This is a guest post contributed by Sue Wiegand, Periodicals Librarian at Saint Mary’s College.
The Michiana Scholarly Communications Librarianship Conference is an opportunity for librarians to come together to share ideas on launching and leading scholarly communications initiatives. It is the only conference aimed specifically at smaller and mid-sized academic libraries, and is sponsored by Indiana University South Bend (the conference venue) and Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN. Librarians can network and discuss ideas related to the new scholarly communications landscape, exchange ideas and best practices, and hear expert speakers on the topics of repositories, copyright, digital scholarship centers, Open Access, metrics, and technological tools. This one-day conference covers Scholarly Communications librarianship from theory to practice—the why and the how-to-do-it of librarians leading and advocating for reform in scholarly communications. The second annual Michiana Scholarly Communications Librarianship Conference was held October 23rd, 2015.
Up and running
The conference opened with a presentation on “Library-based Digital Scholarship Centers: An example from the University of Notre Dame,” by Matthew Sisk and Julie Vecchio at the Center for Digital Scholarship at Hesburgh Libraries, University of Notre Dame. Matthew, who helped launch the Center in 2013 as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation, is now the GIS and Anthropology Librarian. Julie is the Digital Scholarship Coordinator, managing the day-to-day operations at the Center. Together, they told a story of building relationships with campus researchers through partnerships, special events, consultations, referrals, technology “translating”, workshops, and credit courses. Using experimental pedagogical approaches, they used results from a survey on researcher needs to implement and promote popular innovations as disparate as digital video and multi-media recording to standing-height furniture. The result was a mix of spaces, furniture, and technology that is continuing to build into a valuable researcher enterprise focused on the digital future.
The second presentation, “It Takes a Library: Growing a Robust Institutional Repository at Eastern Illinois University,” featured librarians Todd Bruns (Institutional Repository Librarian) and Stacey Knight-Davis (Head of Library Technology Services) talking about digital content recruitment for their institutional repository—adding content quickly (1,000 documents the first year!) and raising awareness using a variety of strategies. Starting with student theses, which remain the most popular content, they also added media collections; digitized the yearbook with grant funding; hosted a journal; posted archive images and historical documents; added datasets, theatre productions, botanical garden plates, a local newspaper, herbarium light-box specimens, syllabi, Open Educational Resources, learning objects, and notable undergraduate award work. Reaching out to students and faculty and developing community connections paid off. In the future, they are looking at raising more awareness with testimonials from early adopters, daily download emails, using Google maps to show faculty members’ research downloads anywhere in the world (with many faculty posting this on their own social media), and working with liaisons.
Getting in to metrics
The next topic, social media metrics, was covered by Cassidy Sugimoto in “Challenges and Opportunities with Social Media Metrics.” Cassidy, a faculty member at the School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University Bloomington, specializes in scholarly communication and scientometrics and spoke via Skype. She explained the ideological shift—looking at the effect of research beyond the academy to the effect on society. Citation counts (or bibliometrics) measure publications. Societal impacts of scholarship, made more visible through altmetrics, can show higher human engagement, sometimes providing a more valuable individual assessment of researchers. Social media, in spite of its shortcomings—such as non-diverse profiles and the lack of standardization and validation—may actually provide a better diffusion path for scholarly knowledge as well as the means to quantify it. The power of libraries is in advocacy: for instance, raising awareness of Open Access policies, and beginning conversations about altmetrics policies related to rank and tenure decisions both provide opportunities to connect with researchers.
Finally, in this second annual Michiana Scholarly Communications Librarianship Conference, Nazareth A. Pantaloni of Indiana University Libraries, the Copyright Program Librarian in the Scholarly Communication Department, again provided a wide-ranging overview and “Introduction to Copyright and Fair Use in Classroom Instruction” for librarians. The law hasn’t kept up with the technology, so while the current Copyright Act, from 1976, covers traditional classroom uses, more analysis is needed for virtual classrooms and new technologies. Fair Use in academic libraries, the 21st Century classroom and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Code of Best Practices were illustrated with examples and cases including Georgia State and HathiTrust.
A final question and answer session included all, with lots of interaction. Questions that emerged had to do with longitudinal prognostication—where is scholarly communication going?—adaptive technology, outreach and engagement, Creative Commons licensing, and takedown notices. Then discussion circled back to librarians, leadership, and advocacy in scholarly communications. Librarians continue to try to keep up with the dynamic changes in technology and scholarly communications, while finding time for building and maintaining relationships with researchers—a key theme.