Last week, we had Micah Vandegrift (of Hack Library School and In the Library with the Lead Pipe fame) come in to talk with us about a topic I get really excited about: Open access and scholarly communication. I tweeted the talk, and saved the tweets here. I’m really excited that OA is picking up steam, and I’m looking forward to seeing it continue to blossom in the years to come!
Staying Informed, One Listserv at a Time
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything besides funding updates (grad school will do that to you!) but I have been wanting to post something on listservs for a while. I’m of the opinion that listservs are a stellar way to stay informed about the field, learn about funding and conferences, and more. In fact, several of the publications I’ve been involved in were ones I learned about through listservs. This is especially great for students and new professionals, who are still feeling out their place in the field and want to learn from others. They are also great for anyone who wants to keep up to date on funding opportunities and calls for papers (two of my big focuses right now!)
Below is my “list of lists”–websites that you can go to and sign up for listservs that interest you. Since my focus is in LIS, Social Sciences, and the Humanities, that’s where I have focused my attention–if you know of a similar site I haven’t included, feel free to add it!
ALA Mailing List Service: All the listservs run through the American Library Association. I am an ALA member, but it looks like non-members can sign up too. Just follow the instructions when you hit ‘subscribe.’ After you complete the steps the first time, your e-mail address will be subscribed to other lists with one click.
H-Net Discussion Networks: H-Net (Humanities and Social Sciences online) is an awesome resource. They have calls for participation, conference alerts, and a heaping helping of listservs spanning just about every interest. By adding yourself to the lists you are most interested in, you’ll get updates from H-Net (which is very extensive and daunting to browse through) that are relevant to your chosen topics.
Conference Alerts: Most people I know haven’t heard of this one, which makes me feel like I am sharing some great secret with them. This site is incredible–it lists conferences from all over the world and across disciplines. You can search by country or topic. You can also sign up for e-mail alerts that you can customize to include whatever topics you want and whatever countries you want (I have mine set to tell me about conferences in all countries.) Then you’ll get occasional e-mails with a list of upcoming conferences that meet your criteria. I like to browse the list not only to find what conferences I might attend, but also to see if any of my current projects might fit into a call for papers.
WikiCFP: A resource for calls for papers in science and technology. You can sign up for an account, and create your own list of topics you want CFPs for. They also alert followers to new CFPs on Twitter (@WikiCFP.)
Publishing in LIS: Marrying Theory and Practice
Today B Sides Journal hosted a lunchtime presentation by Dr. Jim Elmborg about publishing for LIS students. Jim is incredibly insightful and deeply passionate about the success of his students, which meant that we walked away with some great perspective on publication in our field. I wanted to share my notes from the talk so other students and professionals can benefit from his ideas! The talk was incredible, and I am going to focus on a few of the big take-aways that will help me as I continue to publish and encourage LIS students to do the same.
1. Examine your motives: *Why* is it that you want to publish? Are you just doing it because you’re required to or want a line on your resume, or are you doing it because you love to investigate problems and share ideas? It’s important to check your motives to make sure that it’s something you genuinely want to do (as Jim said, you don’t want to be in a place where you’re required to publish but don’t have a desire to.) Once you’ve decided you want to write this research, start looking at ways to build up your writing habits. Jim draws from fiction writing tools that I plan to draw on as I continue writing. First, never quit writing for the day without knowing what your next paragraph will be. When you start writing next, it will be much easier because you already have a clear direction and know what you need to do next. Also, look at the iceberg metaphor (what you’re writing is only a part of the knowledge that you have that’s informing your perspective.) The more you write, the more you’ll feel frustrated (or at least I do) by not having a chance to put in every piece of information you know. For most things you write, no one will want to read a 5-10 page lit review, a detailed description of every theory that you’re drawing from, or an agonizingly long and tedious breakdown of your library’s usage statistics. These things have their place (enter, footnotes) but you are going to have a lot more going on than will fit nicely in the paper. If you find that your paper represents your exhaustive knowledge of the topic, it’s time to go back and look at it further.
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LIS education, Advocacy, and the Future of Librarianship
A lot of discussion has been circulating about the future of librarianship in response to comments made by Jeffrey Trzeciak (of McMaster University) indicating that he wouldn’t hire any more librarians, preferring instead to give certain positions to people in IT or with PhDs. I agree that in many instances you might want to consider candidates from a variety of backgrounds, but to discount librarians (especially coming from the University Librarian himself!) is an indication of how deeply our field is misunderstood. I first read about it through Jenica Rogers’ post, which I think provides a great intro to the subject and some awesome perspective on why we need advocacy as professionals (not just as a profession or as institutions.) My fellow Hack Library School editors, along with Courtney Walters and a few others, began discussing the topic via Twitter (I was at work, so didn’t get to jump in until after the fact!) If you’re interested in seeing the discussion, look for #savelibrarians. In addition, some blog posts have started going up to discuss our future as professionals–a great post in particular is Courtney Walter’s discussion of our identity crisis as librarians/info pros.
