Professional Development

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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!!

Open Access Week 2011 Wrap-up

Friday, November 4, 2011 2:53 pm

In recognition of Open Access Week 2011 (Oct. 24-28), I participated in three presentations over 4 weeks: 2 local, 1 online. To unofficially kick things off, I spoke on Oct. 6, along with Bill Kane, at the Thursdays at Byrum Center series on supporting scholarship. I spoke generally about why I do what I do, and specifically about what it is I do. Bill then shared about what it is that he is doing, which if you were at our Sept. staff meeting, you know (hint, hint it involves ISBNs).

My online presentation was on Monday afternoon during the official Open Access Week. I was one of three speakers (John Wilbanks and Heather Piwowar presented before me) giving a webinar for the Special Libraries Association on New Directions in Scholarly Communication, what STM librarians and other information professionals need to know about changes in the nature of scholarly publishing. John, former VP at Creative Commons, spoke about broad changes to scholarship, from creation to discovery. Heather, a postdoc with NESCent through the DataONE cyberinfrastructure project, spoke about the increasing importance of data management and discovery. I wrapped things up by offering a librarian’s perspective on the changes, and how they are impacting our ability to support scholarship creation at our institutions. (My slides are linked from the page above.)

To conclude Open Access Week celebrations, I gave a talk this past Wednesday, Nov. 2, on current copyright conflicts in academe. There was a small but lively crowd on hand to hear the latest on three different lawsuits (Georgia State copyright trial, AIME vs. UCLA, Author’s Guild vs. HathiTrust) and proposed legislation currently before Congress (PRTECT IP/SOPA/ePARASITES…really, I’m not making that last one up!). Great questions and heated debate ensued, illustrating just how complex the issues are surrounding these cases/legislation, and how profoundly they impact higher education.

All in all, I had a great time honoring the spirit of openness during these various Open Access Week activities, and am energized to continue advocating for change in scholarly communication!

Mentoring Program Coordinator Council

Friday, November 4, 2011 2:07 pm

On Thursday, November 3, Bobbie, Giz, Craig, and Molly attended the third campus-wide Mentoring Program Coordinator Council. Organized once each semester by Allison McWilliams, Director of the Mentoring Resource Center, the Council brings together the coordinators of various formal mentoring programs at Wake Forest. Programs include those involving peer-to-peer mentoring among undergraduates, professional mentoring matches with MA and MBA graduate students in the Schools of Business, and faculty to student mentoring through the Chaplain’s Office, as well as our own Librarian’s Assembly program.

The Council began with a discussion led by Evelyn Williams, who came to Wake Forest in August and holds multiple appointments across the Schools of Business, School of Medicine, and Office of Personal & Career Development, where she is Associate Vice President, Leadership Development. She spoke about the importance of harvesting emotional intelligence in mentoring relationships. The old adage that “nice guys finish last” is now being supplanted by data that backs up the claim that “nice does matter.” Being aware of how others perceive you, and how your actions impact others, is crucial to success, including in mentoring relationships. Effective mentoring relationships are ones where mentees are encouraged to develop their self-awareness and self-management skills, and where mentors and mentees interact across the continuum of behaviors from sounding board to feedback. Evelyn explained the IMPACT-feedback model, where impact stands for the manner in which feedback is given:

T=timed appropriately

Just as with any relationship, time is needed to build trust in mentoring relationships. It is important for mentors to understand that they cannot and should not solve their mentees’ problems by launching the relationship in feedback-giving mode; rather, they need to seek the mentees’ permission to give feedback, as the mentee needs to feel comfortable enough with the relationship to be receptive. One way for mentors to help build comfort and trust with their mentees is to use stories and examples from their own personal experiences. Mentors should also think through the launch of the relationship, and find a balance between inquiry (really trying to understand) versus advocacy (problem-solving) based on cues from their mentees. After explaining how emotional intelligence and the IMPACT-feedback model work in mentoring, Evelyn then opened discussion to the group for assessment on how our various mentoring models can more effectively incorporate these strategies.

