Submitted by Debbie Malone, VAL Committee member: This blog post is one in a series of posts discussing the library value work being done by the ACRL Liaisons to non-library higher education organizations. We welcome Allison Ricker, Oberlin College, who is our liaison to the  American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

I am honored to serve as the ALA Liaison to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the “world’s largest general scientific society.”  AAAS is well-known as the publisher of Science, one of the most highly respected journals world wide to cover all aspects of science.  Researchers at any level as well as students and the general public, can appreciate the weekly issues of Science; every issue includes a review of science news in brief, research summaries, editorials or opinion pieces, letters, and reviews as well as peer-reviewed research articles of vital importance.  Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of one million.

AAAS is far more than a publisher.  The non-profit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, and more.  Its affiliations with 261 other academies of science, as well as scholarly, educational and research organizations make it the world’s largest non-profit federation of scientific and engineering societies.  AAAS and its Affiliates serve more than 10 million members.  The principal goals of AAAS are:

  • to further the work of scientists
  • to facilitate cooperation among them
  • to foster scientific freedom and responsibility
  • to improve the effectiveness of science in the promotion of human welfare
  • and to increase public understanding and appreciation of the importance and promise of the methods of science in human progress.

One of my functions as ALA Liaison is participating in the meeting of Affiliates at the AAAS Annual Meeting, hearing reports on legislative concerns, federal funding for science, and programs to develop scientific literacy and foster innovation.  The wide range of scientific interests and achievements represented in that one session is just a fraction of the dazzling array of symposia, workshops, posters, events, seminars and plenary lectures that make up the annual meeting.

Months before the annual meeting held in February, I send out a call inviting librarians to request free registration for the meeting.  For several years, the AAAS Publications Division has sponsored up to 30 librarians annually, covering the entire cost of meeting registration and/or negotiating a reduced fee for all librarian attendees.  To date, AAAS has supported meeting attendance for at least 240 librarians, thereby increasing our visibility among scientists as colleagues and potential collaborators in matters of scientific literacy, research and education.

My role in this process, as I see it, is akin to corralling feral cats. In the past three years there has been an initially enthusiastic response to the call for sponsored librarians (nearly 60 individuals vying for 30 sponsorships this fall), but inevitably and unavoidably several (or many) people cancel.  Contacting people on the wait list is an interesting exercise in email or phone tag.  Eventually, the list is finalized by mid-January and we join the throng in some conference city

Affiliate liaisons are appointed by AAAS to one the association’s 24 sections.  The 24 sections arrange symposia for the annual meeting, nominate fellows and review fellow submissions, elect officers, and provide expertise for association-wide projects. The ALA Liaison is affiliated with Section T, Information, Computing, and Communication.  Their business meeting and a session for librarians are the two other obligatory functions at the annual meeting.  Planning the librarian’s session, with assistance from AAAS staff, has been a delight. Our sessions have been an excellent way for librarians to give presentations and discuss among ourselves, as well as hear from the AAAS Publications Division staff, but we have not been as successful drawing in other meeting attendees.  There are, however, five days of opportunities for interaction with others, in invigorating and intellectually stimulating sessions and events that open possibilities for outreach and collaboration.  Some sponsored librarians have also given poster presentations in the general poster session, which brings hundreds of conferees together.

Many AAAS objectives and activities dovetail with those of ACRL, particularly in scholarly communication, legislative advocacy, facilitating research and education, and literacy broadly defined.  I have regularly attended sessions and events sponsored by the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER), which states, “Building on AAAS’s long-standing commitment to relate scientific knowledge and technological development to the purposes and concerns of society at large, [DoSER] facilitates communication between scientific and religious communities.”  As within ACRL, a diversity of viewpoints are respectfully considered, with an abiding interest in resolving misunderstandings with reliance on accurate information while supporting the fundamental rights of freedom of opinion and expression.

