Professional Development

Author Archive

Molly at ALA Las Vegas

Friday, July 11, 2014 11:28 am

We all know the adage, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” right? Well, there are some things from Vegas that certainly can stay: the noise, the lights, the heat, the scuzzy hotel bathroom (shudder), the overwhelming BIGNESS of it all. But other things shouldn’t stay; they should be shared, which is the whole point of conference going!

This was an unusual ALA for me, with very uneven experiences with the conference itself. My meetings were great—my sessions, less so. The first great meeting was Friday afternoon when the ACRL Scholarly Communications Roadshow faculty presenters convened. In May, we welcomed three new presenters to our group, and bid farewell to another. Two of the three new presenters were able to join us in Vegas for our meeting, and I am excited about the expertise and energy they are bringing to our group. It’s hard to believe that this is our 6th season offering the Roadshow. For this season, we issued the call for applications several months earlier, which stretched out our season from February to July (our last Roadshow this year is next Friday, down in Mississippi). This expanded timeframe was much easier to accommodate with the presenters’ schedules, so we will once again issue the call for the 2015 Roadshows in mid-fall. We are also going to revise the first module of the Roadshow, as we are finding that some of the basics we cover—defining scholarly communication, open access, etc.—are no longer new concepts for the majority of our participants. Instead, we are going to develop a handout defining common terms and issues for those who do still need some grounding. Related to the Roadshow, later this summer, I will be co-presenting an ACRL webcast, Cultivating Creators: Copyright in the Information Literacy Classroom, as an extension of our programming. Both the ACRL Board and the Research and Scholarly Environment Committee (of which I’m a member) have encouraged us to develop supplementary web content for several years now, so I am excited that I am working with a fellow Roadshow faculty member to finally launch this aspect of our program.

My second great meeting was the Research and Scholarly Environment Committee (ReSEC) meeting Sunday morning. In addition to discussing our own ongoing business, which includes programming for the SPARC/ACRL Forums, advising the Roadshow, and maintaining the ACRL Scholarly Communication Toolkit (which will be migrating platforms soon), we also heard updates from the ACRL Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy Task Force, ARL, SPARC, and the Library Publishing Coalition. One big piece of news from SPARC is that, as of August 1, they will be an independent association. This move will allow both SPARC and it’s former parent association, ARL, to exercise greater leverage in lobbying Congress on legislation furthering open access to research and openness in education. One new work area for ReSEC this year has been our partnership with the ACRL Digital Curation Interest Group to address the need for ACRL to provide training on data management. Through discussions at Midwinter and a late winter conference call, a proposal for a data management preconference at the 2015 ACRL National Conference was developed. The Board approved the preconference, and planning is currently underway. I have joined the planning group for the preconference as a dual liaison from ReSEC and the Roadshow, and am lending expertise on how to structure daylong workshops, advising on scheduling, activities and exercises, and general planning. This new role is exciting, as I have much to learn about data management. The hope is that this preconference might itself turn into a Roadshow program.

As I mentioned above, my session attendance this conference was, on the whole, disappointing. The one good session I attended was also attended by Lynn—”Libraries in the Publishing Game”—and I concur with her assessment. The other sessions I attended did not present any information that was new to me (which, in some ways, is reassuring, in that I hadn’t missed anything big), nor did the Q&A reveal any innovative opinions or approaches. The one session that might have been excellent was too far to get to, given my previous timeslot’s meeting location, which was a frustration. However, I used that time to attend an Emerging Leaders program, where I saw Lauren P., Kyle, and several librarians from my EL cohort, so the time was not lost.

My official ALA time ended Monday morning at the ALCTS President’s Program on introverts as leaders, about which many of our colleagues have already reported. Fortunately, my Vegas sightseeing ended on a high note, as I busted out of Vegas proper with four of our colleagues for an afternoon excursion to Hoover Dam, which was impressive (and HOT at 119!!!).

Of all my ALAs, this was the one I enjoyed the least, which might have been due, in part, to my ambivalence about being in Las Vegas. But I had productive meetings, and capitalized on multiple networking opportunities over lunches and dinners, so I can say I “won” in Vegas!

Molly at Midwinter 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014 10:46 am

My 2014 Midwinter conference started Friday afternoon with the ACRL Scholarly Communication Roadshow presenters meeting. We had a smaller than usual group, but productive conversation nonetheless. Although I won’t be going out on the road to present any in 2014 – I have lots of fun ZSR and local commitments this year taking priority! – I’m glad to still be part of the team revising the content.

Saturday kicked off early with a fascinating ALA Washington, D.C. office update session that featured Spencer Ackerman, National Security Editor for Guardian US, the journalist who broke the Edward Snowden NSA surveillance leak story. Ackerman made several great points during his talk and the Q&A that followed. Highlights:

  • Amount of secrecy surrounding government surveillance has increased over last several decades, in part because the ways in which laws are interpreted are becoming more secretive.
  • NSA claims no surveillance occurs until data is analyzed, not at point of collection. (Ackerman demonstrated the fallibility of this claim by asking the woman who introduced him for her wallet, then proceeded to take her credit card, make a rubbing of the numbers, then return it to her, while making the point that, ideally, he would’ve done this without her realizing. He then asked if she had something taken when collected, or not until used.)
  • In the last 8 months, we’ve learned more about the NSA than we’ve learned in the last 60 years; NSA and the government never believed such illumination would happen.

