On September 14, Dr. Carla Hayden was sworn in as the new Librarian of Congress. The first African American and the first woman to hold the position in American history, she is also only the third to have worked in a library prior to her appointment. After a moving ceremony in the Library of Congress’s (LC) 1897 Jefferson Building and a reception to meet “as many staff members as they could stand,” Hayden sat down with LJ in her ceremonial office to outline her vision for the library.
This year’s Charleston Conference, with its on-the-nose subtitle of “Roll with the Times or the Times Roll Over You,” will return as always to the Francis Marion Hotel (and surrounding venues) October 31–November 5. This year’s schedule (still tentative at press time) naturally hits many of the topics of perennial interest to librarians, particularly academic ones: discovery, the Big Journal Deal and its frequently forecast demise, working with vendors, and ebook acquisition models. Newer returnees such as MOOCs, open educational resources, assessment, the role of the subject specialist and/or department liaison, and research data management also make appearances.
When working with political campaigns for EveryLibrary, we are often asked to identify the most important digital tactic for winning campaigns and advocating for libraries. Many of the people who ask expect us to talk about best practices using Facebook or Twitter to reach the public. They are usually surprised to hear we still believe email is the absolute most important tool for digital campaigns. This is true because email is still fundamentally the key to the Internet. Your library’s biggest goal in digital and in-person strategy should be the acquisition of email addresses.
Many academic repositories contain a vast amount of material beyond the requisite theses and dissertations. Those that do ingest them often contain such documents dating back to the 1800s or, in some cases, earlier. That might not sound like something to get too excited about. But, do you know who does get enthusiastic about that? The web surfer who stumbles across something her beloved great-great-grandfather wrote in 1886, or his father presented at a conference in 1970, or a whole host of other legacy material that can be found in an institutional repository.
On August 12, the Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication published a comprehensive literature review detailing strategies for digitizing copyright-protected works for which rights holders cannot be found or contacted—colloquially called “orphan works.” This 112-page peer-reviewed report, “Digitizing Orphan Works: Legal Strategies to Reduce Risks for Open Access to Copyrighted Orphan Works,” is the culmination of the 2015–16 Orphan-Works Project at Harvard.
Academic libraries continue to add to their ebook collections, but while ebooks are becoming the preferred format for reference materials, many students still prefer to read and study monographs and textbooks in print, according to “Ebook Usage in U.S. Academic Libraries 2016,” a survey conducted by Library Journal and sponsored by Gale Cengage Learning.
Most academic librarians stepping into a position can model their work on that of their predecessors. But not Thomas Padilla. On his appointment in April as the first humanities data curator at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Library (and the first in the entire University of California system), Padilla has had to draw on a number of different disciplines to shape his role of working with data throughout its life cycle, creating a support plan for digital humanities researchers, and providing research data consultation.