I am looking forward to the 2015 Annual Meeting on “Innovations, Information, and Imaging.”  The theme is a natural for a group of librarians, and I am sure we will find ways to promote library innovations for accessing, archiving and managing information, including imaging new and old collections to create digital resources for teaching and research.  Presentations at the librarian’s session, now in the early planning stages, will be posted on the Science site, at sciencemag.org/librarians.

Alison S. Ricker | Science Librarian | Oberlin College | aricker@oberlin.edu

 

Submitted by Debbie Malone, VAL Committee member: This blog post is the third in a series of posts discussing the library value work being done by the ACRL Liaisons to non-library higher education organizations. We welcome Julianne Couture, University of Colorado, Boulder who is our liaison to the American Anthropological Association (AAA).

In August 2012 I was appointed as the ACRL Liaison to the American Anthropological Association (AAA), a professional organization for scholars and practitioners of anthropology. The association has approximately 12,000 members and attracts about 5,000 attendees to its annual meeting. AAA aims to advance anthropology and to further the professional interests of anthropologists. Its Statement of Purpose and the AAA Long-Range Plan provide an overview of the association and more information on its goals and objectives.

To determine my outreach strategy, I sought to understand the issues facing the organization and connect them with relevant parts of the ACRL Plan for Excellence. Looking through official AAA communication methods as well as exploring twitter, listservs, and blogs, I discovered that one major issue dealt with the future of the AAA publishing program and open access. Additionally, my work on ACRL Anthropology & Sociology Section’s Instruction and Information Literacy Committee prompted me to explore issues of student learning within the discipline. My objective was that engagement in these areas within a disciplinary association would also enhance the value of academic libraries.

The year prior to my appointment as ACRL Liaison, AAA sought to understand more about the sustainability of its publishing program by commissioning an analysis by a consulting firm and conducting a member survey. The association released the analysis in a report to AAA members which details the association’s current publishing trends and major issues it will face over the next few years. While this report is restricted to AAA members, the overall takeaway is the association faces a time where it must make critical decisions regarding the future of the publishing program and the options are varied and complex. Around the same time, outgoing American Anthropologist editor Tom Boellstroff (University of California, Irvine) penned an editorial calling for AAA to move to a gold open access publishing program after the current contract with Wiley Blackwell expires in 2017.

This provided context for my first year liaison activities and I focused on making connections within the organization and having conversations with other AAA members regarding the issues of open access, scholarly publishing and student learning at the 2012 Annual Meeting. This proved to be a challenging task since the association has 40 sections, 10 interest groups, and 20 association level committees. Many members focus on their sub-disciplines making it difficult to engage in conversations about overarching issues.  I combed through the 700 page program book to select programs, meetings, and sessions related to open access, student learning, and scholarly communication.

My strategy of attending meetings and engaging in conversations related to scholarly communication led to an invitation to join AAA’s Committee on the Future of Print and Electronic Publishing (CFPEP) for a three year term. This committee’s purview includes examining the future of the publishing program and recommending changes and also includes the continued development of AnthroSource. While I am still a relatively new member of the committee, I welcome the opportunity to advocate for open dissemination and participate in influencing publishing policies.

AAA has taken some steps to make anthropological research more open including the launch of Open Anthropology, an online-only journal whose issues offer a selection of articles based on a timely theme. Additionally, AAA partnered with SSRN to create the Anthropology and Archaeology Research Network, a resource for grey literature in the discipline, and instituted a 35 year un-gating policy. To explore the feasibility of an open access publishing program, CFPEP put a call out to the 22 AAA journals for volunteers to pilot open access. Cultural Anthropology was the only journal to express interest and February 2014 marks the journal’s first fully open access issue. For an excellent overview of Cultural Anthropology’s transition to OA check out Savage Minds interview with the managing editor. These recent developments mean there are many opportunities to have formal and informal conversations around scholarly communication, how it is produced, how it is valued and measured, and how it is disseminated. My experience as ACRL Liaison provides me the opportunity to have these conversations at the national level and highlights one role academic librarians can take on at the local campus level.