The second half of the Council included a period of updates from Allison on campus plans for National Mentoring Month (January 2012), new assistance measures for students studying abroad, lessons learned from the recent University of New Mexico Mentoring Institute, and upcoming development opportunities.

I believe I can speak for my fellow Mentoring Committee members when I say that I have found the two Councils we’ve been invited to attend to be quite beneficial, both in giving ideas for our own mentoring program and in making us aware off all the mentoring opportunities taking place around campus. We are quite fortunate to have Allison here at Wake Forest to serve as a resource and expert on mentoring, and all our programs are stronger as a result!

Molly “Emerged” at ALA

Friday, July 1, 2011 5:05 pm

Much of my ALA experience in New Orleans can be summarized in a list of “firsts”:
- first time at an ALA Annual conference (Midwinter was my first ALA anything!);
- first time presenting at a poster presentation (which I did twice!);
- first time attending a full ACRL Scholarly Communications Committee meeting (long (4 hours) but fascinating);
- first time the ACRL Scholarly Communication 101 Road Show program presenters met in person (for a very productive day-long curriculum planning retreat);
- first time touching an alligator (just a baby one…);
- first time eating a beignet (YUM);
- first time in NOLA (amazing).
As I continue to be involved with ALA and ACRL, I know that many of these firsts will be followed by seconds, thirds and so on, but happily they all combined this year for an overwhelmingly positive conference experience!

The most important reason I attended this ALA (and no, it wasn’t food-related, Facebook photos notwithstanding) was to complete my participation in the Emerging Leaders (EL) program. On Friday, our EL class had a morning leadership training and assessment session, followed by a lunch and “graduation” ceremony, then concluded the program with our afternoon poster session. The posters were outcomes of our six months’ project work, and I thought that all 16 teams did a great job designing interesting, engaging posters. As you might expect, there were a lot of QR codes around (our team used one), as well as Mardi Gras beads, buttons and other goodies to entice people to visit teams’ posters and learn more about our projects.

My EL project team (Team L) was tasked this past winter and spring with completing a webinar series feasibility study for the ALA Learning Round Table (LearnRT) board, which is launching a new Webinar Learning Series later this year. We began our research by identifying many webinar and e-learning series currently and previously in place, and then selecting 16 to assess on a number of criteria that included cost, timing, theme, platform, and promotion. After analyzing the collected data, we contacted organizers of 10 webinar series asking them to complete a detailed webinar assessment survey. The aim of the survey was to gain insight into elements of webinar series production that are less easily quantified or not publicly available (e.g., best practices, planning timelines, number of registrants or attendees, etc.). From the data we gathered and from that provided by the survey respondents (50% response rate), we drafted a report for the LearnRT board that outlines best practices, issues and implications for success, and recommendations for the new webinar series. We submitted our report to the LearnRT board prior to ALA, and several board members came to our poster session to thank us in person for doing a great job. If interested, you can read our report at our team’s ALA Connect page (and certainly ask me questions!).

As mentioned above, the EL poster session was just one of two I co-presented at ALA, but both involved our EL project poster. On Sunday afternoon, we rolled out our poster again at the annual LearnRT training showcase. Although we had lots of traffic and interest at Friday’s EL poster session, including Lauren P. and Steve, the folks we chatted with on Sunday were a more targeted audience, asking in-depth questions about our research and findings. I was very glad that LearnRT invited us to participate in the showcase, and look forward to the launch of the Webinar Learning Series as an outgrowth of our EL work.

