New Article: Finding Our Way

Amidst all the challenges of COVID-19 and its numerous implications for every aspect of our lives, we’re excited to have published Finding Our Way: A Snapshot of Scholarly Communication Practitioner’s Duties and Training in the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication. This is the first article reporting on research conducted under our FY2017 IMLS grant (

In brief, we surveyed people who do scholcomm work in libraries and found that, by and large, their education didn’t much address SC topics, skills, and knowledge. We argue that scholcomm is core to academic library work and that everyone working in an academic library (and in some cases, non-academic libraries as well) would benefit from basic literacy in SC topics like copyright and fair use, licensing, open access, and open education work, among others. In practice, we (SC practitioners) get along through a variety of field-based continuous learning strategies and opportunities, but we (the authors) argue that better coverage in LIS programs is important in helping emerging librarians navigate the job market and supporting academic libraries seeking to hire folks with SC knowledge and skills.

The article doesn’t address COVID, of course, but there’s a growing sense that SC issues like open access and open education will be ever-more important moving forward in our present reality. We hope to meet LIS programs in the middle by creating open learning content that is suitable for LIS classrooms, ready to implement, and that reflects diverse perspectives, practices, and people engaged in SC efforts in libraries. That’s why we’re hard at work pushing the open textbook of SC librarianship towards completion, establishing the SC Notebook, and thinking about ways to create opportunities for field-based practitioners to create teaching and learning content that supports LIS instruction.

We’re looking forward to building on this and related work. There are a couple more articles in our data and we hope to someday find the time to write them. For this one, we’re really happy to have it in JLSC, and deeply appreciate the editors and reviewers that helped us get it out into the world, as well as the authors of things we cited, and all the folks that participated in the survey. We welcome feedback, and hope everyone is doing as well as can be hoped for given the challenging circumstances!

Create #LISOER with us in Charleston!

TL;DR We’re doing a full-day granular OER design/create workshop in Charleston in November and we’d love to see you there! Register here.

In early 2018 we presented a workshop at The Library Collective (an excellent, affordable, fun, and participant-centered conference, btw) titled Soup from a Stone: Collective Development of OER that Welcome Underrepresented Voices to Scholarly Communication. In short, we proposed to increase practitioner perspectives in LIS instruction (focusing on scholcomm topics, but not to the exclusion of other areas/emphases) by facilitating practitioner creation of open learning objects that share a skill, knowledge, or practice that we need our future colleagues to know. We used a modified version of the Open Canvas, which is part of Mozilla Working Open Workshops, as a way to scope/design a lesson plan, video, game, or anything participants might conceive as a tool for teaching and learning. In addition to creation time, we talked about Creative Commons licensing and brainstormed places to put creations where they’d be discoverable.

It was a great session and well attended, and participants were enthusiastic, but we realized that this kind of workshop would work better in a longer format. So we’re really excited to try that longer format in Charleston as a day-long preconference in early November, titled “Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom: Planting Local Open Educational Resources that Will Spring Up Across the Field” (conference themes amiright?).

Here’s the description:

Open education has emerged as a powerful movement for reducing costs and improving student success. As a community, however, academics have only begun to scratch the surface of the potential for open education to transform the way we share knowledge. By empowering librarians, students, presses, and practitioners to share their expertise and experience, OER can shine a light on underrepresented voices and share cutting edge practices in new and exciting ways.

Building on our current IMLS-funded work (LG-72-17-0132-17) on collaborative creation of OER for teaching issues in scholarly communication, this hands-on workshop will prepare you to design an open learning object like a video, lesson plan, game, or hack, that shares your own story and expertise.

As librarians with significant experience with open education, copyright, and publishing, we will lay a brief foundation for the work with a general overview of open pedagogy with an emphasis on the concept of renewable assignments, and then devote most of the time to working collectively to develop the materials. Using a modified Open Canvas, attendees will design a roadmap for understanding and solving a problem in their field and create a resource that improves practice and reflects the unique value they bring to the field. Finally, we will end the session by working together to openly license and deposit the community-generated OER in an appropriate repository such as MERLOT or OER Commons. You will leave with an openly-licensed educational resource that demonstrates your own creativity and expresses an aspect of scholarly communication from your own perspective. In addition, you will deepen their understanding of OER and open pedagogy as well as your skills in using Creative Commons licenses to openly share their work.

If you’re attending Charleston and that sounds interesting, consider attending? You can register here; note that early bird registration has been extended to Friday September 28 due to Hurricane Florence (all 3 of us are either Carolina natives or lived there at some point, so we’re watching the storm closely and with concern for our friends, families, colleagues, and all the folks in the region who may be impacted).

-Will, Maria, and Josh