Open in order to support citizen science

Open in order to support citizen science

I happened to hear an episode of the TED Radio Hour yesterday called “Citizen Science.” As I listened to the segment with Sharon Terry who, with her husband, tackled the rare genetic disease with which both their children had been diagnosed, it struck me how incredibly lucky they were to have been in the Boston area with easy access to incredible research Library collections and top-notch academic bookstores. Without this access, it would have been extremely difficult for them to access, read, and interpret the hundreds of articles they located on the rare disease PXE. With this access, they were able to learn, research, and force promotion and tenure-seeking scientists to collaborate.

This story represents why open access is so important. How many more citizen science advances could affect real lives if more “average people” had access to scientific and medical research? How much research and how many cures could be found if academic institutions reimagined the promotion and tenure system to embrace openness and collaboration above grant dollars and patents? I can only imagine.

Research should be open in order to support citizen scientists.


Reflections on ILDS 2017

Reflections on ILDS 2017

I recently returned from the 2017 Interlending & Document Supply Conference (ILDS). I always enjoy ILDS because it is the only time I get to see some of my non-US friends and get out of my American bubble. This year’s conference was no exception. I reconnected with my Italian friends, made new “in real life” friends from around the world, and saw more of my American friends than expected too.

In addition to wonderful people, there were interesting and informative programs. Here are just a few of the highlights.

Stephen Wyber filled us in on IFLA‘s activities and the important role of resource sharing in their efforts. We are the ones that can provide them with the front line stories of how copyright inhibits information sharing.

I learned more about Open Access Button development efforts from Joseph McArthur. This work has the potential to greatly enhance library services around discovery and delivery. I’m really excited about the possibilities!

There were several presentations around collection strategies, particularly regarding faculty involvement, that were really helpful to work currently happening at my library. I hope to adapt a lot of what Micquel Little and David McCaslin shared for my own environment. You can find David’s paper here.

I also enjoyed hearing Giovanna Colombo talk about NILDE‘s international ILL survey, which was similar to surveys conducted by the ALA RUSA STARS International ILL Committee. (I was involved with the Committee’s first two surveys.) There were many similarities in the issues identified. Some problems are universal! You can find the slides from Giovanna’s presentation on the NILDE blog.

Overall, a very successful conference in one of my favorite cities.

If you’re interested in what I talked about, you can find my paper and presentation in IUPUI ScholarWorks.




Learning Leadership

Learning Leadership

I’ve participated in a number of leadership programs, all of which have been useful in their own way. However, the actual leadership practices typically fall by the wayside as I return to the daily grind of work. All that has changed.

In August, I participated in the Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians (LIAL) offered by the Harvard Graduate School of Education in collaboration with ACRL. I’ve been ruminating on the experience ever since and am finally ready to share a few thoughts.

I think my leadership capacity has naturally developed over the years, but LIAL helped me to more clearly see my strengths and weaknesses, built my confidence, and convinced me that I need to focus on the next step in my career. Since returning, I’ve been much more focused on my own leadership journey. I’m planning and reflecting. I’m using the four frames to think through issues. I’m putting myself out there. I’m making a concerted effort to continue developing my leadership skills on my own.

In addition to the insights, learning, and amazing instructors, I also met some pretty incredible classmates. I hope they will become lifelong friends.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted here, but my LIAL experience inspired me to share. If you have the opportunity to go to LIAL, I strongly encourage you to do so.

Service is Resource Sharing

For various reasons, I’ve been reflecting a lot on service* lately. Through this reflection, some things about myself have started to coalesce in my mind. As I mentioned in a previous post, my path to librarianship was not direct. However, every job I’ve ever had has been based in service in some way (though not necessarily service as defined by my *). I don’t know which came first, my service jobs or my service ethos. Whatever the order, I can’t remember a time when service wasn’t important to me. It is essential to me to be of service both in and to my work and to ensure that my service is high quality. As a librarian, I have spent ten years developing a program of service that benefits my library, my university, and my profession. Along the way, I’ve also accrued benefits in the form of personal satisfaction and a network of friends and colleagues that I can turn to when I need support.

I recently read Cal Newport‘s So Good They Can’t Ignore You in which he argues that passion for your work is something that grows with time rather than something innate. It’s only through building “career capital” and cashing it in for more creativity, impact and control that we become truly happy in our work. That has certainly been the case for me. I didn’t come to librarianship with a burning passion for it, but my happiness and passion have grown over time. Without realizing it, I have become, at my professional core, a resource sharing librarian with a commitment to providing access to information in all its forms. Resource sharing has become my life philosophy, extending far beyond the sharing of library materials. I see service as yet another form of resource sharing. Whether it be sharing my librarian perspective in faculty governance, sharing my experiences and expertise through mentoring, or sharing my knowledge in professional committees, it is all resource sharing. It is all service. It is only through sharing our personal resources and serving our communities that we can hope to achieve collective success.

* I’m defining service here as applying one’s “knowledge, skills, and expertise as an educator, a member of a discipline or profession, or a participant in an institution to benefit students, the institution, the discipline or profession, and the community in a manner consistent with the missions of the university and the campus.” ~ from Service at Indiana University: Defining, Documenting, and Evaluating (1999). Indianapolis, IN: Center for Public Service and Leadership.

