Last week, I sent out an invitation to the Hack Library School people to do a guest post on my blog. I’ve never had a guest post before so I figured I’d ask give it a shot by asking a group of people who have a consistently excellent product. I should note that Hack Library School also just won first place in the Newcomer Library Blog category of the second annual Salem Press Blog Awards. As one of the contest judges, I was enormously pleased to see that they were nominated and made the final cut. I was also pleased to hear back from Julia Skinner who took me up on the offer.
Open Access (OA) is an issue that I believe more librarians should take an interest in. With the distribution network of the Internet and the restrictive agreements which journals offer authors (both faculty and non-faculty), it represents a new mode and idea for information sharing and knowledge exchange. Consider the ongoing Georgia State University copyright lawsuit that threatens to change the very nature of how documents are handled at in academic libraries. For the skinny on the issue, read Barbara Fister’s Library Journal post for an excellent summary of what’s at stake.
Julia Skinner is a doctoral student in LIS at Florida State University. She recently received her MLS and a Center for the Book certificate from the University of Iowa. She studies library history and is also interested in LIS education, social media, and student OA publications. You can visit her blog or see her handiwork as an editor at the Hack Library School blog. Or you can keep up with her day-to-day on her Twitter account.
OA Student Publications: Reaching Beyond the Journal
I’ve said many times on my blog and in Hack Library School that a large part of the reason I love our field so much is the passionate and dedicated people who feel drawn to become librarians and info pros. Recently I finished my tenure as Editor at B Sides Journal and it gave me a chance to pause and look at student publishing. When I did so, I realized that a lot of the excitement and innovation I see elsewhere in the field is happening in the world of student-run journals as well. I have worked with two different journals, so I thought I’d share a little bit about all the awesome things they are doing and why I’m proud to be a part of the process!
B Sides was founded by two awesome ladies (Angela Murillo and Rachel Smalter Hall) with the goal of publicizing unheard voices (UI SLIS students) and broadening the scope of our discourse in peer-reviewed journals. B Sides has a dual mission of publishing quality work and of educating students about the publication process.
B Sides has carried through with these goals through the journal itself (including some very well-read articles,) but has also reached beyond that to help shape the student experience in other ways. The biggest was the student-led conference that showcased the work of current and former students and provided a space for networking. As a compliment to the conference, we hosted two faculty-led talks: a ‘best practices’ session held before for students planning to speak, and a post-conference discussion of the publication process. We also set up a Twitter account and a Facebook account to share updates with followers and get input. My fellow editor (Katie DeVries Hassman) and I just passed the journal along to our new editors (Melody Dworak and Sam Bouwers) and I’m thrilled to see where they take it!
Library Student Journal
I serve on the Editorial Board at Library Student Journal (LSJ), and I am impressed with the awesome leadership our Editor, Claire Gross, has shown, as well as by the publications. LSJ accepts student publications from around the world, which means that readers can learn from a diverse group of authors about a variety of topics. The site also hosts a very active blog, where Claire shares resources on current events on the field and updates about the publication. LSJ is very active in social media as well, with a very informative Twitter account and on Facebook.
Why I Get So Excited About These Things
Both LSJ and B Sides provide an opportunity for students to boost their resumes by submitting publications and serving as peer reviewers, but I would argue that they are doing a lot more than that. First of all, they are both open access, which means that readers can access full text versions of works without paying money or relying on an institutional subscription. That means more people can read our work, learn from it, and give us feedback (my piece in B Sides, for example, has had over 230 reads in about a year.)
Student publications also provide a unique opportunity for students, and also for those interested in reading LIS scholarship. In both cases, the hope is that we get to share some of the great scholarship being produced, but also help students feel comfortable and confident with publishing so that they will continue to share their perspectives in journals throughout their careers. By making the literature of our field more inclusive, it is my hope that it becomes easier for us to learn from each other, think in new ways, and try new things.
It also makes me hope that we will see an uptick in practitioner-based research that is thoughtful and uses practice and theory to inform each other (theory to inform our approaches, outcomes to challenge parts of theory that don’t hold true.) There is some great research out there that takes a problem from a library and outlines the implementation of a solution, but there is also a lot that just talks about the successes of an approach. Instead, by helping students to engage with the publication process from the beginning, we can allow practitioners to approach their solutions with a critical eye and with a recognition that we can learn as much from our failures as we do from our successes.
I know LSJ and B Sides are working to help familiarize students with publishing and share their work, but I would be curious about other publications I am less familiar with. For those involves with other journals (student or otherwise), I would love to hear your thoughts on the value of student publications or on how publishing fits in with the future of LIS!