ALA Urgent Call for Action about the Presidential Veto of the Labor-HHS Bill

The American Library Association has issued an urgent call for action about the presidential veto of the FY 2008 Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which includes the NIH Public Access Policy mandate and essential funding for library programs.

You can easily contact your senators using the ALA Action Alert Web form.

I've created a cut-and-paste version of prior ALA/Alliance for Taxpayer Access text about the NIH open access mandate and added brief information about key library programs funded by the bill. You can use this text to simplify the process of sending an e-mail via the ALA Action Alert Web form, but personalizing this text with an added sentence or two is recommended.

Creative Commons Seeks Feedback from Librarians about LiveDVD

Timothy Vollmer has announced on Lita-L (10/28/07 message) that the Creative Commons is looking for feedback about its LiveDVD for libraries, which is part of its LiveContent project.

Here's an excerpt from the message:

Creative Commons is working with Fedora on creating a LiveDVD for libraries that contains free, open source software (like OpenOffice, The Gimp, Inkscape, Firefox) and open content, including CC-licensed media such as audio, video, photographs, text and open educational resources. . . .

The next iteration we're working on is a LiveDVD for libraries, providing an informational resource and creative tool that would allow library patrons to test open source software, view (and rip, remix, reuse) open content, and even create new content with the software contained on the disc. . . .

We want to get some more feedback/comments/suggestions on the project and are also looking to identify librarians and interested groups to test out the LiveDVD!

ARL Annual Salary Survey 2006–07 Published

The ARL Annual Salary Survey 2006–07 has been published, and it can be purchased from ARL.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The 2006–07 data show that ARL librarians’ salaries outperformed inflation. The combined median professional salary in US and Canadian ARL university libraries was $59,648—a 4.5% increase from the previous year. Over the same period, the Consumer Price Index rose 4.1% in the US and 2.4% in Canada. . . .

Gender-based salary differentials persist in ARL libraries in 2006–07. The overall salary for women in the 113 ARL university libraries is 95.7% of that paid to men; this figure compares to 95.5% in 2005–06. While the data show a marked closure of the gender gap in ARL libraries over the long term—in 1980–81, women in ARL libraries were paid roughly 87% of what men were paid—the data also raise the possibility that the closure has peaked, and that a 5% gap between men’s and women’s salaries may persist.

New Leadership at New Zealand’s National Digital Library

John Truesdale has been named the Director of the National Digital Library, Paul Reynolds has been named the Adjunct Director, and Steve Knight has been named Associate Director.

For details, see the press releases: "National Library of New Zealand appoints Director, National Digital Library" and "Trio of Top Thinkers to Lead National Digital Library."

Patricia Steele to Continue as Interim Dean of Indiana University Libraries

Indiana University President Michael McRobbie has announced that Patricia A. Steele, who has been the Interim Dean of the Indiana University Libraries since 2005, will continue in that role for up to two years.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

"The recent search for the Dean of the Libraries did not result in the identification of a successor who is better positioned than Pat to move forward with new library initiatives," said McRobbie. "Hence, I asked Pat to continue her appointment, effective immediately.

"I appreciate the leadership and hard work that have characterized Pat's tenure as interim dean, and Provost Karen Hanson and I look forward to working with her in the months ahead," McRobbie added.

McRobbie, who said that a new search would begin later this academic year, noted that Steele had moved the libraries forward since 2005 in advancing scholarly communications initiatives, planning for facilities and engaging an assessment of technical services operations. He expects that she will continue to build upon library planning and initiatives already in place and continue to advance IUB Libraries with the extension of her appointment, he said.

Back from the Certificate in Digital Information Management Meeting

I'm back from the University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science's Advisory Group meeting for its Certificate in Digital Information Management program.

This online post-bachelor's certificate program is shaping up nicely, building on its unusual synthesis of archival, digital technology, and library perspectives. As intended, its attracting a student body from diverse work and educational backgrounds. Peter Botticelli has been hired to lead the certificate program. Recruitment for the next cohort of students is gearing up, and some IMLS-funded scholarships will be available for U.S. citizens.

The certificate program is composed of six three-credit graduate courses.

  • IRLS 671 Introduction to Digital Collections
  • IRLS 672 Introduction to Applied Technology
  • IRLS 673 Managing the Digital Information Environment
  • IRLS 674 Preservation of Digital Collections
  • IRLS 675 Advanced Digital Collections
  • IRLS 676 Capstone

More detailed information can be found on the Course Information & Schedules: Digital Information Management Certificate page.

