Open Access at Duke… and already missing I&O

While I haven’t blogged much this semester, I’ve still been thinking a lot about instruction and outreach in general and also how it works at Duke. The lion’s share of my field experience this semester has comprised working on data from the FDS (Faculty Database System) for Duke’s Open Access project. (To learn more about Duke and copyright issues/policies and learn about what’s happening with institutional repositories, you can check out Kevin Smith’s Scholarly Communications @ Duke) When it comes to knowing the first thing about OA/IR (as all the cool kids who are “in the know” refer to open access and institutional repositories), maybe you’ve read a New York Times article about digital library creation or the Google Books settlement (there are literally thousands). Or maybe you’ve been following similar issues in The Chronicle or C&RL. That’s how I learned more about OA/IR. But I never thought much about the nitty-gritty of it all before I was faced with multi-page, inherently messy spreadsheets of hand-entered faculty publication data. Without getting into the details, let me tell you that the process of building a university institutional repository is laborious on good days and an exercise in crazy on bad ones. And I wasn’t even the one making any decisions! This experience has taught me how to scan results from Sherpa Romeo, a database that lists publishers’ copyright conditions with regard to authors’ ability to archive their work online (and something I had never heard of before). For example, a publisher may allow the work to be published only in post-print, but not pre-prints. Or maybe not at all. These are invaluable kernels of information for making a viable IR. Working on this project — even tangentially — has revealed to me how much work it really takes to collect, store, manage, and make accessible Duke faculty’s published works. None of the articles I read about open access told me about Excel spreadsheets and meetings about workflows. The higher, philosophical discussions about value and access are interesting, no doubt, but knowing what our colleagues are working on day-to-day was illuminating.

I was happy that I got to help Diane teach in her field of Global Health this semester. I worked with Diane to prepare for a global nutrition course which was particularly fun because the class included undergraduate, graduate, and medical students, and many had had experiences working in the field around the globe. As I head into my new job this June as an instruction/liaison librarian, I am grateful for all the experiences that I’ve had teaching at different institutions, including here at Duke.

Looking ahead to the “grown-up” world of “grown-up” jobs, I am thrilled to be heading to Texas to work at a small university library. My education and preparation for my career would have been incomplete without my experiences and, more significantly, my mentors Diane Harvey and Emily Daly here at Perkins. I feel endlessly lucky to have found my way to Duke and to this department. Something special about my time at Duke was getting to work on many different smaller projects — from LibGuides to WorldCat Collections Analysis to open access to actually doing instruction in the classroom — which I believe is a lot more representative of what instruction and subject librarians really do… and what a small instruction and outreach department does every day. It’s juggling all those pieces that makes this job cool — and challenging. The Field Experience component at UNC’s School of Information and Library Science is definitely one of the strongest aspects of the entire MSLS/MSIS program. Some days I fear Perkins will get overrun by SILS graduate students because I talk up the amazing opportunities here so much!

Thank you, I&O Department, for inviting us to join you.

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