Archive for June, 2008

American Library Association goes Disney

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Thousands upon thousands of librarians–public, academic, special collections, and more–will be converging on Anaheim this weekend for the American Library Association’s annual convention.  I will be attending for the first time and hope to post some of my observations and notes here, if not during the convention, then afterward.  Since I did not enter academic librarianship through the conventional route (i.e., I have a subject Ph.D. rather than a library degree), this will be something of a cultural immersion experience for me.  And since I have never had the pleasure of visiting Disneyland (or Disney anything, for that matter), this will also be a cultural experience of a different sort, I expect.

Scholarly communication?

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

I recently surveyed faculty and grad students in the English and Comp Lit Departments here at UCLA to see what terminology would get them to click on a web link if they wanted information pertaining to copyright, intellectual property, dissemination of research, academic publishing, and so on.  Here in the library, we lump all this stuff under the heading “scholarly communication.”  But in the survey, “scholarly communication” was roundly rejected by all respondents.  Not much of a surprise there.  Here are the results I got:

A. creating and using scholarship (or scholarly output) – 6%
B. scholarly communication – 0
C. copyright and IP issues – 72%
D. Other, please specify – 22% (“Publishing and Intellectual Property” or “Issues in Scholarly Publishing”; “Electronic Scholarship” or “Virtual Academic Publishing Issues”; “Copyright, Publication, and Intellectual Property Issues”; “Publishing Resources and Services”)

We will definitely use this feedback to inform the web resources we are in the process of designing for our campus community.  The “we” here refers to the Scholarly Communication Steering Committee of the UCLA Library, of which I am a member. 

The library world is not likely to jettison the term “scholarly communication” anytime soon.  That said, important and relevant resources are springing up everywhere, so scholars should be able to find information they need regarding copyright, intellectual property, dissemination of research, academic publishing, etc., as long as they know where to look for it.  One great resource of which I recently became aware is CreateChange.org, a campaign spearheaded by The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition).  Clearly, scholars need help when negotiating author agreements with publishers or when deciding what qualifies as fair use in the classroom, but the issues of scholarly communication go beyond these.  Traditional modes of scholarly communication—including but not limited to book and journal publication—need to transform to accommodate new modes of scholarship and to ensure that this scholarship is accessible to as many scholars as possible in perpetuity. More than anything, there needs to be a shift in the culture of scholarship and publishing in higher education and this is where CreateChange.org comes in.