ARL Changes Public Ranking Methodology

Beginning with the 2005–06 report, ARL is using an Expenditures-Focused Index instead of its traditional Membership Criteria Index in public ranking reports. The Chronicle of Higher Education has published the "Index of Expenditures at University Research Libraries, 2005-6" (requires subscription).

Here's an excerpt from the ARL Index page:

Starting with 2005–06 data, ARL is calculating an Expenditures-Focused Index as an alternative to the ARL Membership Criteria Index. The Expenditures-Focused Index replaces the public availability of the ARL Membership Criteria Index. The Expenditures-Focused Index is highly correlated with the Membership Criteria Index and less affected by changes in the collections variables. The methodology behind this new index is described by Bruce Thompson in his October 2006 paper, "Some Alternative Quantitative Library Activity Descriptions/Statistics that Supplement the ARL Logarithmic Index."

What's in Your Wallet? Three Librarian Salary Surveys

Three surveys of librarian salaries have been recently published.

The Association of Research Libraries has published the ARL Annual Salary Survey 2006-07. PDF and Excel versions are freely available.

ALA has published the 2007 editions of the ALA-APA Salary Survey: Librarian—Public and Academic and the ALA-APA Salary Survey: Non-MLS—Public and Academic. Various priced access options are available.

Here's an excerpt from the ALA press release:

Analysis of data from more than 800 public and academic libraries showed the mean salary for librarians with ALA-accredited Master’s Degrees increased 2.8 percent from 2006, up $1,550 to $57,809. The median ALA MLS salary was $53,000. Salaries ranged from $22,048 to $225,000.

For the first time the non-MLS salary survey data, including 62 non-MLS positions, reported salaries for staff employed as librarians but who do not have ALA-accredited Master’s Degrees in Library Science. Non-MLS salaries ranged $10,712 to $143,700.

Crawford's Public Library Blogs: 252 Examples Published

Walt Crawford has published Public Library Blogs: 252 Examples.

Here's an excerpt from his posting about the book:

Public Library Blogs: 252 Examples

Public Library Blogs: 252 Examples is now available at Cites & Insights Books. Price: $29.50 plus shipping and handling.
The 299-page 6×9 trade paperback (x+289 pages) features descriptions and sample posts for a wide range of blogs from 196 public libraries of all sizes, in the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand.

If your library is considering a blog, this book should help you find blogs from comparable libraries to consider as examples. If your library has a blog and is considering more (or revising the ones you have), this book should help you find interesting examples–the public library blogging community is remarkably diverse!

For now, Public Library Blogs is only available from the Cites & Insights Books store at Lulu.com, printed on 60lb. cream book stock. In a few days, a version on bright white paper and with an ISBN will be available from CreateSpace–and, a couple of weeks after that, from Amazon.com

ALA Weblogs and Creative Commons Licenses

The American Library Association and its divisions have launched a number of Weblogs in the last few years. What copyright provisions are these digital publications under? Do they use Creative Commons licenses?

As the list below shows, the vast majority of ALA Weblogs have no explicit copyright statement on their homepage. The absence of such a statement does not mean that under U.S. law the Weblogs are not under standard copyright provisions. They are copyrighted, but by who? Unless ALA has a copyright transfer or work-for-hire agreement with Weblog authors, it appears that the author of each posting holds the copyright to that posting, and copyright permissions for uses of postings that exceed fair use would need to be obtained from their authors. (Some Weblogs have a single author.)

One ALA Weblog uses the standard ALA copyright statement (ALA Techsource), one is copyrighted under the name of the Weblog (ACRLog), one is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States license (YALSA), and three others are under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 licenses (District Dispatch, LITA Blog, and Office for Intellectual Freedom).

Thus, the vast majority of ALA Weblogs are under standard copyright provisions, one is under ALA’s more liberal copyright provisions, and a few are under Creative Commons Licenses that permit noncommercial use without further permission as long as it does not include the creation of derivative works.

Crazy Bosses

Queen of Hearts

Let’s hope that you never have a crazy boss. But—take my word for it—they’re out there. If you feel that you’ve gone down the rabbit hole and are faced each day with a cross between the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts, then, if you can’t just quit, you might want to pick up a copy of Stanley Bing’s Crazy Bosses.

You’ll meet a variety of crazy bosses, including the disaster hunter, the narcissist, the paranoid, the wimp, and, my personal favorite, the bully.

Bing offers humorous, but sage, advice for how to deal with these crazies.

