Library Publishing Forum

It’s been a week and my brain is still buzzing from the 36-hour long inaugural Library Publishing Forum.  I saw nothing of Kansas City, unfortunately, but the experience of being transported to a whole community deeply committed to publishing in libraries was so, so valuable. I came away with a lot to think about, and a list of projects I wish to have funded asap (please and thank you).

I am late with this. Others have blogged, Storifyedarchived or shared quicker and better than myself, so I’ve written just a few quick thoughts, and included the entirety of my notes below, should they be of interest.

– Similar to discussion in digital humanities, there’s a tension about the role of the library as service provider versus research partner. An extra layer of complexity is added in that, in addition to libraries building relationships with scholars, there are many instances where libraries collaborate or merge with their university’s press. Questions here are around who manages, who selects and, of course, who pays for the publishing work that go on as parts of these relationships.

– What’s more interesting to me, and more useful to think about since I’m not tied to one school or press, is the publishing that’s going on in libraries as library work – either as service or as in-library scholarship. What became very clear at LPF was that it’s often not possible to distinguish a library publishing effort from a library-managed Digital Humanities project. It’s arguably not necessary either, as long as conversations about publishing and conversations about ‘doing DH’ are not happening separately.

Should libraries and their presses integrate? Should they align but have different foci? Should libraries reject the traditional publishing model completely? Before attending the forum, I had really only thought of libraries-as-publishers in this third sense—and the Forum may have further radicalized me in that direction.  There are a lot of consortial opportunities in that scenario, and I look forward to fleshing them out in the coming months. I’ll also be pushing to formally join the Library Publishing Coalition as soon as it opens to consortium (quite soon!).

Notes below. Some session notes are more fleshy than others, and I’d be happy to clarify or expand with anyone who’s interested.

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Urgh, I’m going to talk about LibGuides

Oh my god. I can’t believe I’ve just come home from my first day of Access to write a blog post defending LibGuides, surely one of the most ridiculed of all recent library trends. I might as well say “you know Second Life has a lot of pedagogical value.” I do not want to be that person.

LibGuide are a giant time-suck and they do allow for a lot of bad design decisions very easily. But the tone today on Twitter (#accessyyz) and in the room was weird—it was really derisive, as if the idea that subject librarians wanted to create web-based resource guides with an easy-to-use tool was ludicruous. As if someone who had not been brought up to develop web content would have any business trying to put content out there. Because I have to tell you: there are not a lot of other mechanisms available.  Continue reading

My 10th Froshiversary

It’s the start if term, which means the University of Toronto campus has swapped its hordes of Camp U of T youngsters for only-slightly-older youngsters wearing colourful college t-shirts and looking confused. I want to pat those students on the shoulder and say, “it’s not you, it’s us.”

I can’t help but feel nostalgic, though I didn’t actually enjoy the beginning of my own university career. It’s been ten years since it started! Ten years since I moved into that first ant-infested apartment on Rue Lambert-Closse, since my teary-eyed dad took me shopping at the Atwater Market then drove back to Ontario, since I first wandered onto the McGill campus wondering what I would do there.

(I was seventeen, and still very afraid of being myself. I was interested in history and literature in a vague sort of way, but ‘being thinner’ remained my number one priority. Everyone said I would study English, so I was resolved not to study English [in the end, I studied English].)

High school

Grade 12. Ready for anything with my soon-to-be roommate.

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