Open access isn’t the end of resource sharing

Originally published on the IUPUI University Library Center for Digital Scholarship blog, April 19, 2016,

IUPUI University Library’s mission is to Inform, Connect, and Transform. The work I do as a resource sharing librarian is the literal fulfillment of our mission to Connect. My entire career as a librarian has focused on providing our users with access to the information resources they need to be successful in their teaching, research, and learning. I am, in fact, a self-proclaimed librarian devoted to resource sharing. As such, my interest in open access is no surprise. Though some have heralded open access as the death knell of our oldest resource sharing service, interlibrary loan (ILL), I believe it enhances my ability to connect University Library’s users to information. Open access isn’t the end of resource sharing; it is resource sharing.

The amount of information available is overwhelming, and it can be difficult for people to locate what they need even if it is open access. Resource sharing practitioners have a role to play in helping library users navigate this vast universe of possible sources. If we are thoughtful in our approach, we have the opportunity to capture the benefits of open access for our ILL operations and to educate our users about the changing nature of scholarly publishing. Facilitating discovery of open access materials should be one more tool in the resource sharing toolbox.

To learn more about the intersections of open access and interlibrary loan, check out Tina’s works on the topic in IUPUI ScholarWorks.

Open Access: A Win-Win Proposition

Originally published on the IUPUI University Library Center for Digital Scholarship blog, December 15, 2015, Statistics included have not been updated.

Open access benefits scholars everywhere by connecting them to research they may not otherwise be able to access, but I’d like to take a moment to look at open access in reverse. By making my research open access, I benefit myself as well as the community at large. My work gets much wider exposure through my deposits in IUPUI ScholarWorks than it would ever receive confined to a single journal or conference. My 2012 article, “Opening Interlibrary Loan to Open Access,” has 415 file views from countries as diverse as the US, China, Italy, Ukraine, and Australia. The 2011 conference presentation on which it was based has 177 file views from an equally diverse set of countries. Another 2012 article, “Going Global: An International Survey of Lending and Borrowing across Borders,” has 156 file views.

The impact is even more apparent when you look at conference presentations.

Conference Presentation Session Attendance ScholarWorks File Views
Open Access to the World: Locating International Publications to Fill ILL Requests (2014) 40 58
Borders without Barriers: Improving the State of International Resource Sharing (2013) 39 222
Open Access in Interlibrary Loan: Sources and Strategies for Locating Free Materials Online (2012) 25 1,259
Opening Up to Open Access: Using Open Access Materials to Fill Borrowing Requests for Free (2011) 50 71
Free for All! Interlibrary Loan and Open Access (2010) 67 127

My most recent conference presentation,* which only had 18 attendees, already has 12 file views after only 10 days in ScholarWorks!

These altmetrics demonstrate the increased impact of my work outside of the original presentation vehicle whether it be a conference or journal. By participating in the IUPUI Open Access Policy, I enjoy the benefits of broader readership and community impact while promoting knowledge sharing and information equity. For me, depositing in IUPUI ScholarWorks is a win-win proposition.

* at time of original publication

A Ten Year Odyssey

Thursday marked ten years as a librarian at IUPUI University Library (UL). In fact, it marked ten years as a librarian period. This milestone seems like an appropriate time for reflection.

Like many librarians I talk to, I didn’t set out with the intention of becoming a librarian. While in graduate school, a friend told me about the dual degree program that would allow me to earn my MA in Public History and an MLS at the same time. The real attraction for me was that the dual degree meant two more years of structured classes rather than two years of unstructured thesis writing. I was working full-time, and this dual degree option seemed more feasible and achievable for me. I still didn’t think I would ever work as a librarian.

How quickly your life plan can change. I will be forever grateful to that grad school friend. During my second year of library science classes, I quit my full-time job and started an internship in the Indiana State Library‘s Manuscripts Section, which seemed a great combination of public history and library science. Maybe I could be an archivist or manuscripts librarian. I also got a graduate assistant position at UL in Reference and Interlibrary Services. And that was it.

In interlibrary loan, I found my place. I was providing a much needed service and satisfying my love of mystery at the same time. (Finding an item to fulfill an interlibrary loan request can be real detective work.) The work of interlibrary loan (and resource sharing more broadly) reflects my belief in the intrinsic value of service and learning. It is also a perfect platform for some of my skills and traits — attention to detail, organization and logistics, problem-solving, ability to learn new technologies. The evolving landscape of resource sharing gives me the opportunity to be innovative and take part in new and interesting projects, which is important for someone who can bore easily. My involvement in resource sharing has also led me to take a broader view of collection management and sparked an interest in shared collections (just another form of resource sharing in my opinion).

IUPUI University Library has also been a good fit for me. There is a culture here that embraces innovation and experimentation and allows for failure. My role at UL has evolved as well. I was initially hired as the Visiting Interlibrary Loan Librarian, supervising Interlibrary Services. Over time, Interlibrary Services grew and became an independent department named Resource Sharing & Delivery Services in recognition of the services we offer beyond interlibrary loan. Plus, many of you may not know that I’ve also been a long-time member of the Bibliographic & Metadata Services department. What began as an original cataloging assignment expanded to include metadata librarian and eventually department head. These diverse responsibilities have kept things interesting. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.

I’ve grown a lot over the last decade. I found a field that I believe in and love. I’ve made a difference for my library and, I hope, the resource sharing community at large. I have more belief in my own abilities and expertise and am much more comfortable speaking in front of groups. Service and learning continue to be core to who I am, but the importance of making significant contributions and giving back has grown. I’ve received so much support and encouragement over the past ten years, and now is the time to start paying it forward. As I begin to look ahead at the next ten years, I won’t even hazard a guess at what they might hold, but I hope resource sharing, in all its forms, continues to be a prominent part of the picture.