Here’s a Chance to Hire Walt Crawford

Here’s a rare opportunity to hire a leading thinker in the library profession.

Walt Crawford is looking for work. For those of you who are not librarians and may not have heard of Walt, he is one of the most influential and important figures in the library world, and he was ranked among the most cited authors for the period 1994–2004 in a March 2007 College & Research Libraries article titled "Analysis of a Decade in Library Literature: 1994–2004" (unfortunately this article is not out of the C&RL embargo period yet and is not freely available).

Here’s a reproduction of Walt’s blog posting about this matter:

A special message:

Ever thought you or one of the groups you work for or with could use a Walt Crawford? Here’s your chance.

The RLG-OCLC transition will be complete in September. I’ve received a termination notice from OCLC, effective September 30, 2007.

I’m interested in exploring new possibilities. For now I’m trying not to narrow the options too much.

The basics: A new position could start any time after October 15, 2007 (possibly earlier). January to April 2008 might be ideal as a starting date, but earlier or later is quite possible.

I’m looking for a mutually-beneficial situation, which could be part time, could be full time, could be based on sponsorship of current writing and possible expansion to new areas, could be contract or consulting. I’m open to an exclusive working relationship—but also to more piecemeal possibilities.

Writing is important to me—but so is sensemaking, at the heart of what I’ve done at work and professionally for a few decades. I find numbers interesting (particularly exposing weaknesses in statistical assertions and finding the numbers that make most sense for an organization) and understand them well. I’ve been analyzing, synthesizing, designing (sometimes programming) and communicating throughout my career. I’m interested in the whole range of issues surrounding the intersections of libraries, policy, media and technology, and have demonstrated my effectiveness as a writer and speaker in those areas.

You can get a good sense of what I’ve published here, including my 15 (to date) books and many of the 400+ articles and columns.

I would certainly consider a short-term (say two to four years) situation—but if you have something that makes sense for both of us for a longer term, I have no set retirement date. If I had to name an ideal, it would probably be roughly two-thirds time with benefits (or full time if Cites & Insights was considered part of the job).

Clear limitation: There are very few places we’d be willing to relocate, most of them in temperate parts of the Pacific Rim—that is, California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, or maybe Australia or New Zealand. Otherwise, for most possibilities outside of Silicon Valley (or the Tri-Valley area around Livermore), I’d be looking to telecommute—and perfectly willing to travel on a reasonable basis.

If you have acquaintances who are unlikely to see this blog, within "groups that work for/with libraries"—publishers, vendors, search-engine makers, consortia, what have you—where you think I might be a good fit, I’d be delighted if you told them about this. If you’d like to blog about it, please do, saying whatever you like. (Schadenfreude?Be my guest.)

I don’t have a proper resume. I suspect I’m more likely to be hired by someone who knows who I am or is more interested in a full vita, available here. (OK, I’ll be 62 in September and I have an international reputation that is only slightly related to my daytime job: Maybe not the ideal combination for a classic "hit ’em with the keywords" resume.)

Offers, inquiries, questions, comments should go to me at my gmail address: waltcrawford. If you’d like to meet during ALA Annual, let me know.

For those of you who care about Cites & Insights: I have every intention of continuing and, with luck, improving C&I. I have every intention of keeping it free to the reader. I’ve been thinking about a spinoff in an area that I find increasingly important and that requires more room and time than I’ve been giving it—and that spinoff might or might not be free, depending on arrangements that come to light. Naturally, finding the right position will help ensure the future of C&I.

Here’s the brief bio:

Walt Crawford is an internationally recognized writer and speaker on libraries, technology, policy and media.Crawford was for many years Senior Analyst at RLG, focusing on user interface design and actual usage patterns for end-user bibliographic search systems. Through September 30, 2007, he works on RLG-OCLC transition and integration issues.

Crawford is the creator, writer and publisher of Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large, an ejournal on the intersections of libraries, policy, technology and media published monthly since 2001. He also maintains a blog on these and other issues, Walt at Random.

Crawford’s books include Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change (2007), First Have Something to Say: Writing for the Library Profession (2003), Being Analog: Creating Tomorrow’s Libraries (1999), Future Libraries: Dreams, Madness & Reality (with Michael Gorman, 1995), and eleven others going back to MARC for Library Use: Understanding the USMARC Formats(1984).

Crawford writes the “disContent” column in EContent Magazine and has written columns for American Libraries, Online and Library Hi Tech. In all, he has written more than 400 library-related articles and columns appearing in a range of library publications.