I followed this heady start to the day with the ACRL Copyright Discussion Group, in a room that was packed out. Most questions/discussion centered around streaming media rights, successful faculty outreach efforts, copyright websites, and MOOCs. None of the questions or, more importantly, answers were surprising or off the mark from what we are doing/thinking about at ZSR, which is reassuring.

Lunch was courtesy of Gale, which featured an excellent presentation on the history of the Associated Press, whose archive is a new collection available from Gale this year. (Reference colleagues: I have the new catalog for you!) My afternoon was all data, all the time. The ALCTS Scholarly Communication Interest Group featured librarians from UC San Diego and U.Va. sharing their respective libraries’ new data services. The SPARC Forum featured an editor from PLoS, a librarian from Purdue, and a researcher from UNC discussing various approaches to connecting articles and the data behind them. The Forum was moderated by Clifford Lynch, of CNI, who opened the session by making the great point that the fundamental nature of journal articles has not changed, only the delivery format; but, he posited it will in the near future, to facilitate articles linking up to data. A few points were raised that I will be reflecting upon as we continue our data conversations at Wake:

  • After a certain amount of time, datasets should be treated like any other library collection, subject to either preservation or weeding, as warranted; institutions cannot commit to keeping all datasets forever.
  • There is a long tail of “orphaned data” for which appropriate discipline repositories do not, and cannot, exist, hence the need for generalized data repositories.
  • Understanding impact of openly shared datasets, evaluating quality of datasets, determining academic credit for sharing data are some of the challenges to the broad update of data citation by scholars.

My Saturday ended at a lovely reception, courtesy Thomson Reuters, at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where Carolyn and I got to meet some of Mary Beth’s and Lynn’s former Wayne State colleagues.

Sunday kicked off at 8:30 with a three-hour meeting of the ACRL Research & Scholarly Environment Committee. One thing I love about this committee is that, in addition to discussing our own business for ACRL, we also receive updates from the field, bringing in representatives of associated groups, including ARL, SPARC, SCOAP3, COAPI, and the OA Working Group. The need to address data management as a part of scholarly communication was discussed at multiple points throughout the morning, which mirrors discussions we’ve been having locally. Two field updates of note: ARL will be offering a preconference on assessing scholarly communication programs at the assessment conference in Seattle in August (Susan, Roz, and MB are planning to attend this conference, I believe), and SPARC will be launching new program areas of advocacy and education on OER and data.

Sunday afternoon found me attending programs/discussion groups on Google Books and copyright reform, ORCID, and researcher profile systems. Fred von Lohmann, formerly with EFF and now with Google, gave an overview of the Google Books ruling that was issued in November, and speculated on how the case might impact Congressional movement on revising copyright. Laura Quilter and Lisa Macklin were also part of this session, giving updates on the HathiTrust and Georgia State cases, respectively. Two key takeaways from this session:

  • Copyright laws don’t get revised when copyright is controversial; hopefully copyright will get more boring in the next 5 years, as the recent cases work their ways through the courts, which will open doors to reform.
  • Work on the 1976 Copyright Act began in 1955, so copyright reform takes a LONG TIME; must keep that perspective.

The ORCID discussion featured three librarians whose institutions are ORCID members, and therefore able to assign ORCIDs to researchers. One interesting idea that arose was to assign ORCIDs to graduate students when they submit their ETDs. The researcher profiles session featured two librarians and a faculty member sharing how their institutions are using various profile systems – including VIVO, Symplectic Elements, and SciVal Experts – to highlight faculty scholarship. These are all more powerful systems similar to Digital Measures, and made me long for a more robust system at Wake that also integrates with SHERPA/RoMEO and WakeSpace to assist in deposit decisions. A librarian can dream, right?!

Sunday night found Mary Beth, Carolyn, Steve, and I at a ProQuest dinner at the National Constitution Center, again with folks from Wayne State joining our table, and later a ZSR reunion party with Lauren Pressley on the 33rd floor of the Loews Hotel, overlooking the skyline of Philadelphia all lit up at night. Monday I wrapped up Midwinter with a final walk through the Exhibits, a trip to Reading Terminal Market for an obligatory cheesesteak and Termini Bros. cannoli, and some quality time in the Philly airport as Derrik, Wanda, and I, along with several UNCG and FCPL librarians, awaited our long-delayed pilot to arrive to fly us home. It was a whirlwind, but productive, Midwinter.

