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Publishers “in” Libraries:New Agents, New Roles, New Challenges
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Publishers “in” Libraries: New Agents, New Roles, New Challenges

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Terence K. Huwe

Terence K. Huwe
Institute for Research on Labor and Employment Library
University of California, Berkeley

Long Island Library Resources Council
October 30, 2009

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Publishers “in” Libraries:New Agents, New Roles, New Challenges Publishers “in” Libraries: New Agents, New Roles, New Challenges Presentation Transcript

  • Publishers “in” Libraries: New Agents, New Roles, New Challenges Terence K. Huwe Institute for Research on Labor and Employment Library University of California, Berkeley Long Island Library Resources Council October 30, 2009
  • What I’ll Be Covering Today
    • The growing culture of library-based publishing, editorial work and marketing
    • Publishers, libraries and readers (“users”) in an era of mutable information and self-directed publishing
    • How the Internet still challenges us to adapt—collectively and individually
    • Some examples of how “publishers in libraries” can influence scholarship
  • A Little More About Me…
    • My first career: independent bookselling!
    • College store, co-op style outlet, million-plus dollar sales (1986 dollars)
    • Lots of contact with marketers, sales people and editors
    • Publishers Weekly was my “Bible”
    • I know and love the publishing industry
    • It’s been a great basis for a library career
  • But…“Publishers in Libraries?”
    • A play on words with a tip of the hat to Computers in Libraries ( CIL ), which publishes my column
    • A “poke” at Dan Chudnov, whose column in CIL is titled “Libraries in Computers”
    • An apt description of my job
    • A viable term to describe the new library “skill set” that we need
    • A provocative statement
  • A Not-So-New Expertise
    • Librarians have been practicing editorial work for a long time
    • Marketing is now essential
    • Librarians’ scholarly profile (degrees, experience, etc) shares common ground with editors and their career ladders
    • New media make it possible to shift the points of production along the “information continuum.”
    • This creates new competition for “attention.”
    • Ergo: There can be more than one publisher-outlet
    • Libraries have adapted well to the climate—at a high price
  • Adapt or Die: A Seminal Moment
    • A copyright presentation at ASIS (now ASIS&T) in November 1997
    • Counsel for ALA and AAP, talking about how to manage access to digital copyrighted works
    • The ALA lawyer had an enormously well-articulated vision
    • The AAP lawyer was on the defensive, and short on ideas
  • “ Wow,” I thought:
    • Librarians were “getting it” and going for it
    • We had developed tough evaluative skills to assess our legacy charges and our future roles—freeing space for creativity
    • Publishers were struggling with new pricing and access models
    • The faculty, back home, was basically “clueless” at the time
    • Opportunity strikes!
  • Since Then…
    • SPARC
    • Engaging the faculty re: scholarly communications
    • Mellon Foundation initiatives
    • New “metrics” for libraries
    • Endless opportunities for communication
    • A growing need for “interpretation” of collections
    • All-new entrants with big ideas: Google
  • Publishing in Libraries is Underway
    • Reasonable minds may disagree about how much we should do
    • “ mission creep” –a scary prospect (“Even more to do?”)
    • The role is to some degree being forced upon us
    • In light of that force, I will take a look two theories of convergence and shifting roles
    • I’ll give some examples of projects underway
  • Understanding the Knowledge Creation Process
    • Two theories of information that are particularly compelling:
    • The Getty Information Institute and the “Information Continuum”
    • Professional culture and the process of “Treatment Substitution” (Abbott, 1988)
  • The Getty Information Institute (GII)
    • GII Published several Web-based reports in the mid to late 1990s
    • The analysis of GII informs much of what we now accept about digital life
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  • The Information Continuum
    • It runs from author to user
    • It includes several agents:
      • editors
      • Marketers
      • outlets (bookstores, journals, even e-books)
      • Information managers (libraries, archives, repositories)
    • The information continuum democratizes information production and “expertise”
    • These agents have been in creative turmoil for three decades by my estimation
  • But People Make Things Happen
    • Sociologists study how people change systems and ways of thinking
    • Librarianship need look no further than this related field to find clues to its future
  • Andrew Abott’s Assessment of Professional Roles
    • Abbott, Andrew. The system of professions . Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1988
    • “ The Traditional Future: A Computational Theory of Library Research" College and Research Libraries , November 2008, Vol. 69, No. 6
  • “ Treatment Substitution”
    • Abbott provides an in-depth analysis of how the U.S. system of professions works
    • A focus on the information professions
    • Treatment substitution: competition among the professions
    • Treatment substitution is the application of abstract knowledge to real-life situations
    • It often utilizes special language to be unique (e.g., use of latin in law)
  • An Example of Dynamic Treatment Substitution: Medicine
    • Licensed Acupuncture
    • Chiropractic
    • Osteopathy
    • Medical Doctors
    • “ Allied Health Professionals”
    • Even nurses (NPs, PAs )
    • A battle royal for the right to use the word “medical” and to diagnose
  • And Closer to Home…
    • Librarians
    • California Digital Library staff: they’re not librarians—more on that in a moment…
    • Systems Administrators: they manage content
    • University administrators with downsizing on their minds