Crawford was recently cited as one of the 31 most frequently cited authors in library literature 1994-2004 (the only American writer on that list outside academic libraries). In 1995, he received the American Library Association’s LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education, followed by the ALCTS/Blackwell Scholarship Award in 1997. He was president of the Library and Information Technology Association in 1992/93.

More information is available at Crawford’s home page.

Researchers’ Use of Academic Libraries and Their Services

The Research Information Network (RIN) and the The Consortium of Research Libraries in the British Isles (CURL) have published a new report titled Researchers’ Use of Academic Libraries and Their Services.

Here’s an excerpt from the report’s Web page:

This study was designed to provide an up-to-date and forward-looking view of how researchers interact with academic libraries in the UK. Harnessing empirical data and qualitative insights from over 2250 researchers and 300 librarians, the RIN and CURL hope that the results will be useful in informing the debate about the future development of academic libraries and the services they provide to researchers.

This is an important moment in the relationship between researchers and research libraries in the UK. The foundations of the relationship are beginning to be tested by shifts in the way that researchers work. The rise of e-research, interdisciplinary work, cross-institution collaborations, and the expectation of massive increases in the quantity of research output in digital form all pose new challenges. These challenges are about how libraries should serve the needs of researchers as users of information sources of many different kinds, but also about how to deal with the information outputs that researchers are creating.

Currently, the majority of researchers think that their institutions’ libraries are doing an effective job in providing the information they need to do their work, but it is time to consider the future roles and responsibilities of all those involved in the research cycle—researchers, research institutions and national bodies, as well as libraries—in meeting the challenges that are coming.

Nontraditional Professionals in Research Libraries

There is an interesting article by Stanley Wilder in the "Careers" section of the February 23, 2007 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education ("The New Library Professional").

Using 2005 data, he notes that 23% of the professionals in ARL libraries are in nontraditional positions (e.g., development, human resources, and IT), and 39% of under-35 professionals are in these type of positions. In this under-35 group, 24% of nontraditional professionals earn $54,000 (or more). Forty-seven percent of under-35 computer professionals make $50,000 or more. (Needless to say, traditional librarians have not done as well salary-wise, leading to equity concerns.) The number of professionals who do not have an MLS has skyrocketed by 142% since 1985.

I wonder if there are significant differences in this trend by ARL library rank, with it being stronger at more larger, more affluent libraries or at libraries in private institutions.

My own experience during the last 20 years or so at a small public ARL library was that it was a constant struggle to get approval for new computer professional positions; to be able to recruit at salaries that, while not truly competitive, were at least not laughable; to upgrade existing positions so that they more adequately reflected job duties and marketplace values; and to retain staff. This was more difficult for non-MLS professionals than for MLS professionals.

More than once I, as an Assistant Dean/Director of Systems, had to take direct responsibility for Web support because of lengthy recruitment difficulties, including one two-year stretch where I did 100% of all Web support work in addition to my normal duties (I also ran the branch libraries for one year of that period). As an Assistant Dean for Digital Library Planning and Development, I had no staff and no prospect of getting any.

At some research libraries, non-MLS professionals may find that they have no career path or a short one. Taking computer professionals as an example, the issue is how far up the hierarchy can non-MLS professionals go before they hit the "must have an accredited MLS" ceiling? Can they become unit heads, department heads, ADs, or Deans/Directors? The answer may vary by library. Another issue is, generous salaries aside, are nontraditional professionals treated as second-class citizens in other ways than advancement (e.g., they may not be given the same level of support for professional travel and activities, especially if MLS librarians have faculty or faculty-like status and are adequately supported in their efforts to move up the academic ranks). Given that 39% of under-35 professionals are in nontraditional jobs, these are important issues to address, especially if Boomer librarians manage to retire en masse as some predict. It would not be a pretty sight to have Boomers heading out the door just as younger nontraditional librarians bump their heads on the MLS ceiling and start considering other career options.

This is a liminal period for research libraries, and, to a significant degree, nontraditional staff will determine their future success.

Source: Wilder, Stanley. "The New Library Professional." The Chronicle of Higher Education, 23 February 2007, C1, C4.

The Long Run

Enthusiasm about new technologies is essential to innovation. There needs to be some fire in the belly of change agents or nothing ever changes. Moreover, the new is always more interesting than the old, which creaks with familiarity. Consequently, when an exciting new idea seizes the imagination of innovators and, later, early adopters (using Rogers’ diffusion of innovations jargon), it is only to be expected that the initial rush of enthusiasm can sometimes dim the cold eye of critical analysis.