Molly at NCLA

Friday, November 1, 2013 1:40 pm

Despite living in North Carolina for my entire professional life (and barring one semester abroad, my entire life, period), this was my first time attending an NCLA conference. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, besides the opportunity to learn and network – and present! I was not disappointed in getting to do all three, and was especially happy to reconnect with friends from grad school whose career paths into non-academic libraries means we otherwise don’t usually connect. That alone would have made NCLA worth it to me, but fortunately it gave me much more.

Unlike other conferences I attend, there were very, very few scholarly communication-related sessions, so I took the opportunity to brush up on the latest happenings in other areas of librarianship that I often don’t have time to do: namely, liaison and instruction work. Other ZSR colleagues have already given reports on most of the following sessions, so I apologize if my take-away points are redundant.

Grumble Theory
Librarians at UNCG presented on Jackson Library’s ClimateQUAL survey administration and response in light of Grumble Theory. Maslow’s hierarchy emphasizes that motivation is based on needs, and as certain needs must be met before others, needs are order-driven. In Grumble Theory, motivation needs are ranked as:
- low = complaints regarding biological/physiological needs, such as food, shelter, sleep, rest, etc.
- high = concerns over esteem/self-esteem issues, respect, dignity, praise, rewards, etc.
- metagrumbles = higher level complaints concerning value of human life, truth, justice, beauty, perfection, etc.

Metagrumbles arise when other needs are met; e.g., complaining about the color of the carpet, or the break room art. Once low and high grumbles are addressed, an environment is created for self-actualizers to be the best they can be. Using Grumble Theory to help people become more aware, confident, and in control won’t mitigate all problems or complaints, but can reduce them. Much like Ellen shared in her coverage, I feel that much of our work-life balance discussions during 2012 were addressing Grumble Theory needs, despite not using that identifier. ZSR has done well to address our low and high grumbles, and we are now able to begin addressing metagrumbles.

Taming the Hydra, renamed Library Guides: Content Creation to Management
Carol and Ellen were in this session with me, and shared much of UNC’s experience. For a very rare LibGuides user (I think I have 2?), key points that struck me were:
- users view the library as reliable, so our LibGuides must be kept up-to-date to maintain reliability;
- have a management plan for periodic updating;
- limit to one row of tabs (if you need more, perhaps you need two guides);
- create a subject guide with a specific need in mind;
- “something better than nothing” not actually true with outdated guides.

From Resources to Relationships to Reinventing
Carol and Sarah were in this early Thursday morning session on academic liaisons, and again have already reported. Here are my highlights:
- avoid the “let me explain this to you” scenario with faculty (a difficulty in my position as SC librarian!);
- have an elevator speech as to why liaisons are important;
- advocacy role is emerging, and critical;
- success of liaison outreach – increased BIs, etc. – has real impacts on other work areas, and should be managed/acknowledged.

Always Be Closing
Chelcie was in this session with me, but in a different small group for the fun interactive part, and she did a great job explaining the session. My takeaways, both as a liaison and as someone with a specialized position:
- formerly focused on products of scholarship, now focusing on production of scholarship (big ol’ YES in my SC job!);
- engagement is more than “reaching out,” it’s trying to discover problem and apply library solutions to solve problem;
- even if we know what solutions we want to suggest, need to not just toss those off without helping faculty identify the problems – if they can’t see problem, won’t embrace solution;
- useful for thinking through selling new library services.

Research Literacy
This was the first of only two SC-related sessions I attended, which Sarah also sat in on. A librarian and research office administrator from NC A&T shared their work to develop “research literacy” among faculty seeking grants. They took the principles of info lit to apply to grant application process. Key points:
- librarians have expertise in areas that might assist in grant discovery and application writing: search skills, citation structures, literature discovery, writing/editing skills (not often a strong suit for STEM faculty);
- most obvious place to assist is to help ground the application in literature, as the impact of the research proposal must be framed by published research to support application;
- research literacy is info lit with added focus on original discoveries and the needs of original researchers;
- answers needed are not yet known in literature – literature used as building blocks to plan for future investigation;
- collaboration being driven by NIH, NSF calls for increased openness of research outputs in a time when securing funding is increasingly difficult – need to be as competitive and strategic as possible.

How the Judge Got It Wrong
The second directly SC-related session was from a librarian who traveled up from Georgia to discuss the GSU fair use lawsuit. Her talk was based on a research project she did for her PhD coursework; she is not a copyright expert. As Chelcie can attest, I mostly kept my mouth shut, but offered additional insight and clarity when I felt I had to. Overall, her point was that the judge was too narrow in her definition of fair use, establishing problematic “bright line” rules around amounts appropriate for being considered “fair,” and that if the publishers are successful in their appeal – oral arguments will be heard November 19th – the 1976 classroom guidelines risk becoming closer to law; if GSU wins appeal, compels increased licensing by publishers. I don’t fully agree with her assessment, but I also didn’t think she was flat-out wrong. Definitely this is an appeal I will be watching…

My last day at NCLA was an in-and-out situation: I came downtown only to co-present on altmetrics and bibliometrics with Sarah during our session, “The Impact Factor, Eigenfactor, and Altmetrics: From Theory to Analysis,” then dashed over to campus to help Hu and Roz in the library area of THE TENT during the capital campaign launch campus picnic. As Sarah shared, we had a small but highly engaged group for our presentation, and we’ve each received requests for our slides after the conference, so we’ve made an impact (pun intended).