Much of the rest of my ALA was spent at various scholarly communication-related presentations and meetings. The Road Show planning retreat was held on Thursday, the day before the conference started, so by the time Saturday morning rolled around, I’d already had two full days of activities. I did not slow much over the weekend, but fortunately didn’t have to dash between the convention center and hotels too often. I attended sessions covering library-university press partnerships, the Berlin Declaration on Open Access and the Berlin9 conference (to be held in the US for the first time this fall), and two on how best to advance scholarly communication and open access conversations on campuses. I was *thrilled* to attend one session on these issues sponsored by someone other than SPARC, the ACRL SC Committee, or the ALCTS SC Interest Group: on Monday morning, the ACRL Women and Gender Studies Section organized a panel addressing “21st Century Scholarly Communication: Conversation for Change.” I was very impressed by one panelist who unabashedly owned the failure of an open access journal she launched as a graduate student, as I believe that success and failure must be acknowledged, as both provide learning opportunities.

I’ve returned from ALA where I “emerged” officially, ate too much phenomenal food and became smitten with NOLA, but most importantly with lots of interesting ideas bouncing around my brain, not the least of which are some programming ideas for Open Access Week in October. Stay tuned!

At the Table at ACRL

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 10:16 am

As you’ve now realized, there was quite a ZSR contingent at the ACRL 2011 National Conference in Philadelphia last week. I was happily among them, enjoying my third ACRL conference and first real trip to Philly (airport connections don’t count). I arrived last Tuesday afternoon, and without a doubt, my overarching personal theme for this conference was “at the table”…and this is beyond all the great food I enjoyed!

My ACRL started Wednesday with a day-long curriculum planning retreat for the ARL-ACRL Institute on Scholarly Communication faculty. Although I am not an ISC faculty presenter, I was invited to attend the planning retreat as one of the ACRL SC 101 Road Show presenters. Being at the table with 13 others who are doing work similar to mine at various-sized institutions across North America was enlightening and energizing, and I’m still somewhat awed that I was asked to be at that table. After the retreat, I headed to the opening keynote address by filmmaker Tiffany Shlain. Although I cringed when she said that she now only looks online for archival footage for her documentaries, as I know there’s wonderful clips hidden away in archives worldwide, her perspective on accessibility and sharing were interesting. I also liked how she incorporated both video and still images into her slides. I completed my first day by meeting up with ZSR colleagues around three different tables in three different locations to share good food and great laughs.

Thursday found me at the table with several different vendors. My day started early with a SerialsSolutions vendor breakfast where I was introduced to Summon, a very cool search product that Roz discussed in her vendor post. I remember the early days of federated searching while in grad school, and while I could see the promise, the system I tried was clunky, ultimately proving frustrating for its inability to deliver the promise that was so clear. I was encouraged to see that Summon seems to solve those early problems. Feeling positive about vendors post-breakfast, I headed to the exhibit hall for a meeting with a BioMed Central representative to learn more about BMC institutional memberships and Springer’s open access initiatives – promising, but I’ll believe some of it only when I see it. After a disappointing morning session on virtues of “next gen” librarians – all of which I think should be virtues of any professional, regardless of age – and Roz’s fun Cyber Zed Shed session on QR codes, Mary Beth and I headed to an ebrary vendor luncheon to discuss ebooks. Conversation was honest, and driven primarily by suggestions from the librarians in attendance, although if ebrary plans to act on the desires expressed, they have a somewhat tall order ahead! My afternoon found me surveying tables in the Reading Market Terminal as I strolled through after lunch, catching up with a fellow Emerging Leader at a table at the back of the exhibit hall, and sitting on the floor behind a table at a maxed-out session on the Google Books Settlement. I did not hear anything new at the GBS discussion, but was encouraged by how many folks are actively engaged with digital access issues for in-copyright and orphaned books and picked up the Library Copyright Alliance’s updated GBS March Madness chart. My last official conference activity of the day was Raj Patel‘s awesome keynote, where I was thrilled to hear him acknowledging and championing the under-documented and uncompensated roles that women and girls play in our food economy. The evening’s events once again found me in the fun company of our ZSR colleagues, enjoying great food, Da Vinci’s brilliance, and fun music, sometimes on steps and sometimes around tables.