Let’s pick on Library 2.0 to illustrate the point, and, in particular, librarian-contributed content instead of user-contributed content. It’s an idea that I find quite appealing, but let’s set that aside for the moment.

Overcoming the technical challenges involved, academic library X sets up on-demand blogs and wikis for staff as both outreach and internal communication tools. There is an initial frenzy of activity, and a number of blogs and wikis are established. Subject specialists start blogging. Perhaps the pace is reasonable for most to begin with, although some fall by the wayside quickly, but over time, with a few exceptions, the postings become more erratic and the time between postings increases. It is unclear whether target faculty read the blogs in any great numbers. Internal blogs follow a similar pattern. Some wikis, both internal and external, are quickly populated, but then become frozen by inactivity; others remain blank; others flourish because they serve a vital need.

Is this a story of success, failure, or the grey zone in between?

The point is this. Successful publishing in new media such as blogs and wikis requires that these tools serve a real purpose and that their contributors make a consistent, steady, and never-ending effort. It also requires that the intended audience understand and regularly use the tools and that, until these new communication channels are well-established, the library vigorously promote them because there is a real danger that, if you build it, they will not come.

Some staff will blog their hearts out irregardless of external reinforcement, but many will need to have their work acknowledged in some meaningful way, such as at evaluation, promotion, and tenure decision points. Easily understandable feedback about tool use, such as good blog-specific or wiki-specific log analysis, is important as well to give writers the sense that they are being read and to help them tailor their message to their audience.

On the user side, it does little good to say "Here’s my RSS feed" to a faculty member who doesn’t know what RSS is and could care less. Of course, some will be hip to RSS, but that may not be the majority. If the library wants RSS feeds to become part of a faculty member’s daily workflow, it is going to have to give that faculty member a good reason for it to be so, such as significant, identified RSS feed content in the faculty member’s field. Then, it is going to have to help the faculty member with the RSS transition by pointing out good RSS readers, providing tactful instruction, and offering ongoing assistance.

In spite of the feel-good glow of early success, it may be prudent not to declare victory too soon after making the leap into a major new technology. It’s a real accomplishment, but dealing with technical puzzles is often not the hardest part. The world of computers and code is a relatively ordered and predictable one; the world of humans is far more complex and unpredictable.

The real test of a new technology is in the long run: Is the innovation needed, viable, and sustainable? Major new technologies often require significant ongoing organizational commitments and a willingness to measure success and failure with objectivity and to take corrective action as required. For participative technologies such as Library 2.0 and institutional repositories, it requires motivating users as well as staff to make behavioral changes that persist long after the excitement of the new wears off.

Will Self-Archiving Cause Libraries to Cancel Journal Subscriptions?

There has been a great deal of discussion of late about the impact of self-archiving on library journal subscriptions. Obviously, this is of great interest to journal publishers who do not want to wake up one morning, rub the sleep from their eyes, and find out over their first cup of coffee at work that libraries have en masse canceled subscriptions because a "tipping point" has been reached. Likewise, open access advocates do not want journal publishers to panic at the prospect of cancellations and try to turn back the clock on liberal self-archiving policies. So, this is not a scenario that any one wants, except those who would like to simply scrap the existing journal publishing system and start over with a digital tabula rosa.

So, deep breath: Is the end near?

This question hinges on another: Will libraries accept any substitute for a journal that does not provide access to the full, edited, and peer-reviewed contents of that journal?

If the answer is "yes," publishers better get out their survival kits and hunker down for the digital nuclear winter or else change business practices to embrace the new reality. Attempts to fight back by rolling back the clock may just make the situation worse: the genie is out of the bottle.

If the answer is "no," preprints pose no threat, but postprints may under some difficult to attain circumstances.

It is unlikely that a critical mass of author created postprints (i.e., author makes the preprint look like the postprint) will ever emerge. Authors would have to be extremely motivated to have this occur. If you don’t believe me, take a Word file that you submitted to a publisher and make it look exactly like the published article (don’t forget the pagination because that might be a sticking point for libraries). That leaves publisher postprints (generally PDF files).

For the worst to happen, every author of every paper published in a journal would have to self-archive the final publisher PDF file (or the publishers themselves would have to do it for the authors under mandates).

