Day/Time: Monday, May 10, 4:00 PM to 5 PM

Meet Rebus Ink: An open, values-driven research workflow tool for the Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences


  • Zoe Wake Hyde, Rebus Foundation


Rebus Ink is an open source research workflow tool, designed to support arts, humanities and social science researchers to manage and draw insights from their collected sources. With funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the project team is developing the tool and its supporting structures in line with open values. This includes facilitating open research practices, modelling organisational practices that are central to progressing an open agenda (releasing code with an open license, publishing reports and research findings openly etc.), and engaging with expansive notions of openness, transparency and community engagement to guide our way.

This session will begin by sharing our research into the problems facing researchers as they construct makeshift workflows for their digital and print content, then introduce Rebus Ink tool and its key features. It will then explore the design principles and guiding values for the project as a whole, and detail the ways in which the project team is seeking to contribute to the open ecosystem beyond the tool itself.

This starts with actively pushing against accepted “conventional wisdom” and the reproduction of existing patterns of research behaviour, instead taking a non-hierarchical approach to source collections, and creating output-neutral working spaces that value thinking and reflection as much as a journal article, book chapter or podcast script. It is furthered by a design approach that centres user agency, prioritises privacy and offers transparency to users around decisions made by the project team. It continues with a commitment to creativity and experimentation in business model design, prioritising sustainability and access over profit and exclusivity. And finally, it is underpinned by an organisational structure that models transparency and ethical labour practices.

Let’s Get Packing: How the Laurier Library partnered with the Bookstore and Printing Services to take over Coursepack Publishing


  • Lauren Bourdages, Copyright and Reserves Supervisor, Wilfrid Laurier University Library
  • Melanie Ross, Copyright and Reserves Associate, Wilfrid Laurier University Library


Course readings are of vital importance to university students. They’re a central element of teaching and learning. As traditional proprietary textbooks become more and more expensive instructors are trying to find ways to move away from them. Enter printed course packs and electronic course reserves, two overlapping services provided by most post-secondary institutions. These services are even more important in light of the current move to widespread remote and online learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 2018 academic year, the Course Reserves office at the Laurier Library became a publisher for the first time as a partnership between the Library, the campus Bookstore, and the University’s Printing Services department was realised. After a year of work building a process, the Library took over the copyright clearance and publication of the university’s print course packs intending to transfer as many course packs from print to digital using the library’s course reserves service. After almost three full years what have we learned from this partnership? In this presentation, we’ll cover those lessons along with why we took on the publishing role, how it worked, and how things stand during the pandemic.

Community Espress-ion: the Espresso Book Machine, public libraries, and the development of creative communities


  • Elizabeth Murtough, University College Dublin


The public library plays an important role in ongoing efforts to facilitate civic and creative engagement in connected communities. According to Conrad (2017), the library has the potential to expand engagement efforts especially in the publishing sector. While a lesser discussed area of research relative to university library publishing, public library publishing, as evidenced by Kniffel (1989) and Williams (1987), has a long, dynamic history as a medium for community engagement and the development of richer localised collections. As Conrad (2017) argues, public library programs that make self- or micropublishing available can amplify the role of the library as a ‘true archive’ of its locality. Consequently, public library publishing programs can mirror Stanley’s (2007) claim of the role of scholarly library publishing in challenging the master narrative and creating space for voices and ideologies otherwise institutionally marginalized.

At present, the most commonly used tool for print-on-demand publishing is the Espresso Book Machine (EBM), a 2003 technology spearheaded by publisher and editor Jason Epstein. The EBM is capable of printing a vast catalogue of books on demand through its EspressNet database, but can also be used by self-publishers and micropublishers for small print runs (Koerber, 2012; Espresso Book Machine, 2015). Situating the latter use within the Maker Movement, Koerber argues that the EBM can empower communities through creative collaboration and connected learning. This tool, therefore, has the potential to expand creative community engagement where deployed within, and leveraged by, local public libraries.

This presentation will use program and cost models as well as community responses for extant EBM installations to look forward to a future where such mechanisms are available to expand the range of locally published voices and the role of the library in community development. A bibliography will be provided to interlocutors to facilitate further thinking on the topic.