Libraries and Learning Links of the Week

Web links about libraries and learning, every week.

DOERS3 Open Education in Tenure and Promotion Case Studies

This is a great project looking for authors to contribute to a book of case studies to show how teaching academics can use their open educational publications to leverage career promotion.

The DOERS3 Collaborative, building on its previous work with the DOERS3 OER Contributions Matrix, seeks authors for a book-length project centered around valuing open education work in the tenure, promotion, and reappointment process. To that end, we are interested in case studies written by faculty, staff, and administrators detailing their experiences trying to appropriately value OER and open educational work in that process.

Open source and cloud for managing digital collection materials

An interesting post from the Head of Digital Preservation at Cambridge University Library, about their digital preservation program(me). Cambridge have chosen to use open source software at the local level, and commercial cloud services for the storage layer.

Aligning the Research Library to Organizational Strategy

A joint report from ARL and CARL, who commissioned Ithaka S+R to run a consultation of “university leaders” across the USA and Canada to gauge their priorities, strategic ideas, and how they view their university library within that. Some of what is described seems more particular to the North American higher education cultural and economic context, but there are some really interesting insights here about how university politics works and how academic library leaders need to be thinking about that.

Libraries and Learning Links of the Week is published every Thursday by Hugh Rundle. If you like email newsletters you might also like Marginalia, a monthly commentary on things I've read and listened to more broadly.

A bunch of Open stuff for you today.

Automating ERA Benchmarks: An on-demand pilot system for calculating ERA-like benchmarks using open data and transparent analysis

The team from COKI have just released a timely study on whether it's possible to use open research metadata to automate the much-complained-about and extremely resource intensive Exellence in Research Australia (ERA) process. Turns out the answer is “probably mostly yes”:

Given a sufficiently comprehensive dataset, containing output-affiliation links, output citation data, and the journal assignment that was planned for ERA 2023, we show that the COKI pilot system is able to generate ERA-like benchmarks and indicators, aligned with ERA 2018 methodology and proposed ERA 2023 methodology.

NHMRC’s revised Open Access Policy released

In what seems to have been a surprise to most people (including me), the NHMRC announced this week that all new grants, effective immediately, will require open access to all research publications either in “gold” open access journals, or the “green” route of a recognised institutional repository. There were three particularly interesting things about this new policy:

  1. Research involving Indigenous knowledges is specifically excluded from the open access requirements in recognition of the cultural sensitivities around how this knowledge is shared.
  2. To comply, publications must be CC-BY licensed (no SA or ND licensed allowed)
  3. Publishing in hybrid journals is not allowed (except when it is)

On the last point, there's a carve-out for any hybrid journals that are the subject of “read and publish” agreements negotiated by a group of institutions (presumably a reference to the recent CAUL agreements). I can't help feeling like CAUL has accidentally perpetuated the outrageous double-dipping hybrid journals represent, but hopefully this is the beginning of the end for them.

DOERS3 Open Education in Tenure and Promotion Case Studies

An excellent project has been launched by DOERS3 to provide real life case studies of academics whose OER work has assisted them in their academic career progression. The problem of OER creation being either ignored or punished by Big Academia is widely known and observed. These people are trying to do something practical about it.

The DOERS3 Collaborative, building on its previous work with the DOERS3 OER Contributions Matrix, seeks authors for a book-length project centered around valuing open education work in the tenure, promotion, and reappointment process.

A critical part of sustaining OER and open educational practices in higher education is recognizing the contributions by instructors who create and improve OER as part of their professional work. The OER community is very familiar with this issue and is hungry for examples for how others in the community are either navigating this process themselves or are assisting those who are.

By collecting case studies from those who have experience, DOERS3 seeks to provide as many examples from as many types of institutions as possible so that those looking for answers to this problem can find solutions that speak to their particular issues.

Libraries and Learning Links of the Week is published every Thursday by Hugh Rundle. If you like email newsletters you might also like Marginalia, a monthly commentary on things I've read and listened to more broadly.

A bit of a mixed bag for you this week.

ICOLC Statement on the Metadata Rights of Libraries

Metadata and the metadata services that describe library collections are critical in supporting content discovery, knowledge creation, and libraries’ public missions. Metadata describing library collections is not typically copyrightable, and should be considered freely shareable and reusable under most circumstances. However, some industry players restrict libraries’ rights to use such metadata through contractual terms and market influence. Such restrictive activity is out of alignment with libraries’ needs and public, not-for-profit/educational missions.