But would that be enough? Wouldn’t the permanence and stability of the digital repositories housing these postprints be of significant concern to libraries? If such repositories could not be trusted, then libraries would have to attempt to archive the postprints in question themselves; however, since postprints are not by default under copyright terms that would allow this to happen (e.g., they are not under Creative Commons Licenses), libraries may be barred from doing so. There are other issues as well: journal and issue browsing capabilities, the value-added services of indexing and abstracting services, and so on. For now, let’s wave our hands briskly and say that these are all tractable issues.

If the above problems were overcome, a significant one remains: publishers add value in many ways to scholarly articles. Would libraries let the existing system of journal publishing collapse because of self-archiving without a viable substitute for these value-added functions being in place?

There have been proposals for and experiments with overlay journals for some time, as well other ideas for new quality control strategies, but, to date, none have caught fire. Old-fashioned peer review, copy editing and fact checking, and publisher-based journal design and production still reign, even among the vast majority of e-journals that are not published by conventional publishers. In the Internet age, nothing technological stops tens of thousands of new e-journals using open source journal management software from blooming, but they haven’t so far, have they? Rather, if you use a liberal definition of open access, there are about 2,500 OA journals—a significant achievement; however, there are questions about the longevity of such journals if they are published by small non-conventional publishers such as groups of scholars (e.g., see "Free Electronic Refereed Journals: Getting Past the Arc of Enthusiasm"). Let’s face it—producing a journal is a lot of work, even a small journal that only publishes less than a hundred papers a year.

Bottom line: a perfect storm is not impossible, but it is unlikely.

More on ALA and Open Access

Peter Suber has provided clarification of ALA’s stance on open access in the below Open Access News posting excerpt:

Comment. This is the most detailed discussion I’ve seen of this question. You should read the whole thing, as I’ve had to omit most of the detail on which Charles’ conclusion rests. I’d only add that (1) the ALA Washington office has a page on OA, (2) the ALA Council adopted a resolution in support of FRPAA at its June 2006 annual meeting, and (3) the ALA has signed on to several public statements in support of OA, most recently a July 12 letter in support of FRPAA and a May 31 letter in support of the EC report on OA.

To further clarify this matter, FRPAA (Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006) and the European Commission’s Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets in Europe both deal with open access to publicly-funded research. This is certainly a major open access issue; however, ALA journals are unlikely to publish a high percentage of papers that result from such publicly-funded research. Consequently, the direct impact of FRPAA or, especially, the EC report on ALA’s journal publishing operations is likely to be minimal.

In contrast to this support for FRPAA and the EU report, ALA has not signed the "Budapest Open Access Initiative" (as other library organizations such as the Association of Academic Health Services Libraries, ALA’s Association of College and Research Libraries Division, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries have), the "Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities," or the "Washington DC Principles for Free Access to Science" (as many association publishers have).

The path from the ALA home page to the Washington Office page is: Home–> Washington Office –> Issues–> Copyright Issues–> Open Access to Research. The ALA Web site is quite large and deep, and one would not expect an OA page to be on the top level. The question is: Can this page be found by someone who doesn’t know that open access is a Washington Office concern? It appears that issues of primary concern to ALA are under the home page heading "Issues & Advocacy" (Home –> Issues & Advocacy).

Whether ALA provides more active support for the open access movement and its reform strategies is, of course, up to its officers and members. These two postings on the matter have been descriptive, not prescriptive. Further clarifications to ALA’s stance on open access or discussion of it are welcome, and can be submitted as comments to either posting.

The American Library Association and Open Access

Does the American Library Association (ALA) support open access and, if so, are its journal publishing practices congruent with open access journal publishing and self-archiving?

What is the American Library Association?

For non-librarians, a brief overview of the American Library Association (ALA) from its Web site may be helpful before considering its open access policies and practices

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 64,000 members. Its mission is to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information.

ALA’s Mission and Strategic Plans

Several key documents outline ALA’s mission and strategic goals:

Although the ALA’s mission and goals have become less library-centric over time, there is no explicit statement of support for open access in any of these documents.

ALA Memberships in Organizations That Support Open Access Initiatives

ALA is a member of at least two organizations that support open access initiatives: (1) the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA), and (2) the SPARC Open Access Working Group. (ALA is not a member of SPARC, but its Association of College and Research Libraries division, known as ACRL, is.)

Information about these ARL memberships certainly exists in the ALA Web site, but it is deeply buried and difficult to find by navigating the site’s menu structure (see the Google site searches for ATA and the SPARC Open Access Working Group).

ALA’s Journal Copyright Agreements

ALA has two copyright agreements: (1) Copyright Assignment Agreement and (2) Copyright License Agreement.