The area of student learning is one where I’ve faced bigger hurdles. While there is a Committee on Teaching Anthropology under the General Anthropology Division, this is not a very active committee and there have only been a handful of posters and presentations related to teaching anthropology. I continue to explore ways to increase partnership with the association to advance information literacy as part of student learning. Recently, AAA launched the Teaching Materials Exchange as a way for members to share syllabi, assignments, class activities and more. I will continue to look for ways to strengthen partnership in this area.

I welcome feedback and suggestions on strengthening the relationship between ACRL and AAA. I’ve also been working with ANSS to communicate and collaborate with other anthropology librarians about the issues, trends, and general information I gather through my work with AAA.

Juliann Couture, University of Colorado Boulder

juliann.couture@colorado.edu

 

In October 2013, Mary Jane Petrowski, ACRL Associate Director, shared a blog entitled, “ACRL Metrics: Enhancing Data-Driven Decision Making.”  In that posting, Mary Jane shared information about ACRLMetrics the online tool that is currently collecting data for the ACRL 2012-13 Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey. Collection of data in a standard survey on an annual basis is essential for academic libraries that wish to demonstrate value to their institutions.  In their work, Viewing Library Metrics from Different Perspectives: Inputs, Outputs, and Outcomes , [1] Robert E. Dugan, Peter Hernon and Danuta A. Nitecki include in their appendices a series of tables that identify the type of metrics that can be used to track trends within your own institution as well as provide benchmarks and comparisons to peer institutions.  While this data is useful for tracking internal trends, we need the same data to be available to the larger academic library audience.  That means it is essential for academic libraries to contribute their statistics to an annual standard survey.  This need is more urgent based on the fact that the last NCES Academic Library Survey has been completed and published.  2012 is the last year that data will be collected in that form. [2]    Approximately 4,000 academic libraries including community colleges, 4 year, institutions, Master’s level and research universities participated in that biennial survey.  We need the same level of participation in the ACRL survey in order to have valid data that can be used by libraries.

The Association for Research Libraries has an established survey tool and system for collecting statistical data from their member institutions, but the ARL is limited to its 125 members.  While they provide a valuable service in providing excellent summary and trend data, it does not replace the need for detailed information from many more academic libraries including community colleges and smaller four-year institutions.

ACRL has been working to establish an online standard survey tool and system for all academic libraries to use.  ACRLMetrics [3] became available in 2010 and is an online tool that utilizes a system to collect your data and then share the contributed data in both trend reports and user-generated reports and focuses on the same suggested metrics that are presented in Viewing Library Metrics from Different Perspectives.  All library directors or someone designated in your institution should have received an email invitation with password information to access the online survey in order to submit your data on collections, staffing, services, and expenditures. The deadline for completing the survey is April 30, 2014.  Information including the worksheet and instructions will be found on the website.

If you did not receive an invitation, you can access support at https://acrl.countingopinions.com/.  You also make direct contact by sending an email to Lindsay Thompson at   llt@countingopinions.com or calling 800-521-4930.

I hope that you will see the value in contributing your statistics to the ACRL survey.  The more libraries that contribute, the greater will be the benefits for all academic libraries.  By doing so, you will help contribute to the data that we need when preparing reports demonstrating the value we provide to our institutions.

 

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[1] Robert E. Dugan, Peter Hernon, Danuta A. Nitecki. Viewing Library Metrics from Different Perspectives: Inputs, Outputs, and Outcomes. (Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited, 2009)

[2] A much shorter version of the NCES ALS survey will be included in IPEDs beginning in 2015.  You can review the new form on the IPEDs website.

[3] If you are not familiar with ACRLMetrics, it is a subscription service.  However, libraries that contribute their statistics do receive a subscription discount.  I am not trying to sell subscriptions to this service.  I am more concerned that we have a survey tool that accurately reflects data from more academic libraries.  If interested, you can obtain information on subscriptions at their website, but I will point out that if you contribute your data, you become eligible for a subscription at less than $200.

 

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