In case you missed the reference, “some industry players” primarily is referring to OCLC and their recent legal action against Clarivate. The reality is that both companies — and others — are in an ongoing battle to enclose as much publicly-funded and produced bibliographic metadata as possible.

Read about it: Tackling the problem of students’ failure to hit the books

Justin Sung from Monash University lays out some interesting research findings and recommendation regarding how and why students read (or, more often, don't read) the readings set for them by their university lecturers and tutors. I found this really illuminating, and it's useful both for academics setting reading, and librarians working with academics to select and supply readinigs as well as those helping students with their academic skills.

Beyond Implementation: Positioning Maintenance as a Core Commitment in Libraries

Ruth Kitchin Tillman presented at CNI in April ahead of a paper coming out in January. This is full of amazing stuff. I've spent over half my library career maintaining library technology and leading teams of library systems maintainers, so this really hit home for me.

Maintenance is understudied in comparison to the role it plays in our day-to-day work. When I asked ILS/LSP maintainers to estimate how much of their work week is spent on maintenance-related tasks, their numbers ranged from 40-60% depending on how strictly we were defining maintenance. But our research, surveys, and case studies focus almost exclusively on migration or implementation of new systems or on development projects. While we assume we know what goes into maintenance, my research suggests that its low visibility negatively impacts both the institutions and the individuals who perform it.

This is spot on in my experience. I really recommend this — you can read the transcript, or there is also a link to a video of this presentation.

Libraries and Learning Links of the Week is published every Thursday by Hugh Rundle. If you like email newsletters you might also like Marginalia, a monthly commentary on things I've read and listened to more broadly.

Transformative agreements are not the key to open access

Kathleen Shearer argues in Times Higher Education that compelling universal use of repositories – rather than simply accepting “Gold” open access where publishers are paid whatever the market will bear to make articles free to read – is necessary if “transformative” agreements are to transform academic publishing in any meaningful way.

Note: you may need to register for a free THE account or subscribe to read this. The eternal irony of OA discourse.

Enhancing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) in Open Educational Resources (OER)

USQ has just published this OER book about publishing OER books by Librarian Nikki Anderson. Anderson's excellent work on accessibility and diversity is well-known in Australian academic libraries and it's exciting to see this new resource. Check it out and use it in your own work!

The Living Book of Digital Skills (You never knew you needed until now)

The Living Book of Digital Skills (You never knew you needed until now) is a living, open source online guide to 'modern not-quite-technical computer skills' for researchers and the broader academic community.

Excitingly, you can contribute (that's the “living” part). Check out the list of requested articles and if there's something you know about, why not add your knowledge to this community resource? Not sure how to use git and GitHub? There's an article for that.

Libraries and Learning Links of the Week is published every Thursday by Hugh Rundle. If you like email newsletters you might also like Marginalia, a monthly commentary on things I've read and listened to more broadly.

White House OSTP Memo on Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research

The big news of the last week was the Biden US government announcing a new policy requiring open access to both research publications and the data behind them with no embargo period, for all research funded by any US Government body. This is huge, for two reasons. The first is that “gold” open access – whereby researchers pay a bribe to a parasitic corporation so that the research paper they donated to the publisher is actually made public (i.e. “published”) – does not comply with this new policy. Research and data will have to be deposited in an approved repository (“green” OA). The second is that the US government is not mucking around on the implementation timetable. Every relevant US government department must have a plan in place for implementing this policy by the end of this year, and they have 12 months to carry out that plan.

Ginny Barbour explains in The Conversation what the implications are in the Australian context.

Automating Authority Control Processes

Another one from the Code4Lib archive, Stacey Wolf explains authority control, why it matters, and some options for automating processes for keeping library authority files up to date not matter the size of your library or collection.

Why Sharing Academic Publications Under “No Derivatives” Licenses is Misguided

An interesting article from Brigitte Vézina on the Creative Commons education blog. Some of this article is a bit of a stretch, but the key point comes at the end – copyright law was not designed to enforce academic integrity and isn't effective at doing so :

Overall, copyright law and CC Licenses are not the most appropriate frameworks to address problems of academic integrity. Better results can certainly be achieved through compliance with and enforcement of relevant, well-established and enduring institutional and social norms, ethics policies, and moral codes of conduct.

Libraries and Learning Links of the Week is published every Thursday by Hugh Rundle. If you like email newsletters you might also like Marginalia, a monthly commentary on things I've read and listened to more broadly.