In addition to the individual sessions, I greatly enjoyed the plenary sessions and WILR luncheon I attended, and overall had a very positive first NCLA!

Molly at ALA 2013

Friday, July 5, 2013 3:14 pm

Strengthening my network of scholarly communication colleagues was the highlight of ALA this time around. The sessions I attended were only average, although the copyright in media session provided welcome details on copyright issues I rarely encounter. But my meetings, both formal and informal, were excellent!

ACRL Scholarly Communications Roadshow Presenters Retreat

My ALA kicked off with a planning retreat for the Roadshow presenters group. For the first time since launching the program, we completed all 5 Roadshows of the 2013 season *before* ALA (yep, that’s right: we did 5 in 5 weeks + 1 day, in three different time zones!). While we all arrived in Chicago a bit travel worn (thankfully we all don’t do all workshops), being able to reflect on an entire season of workshops – especially since we overhauled our curriculum this year – was fruitful. We feel confident that the new curriculum works, and have some exciting ideas for new exercises and activities to enhance the improved curriculum next year. We also discussed potential “next step” virtual programming ideas. There’s a risk with any program that has been running for 5 years that it will grow stale, or that one will become disenchanted by it, but our team has done an excellent job evolving the program to maintain relevance and keep it fresh for presenters. In fact, the Roadshow I co-presented in May in Bloomington, IL, was my best to date!

ACRL Research & Scholarly Environment Committee Meeting

ReSEC, formerly the Scholarly Communications Committee, is a fascinating committee to be part of, and I’m delighted to have been reappointed through June 2015. In addition to doing important work for ACRL, supporting one of the three goals of the ACRL Plan for Excellence, ReSEC works beyond ACRL in the larger scholcomm field. As such, part of our committee meeting includes updates from the field from representatives of SPARC, ARL, COAPI (the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions, of which ZSR was a founding member), and SCOAP3. Strong conversation and insightful Q&A with our guest representatives makes sticking to the agenda timetable difficult, but the field updates are worthwhile. SPARC and ARL are closely monitoring the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy’s February charge to Federal agencies with $100m+ annual R&D expenses to have a plan by the end of July for making research publicly available via (an) archive(s), a la the NIH Public Access Policy. To that end, ARL is spearheading SHARE, a proposal to support agency archiving via a federated system of IRs around the US (publishers have an alternate proposal, CHORUS). ARL is also looking to partner with ACRL to offer a session on assessing and evaluating scholcomm programs sometime in 2014. COAPI has grown to 58 member institutions since its launch two years ago. SCOAP3 is in the process of working with publishers and libraries to convert subscriptions to high-energy physics journals to a shared access membership-type system. Within ReSEC, we will be overhauling the Toolkit (presumably in time for Open Access Week in October) and assisting in the transition of the CRLN scholcomm column from bimonthly to monthly.

Out ‘n About, Meeting People

As mentioned at the beginning, strengthening my network by connecting with known and new colleagues was the standout of ALA for me. I attended three group dinners while in Chicago, including one, organized by a publisher, at which I met two ASERL colleagues: Mary Page, AUL at University of Central Florida, and Bill Garrison, Dean at University of South Florida. I met Leah Dunn, the new(ish) library director at UNC-Asheville, who is joining me on ReSEC, and is looking to build scholcomm awareness at UNCA. I also met in person several people I already knew online, including Cathy Sarli from Washington University in St. Louis with whom I’ve published and co-presented a webinar but never overlapped at conference, and two personal friends, one who lives in Chicago and one in town for ALA. I bumped into several ZSR colleagues around the conference center and Chicago, sometimes for conversation, other times for a quick wave and hello. And since Lauren Pressley and I have a habit of being roomies for “Camp ALA,” I had quality time catching up with her!

 

Molly at ALA Midwinter

Friday, February 8, 2013 2:43 pm

My 2013 Midwinter conference happenings started earlier than they did for most of our ZSR colleagues, as the presenter group for the ACRL Scholarly Communication Roadshows gathered for a planning retreat Friday afternoon. We started these retreats at ALA Annual in NOLA in 2011, and they’ve become a valuable time for us to assess our program and identify new areas of growth. In 2012, we overhauled the original program to better address changes in scholcomm, and to take the program from a half-day to full-day workshop. After 6 iterations of the new program last year, we realized that further restructuring was warranted, and this year we are organizing our workshop around four new themes: Emerging Opportunities, Access, Intellectual Property, and Engagement. We also welcomed two new presenters to our group, one of whom was able to join us in Seattle, giving us new perspective and energy!

