Intersections

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June 8, 2021

Intersections: Connecting and Collaborating – Reflections of a Consortial Library Publisher

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Intersections is an occasional series where community members reflect on what they are seeing in other parts of their professional world and what library publishers can learn from it. 


By Amanda Hurford, Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI)

A conference icebreaker recently posed the question: How do you describe your job to someone who has no idea what it is that you do? For me, this can be a difficult question to answer since working for a library consortium falls outside the boundaries of traditional librarianship.  So, when I describe what I do to someone who knows nothing of the world of library consortia, I typically say something like: “I work for a non-profit organization that connects people and works together to develop services at private college libraries across Indiana.” 

My actual job title is Scholarly Communications Director for the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI). For the last four years, I’ve been working to develop a scholarly communications community of practice by connecting with a group of engaged librarians across the 24 PALNI-supported institutions.  We created a Schol Comm advisory group, led by a steering committee, and driven with the efforts of several work-focused teams administering programs for the consortium.  Some specific projects have been developing an open source consortial institutional repository (Hyku for Consortia), establishing our group affordable learning program (PALSave), statewide digitization of scarcely held resources (PALNI Last Copies), and finally, operationalizing publishing services for the PALNI Press.

When I started this position, I was excited for a change of pace and to work at a statewide scale.  As a former metadata and digital collections librarian, the concepts of consortia and scholarly communication were generally familiar to me.  But it’s been a whirlwind of learning about the growing consortial involvement in that space, and a significant shift, for me, working so collaboratively in every phase of a project.

For library publishers, here are some important things to know about consortia:

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June 2, 2021

Intersections: Library Publishing and Scholarly Societies

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Intersections is an occasional series where community members reflect on what they are seeing in other parts of their professional world and what library publishers can learn from it. 


By Lauren B. Collister, Director, Office of Scholarly Communication and Publishing, University of Pittsburgh Library System, lbcollister@pitt.edu, @parnopaeus

Many people who come to librarianship have a background in a particular discipline of scholarship. In my case, this disciplinary experience is not just in the past, but rather an ongoing engagement with a scholarly discipline through work for a scholarly society. This work not only gives me insight into the lived experiences of scholars in my discipline who are attempting to carry out the open scholarship and publishing practices that we in the Library Publishing community often advocate for, but also presents opportunities for me to share resources and knowledge that can help the society and its members with their work. I hope that by sharing my experience with one scholarly society, I can inspire other people in our field to consider engaging with a disciplinary scholarly society as a way to not only develop and hone your own skills, but also to bring the practices and values of the library publishing community to the disciplines.

In my case, my scholarly background is in linguistics, and the scholarly society for linguists in the United States is the Linguistic Society of America (LSA). I was a student member during my PhD days; not only was I involved as a local host for the conference when it was in Pittsburgh, but I also took advantage of several of the training workshops as well as the job listings. When I transitioned to library work in 2013 with a new position in the library publishing program at the University Library System, University of Pittsburgh, my membership in the society lapsed for a few years because I was very busy learning about my new job. However, when I heard that the LSA was planning its 2016 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., and that part of the conference would include an Advocacy Day at the Capitol and meetings with Senators and Representatives, I was excited to sign up again to go back to the LSA conference.

The opportunity to advocate for linguistics, the discipline where I first felt like a scholar, was what drew me back to the Society, and while at the Annual Meeting I discovered another opportunity: the newly-formed Committee on Scholarly Communication in Linguistics. I attended the first meeting and immediately signed up. As a Scholarly Communications Librarian with a PhD in Linguistics, what more perfect service opportunity could there be?

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May 4, 2021

Intersections: Not Quite a Librarian, Not Quite a Publisher: What It’s Like to Work for a Library and a University Press

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Intersections is an occasional series where community members reflect on what they are seeing in other parts of their professional world and what library publishers can learn from it. 


By Annie Johnson, Assistant Director of Open Publishing Initiatives and Scholarly Communications, Temple University @anniekjohn

For the past five years, I have worked for both Temple University Libraries and Temple University Press. Library colleagues at other institutions tend to assume I work for the Press. Press colleagues tend to assume I work for the Libraries. The truth is a bit more nuanced: much of my work involves leading what might be considered typical scholarly communication initiatives within the Libraries. However, my supervisor is the Director of the Press, Mary Rose Muccie, and I support the Press in important ways, particularly when it comes to open access and born-digital projects. That work has involved publishing the Press’s first digital companion to a print book, serving as the primary investigator for an NEH grant to digitize and make openly available out-of-print Press books in labor studies, and launching Temple’s instance of the digital publishing platform Manifold, which the Press now uses as a portal for its open access books. Most recently, we started a joint Libraries/Press imprint, North Broad Press, that publishes open textbooks written by Temple faculty. 

Temple University Press is one of a number of presses that reports to its library. This is an increasingly common situation, which has resulted in the creation of positions like mine that try to bridge the two organizations. Despite its prevalence, some in scholarly publishing still worry about presses reporting to libraries, and question whether such a relationship actually benefits university presses. I understand the concerns, especially when these changes happen during moments when the larger university is in crisis. But I was not hired to dismantle or replace the work of the Press. Quite the opposite: I help the Press experiment with new publishing models in ways that they would simply not have the capacity to do otherwise. My involvement does not take away from the excellent work the Press staff are doing, it enhances it. I help get Temple University Press books out to more people around the globe while strengthening the Press’s relationship with the larger university. (more…)