First up today, something that's been bothering me for a while. Most institutional voices in the open access research discussion – particularly within Australia – like to take on a route-agnostic pose when it comes to how research become free-to-read. But this simply avoids addressing the consequences of the choices the academic system collectively makes about how to share research.

Article Processing Charges (APCs) and the new enclosure of research

Lin Zhang and Gunnar Sivertsen outline clearly and concisely the problem:

In 2020 we estimate the annual revenues from article processing charges (APCs) among major scholarly journal publishers to have exceeded 2 billion US dollars. Alongside these revenues, a pattern of mergers and takeovers in the industry indicate that publishers find APCs to be an even more profitable business model than subscriptions. This has significant implications for research and researchers, as researchers who cannot make their country, institution or project pay are not able to fulfil their research, ultimately closing access to research.


Publishing is an inextricable part of the research process. As such, we consider the mainstreaming of APCs as a ‘paywall’ to perform research, using the same term as is used to characterise the subscription model in publishing from a reader’s perspective. The global trends towards paying to perform research seem less dependent on the OA policies of countries than on the dynamics of the commercial publishing market. Notably, we found that APC expenses have sharply increased among six countries with different OA policies: the USA, China, the UK, France, the Netherlands, and Norway.

Prepare for increasing critique of the recent trend towards “Read and Publish” agreements, which if poorly managed and planned are simply an accounting trick. APCs, after all, were originally sold as a “temporary transitional arrangement” just as Read and Publish agreements are now.

Working Knowledge: Catalogers and the Stories They Tell

This amazing ethnography project by Amanda Belantara and Emily Drabinski asked cataloguers in a number of academic libraries to verbally narrate their thought process as they produced original catalogue records.

In the exploratory project Catalogers at Work, we draw on ethnographic methods to capture the crucial, complex, detailed, and yet largely invisible labor of resource description in libraries. By recording alongside catalogers as they work and documenting what is primarily an internal dialogue, we surface the knowledge-making that librarians do each day, revealing the stories, the frictions, the people, and the labor behind catalog records and how they are constructed.

Not only did this surface the mistruths in the official story libraries and sometimes cataloguers themselves tell about how they make decisions, it also resulted in an amazing audio record of how cataloguers go about their work.

The metadata that catalogers select and place in a record can uphold or disrupt the “master narrative” of official knowledge organization systems, quietly creating meaning for patrons as they navigate catalogs and library spaces based on the directions and decisions that catalogers inscribe. In documenting the process of cataloging, Catalogers at Work makes audible the power that metadata workers have to reproduce and resist ideological formations as they craft the stories that catalogs tell about the world.

This one is definitely worth a read (and a listen – some audio edits are included).

Q: Can You Revoke a Creative Commons License? A: No. Er… Sort Of? Maybe?

I'm unlikely to make a habit of increasing the distribution of articles from Scholarly Kitchen or by Rick Anderson, but this one is actually quite useful. The question of revocation of CC licenses comes up all the time, and Anderson is quite right to point out that it's confusing. I do think sometimes Anderson can be deliberately obtuse, however:

This brings up some fairly mind-bending questions. For example: given that the CC license represents an irrevocable contract between the copyright holder and the public, and given that there is only one public, to whom could the copyright holder subsequently “offer the Licensed Material under separate terms”?

I am also not a lawyer but I would have thought it was pretty obvious that this refers to the fact that the copyright owner, well, owns the copyright and can therefore come to any arrangement they like with any particular entity outside of the Creative Commons license they have chosen. As an obvious example, if I license a digital work CC-BY-NC-SA I could still license the work under a private contract to be published in print commercially. This is pretty much what Cory Doctorow does with most of his fiction books, for example.

Anyway, in general terms it's an interesting working-through of how clauses that at first blush may seem to contradict each other work in practice.

Happy reading (and listening)!

Libraries and Learning Links of the Week is published every Thursday by Hugh Rundle. If you like email newsletters you might also like Marginalia, a monthly commentary on things I've read and listened to more broadly.

I've decided to change the schedule for LLLotW because, well, Fridays doesn't work all that well for me. So welcome to the first Thursday edition.

Toward a Critical Turn in Library UX

This is a really interesting piece in College and Research Libraries about User Experience work in libraries, and the need for some more sophisticated approaches and critiques.

the positioning of the UX practitioner as the only person who can reveal and remedy the user’s “pain points” not only substantiates the self-legitimizing discourse of UX but also neglects to interrogate the power relations that lie behind this positioning.