In the Copyright Assignment Agreement, the author: "hereby grants to Publisher all right, title and interest in and to the Work, including copyright in all means of expression by any method now known or hereafter developed, including electronic format." ALA then grants back to the author one broad self-archiving right: "The right to use and distribute the Work on the Author’s Web site." It also grants a narrow right: "The right to use and distribute the Work internally at the Author’s place of employment, and for promotional and any other non-commercial purposes." Authors who use this agreement cannot self-archive in public sections of institutional repositories or in disciplinary archives.

In the Copyright License Agreement, the author retains copyright and then grants to ALA the rights needed to publish the article, with the only restriction on the author being that: "Author agrees not to publish the Work in print form prior to the publication of the Work by the Publisher." Authors who can choose this option can self-archive where ever they want.

ALA’s Journals

ALA publishes a number of serials. This section only considers its major journals. Since it is impossible to determine from their Web sites if some ALA journals are peer-reviewed, there has been no effort to distinguish peer-reviewed journals from those with other editorial policies.

  1. Children and Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children: The Web site provides no table of contents information or online access at all, although there is a link that says: "Click here to subscribe to Children and Libraries online now!" The Policies and Procedures page says: "All material in CAL is subject to copyright by ALA and may be reprinted or photocopied and distributed for the noncommercial purpose of educational or scientific advancement." There are no links to the ALA copyright forms. Verdict: Not an open access journal and, since it is unclear whether the Copyright License Agreement is accepted, it may only support limited self-archiving.
  2. College & Research Libraries: There is a six-month embargo period, after which issues are freely available at the Web site. Volume 57 (1996) through volume 66 (2005) are freely available. The journal page solely links to the Copyright License Agreement. Verdict: Not an open access journal, but fully supports self-archiving.
  3. Information Technology and Libraries: Recently, the journal’s access policy changed. There will be a six-month embargo period, after which issues will be freely available at the Web site. Selected articles from volume 20 (2001) through volume 23 (2004) are freely available. The home page links to both ALA copyright agreements. Verdict: Not an open access journal, but fully supports self-archiving. (Disclosure: Since ALA Annual, I have been on the Editorial Board.)
  4. Library Administration and Management: Web site only provides access to table of contents information. No discussion of copyright agreements in Author Instructions. Verdict: Not an open access journal and, since it is unclear whether the Copyright License Agreement is accepted, it may only support limited self-archiving.
  5. Library Resources & Technical Services: Web site provides access to table of contents information and the full-text of volumes 44 (2000) through 46 (2002). Instructions to Authors page links to both ALA copyright agreements. Not an open access journal, but fully supports self-archiving.
  6. Public Libraries: Web site provides free access to volume 42 (2002) through volume 44 (2005). There is no discussion of copyright in the Public Libraries Editorial Guidelines page, and there are no links to the ALA copyright forms. Verdict: Not an open access journal and, since it is unclear whether the Copyright License Agreement is accepted, it may only support limited self-archiving.
  7. RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage: Volume 13 (1998) (of the prior journal) through volume 6 (2005) are freely available. No links to ALA copyright agreements. Guidelines for Submission of Articles to RBM page states: "Articles published in RBM are copyrighted by the American Library Association, and subsequent inquiries for reprinting articles are referred to the ALA Office of Rights and Permissions." Verdict: Not an open access journal. Since it is unclear whether the Copyright License Agreement is accepted, it may only support limited self-archiving.
  8. Reference & User Services Quarterly: Web site only provides access to table of contents information and article abstracts. Information for Authors, Advertisers, and Subscriptions page links to both ALA copyright agreements. Not an open access journal, but fully supports self-archiving.
  9. School Library Media Research: Web site provides free access to all issues. Manuscript Policy page links to both ALA copyright agreements. An open access journal under the most liberal definition of that term (i.e., free, immediate access without using a Creative Commons Attribution License or similar license) that fully supports self-archiving.
  10. Young Adult Library Services: Web site only provides access to table of contents information. Author Guidelines page states: "A manuscript published in the journal is subject to copyright by ALA for Young Adult Library Services." There are no links to the ALA copyright forms. Verdict: Not an open access journal and, since it is unclear whether the Copyright License Agreement is accepted, it may only support limited self-archiving.

It should be noted that the Science and Technology Section of ACRL publishes Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship, a freely available e-journal whose Instructions for Authors page does not discuss copyright at all; however, ALA does not list this journal on its American Library Association Periodicals page, which "is a list of the various newsletters, magazines, and journals published within the American Library Association, including those which are only available over the Internet."