My Friday at ACRL was scholarly communication-intensive, with multiple sessions and conversations that touched upon the varied issues that fall under the broad SC umbrella. I was quite encouraged by the size of the crowd at an 8:30 session on why SC issues are important to non-ARL libraries. I had a very productive meeting around a tiny table at Old City Coffee with my co-presenter and one of our hosts for an upcoming Road Show in Minneapolis, after which Sarah (my co-presenter) and I headed to a three paper presentation on copyright lies retractions in biomedical publications, and the results of an SC survey. I nodded in agreement with many of the points raised by the authors of the paper on biomedical retractions, as they are a small but concerning problem. (Incidentally, this issue, especially how news media doesn’t always cover the retractions with nearly as much fanfare, is a great conversation starter for LIB 100 classes!) I also want to learn more about the copyright survey distributed to faculty and library staff at the University of Minnesota, as I’d be curious to see if a similar survey at WFU highlighted the same lies. My lunch was delayed in order to join a roundtable discussion on “Fostering a Culture of Sharing on Campus” that pulled together SC, copyright and institutional repository librarians for a fascinating conversation about engaging our faculty and students on SC issues. This roundtable led to an instructive spill-over conversation on the merits of copyright registration for ETDs, and the role of fair use and uncopyrightability of works reproduced within ETDs. Recharged after a late lunch and reflection break, I ended my SC-themed day at an invited paper, “Animating Archives: New Modes of Humanities Scholarship,” that had been commended by one of the ISC faculty at our retreat on Wednesday. Tara McPherson’s work is pushing the boundaries of what journals and books are and can be in digital forms, and I would love to see some of our WFU humanists involved in similar projects in the future. Following an ULS social, which was conveniently in a sports bar so I could easily keep tabs on the Opening Day baseball games (my beloved Red Sox have not started well, sigh), I ended Friday at the All Conference Reception at the National Constitution Center, where I eschewed both the museum exhibit and the table conversation in favor of twirling around the dance floor for a couple of hours!

Saturday’s tables all involved meals with ZSR colleagues as we wrapped up our ACRL experience and trekked home down I-95. Before leaving Philly, I managed one final trip to Reading Terminal Market for breakfast, a session on archiving considerations of born-digital materials, an intense monitoring of conference tweets (whereby I frustratingly realized that despite the interesting content of my session, I wish I’d been at the opposite end of the convention center in a different session…), and the closing keynote by Clinton Kelly, who was quite engaging…perhaps I should watch his show so I’ll be less out of the pop-culture loop?!

All in all, my ACRL experience was energizing, sending me home with new perspectives and ideas. Interestingly, there were fewer blatantly overarching SC sessions, which leads me to speculate – and hope! – that SC issues, which range from publishing to archiving to digital exploration to copyright law to innovation, are assimilating as fundamental issues around which enough interest has been built to require more targeted, specific sessions on the myriad aspects. If so, that would certainly echo and reinforce much of the conversation at the table where my ACRL began.

Molly at ScienceOnline 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011 6:09 pm

Two weeks ago, fresh on the heels of Midwinter, I hit the road again for yet another conference – ScienceOnline 2011. Fortunately SciO11 only had me traveling as far as the Sigma Xi headquarters in Research Triangle Park, where I spent the weekend learning about and debating the latest in the intersection of science, scholarship, blogging, openness, data, access, and a myriad of issues in between! You can see from the program page that there were a wide range of topics, and I attended sessions on everything from digital toolbox needs to open science to altmetrics to citations to blogging in the academy to ebooks in science.

This was my fourth year attending ScioO, but the first time I’ve been courageous enough to co-moderate a session. SciO follows an unconference format, and sessions are proposed and evolve on the conference wiki in the months leading up to the conference. After several well-organized but poorly attended librarian-led sessions at previous SciOs, when a group of SciO librarian veterans started brainstorming a topic for this year, we quickly concluded that we: a) needed to stay far away from the “L” word, and b) should partner with non-librarians (we’re the decided minority at SciO, not even achieving 10% representation; my first year, I think there were just 3 of us!).