I also found this commentary about some ramifications of positioning libraries as “services” really interesting:

The labeling of the entire library as a service, including collections and physical spaces, exacerbates the issue, flattening and subsuming the pink-collar emotional labor of library workers until it becomes immaterial, made manifest and considered only in the moment of exchange, of consumption. Perhaps in an attempt to validate the user’s experience as different from but equally worthy of the expertise of the service provider, this framework also invalidates expertise; expert knowledge can only be gauged through the user’s experience of it.

Decolonizing the Internet’s Structured Data – Summary Report

This is a really great report from an event that took place prior to WikiDataCon in 2021. The report makes clear that participants mean “decolonize” [sic] literally, and that this is urgent work that needs to be resourced properly as a priority. It also has some important points about how people involved in data and information work need to understand what we're dealing with:

We framed structured data as pieces of ideology, not as neutral categories that classify the world in a certain way

(my emphasis)

And also a warning:

Be aware that a community-centered vision for structured data may be irreconcilable with the agendas of some individuals and organizations invested in structured data, especially those using it for profit over human well-being.

Distributed Version Control and Library Metadata

This one is a blast from the past by Galen Charlton way back in 2008.

I'm including this because it's fascinating to look at what Galen was proposing 14 years ago and look at how library resource description has actually moved in the opposite direction: more centralised, and more tightly controlled by gatekeepers – it's just that the gatekeepers are now more likely to be venture-capital funded multinational sofware companies instead of state-funded libraries.

I also like this because it makes a very clear association between the technical work of library cataloguers and the technical work of software developers. If nothing else, it's not a bad way to show that “technical services” people in libraries have nothing to be intimidated by and no need for some sense of inferiority when it comes to software development practices. Yet another reason why “non-technical” as a phrase to mean “not a computer programmer or computer system administrator” is a rather unhelpful phrase.

Libraries and Learning Links of the Week is published every Thursday by Hugh Rundle. If you like email newsletters you might also like Marginalia, a monthly commentary on things I've read and listened to more broadly.

Happy Friday! Today's links are a little meatier than the last few editions – block out some time in your calendar to check them out properly.

Eight case studies

The full title for this is Eight case studies show opportunities, challenges, and needs of low-capacity and non-Western cultural heritage institutions, and although that terminology feels slightly icky to me, it seems that the institutions in question self-described or at least self-identified that way.

Looking through these case studies, what struck me is that many of these challenges also affect a lot of “western” GLAMS, even in organisations that are perceived as high capacity and wealthy. Maintaining, sharing and growing cultural heritage takes a lot of resources. I guess that's why traditionally humans have expended most of their energy on it.

ALIA Professional Pathways Frameworks Project Presentation

I know, right – you did a double take there. It's fair to say that I probably have a bit of a reputation as a critic of ALIA. I am, however, quite impressed by the work that has been undertaken for the Professional Pathways project, and what looks to be a concerted and thoughtful effort to consult widely and genuinely. This is a hugely important piece of work, addressing head on the key existential question about librarianship as a profession in Australia. In some ways this is long overdue, but on the other hand the fact that it has been rolling out concurrently with half of Australia's LIS degrees being discontinued has really rammed home one of the reasons this is so crucial.

You can find the “presentation” (A PDF of a slide deck that is terrible as slides but excellent as a summary of the rather hefty technical and consultation reports) and a form to have your say on the special ALIA website set up for this work. Anyone with an interest in this work can contribute to the consultation – you don not have to be an ALIA member.

Course Materials for Educators (OER)

The BCcampus Open Collection is a directory of open educational resources in a wide range of disciplines. It has everything from Introduction to Oceanography to Barbering Techniques for Hairstylists.

The “BC” stands for British Columbia, so you're also going to find things like Digging in to Canadian Soils and Building a Competitive First Nation Business Environment that are obviously tailored to the BC context. But that's the point when it comes to OER. One of the things I find exciting about it is that a way to drive OER use and creation is to use the consolidation and Americanisation of global publishing in English as a weapon against itself – a kind of Jiu Jitsu move to say “well it's unprofitable for Gigantic Publishing Inc to publish this niche textbook, so why don't you publish it openly with us?” Anyway check out the directory because there is also plenty of stuff that's not particularly specific to Canada or BC.