Saturday was chock full of scholcomm sessions, and I’m still digesting my pages and pages of notes. I fueled up for my busy day at the ProQuest Serials Solutions breakfast, along with several ZSR colleagues, where incoming ACRL president Steven Bell spoke on the “unbundled, unbooted, disrupted” higher ed environment. Although his ideas were not new to me (I follow his LJ blog), Steven is a compelling speaker and is always worth hearing. First session after breakfast was the ALA Washington Office Update breakout session, where a panel of librarians spoke on the Kirtsaeng v. Wiley case before the Supreme Court. This case hinges upon the first sale doctrine, and whether lawfully obtained, foreign-made works are subject to the right of first sale, which is what allows us to buy and lend, resell, gift, destroy, etc. objects such as books, DVDs, CDs, clothes, furniture, cars, phones, computers, and on and on and on, both as libraries and individuals. Libraries are understandably nervous about the outcome of the case: if the lower courts’ rulings are upheld at the strictest interpretation, no book (or anything else we own) that was published and purchased internationally without a US distributor, or possibly even merely manufactured overseas, could be lent from our collections. But this also means that garage sales, consignment stores, eBay, Etsy, Redbox, used car lots, used book stores, and a host of other businesses would be severely impacted (at the Supreme Court hearings, this was called the “parade of horribles”). Because of the far-reaching implications of the strictest interpretation of first sale, which would apply to goods manufactured only in the US, the consensus is that neither Kirtsaeng nor Wiley will get an outright “win,” with it likely that legislative action might be needed to clarify the first sale doctrine in light of the ruling. Again, I didn’t hear anything new here, but it was sobering nonetheless. Fortunately, the rest of my Saturday was much more positive, as I heard updates on SCOAP3 at the ALCTS Scholarly Communications Discussion Group, and learned about new developments in alt-metrics – the phrase used to describe multiple attempts to liberate faculty from the clutches of the “sainted” Impact Factor using article-level and social impact measurements – at the 10th annual SPARC/ACRL Forum.

Sunday found me in the Westin Hotel all day, barring quick lunch and doughnut breaks! My morning kicked off early with a 3+ hour meeting of the ACRL Research & Scholarly Environment Committee (known as ReSEC; formerly the Scholarly Communications Committee). We heard updates from the field, discussed ACRL projects/events we support, and brainstormed how we might serve as a nexus to connect the different groups – committees, subcommittees, discussion groups, interest groups – working throughout ALA and its divisions on scholcomm issues. I feel good about my participation on this committee, and hope to be reappointed for another two year term. Sunday afternoon I branched out a bit into scholcomm-related group meetings: the ACRL Digital Curation Interest Group and the Digital Humanities Discussion Group. My reasons for attending these two were three-fold: 1) to enhance my knowledge of these issues; 2) to gain perspective on how these issues might be tackled by the Digital Initiatives Librarian we will be hiring, with whom I’ll be working closely; and, 3) to identify groups that ReSEC might want to connect with. I didn’t learn quite as much as I’d hoped, but made a few connections with folks and jotted down some projects happening at other libraries that sound intriguing. I also attended the ACRL Scholarly Communications Discussion Group, which continued the conversation from the Forum about alt-metrics.

I caught a break Monday morning when my ACRL 2013 conference planning committee meeting was canceled, so I made one more pass through the vendor floor to talk to a couple of publisher reps (McGraw-Hill being the main target), and pick up a few (ahem) last books. Because I thought I had committee obligations through Monday, I didn’t leave until early Tuesday morning, which was lucky, as I was able to travel home with several ZSR colleagues; it’s nice to have friends to pass airport hours with! My Midwinter was a worthwhile conference, with good information, good meetings, and good networking all around.

Molly at ALA Anaheim

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 4:24 pm

It doesn’t quite seem possible that I’ve been home from ALA for a week now, just as it didn’t seem possible that my time at ALA passed so quickly (nor does it seem possible that tomorrow is July 4th, but that’s a bit beside the point of this post!). This was only my second time at ALA Annual, so I’m definitely still learning how to maximize my schedule. For most program/meeting slots, I had two, if not three, events I wanted to get to, and I missed a lot of wonderful-sounding programs due to meetings. I know this is the bane of most people’s ALA experience, but it’s still frustrating!

As it shook out, my non-meeting ALA experience centered around the theme of fair use in libraries. With the recent GSU e-reserves decision, and the late January, post-Midwinter release of ARL’s Code of Best Practices in Fair Use in Academic and Research Libraries, there were many panels and discussion groups on this theme. I attended two panels on fair use Saturday morning and early afternoon, the latter of which drew a standing room only crowd. The afternoon panel discussed three fair use cases involving libraries: the GSU case, the UCLA film streaming lawsuit, and the HathiTrust lawsuit. It was fascinating to hear two non-librarian lawyers’ perspectives on the UCLA and HathiTrust cases. There was a healthy Q&A that delved into libraries’ responsibilities–and limitations–in assisting patrons using our orphan work materials for scholarship and documentary film production. I also heard the clearest set of questions to use in evaluating if a proposed use is fair:

1. Are you using the material to illustrate a specific point?
2. Are you using only an amount sufficient to illustrate the point?
3. Is is clear to your audience what point you are making?

