Top Stories of 2005 For Academic Librarians

What’s a better way to spend the next to last day of the year than to review some of the news and developments of interest to academic librarians that transpired in 2005, and develop a list of the top stories. So here are the ones we came up with for your consideration – in no particular order.

Google Book Search and Open Content Alliance– We didn’t have to do a Lexis/Nexis search on this one to see what story got the most news coverage. This was big news any way you look at it. The story first appeared in the January 7 issue of the Chronicle, it kept gathering momentum all year, and it’s ready to roll into 2006.

Blackboard Merges With WebCT – If your institution has a courseware system it’s probably one of these two. Will this blockbuster deal make this merged product more hospitable to library resources? Time will tell.

Information Literacy Backlash – Also on January 7th the Chronicle Review gave us Stanley Wilder’s piece on “Why Information Literacy Makes All The Wrong Assumptions”. That created quite a firestorm of conversation, much of which concluded that it was Wilder who was making the wrong assumptions. But let’s give him credit for going public (big time) with his contrarian views; he gave us something to think about.

Emerald Pulls A Fast One – Journal publisher Emerald was caught with its pants down when Phil Davis, life-sciences librarian at Cornell, published data that showed he found issues from different Emerald titles that were complete copies of one another. This story actually broke in the Chronicle in December 2004, but much of the controversy played out in 2005. Thanks Phil for keeping these guys honest.

Ilene Rockman Passes Away – We lost one of the giants of our profession when Dr. Rockman passed away on November 26. Her contributions to academic librarianship will not be forgotten.

The Bookless Academic Library – The University of Texas got lots of media attention when they announced plans for a revamped undergraduate library with clusters of computers, a coffee shop, comfortable chairs, 24-hour technical help – and NO BOOKS. Ok, so 90,000 volumes were just being shipped off to other campus libraries, but you would have thought it was the day that print books died.

Katrina Devastates Gulf Coast – Hurricane Katrina’s fury brought death and destruction to this region, and our academic library colleagues there faced severe problems. Our community quickly responded with offers of help, and discussion list communication that kept us abreast of how valued colleagues were managing in the aftermath of Katrina.

All Hail The Chair Of Information Literacy – Purdue University’s library system announced the creation of an endowed chair in information literacy. Is it the start of a trend? Not just yet, but perhaps we’ll see more of this in 2006.

Virtual Conferencing Makes A Splash – It’s always big news when ACRL has its national conference, and plenty of news was made back in April in Minneapolis. But perhaps the biggest news was the simultaneous virtual conference that ACRL ran for the first time – and the first of this type we can recall for any ALA division. Where do you plan to be on April 20 and 21, 2006 when ACRL (with CNI and EDUCAUSE) hosts its first completely dedicated virtual conference? This IS the start of a big trend in continuing professional development for academic librarians, but will ACRL committees finally get to use ALA’s online community software in 2006 for virtual meetings? One can only hope so.

Can UKU With All This Tech Stuff – Blogging, RSS, news aggregators, podcasts, SMS, screencasts, vlogs, social bookmarking, folksonomies, tagging, personalization, Web (and Lib) 2.0, semantic web, institutional respositories, open source, vertical search…Had enough new technology stuff to learn about yet? Better hang on – 2006 is sure to be even wilder. (UKU = You Keep Up)

Talkin’ ‘Bout The Generations – The “Millennials” seemed a part of almost every academic library meeting in 2005 thanks to major articles and essays on the subject by authors such as Richard Sweeney and Joan Lippincott. Easily adapted into broader discussions of the library as place, the evolution of public services, facilities management, and information literacy instruction, we can only assume that we will continue “t-t-talkin’ ’bout my (or maybe your) generation” into 2006.

Getting Savvy To ID&T – Over 100 people attended an ACRL-sponsored pre-conference on instructional design and technology at ALA annual 2005, and ALA and ACRL promise major publications in this area in 2006. Increasingly popular technologies such as “clickers” and courseware provide increasing opportunities for academic librarians to become integrated into campus-wide discussions of teaching, learning, professional development, and management of instructional technology resources.

“Perceptions” Report Is Eye Opener – So we suspected that most college students go to the Internet first for their research, but OCLC’s “Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources” report really drove home the harsh reality of how far we need to go to get back on the information seeker’s radar screen. Maybe it wasn’t all bad news as college students certainly seemed more aware of and apt to use their academic library. We’re sure to be talking more about the library brand and the implications of this report.

And finally, the biggest of the big academic librarianship stories in 2005:

ACRL Debuts Its Blog – Well, we may be just a tad biased in our opinion of the importance of this one. But let’s give our ACRL leadership some props for recognizing the time was right for a blog targeted to the interests of academic librarians, and throwing their support behind ACRLog. Thanks guys!

The ACRLog blogging team hopes you enjoyed our top stories of 2005. Yeah, we probably missed something so feel free to add to the list with your comment. The entire blogging team appreciates your enthusiastic response to this blog, and we look forward to continuing ACRLog in 2006. We hope all of our readers have a great new year! See you in 2006!

5 thoughts on “Top Stories of 2005 For Academic Librarians”

  1. An addendum to the Google story: at the end of the year the Congressional Research Service released a brief overview of the legal issues involved.

    And not an addendum, but a different take on the IL “backlash” – yes, some librarians are skeptical (Tom Eadie long before Stanley Wilder) but there are signs it’s being widely adopted as signficant beyond libraries. The AAC&U considers it a “a href=””> key competecy” for liberal learning. And say what you will about standardized test, ETS wouldn’t have developed one for information literacy if it wasn’t widely accepted as important.

  2. Just to clarify the details, the results of my unsystematic study identified 446 articles from 73 Emerald/MCB UP journals that were covertly duplicated and republished between 1975 and 2003. By “covertly duplicated”, I mean that the subsequent publications included no indication of the original source. Five of these examples were published in three journals; and as the blog author indicated, I found several instances of complete issues being duplicated. Many of the duplicates I discovered were republished in the same journal.

    The Ethics of Republishing: A Case Study of Emerald/MCB University Press Journals. available from:

    Article duplication in Emerald/MCB journals is more extensive than first reported: Possible conflicts of financial and functional interests are uncovered. available from:

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