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>Friday was “Unpacking the ‘Library’: Exploring Works in Progress Across the Field of LIS.” This conference was significant for me not only because I had a blast as an audience member, but because it was the first conference I have helped to plan and run. Our goal with the conference was to use it as an extension of B Sides Journal‘s dual mission of professional development and education, and it was a resounding success! I’m planning on writing another post on the process of planning a student-run conference, but for this one I wanted to focus on sharing some of the takeaways from all of the awesome presentations!
>Diversity in LIS Education
>A couple things have happened lately that have caused me to spend some serious time contemplating diversity issues in LIS. The first was a post made on a professional listserv I follow. One individual shared a letter she had written to Iowa legislators about a number of issues, including library funding. She mentioned that the letter included other issues, but that she shared it on the list for those who were struggling to find words when talking to elected officials about libraries. For those of you who aren’t from Iowa, you may or may not know that a lot of people here are very divided at the moment over the issue of gay marriage, and the fact that this woman’s letter included mention of her support for gay marriage was upsetting to some other list members.
One member’s response was basically, “if she wants to go against what THE BIBLE says, that’s her right, but keep libraries out of it.” I tend to stay away from angry listserv discussions (people get riled up about everything from tuna fish to book boards on the lists I follow, and most of the time I just sigh and delete the thread), but this instance was one where I felt compelled to respond and say that the list included non-Christian individuals, and that not only did that response make them uncomfortable, it took time and attention away from the library issues the list was created to discuss. I did not mention my stance on gay marriage in the hopes that I could diffuse things rather than add my own anger to the discussion (but, for the record, I’m an ardent supporter!) I also wanted to avoid belittling the author’s views, because she has most likely formed them with as much care as I have formed my own.
>Check out the #HackLibSchool Blog!
>For LIS students and new professionals, I have glorious news! You might remember me talking about Hack Library School in various posts. Basically it started out as a shared space for everyone to talk about their experiences in LIS programs and give advice to others. Now, it has evolved even further into a collaborative blog! I’m excited that Micah Vandegrift (who came up with the project and has worked really hard to make it awesome) asked if I wanted to be a part of the next stage. The answer, of course, was yes! So, I’ll be blogging here, and I’ll be blogging at the HLS site too! We have some great ideas for topics to discuss and for series of posts (check out Micah’s Two Minute Insights). I’m very excited about today’s post, where each of us talked a little about our experiences in different conference settings. It’s a great read, especially for students getting ready to go to conferences! Is there a topic you want us to cover? Questions you have? Post them here or on the HLS blog!
>Keeping the Creativity Alive
>I’ve mentioned before how much I love LIS as a field where folks are creative, active, and engaged with others. I have been so fortunate to connect with people around the country (and some around the world) who challenge and inspire me! One of the first things I tell prospective or new LIS students is what a great potential there is for trying out new ideas in a non-judgmental environment, and most importantly, having a lot of fun while thinking up new ways to look at the field or to make it better. Looking for inspiration? I’ve compiled a short list of folks who have been very inspirational to me and who have challenged me to try new things.
>Academia.edu’s Journal List
>This article was brought to my attention today, and it discusses the creation of Academia.edu’s list of journals. For those who’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably remember my earlier post where I mention it as a great resource for new LIS students. For those who haven’t read the blog for that long, Academia.edu is a site I love because it’s a social networking site for academics: I love getting to connect with folks all over the world, and I wouldn’t have found them otherwise!
The reason folks are excited about Academia.edu’s journal list is that you can follow journals online and receive updates, but you also benefit from the social component (i.e. what are my fellow students/professors reading to stay current?) The article mentions another site (ticTocs) that allows you to search journals in a similar way, although I don’t have any experience with it.
I just went through and added a smattering of journals to my list (you can view them here), and I was pretty impressed by the selection. However, there was one big discrepancy I noticed, and that was a lack of Open Access journals! I’m sure there are some OA journals in the list (although I didn’t have the time to go through all of the thousands of entries to verify that), but I could not find my favorites, like First Monday, B Sides, and Library Student Journal. I love that they are open to suggestions, however, and so I hit the ‘suggest a new journal’ button and fired away! As OA becomes a more accepted venue for scholarly publication, I’m excited to see these journals get more recognition and more followers! If you don’t have an Academia.edu account, I would definitely recommend getting one. Once you do, just go to this link and start following! And make sure to suggest journals you don’t see, I bet they would appreciate having an even more comprehensive list!
>My World War I Research is Finished!
>Tomorrow everyone on this side of the pond will be tucking in to large plates of food in celebration of Thanksgiving. That holiday came a day early for me when I (finally!) finished writing my paper on World War I-era Iowa libraries. The project evolved a lot from when I started about a year ago, and I ended up with a paper that is about 190 pages long (including tables, bibliography, etc.) I learned a lot about my writing style and about how I work best, and I think a few of those things might be good to jot down here for my fellow students (in LIS programs or otherwise) who are undertaking large writing projects:
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