If you can answer yes to all three, then your proposed use is likely going to be fair. Definitely need to share these with the doc film folks! My final fair use-themed event was the late Sunday afternoon ACRL Scholarly Communication Discussion Group, which also focused on the GSU case decision and its impact upon libraries. However, this time I was at the front of the room as a panelist, providing the non-lawyer librarian perspective. I really like the format of the discussion group, as the panelists give intentionally brief comments before opening up for questions and discussion in the room. We had a GSU librarian in attendance who gamely provided information and perspective that enriched our conversation. Thanks again to Lynn and Carolyn for coming!

Breaking with the fair use theme, the ACRL/SPARC Forum late Saturday afternoon highlighted campus open access funds. As you know, Wake Forest has had such a fund for Reynolda campus faculty since 2008. Between experiences in administering our fund in the past year, and information I learned at the Forum, I have some ideas brewing on how we might need to adjust our fund criteria for the future to best serve both our faculty and the larger open access movement. More is likely to come as my ideas ferment.

I had three major meetings while in Anaheim: a planning meeting (that spilled into dinner) for the ACRL Scholarly Communication Road Show presenters on Friday afternoon/evening; the ACRL Scholarly Communications Committee meeting Sunday morning; and, the ACRL 2013 Panel Session Committee meeting Monday morning. All were productive, and I feel good about my participation in each group.

The one thing I felt I did a great job of managing at ALA was maximizing mealtimes to network and catch up with colleagues. Other than breakfasts, I had plans with others for each meal, splitting those between colleagues working in scholarly communication/copyright, friends made through Emerging Leaders, and catching up with ZSR folks. Generating new ideas and learning new practices are beneficial, but so too are maintaining connections with colleagues, and I returned from Anaheim succeeding in all!

 

New code to help libraries exercise Fair Use

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 5:52 pm

In late January, ARL released the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries. The code “enhances the ability of librarians to rely on fair use by documenting the considered views of the library community about best practices in fair use, drawn from the actual practices and experience of the library community itself” (p. 3). The code uses eight common situations where consensus on acceptable practice and rights application was reached in a series of long-form interviews with 65 librarians, conducting around the country over the course of 10 months in 2010-2011, to illustrate the principles, limitations and enhancements of exercising fair use.

It is important to recognize that this code outlines best practices, and does not establish guidelines; it contains “principles, not rules; limitations, not bans; reasoning, not rote” (Peter Jaszi, Emory University panel, Feb. 14). ARL coordinated the creation of this code of best practices in part because other communities of practice that have established similar codes (e.g., documentary filmmakers) have had successful implementation across the field, and favorable viewing as good documentation of community standards by courts when cases have been brought. Furthermore, fair use in libraries is consistently under-used, and often risk aversion is substituted for fair use analysis. It is hoped that with the establishment of this code of best practices, libraries can better fulfill their mission to preserve knowledge by looking to the best practices to reduce insecurity and hesitation in exercising fair use.

Over the past month, I have participated in a series of webinars and live-streamed panel events introducing and discussing the code. I have pages and pages of notes, and as with all things copyright-related, I’d love to talk to anyone who wants to know more. But for now, I’ll share my key take-aways:

  • Increasingly, courts are assessing fair use on transformativeness of the work, in addition to the traditional four factors (nature, amount, purpose, impact); can be easier to determine if use is transformative than if it clears all four factors.
  • With digital content, so much is being licensed that we aren’t dealing with copyright–and by extension, fair use–as much as we are contract law; this is concerning.
  • If the maximum isn’t supported from the top-down, faculty will resort to the minimum use in course reserves.
  • Q: Is the transformative nature of work in digitizing collections in Special Collections enough to justify fair use? A: “Please, God yes!” (from Emory live-streamed panel; digitization a primary transformative use)
  • Distinction between legal analysis and risk management analysis is important.
  • Making one copy to share among 7 libraries would actually enhance fair use scenario as it would limit the number of copies created. [Interesting, not sure yet how I come down on this point - MK]
  • If someone is speaking before a camera, should expect to be distributed; agreement to be filmed should be implicit agreement to be distributed, implicit nonexclusive agreement covering copyrighted content in speech. [Again, very interesting point that I'm still mulling over - MK]
  • Presumption has usually been to first seek permission, and only rely on fair use as a last resort; need to flip this.
  • In highly transformative use, existence or high likelihood of license revenue not recognized as valid argument against fair use; transformative use licenses do not belong to copyright owner; when transformative, effect on market no longer a factor.
  • Most of the time, libraries exercising fair use aren’t going to land in the middle of lawsuit, but rather be issued a cease-and-desist order, at which point *you take it down.*
  • Embrace ambiguity and risk management!
  • In evaluating risk, must evaluate both bad AND good; acknowledge the good that will NOT happen if fair use isn’t exercised.
  • Fair use is context-sensitive: who is the user and why is this being done?
  • Reliance on fair use statements and codes adds to good-faith defense when questioned.