    • Editors
    • Faculty: they also manage content
    • Booksellers: they make content accessible
    • MIS managers in private firms and colleges: they rule
    • Users themselves! (Blogging, Twittering)
    • Repository managers and records managers
    • Treatment Substitution is our daily life
  • Too Close to Home?
    • The University of California Information, Publishing and Broadcast Services (IPBS) initiative
      • “ UCverse and UCpublic
    • Integrating:
      • A gateway to all content, built or purchased
      • A social network
      • A “tool” to secure the future for academic content
      • The faculty will be “Topical Editorial Advisors”
    • Talk about Treatment Substitution!
  • How Are Librarians Doing?
    • Close ties to users have helped us see opportunity in the digital forum
    • New generations of colleagues are bold
    • Senior visionaries have a sharp understanding of scholarship
    • We became content creators even as we gained a charge to collect digital content
    • We have laid a foundation for new roles that flow beyond the library, and “follow the user”
  • Publishing’s Evolution Has Helped
    • Newspapers: from “take it or leave it” to “talking back”
    • Journals: multiple formats, pricing structures, pushback from libraries
    • Books: blockbusters pay the rent, “mid-list” suffers, niche markets (like sci-fi) can thrive, but:
      • Ebooks are here
      • Self-publishing is happening
      • How to deal with fewer outlets (Amazon, etc)?
  • The Climate Favors Bold Ideas
    • Forward thinking librarians have seized the Web 2.0 tools
    • Librarians participate in substantive discourse, opinions and research
    • Research libraries boast large cohorts of dual-degreed and Ph.D-librarians
    • Universities and coalitions are building publishing tools that directly address faculty needs
    • Web applications and cloud computing place all the necessary tools in our hands
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  • Some Questions:
    • Can we re-purpose our collections as a “list” –a publishers’ new list— of e-books in series, or as print-on-demand” (POD) volumes?
    • Can we manage our digital publishing to advance the “imprimatur” of the library and the university?
      • Harvard, MIT, Berkeley, Dartmouth and Cornell have signed a five-way “Compact”
    • Can we become publishers? If so, should we want to?
  • The Columnist Speaks Out
    • My views are my own—the “marketplace of ideas” is their crucible
    • I see a nascent demand for more scholarship, more metadata, and more taxonomy that is conducted by librarians —and we can do that
    • The profession’s core skills are indispensable on the information continuum
    • I see a much lower threshold for the creation of extremely high quality digital publications
    • I see a vast cohort of like-minded colleagues who can curate, edit and write
    • I believe that reference and collections experts are just one step away from high-level publishing, right now
  • Talk and Opinion are Cheap…
    • How about some examples:
    • Blogs, Blogs, Blogs
    • Library Guides
    • “New” library work: existing editorial roles
    • POD technology: it’s here
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  • POD at MLibrary
    • In trial stages (per their Web FAQ)
    • Small number of popular titles
    • Must be between 90-440 pp
    • Color cover, B&W pages
    • Cost: $6 for a shorter title, $10 for longer titles
    • Cover art may not be included; a generic cover is provided
    • Cannot print in-copyright materials without express permission
  • The Espresso Book Machine (and competitors) Has Traction:
    • MLibrary hopes to offer:
      • Access to most of the Library's out-of-copyright books
      • Printing and binding of theses and dissertations
      • Reprints of faculty-authored out-of-print books
      • Printing and binding of new materials written by faculty and students
    • Caverly, Doug. “Google Books Opens Door to On-Demand Printing.” September 17, 2009, www.webpronews.com
  • Soon: A Leap in Scale?
    • The Library of America
    • How about “Berkeley Editions”
    • Thematic, interpretative series of digital objects, flowing from the library and the faculty in concert
    • The concentrated intellectual power in the academy is beginning to speak a common language
    • Partnerships strengthen imprimatur
      • Consortia, library-publisher, 2.0 “community”
  • Forecasts and Trends
    • We face a choice: either to allow technology to force us into action, or to take action and manage the process
    • “Change agents”—imaginative staff—will lead if library administrators cannot or will not
    • Research universities and prestigious libraries can use imprimatur to gain “attention”
  • Conclusions
    • We are becoming publishers
    • We can embrace that role
    • There are many venues to engage in
    • It is possible to integrate rigorous publishing into our existing workflows
    • Our core skills inform our future “interpretative” skills
    • It’s all worth a try
  • References (in order of presentation)
    • Huwe, Terence K. “Publishers in Libraries.” Computers in Libraries 29 (No. 4), April 2009
    • The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, http://www.arl.org/sparc/
    • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, http://www.mellon.org/
    • Fink, Eleanor E. “The Getty Information Institute: A Retrospective.” D-Lib Magazine 5 (No. 3), March 1999
    • Abbott, Andrew. The system of professions . Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1988
    • Abbott, Andrew. “The Traditional Future: A Computational Theory of Library Research" College and Research Libraries , 69 (No. 6), November 2008
    • Bergman, Barry. “A Public Option for Scholarship. The Berkeleyan , October 2, 2009, http://berkeley.edu/news/berkeleyan/2009/10/02_open-access.shtml
    • Caverly, Doug. “Google Books Opens Door to On-Demand Printing.” September 17, 2009, www.webpronews.com
  • Publishers “in” Libraries: New Agents, New Roles, New Challenges Terence K. Huwe Institute for Research on Labor and Employment Library University of California, Berkeley Long Island Library Resources Council October 30, 2009