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Strengthening my network of scholarly communication colleagues was the highlight of ALA this time around. The sessions I attended were only average, although the copyright in media session provided welcome details on copyright issues I rarely encounter. But my meetings, both formal and informal, were excellent!
ACRL Scholarly Communications Roadshow Presenters Retreat
My ALA kicked off with a planning retreat for the Roadshow presenters group. For the first time since launching the program, we completed all 5 Roadshows of the 2013 season *before* ALA (yep, that’s right: we did 5 in 5 weeks + 1 day, in three different time zones!). While we all arrived in Chicago a bit travel worn (thankfully we all don’t do all workshops), being able to reflect on an entire season of workshops – especially since we overhauled our curriculum this year – was fruitful. We feel confident that the new curriculum works, and have some exciting ideas for new exercises and activities to enhance the improved curriculum next year. We also discussed potential “next step” virtual programming ideas. There’s a risk with any program that has been running for 5 years that it will grow stale, or that one will become disenchanted by it, but our team has done an excellent job evolving the program to maintain relevance and keep it fresh for presenters. In fact, the Roadshow I co-presented in May in Bloomington, IL, was my best to date!
ACRL Research & Scholarly Environment Committee Meeting
ReSEC, formerly the Scholarly Communications Committee, is a fascinating committee to be part of, and I’m delighted to have been reappointed through June 2015. In addition to doing important work for ACRL, supporting one of the three goals of the ACRL Plan for Excellence, ReSEC works beyond ACRL in the larger scholcomm field. As such, part of our committee meeting includes updates from the field from representatives of SPARC, ARL, COAPI (the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions, of which ZSR was a founding member), and SCOAP3. Strong conversation and insightful Q&A with our guest representatives makes sticking to the agenda timetable difficult, but the field updates are worthwhile. SPARC and ARL are closely monitoring the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy’s February charge to Federal agencies with $100m+ annual R&D expenses to have a plan by the end of July for making research publicly available via (an) archive(s), a la the NIH Public Access Policy. To that end, ARL is spearheading SHARE, a proposal to support agency archiving via a federated system of IRs around the US (publishers have an alternate proposal, CHORUS). ARL is also looking to partner with ACRL to offer a session on assessing and evaluating scholcomm programs sometime in 2014. COAPI has grown to 58 member institutions since its launch two years ago. SCOAP3 is in the process of working with publishers and libraries to convert subscriptions to high-energy physics journals to a shared access membership-type system. Within ReSEC, we will be overhauling the Toolkit (presumably in time for Open Access Week in October) and assisting in the transition of the CRLN scholcomm column from bimonthly to monthly.
Out ‘n About, Meeting People
As mentioned at the beginning, strengthening my network by connecting with known and new colleagues was the standout of ALA for me. I attended three group dinners while in Chicago, including one, organized by a publisher, at which I met two ASERL colleagues: Mary Page, AUL at University of Central Florida, and Bill Garrison, Dean at University of South Florida. I met Leah Dunn, the new(ish) library director at UNC-Asheville, who is joining me on ReSEC, and is looking to build scholcomm awareness at UNCA. I also met in person several people I already knew online, including Cathy Sarli from Washington University in St. Louis with whom I’ve published and co-presented a webinar but never overlapped at conference, and two personal friends, one who lives in Chicago and one in town for ALA. I bumped into several ZSR colleagues around the conference center and Chicago, sometimes for conversation, other times for a quick wave and hello. And since Lauren Pressley and I have a habit of being roomies for “Camp ALA,” I had quality time catching up with her!