Have a great weekend, and I'll be in your inbox next week!

Libraries and Learning Links of the Week is published every Thursday by Hugh Rundle. If you like email newsletters you might also like Marginalia, a monthly commentary on things I've read and listened to more broadly.

Hello beautiful humans!

Is it Friday already? Gosh, I'm a little late with this but hopefully you'll appreciate this week's Links of the Week. And, well, I guess you're probably reading this on Monday. Anyway...

Building a contextual alternative to scholarly journal un/safelists

Paolo Mangiafico

This article explains the work of a group of librarians and academics working towards a Reviews: the Journal of Journal Reviews (RJJR) – a beautifully recursive peer-reviewed journal for reviews of peer-reviewed journals. The idea is two-fold: to provide a reliable source for librarians (and researchers) to obtain more rounded and sophisticated information about various scholarly publishing options (instead of a simple yes/no list), and also a place for librarians to gain some scholarly capital from the work they are essentially already doing when researching journal quality and practices.

Concerns about “predatory” or questionable journals have led many academics to seek out simple checklists of safe or unsafe journals, which reflect a real need among researchers to quickly make sense of an ever-increasing range of publication options. But the “safe/unsafe” approach obscures the contextual and constructed nature of authority in information, instead valuing the prestige of a small group of commercial entities.

How to Stay Focused If You’re Assigned to Multiple Projects at Once

Heidi K. Gardner and Mark Mortensen

I know, I can't believe I'm recommending an HBR article either. But this one is actually really great and does what it says on the tin. In short:

  • Get the big picture
  • Sequence strategically
  • Protect yourself
  • Document and communicate progress
  • Know thyself.
  • Force thyself

Why is this a “Libraries and Learning” link? If you work in a library and are yet to be assigned multiple projects at once, you must be new here.

Emerging, Submerging, Sinking or Swimming: Career cycles and trajectories in the GLAMs

Courtney Johnston

I’m old enough now that every time I hear the phrase “emerging museum professionals” I start thinking about what we should be doing to support submerging museum professionals

A great blog post about Jiu Jitsu, career patterns, leadership, and intelligences by one of the Chief Executives of Te Papa in Aotearoa. Not a library, sure, but certainly a part of the GLAM scene and absolutely a place of learning. There is a lot of really useful thinking here about career patterns and ways to be motivated by different things in different phases of a career.

We tend to think of careers as ladders, patterns of progressions. One speaker at AMAGA suggested that they should be thought of more as jungle gyms, where you might move laterally as well as vertically... I've not got the insight to propose a different model. And I'm not sure I want to promote a bell curve theory, from emerging to peaking to submerging again on the other side. Or a seasonal one, moving through Spring to Winter. What I want to explore is more the micro-phases within your career journey, that play out repeatedly as you take on new roles, or new life experiences alongside your working life.

Worth a read no matter where you feel you are in your Library and learning (or other) career.

Libraries and Learning Links of the Week is published every Thursday by Hugh Rundle. If you like email newsletters you might also like Marginalia, a monthly commentary on things I've read and listened to more broadly.

Welcome to the inaugural edition of LLLotW! Three links a week about learning, libraries, library learning, learners in libraries get the picture.

14 Equity Considerations for Ed Tech

Reed Dickson walks us through the TAXI model to help with building move equitably accessible education technology:

TAXI is a vehicle to drive us toward four kinds of equity considerations:

1) tech equity; 2) accessibility equity; 3) experiential equity; and, 4) identity equity.

Disinformation and 7 Common Forms of Information Disorder

From HiveMind, a quick primer about the various types of disinformation, misinformation, and “information disorder”. Useful for anyone teaching or learning about information literacy. Includes a downloadable infographic!

Services Run on Processes

This blog post by Anna-Sophia Zingarelli-Sweet is a few years old now (pre-Covid, gosh!) and yet the double-hyphenated author's exploration of what she learned from working retail stores that can be applied to libraries is just as relevant and fresh now as it was then.

That’s it. That’s the punch line and thesis statement of this post. Services run on processes.

...even the best front-end public services talent in the world can’t deliver an excellent customer/patron experience without time and talent dedicated to the back-end. Without excellent processes, services will fail. Without excellent technical services, libraries will fail.

See you next week – tell your friends!

Libraries and Learning Links of the Week is published every Thursday by Hugh Rundle. If you like email newsletters you might also like Marginalia, a monthly commentary on things I've read and listened to more broadly.

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