Summary

This brief investigation has not attempted to determine whether the divisions of ALA more vigorously support and enact open access principles than the parent organization. The Association of College and Research Libraries is certainly known for its general support (e.g., see ACRL Taking Action, Principles and Strategies for the Reform of Scholarly Communication, and Scholarly Communication Toolkit).

A user starting at the ALA home page would be hard pressed to find any information that suggests that ALA is an advocate of open access without using the search function. Yet, there are a number of pages on the site that deal with it, although many are ACRL Web site pages or serial articles.

ALA’s mission statements and plans reveal no explicit support for open access; however, ALA belongs to at least two organizations that support it: (1) the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA), and (2) the SPARC Open Access Working Group.

Out of ten major journals that it publishes, ALA only publishes one open access journal: School Library Media Research. Two journals (College & Research Libraries and Information Technology and Libraries) have a clear six-month embargo policy. Two more (Public Libraries and RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage) may also be operating under an embargo policy. One provides free access to a subset of older back volumes (Library Resources & Technical Services). The rest only provide table of contents information, some with abstracts, or, in one case, no information at all.

Five journals (College & Research Libraries, Information Technology and Libraries, Library Resources & Technical Services, Reference & User Services Quarterly, School Library Media Research) clearly offer authors the option of the Copyright License Agreement, which fully supports all types of self-archiving. For the rest, it is unclear from the journal’s Web sites if this option is permitted, and only the Copyright Assignment Agreement may be available, which only permits self-archiving on the author’s Web site or on internal systems at the author’s place of employment (presumably including an access-restricted part of an institutional repository). It may be the case that all ALA journals permit the use of the Copyright License Agreement; however, this is impossible to determine from some their Web sites, a subset of which have language that appears to indicate otherwise.

As a whole, the American Library Association appears to support the open access movement to a limited extent. If this is incorrect and its support is strong, ALA appears to be having difficulty making its commitment visible and "walking the talk."

Hear Luminaries Interviewed at Recent CNI Task Force Meetings

Matt Pasiewicz and CNI have made available digital audio interviews with a number of prominent attendees at the CNI Fall (2005) and Spring (2006) Task Force meetings.

Navigating the Library Blogosphere

Needless to say, there has been rapid growth in blogging by librarians over the last few years, and library blogosphere has become more varied and complex. Here are some directories of library web logs to help you navigate the library blogosphere:

Want more information about library web logs? Try Susan Herzog’s BlogBib.

The Counting Game

Let’s say you run a research library and you have JSTOR. You are convinced that JSTOR is a safe, permanent electronic archive that fully substitutes for the included print journal volumes. It makes sense to take a second look at those print volumes. It’s a large number of volumes, and space (as always) is tight. What to do? You could withdraw them, you could put them in remote storage, or you could do nothing.

A question that might come to mind is: What impact will withdrawing these volumes have on my volume count? And, if your library is in ARL, a second question might be: what impact would withdrawing these volumes have on my ARL ranking?

Of course, if you are at one of the very top-tier libraries, this might be the proverbial drop in the bucket. If not, it might have an effect, possibly a big effect if you are at the bottom of the rankings.

Another interesting twist comes when the same questions come to bear on cooperative print archives. The idea is that a group of libraries band together and put one archival copy of book or journal volumes in a collective print repository, freeing up a considerable amount of collective space. Perhaps it’s in response to a shift to electronic access, or perhaps it’s based on low usage. In either case, one archival copy is stored safe and sound for that someday when it might be needed.

Makes sense—until you play the counting game.

The problem with the counting game in the emerging electronic era is figuring out how to count electronic "holdings" so that they have the same weight as print holdings. This is make especially tricky by the fact that libraries do not own licensed electronic resources, only "rent" them. What’s held one year may not be held the next due to a wide variety of factors, making counting a bit more difficult than just adding this year’s new purchases to last year’s volume counts.

Like it or not, research libraries are unlikely to stop playing the counting game. ARL’s E-Metrics project is one attempt to define meaningful new measures. In the long run, the counting game will have new rules, because it appears that the substitution of electronic information for print information is gaining momentum, driven by a variety of budgetary and other factors.

Library Juice Online Ph.D. Issue

Library Juice has collected a subset of the JESSE messages about online Ph.D. programs and edited them together into an easy-to-read format for its volume 8, no. 10 (2005) issue.

Here is a complete list of the JESSE threads about online Ph.D.’s in the May archive (in the order they display in the topic sort):