Finally, the code of best practices is not meant to be a ceiling (or even a floor), but represents current consensus on topics in which agreement among the 65 librarian interviewees could be reached. If it is too conservative, then it reflects the current conservative nature of our execution of fair use as a profession, and we need to go out and push those boundaries!

A Midwinter Weekend in Dallas

Monday, January 23, 2012 1:27 am

As you might imagine, my Midwinter weekend in Dallas continued Saturday with more scholarly communication-related meetings. First up yesterday morning (and by first up, I mean at a lovely 10:30am start time!) was the ALCTS Scholarly Communication Interest Group, addressing “Identifiers, Citation & Linked Data as Part of the Scholarly Communication System.” Three panelists from California Digital Library, Biodiversity Heritage Library (not an actual library, but a consortium), and the Smithsonian Institutes Libraries addressed the reasons we need to care about linked open data, and the myriad challenges bad, closed data presents. Very interesting projects were highlighted, and as I was walking from the session to the EBSCO lunch, my head was buzzing with thoughts about all the data we produce at ZSR and related implications.

After a pleasant, if long, EBSCO lunch with lots of ZSR folks, I grabbed a couch in the Omni and took a break for a bit before hitting the exhibit floor. From the exhibits I walked to Timbuktu (aka, the far end of the convention center) for the SPARC/ACRL Forum. The Forum theme was “Getting the Rights Right,” and the five panelists represented a broad range of views, from librarians in the UK and US to a technologist using open data to Creative Commons to a large Holland-based publisher. Each speaker had varying and interesting perspectives on rights issues, but I felt that the overarching theme was a tad lost this time, as the speakers’ messages didn’t weave together in a clear manner. Apparently, the audience (which included Wanda on the far side of the room!) also felt as I, as there were very few questions put forward. Nonetheless, there was good information shared.

Sunday started bright and early with the ACRL Scholarly Communication Committee meeting, which is a marathon 4-hour meeting. Fortunately, we’re a fun group, and our meeting not only ran ahead of schedule, but was punctuated with lots of laughter. It was also an incredibly productive, encouraging meeting, with good news on a number of fronts: work that’s happening on the intersection of scholarly communication and information literacy (ZSR’s LIB 100 program is primed for this!!!); the future of the Road Show program I’m part of and the success of our expanded preconference test drive; updates from ARL, SPARC, and SCOAP3; and discussion around the future direction of the committee. You may have heard that the ACRL Board is looking to restructure and realign committees to better fit the new Plan for Excellence, and under the current proposal (to be voted on by the Board on Monday), the Scholarly Communication Committee will have a slightly revised charge and new name, the Research and Scholarly Environment Committee. This was my first meeting as a committee member, and I am excited to see where we go!

My Midwinter wrapped up Sunday afternoon with the ACRL Scholarly Communication Discussion Group, which featured two of the panelists from Saturday’s SPARC/ACRL Forum: Lisa Macklin and David Prosser. Both Lisa and David recapped what they shared at the Forum (GSU copyright case and UK copyright & Research Works Act, respectively), then opened the floor for questions. Fewer people attend this session, so the group was able to truly have a discussion, which touched on numerous topics: the GSU case; data management and ownership; the benefits and drawbacks of using CC licenses with noncommercial restrictions; and implementation strategies for OA policies. I heard two things at this session that concern me, though. First, the Copyright Clearance Center, which is not a plaintiff but is paying for the GSU copyright trial, is soliciting faculty to join focus groups, with the presumed ulterior motive of sussing out infringing activities. And second, Harvard faculty have received direct, targeted email from publishers spreading FUD about the various OA policies adopted by Harvard faculties (there’s more than one, oddly). Both of these moves are stealthy and known only through happenstance, and deeply concern me.

While my final official Midwinter session did not end on as positive a note as I might wish, this has been an insightful conference and I’m heading back to ZSR with lots of food for thought!

Dallas Day 1: Preconference, y’all!

Saturday, January 21, 2012 12:05 am

ALA Midwinter 2012 has kicked off in Dallas, Texas, home of the Cowboys, the Stars, the Rangers, and – for the weekend – a whole lot of far less athletic (sorry Susan!) but enthusiastic librarians. I arrived yesterday late afternoon, as I needed to be ready to hit the ground running early this morning, as I was co-presenting a preconference for ACRL.

Our preconference, “Scholarly Communications: From Understanding to Engagement,” is an expansion of the ACRL Scholarly Communication 101 Road Show program I helped launch in 2009. Originally a 3 hour workshop at an ACRL national conference, the SC 101 program developed into a 4 hour “road show” workshop that we would present in partnership with local hosts, who in past years were required to provide another 2-3 hours of programming to round out the day. Based on lots of feedback from multiple sites, and our own frustrations with feeling rushed, we held a planning retreat at ALA Annual last June to assess the program, from which came the idea of expanding to a full day. We were also asked to think about how we might offer this programming in conjunction with an ALA conference to enable interested librarians who haven’t participated in a Road Show the opportunity to engage. A preconference at Midwinter seemed like the perfect fit: we had a broader audience to draw from, and we got to test drive the expanded day before taking it out on the road again later this year.

