatable. The goal for library data should be data independent of its structure. We should be able to code once and display many times.
In regards to library data, Hill believes, “We need to stop trying to control it all!” We should let others do what they want to our data, but they will not be messing with the data’s integrity.
At the Cataloging and Classification Research Interest Group, UNC SILS professor Jane Greenberg discussed research blitzing as a way to share and motivate cataloging research. Her UNC SILS students meet together in a social setting and each gives a five minute presentation on their research. Afterwards, students are able to dialog with their peers about the research that is currently being conducted in the SILS program.
Because I give a lecture on grey literature in LIB210, I chose to attend the “Grey Literature in the Digital Age” session with speakers Richard Huffine, Director of the Libraries Program at the U.S. Geological Survey and Wayne Strickland of the National Technical Information Service, an agency of the Department of Commerce.
Grey Literature is information produced by government, academics, business, and industries, but it is not controlled by commercial publishing interests and publishing is not the primary activity of the organization.
Today findability is no longer the driving challenge, but reputation is the key. Is the info trustworthy, citable, peer reviewed? Is access persistent? The digital age has thrown the definition of “published” into chaos. Will what’s available today be here tomorrow? Examples of grey literature whose persistent access is questionable include: pre-prints, blogs, preliminary research results (open files), project web sites (schedules), IRs and data archives. Findability relies on cited references in journal articles, IRs, authors’ CVs, and good aggregators (of which there are few) seek it out.
Copyright of grey literature can be even more complex. Some creators want their materials used. Some sources are inherently in the public domain like materials from the U.S. federal government. If unknown, copyright should be assumed. Both authors and the organizations for whom they work can claim copyright of works. Creative Commons licenses are being used by some domains.
Grey Literature has its place, and it’s here to stay. It may not stand alone, but it can contribute substantially to understanding scientific challenges. Every source should be considered in the exploration of an issue. In some domains, the best source of information may be grey. Some grey literature goes through as stringent (or more) of a review as commercially published content. It’s value will always be a mixed bag, and there are risks involved in citing it. Libraries have to be involved in identifying and defining its value. Social tagging could be used to help people assess the validity of grey literature.
Mr. Huffine stated that HathiTrust is considering open membership. LC is a partner in the HathiTrust and is trying to get other federal agencies included. He said the USGS wants to get involved, but they also want to raise the quality of images, dpi, etc. as well. Many of their maps are multi-page foldouts and that line widths on maps are very important to geologists.
The final session I attended was a panel discussion on 21st century scholarly communication. One of the panelists discussed the role of subject liaison librarians in this area. She recommended “keeping your ear to the ground”–know your faculty, their interests and projects, tenure/promotion process at one’s university, open access policies of faculty’s professional associations and organizations. It is also important to know what one’s individual library is trying to accomplish in the area of scholarly communication. One continuing challenge pointed out by Marty Brennan of UCLA’s Copyright Office is convincing scholars that the virtue of OA publishing should outweigh their need to submit to the highest impact journal in their field. The last speaker was a grad student who talked about starting a transdisciplinary OA journal and the difficulties encountered in finding good reviewers and in receiving good scholarly paper submissions.
ALA in New Orleans was fabulous! Informative sessions, delicious food, and a great time exploring the city by bicycle and hanging out with colleagues.