So, Saturday morning, Kiyomi Deards (librarian), Steve Koch (scientist), and I led a session on “Data Discoverability: Institutional Support Strategies.” Although we initially thought that the conversation would center on how various university constituencies should collaborate to support the new NSF data management plan requirement, it steered in a broader direction, and Kiyomi and I spent some time discussing the current and possible future roles institutional repositories might play in data management support beyond NSF needs. As is wanted at SciO, the conversation took life among the participants, so being a co-moderator was not stressful. We had a full room (39 + the livestreaming video guys – so glad I didn’t know in advance we’d be livestreamed!), with tough questions and concerns being raised from all sides, and some very cool what-ifs being proposed for discovery app layers for IRs. I felt it was a very successful session, and I greatly appreciated the numerous non-librarians in the room who either defended the need for librarians to be involved in data management discussions or praised the librarians at their institutions with whom they’ve collaborated.

One interesting development this year: the sometimes heated debates about open access from previous SciOs was notably absent, with more discussion centering around the need to make data and the research process open. While I know this doesn’t mean that OA has been universally accepted by SciO attendees, it did give me hope that, at least for this group, that battle has been won – if you aren’t willing to make publications available, you likely wouldn’t be debating the merits of making the science and data *behind* them available.

All in all, the conversations, both in sessions and around Sigma Xi, were engaging and energizing; catching up with old friends and meeting new ones was fun; and SciO11 proved yet again that this is one of the best conferences I attend!

Molly’s Midwinter

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 12:38 am

My first Midwinter – also my first ALA conference experience – has been quite an adventure! Things kicked off Thursday evening with an unofficial dinner with about 30 of my fellow Emerging Leaders at a Thai restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego. I was grateful to have a casual setting in which to make connections, including with two of the other NC ELs and two of my project teammates. In addition to giving me evening plans my first night in a new city (always welcome), I also went into Friday’s day-long EL session more at ease since I knew many names and faces.

Friday’s Emerging Leaders training and planning session was informative and exciting. The EL program is designed to prepare new professionals for future leadership in ALA and its Divisions, and to that end we heard from several ALA “bigwigs” – Leslie Berger (the former president who launched EL), Molly Raphael (President Elect), and Keith Fiels (Executive Director) – about their experiences. All were inspiring and reassuring that the behemoth that is ALA is not impenetrable, and will become more manageable and personal as the 60,000+ cloud of ALA members condenses to friends and colleagues with whom we will have connection for the rest of our careers. They also encouraged us to question the status quo as we become more involved, as it is up to us (all of us!) to make ALA what we want it to be. We also received leadership training from Maureen Sullivan during which she deftly drew upon the ELs’ own experiences to help us identify principles and practices of strong leadership.

Beyond preparing us for future ALA leadership through inspiration and training, the EL program also prepares us for committee work by placing us on projects sponsored by ALA committees, round tables and Divisions. I am working on a project sponsored by the Learning Round Table (LearnRT) examining the feasibility of an ongoing webinar series. During the next six months, my teammates and I will assess current and previous webinar series, draft a report for LearnRT, and design a poster that we will present at Annual in NOLA on Friday, June 24. In a somewhat surprising circumstance, the five of us working on this project are all academic librarians, but the membership of LearnRT seems to lean more public than academic. It will be a good challenge for us to be cognizant of the different perspectives and needs of public librarians as we complete our project.

