On Friday, April 9, I attended the 2021 North Carolina Serials Conference virtually, as it is normally held at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill.  COVID-19 restrictions notwithstanding, the conference was still engaging in terms of content and participation from across the state and the region on a diverse array of topics.  That shift was acknowledged in opening remarks by Jon Gant, dean of the School of Library and Information Sciences at North Carolina Central University, who said that libraries- and especially library employees- had to make one this past year and to try and resolve the digital mismatch that exists.

Some of the sessions of note included:

  • An overview of the OA Switchboard which serves as an intermediary for industry standards and resources. Its overall goal is to simplify the complex relationship between funders, institutions, and publishers, and works with the Directory of Open Access Journals.
  • A report on electronic resource migration: from dual to unified management from one library’s migration to Alma. It was a parallel to what we faced last year during our own migration from Voyager to Alma but touched on the auxiliary systems we used for maintaining them such as Coral and Serials Solutions.  It was also comforting to see that we had done many things in a similar manner to address similar concerns.
  • Helping researchers evaluate journal quality as a professional application of information literacy. Some of the topics covered were vertical reading vs. lateral reading, peer-reviewed articles ending up in paper mills, and the ongoing problem of predatory publishing.
  • A presentation about Creative Commons licensing and informing faculty about using it in their own work.

In recent years, the conference has broadened its focus to expand beyond only the “serials” aspect, strictly speaking.  As the nature of what is defined as a continuing resource changes, the conference has continued to evolve to show those connections in terms of copyright and scholarly communication.

Finally, here’s one part of the in-person conference that I missed: sponsor interactions.  Sponsors helped to present this year’s conference as in previous years and gave updates regarding various products.  One thing that couldn’t be replicated on Zoom was walking up to a table to chat with those representatives in person about our service, give suggestions, and provide feedback.  Many of those sponsors had giveaways at their tables too, and here is one of the more interesting giveaways that I actually won, all 872 pages of it.