Fortunately, the expanded format works and our preconference was a great success! I was co-presenting with Sarah Shreeves, with whom I presented a Road Show in Minneapolis last May, and another member of our presenter group (there are six of us total), Joy Kirchner, was on hand to assess our new formatting. We had 39 engaged, motivated, talkative attendees, representing institutions from around the US and Canada, with only two repeats from previous Road Shows. The group raised excellent points and asked tough questions, and as should always happen, even though I was the “expert” at the front of the room, I also learned today. And while there are a few kinks to work out in the new full-day format, I am quite confident that we have made the right decision to expand the Road Show, and I’m thankful we had such a great trial run at Midwinter!

Berlin 9 Open Access Conference

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 6:12 pm

In early November, I attended the Berlin 9 Open Access Conference in Washington, DC. Convened annually since the first Berlin conference in 2003 (in Berlin, Germany, hence the name, and where the Berlin Declaration was crafted), this was the first time the conference had been held in North America, and only the second time it had been held outside of Europe (it was in Beijing last year). In was an incredible experience, bringing together policy makers, administrators, researchers, librarians, funders, and publishers for two and a half days of presentations and discussions on the status of open access worldwide.

My conference started actually not with official B9 events, but rather a half-day tag-along meeting of the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI). Founded in summer 2011, COAPI is a group of North American institutions that have faculty-adopted open access policies (institutional or departmental), or are actively working toward adoption. Thanks to the policy adopted by the ZSR Library Librarians’ Assembly, Wake Forest was one of the 22 founding member institutions, and I represented us at the COAPI’s first face-to-face meeting in DC at the National Academies of Science. Our conversation focused on three key topics: implementation; institutional repositories and open access policies; and, publisher responses to institutional policies. It was energizing having 30+ people in the room discussing strategy, logistics, challenges, opportunities, successes, and set-backs. I am eager to see how COAPI develops and look forward to our next group gathering, tentatively scheduled for March.

From my morning at the National Academies, I moved over to a building at Johns Hopkins University for two afternoon preconferences: the first on Open Access Publishing and the second on Open Access Policy Development. The most interesting facts I learned in the preconferences were from Peter Binfield, publisher of PLoS ONE and the Community journals:

  • in 2011, PLoS will publish 17,000 (of 35,000 submitted), 14,500+ of those in PLoS ONE; this will account for approx. 1.6% of articles indexed in PubMed this year
  • PLoS ONE is not only steadily gaining traction among authors, as evidenced by rising submission rates, but is also gaining stead competition from other publishers not wanting to be left behind: SAGE, BMJ, Nature, and others have launched “clones” in the past 18 months

The next day, the conference moved to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute campus in Bethesda, which is an absolutely breathtaking facility. I had expected a fairly sterile research facility composed of large, drag buildings, but was pleasantly surprised to find myself on a campus of deep red brick buildings with well-landscaped grounds and very comfortable furnishings (see below for a photo of the courtyard where I lunched the first day). Unlike the conferences I’m used to attending, there was only one session to attend at a time, so I never felt torn in deciding where to go. And since we were a smallish group (approx. 250 attendees) at a secure facility, we all felt comfortable staking our seats for the day and leaving our stuff behind while taking advantage of the ample conversation/networking time build-in between sessions.

The conference organizers did a great job of lining up panelists (each session was a panel, only 4 (long) sessions each day) that covered the broad spectrum of open access: from policy to business applications to humanities research opportunities to open education to research funders and the patients they serve. I am still, 6 weeks out, trying to process and synthesize everything, and think through how the work we are doing at Wake Forest can be expanded to better maximize the potential of open access. The biggest take away was the unofficial theme that emerged over the course of the two full days: the open access movement seems to be moving from content is king to context is key. This is a very important shift, as it indicates that our understanding and application of open access in publishing, archiving, and policy making is becoming more nuanced and unforeseen opportunities unfolding. A prime example that I learned of at B9 is that the World Bank is currently in the process of opening all of their data and publishing all reports openly, free for any and all to use, as they have come to understand that their mission is better accomplished by lifting artificial access barriers. Never thought I’d say this, but Go World Bank!

I am extremely grateful I had the opportunity to attend the Berlin 9 conference, not least because I returned to campus armed with great information to take before the Faculty Senate the following week, where I had been invited to speak regarding Wake Forest becoming an institutional signatory to the Berlin Declaration. As was reported at the most recent Librarian’s Assembly, the Faculty Senate was unanimously supportive of Mark Welker signing the Declaration on behalf of the University, and he did so in late November (although we’re still waiting to be officially listed). As amazing as this conference was, I’m keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed I get to go to Berlin 10 next year…in South Africa!!


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