Following the EL training day, I dropped by the LearnRT Meet & Greet to introduce myself to the chair and members, then headed back to the hotel to catch up with Susan, Roz, Carolyn and Erik for a reunion dinner at yet another Thai restaurant in the Gaslamp. After dinner and a stop by Heavenly Cupcakes, where we bumped into Lauren C., I headed to the EL reception held in the President Elect’s suite at the headquarters hotel. If Molly Raphael’s suite is any indication, being ALA President definitely has its perks when it comes to conference housing! The EL reception was great fun, as I had the chance to meet more ELs as well as Past President Camila Alire, but my class of ELs might have taken the boundary-pushing encouragement too far, as we were so loud security threatened to shut us down. Talk about busting the quiet librarian stereotype!

Saturday and Sunday were overwhelmingly devoted to attending various scholarly communication-related sessions, including the ALCTS Scholarly Communication Discussion Group, the SPARC-ACRL Forum, the ACRL Scholarly Communications Committee Meeting, and the ACRL Scholarly Communications Discussion Group. All were quite informative, reassuring me that we are on the right track at WFU, and I happily reconnected with several of my fellow ACRL Scholarly Communication 101 Road Show faculty, whom I have not seen in person since the last ACRL conference in March 2009. I also attended the Washington Office’s Saturday morning panel on ebooks, where an over-full room had lots of difficult, detailed questions for the three experts: Brewster Kahle, Sue Polanka, and Tom Peters. I bumped into Steve on Sunday afternoon, and we went to hear the conversation between Nancy Pearl and Neil Gaiman, which was wonderful. Dinner both nights was spent in the company of various ZSR colleagues, with the welcome inclusion of Bill Kane (ZSR colleague by extension) Sunday evening.

For my final Midwinter day, I attended a book talk breakfast to which I’d received an invitation through the EL program, and took an extended tour of the vendor floor. I also attended three other vendor meals throughout the weekend, where I heard great speakers and met friendly librarians, including a former colleague of Carolyn and Erik’s from Pfeiffer and another who used to live in Winston-Salem where she worked as a school media specialist.

Of all my experiences, the most impacting was the frequency with which I bumped into people I knew. Be they ZSR colleagues (Wanda and Lauren P., sorry I never saw you!), fellow ELs, Road Show faculty, or librarians I met throughout Midwinter, I repeatedly spotted known faces, underscoring the point made at Friday’s EL session that although large, ALA truly can be personal. And the personal is professionally very satisfying and reassuring to me as I launch farther into ALA involvement!

Scholarly Communication & Liaison Outreach

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 5:44 pm

Today Molly and Mary Beth (and for a while, Lauren C.) watched the ARL-ACRL Institute on Scholarly Communication webinar, “Broader Library Involvement in Building Scholarly Communication Programs.” The goal of the webinar was share examples and provide ideas for institutions who wish to involve liaisons in scholarly communication (SC) outreach across campus. This webinar was a good follow-up to the ideas I shared at the August liaison meeting. The three presenters were Karen Williams, University of Minnesota; Mike Furlough, Penn State; and Doug Way, Green Valley State University.

The main take-away points were:

  • Part of liaisons’ SC outreach efforts should be framed by the question, “What do we do in libraries to help make faculty active in broader, global research communities?”; our faculty are collaborating with researchers at other institutions world-wide, and we should identify how we can support them
  • Institutional ownership for SC issues is essential; cannot be library-owned or -only
  • At UMN, the library has partnered with the research office to design librarian-taught courses for faculty that fulfill government funding agencies’ Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training requirement
  • Arranging a forum for faculty editors to come together at your institution to discuss publishing issues and concerns with SC and collection development staff
  • Emphasize the service an institutional repository supports, not the repository itself
  • Saying “No, we can’t really help with…” will serve us better in the long run than trying to take on supporting new services that go beyond our abilities, boundaries
  • Ultimately challenge will be answering questions of “Who cares? Why are you doing this when you can’t provide me all the journals I want?”
  • Liaison support for SC issues will vary from discipline to discipline

All in all, it was a worthwhile webinar in that it generated new ideas, and confirmed others that have been percolating. Liaisons, stay tuned for more SC outreach info!

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