ARL/ACRL Announce Scholarly Communications Institute

Building on the successful professional development model found in programs like the ACRL/Harvard Leadership Institute and the Institute for Information Literacy Immersion program, ACRL will be teaming up with ARL to provide an Institute on Scholarly Communication in July 2006. From the brochure:

“As a participant in this 2.5 day immersion program, you will become fluent with scholarly communication issues and trends so that you are positioned to educate others on your library staff, engage in campus communications programs and other advocacy efforts, and work collaboratively with other participants to begin developing an outreach plan for your campus.”

No information yet on program faculty, but applications aren’t due until April 1, 2006, so there’s time for much more content to be delivered. Mark your calendars!

One-Way Signs on the Information Highway

The Washington Post had an article a few days ago that spells out in depth the extent to which National Security Letters – like the one used against a library consortium in Connecticut – are used routinely against law-abiding Americans: thirty thousand since the PATRIOT Act was enacted. Congress, according to the Chronicle, is finally noticing. But of course those served with NSLs can’t contribute to the debate – that’s against the law.

Meanwhile, Inside Higher Education is reporting a suit to prompt the honoring of FOIA requests to find out why visas are being denied to foreign scholars. Though the government wants us to trust them to rummage through our information at will, they’re awfully reluctant to comply with laws that let us get information from them.

To paraphrase the slogan often found on the walls of diners: “In God We Trust: All Others, Bring a Subpoena.” If you care about these things, take action. Because pretty soon it’ll be too late.

Books – And Libraries To Hold Them – Still Essential

The University of Chicago has previously been in the higher education news because it is bucking the trend of some peer institutions to reduce or eliminate campus space for books. At Chicago they are planning a $42 million expansion of the Joseph Regenstein Library to make room for 3.5 million volumes. As part of the planning process the University conducted a survey that collected information on the library usage habits of 5,700 students. While the survey indicates that students prefer to use online journals over print, it clearly shows that heavy digital media users are heavy physical media users. The poll findings will be presented Thursday, Nov. 17, at a conference titled “Space and Knowledge,” which will explore the use of libraries on campus. If any of our ACRLog readers attends the conference please consider sharing your notes as a blog post here at ACRLog.

Positive Press For An Academic Library

Every now and then we see a good story in the mainstream media about the positive contributions libraries make to their communities. Not surprisingly, those stories tend to feature public libraries. Occasionally the subject of the article is an academic library. This past Sunday the Star Tribune in Minneapolis featured an article about the innovations at the University of Minnesota’s Walter Library designed to lure students to the library. As with most articles of this type the student quotes reflect their attraction to Internet search engines, but some acknowledge that the library provides invaluable and time-saving research assistance – and good coffee. After reading the article and exploring the web site at the University of Minnesota Library, I find their balanced approach to reaching out to students provides a good model. Recognizing students’ preference for search systems that provide a Google experience, they’ve developed the “Undergraduate Virtual Library”. It looks to be a federated search system that mimics the features of a simple search engine, but with a slightly busier interface. But they also promote a variety of user education programs to help students improve library research skills. It demonstrates that while it is important to acknowledge changing student behaviors by offering new and different approaches to research, academic librarians can offer balance by continuing to support the essential values of user education.

Open Access Comes to C&RL

ACRL has announced that content from College & Research Libraries will be made freely available on the ACRL Web site six months after publication, and that back issues from 1997 – are already available.

This is welcome news to those of us who have been calling for ACRL to provide leadership in this area for the past few years. I have to believe that our message to faculty about the need to commit to open access alternatives for Tier One scholarly journals can only be made more effective by being able to demonstrate that our own professional association has made that same commitment in regard to our most highly-regarded, peer-reviewed journal. It would be nice to see other leading LIS journals make this same commitment, but it was absolutely imperative that ACRL do so, and I’m excited to see that it has finally happened.

I’m also happy to see that the announcement clearly articulates ACRL support for author self-archiving of material published in C&RL. I had to do some digging myself earlier this year to determine ACRL policy on this issue as I was preparing to place a paper that I presented at the ACRL meeting in Minneapolis into our institutional repository (KU ScholarWorks). Lots of good news in this announcement!