Author Archives: Davis Erin Anderson

Summer Reading

I’ve been home from ALA for two weeks now, doing my utmost to savor the moments of insight I experienced at ALA. A 15 hour journey from Anaheim to NYC plus re-emersion into life as usual have obvious consequences, however, and it’s tough to carry the conference mood into daily life.

While I’d planned to avoiding commenting on ARCgate – a recent uproar regarding abuses of advanced reader copies of books at ALA / some finger wagging over conference decorum – I do have to iterate that the books I brought home with me have allowed sustained interest in topics highlighted in Anaheim. I think this is the intention of ARCs in the first place, but making this point on a broader scale is outrageously goody-two-shoed. The reality is that I made myself a “no swag” promise, not knowing about the ARC phenomena in the first place, thus finding myself in the odd position of having behaved ethically in regard to acquiring ARCs and published monographs, yet feeling oddly guilty for bringing extra items home with me – in spite of the fact that they are central to the mission of my education. Don’t worry: I’m shaking my head at myself on your behalf.

I’m in the middle of reading Weinberger’s Too Big To Know, but have become thoroughly distracted by In the Garden Of Beasts by Erik Larson, which I purchased at Hudson Books JFK prior to my departure. While reading, I’ve been thinking a lot about a class I took in my undergraduate studies called Representations of the Holocaust – a three week, three credit summer term class I put toward my social science credits. Given that several years have passed since then, I’m tremendously ill-equipped to answer the question that I had programmed into my mind that summer: how can we justifiably discuss the unthinkable events that took place in Germany in the 30s and 40s, events that Walter Benjamin famously wrote represent the end of civilization? How can Larson’s book be treated within this framework? If only I could find my notes I might be better able to formulate a few thoughts on this, but it’s interesting to try to think about anyway. Dissertation level stuff.

In due course I shall return to my ALA summer reading list, which also includes Rebecca MacKinnon’s Consent of the Networked and The Accidental Taxonomist by Heather Hedden, as well as my general LIS studies reading list, which includes The Information by James Glieck and Information Rules by Hal Varian. Non-fiction, practical reading all. If only Simon and Schuster had had copies of John Irving’s In One Person on hand…

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ALA Session: Riding the Publishing Rollercoaster

On Monday afternoon, I struggled to choose between a session on publishing and one on cloud computing. Tough choice! Practicality prevailed, however, and so I opted to add more insight into the process of academic publishing to my copious notes from LIS631. This session did not disappoint!

I took so much away from the panel that’s worth sharing. What follows is a direct, lightly edited transcript of my notes:

Kathryn Deiss, ACRL publishing:

– Question yourself: where can I contribute? What do I have to say?

– Need for white papers, position papers, and reports. We’ll focus on books first

– ACRL = non-commercial, flexible in things they try/do, focus on college/univ. libraries

– Think: content! Content is king! We need to think deeply: does my content matter? Is it needed? Why? How does this advance our thinking in the profession?

– Do all of this before you propose, then fill out the online form [to submit an abstract or finished paper].

– Be creative about content. For example: book with chapters written with departments other than the library. This goes for publishers too! Could co-publish with other companies.

– Be creative in thinking about subject matter, and also about format.

– Think while you write; keep it clean and to the point. Simple and direct.

– Ask about publisher’s pet peeves and avoid them! For example, papers submitted with incorrect citation style.

Katherine O’Clair, editor for a book on information literacy in environmental science:

– Practical and theoretical advice on editing a book w. multiple chapters, process of bringing together content –

– First, call for papers. Be specific as to requirements of the chapter authors (CV, writing sample, abstract). Clarify intent for the whole of the publication. Another way to go might involve directly inviting authors you know.

– Editors: try to think big picture so as to guide your authors, even if introductory material will be written after chapters are in. Authors love guidelines.

– Write for your professional commitments. Write about that which you enjoy.

– Stay tuned to submission dates on all sides. Authors, if you know you will be late, let your editors know. Stay in touch.

– Authors should expect edits – technical as well as related to content. There may even be rounds of edits; it’s important to keep track of versions.

– Find a friendly proof reader before sending chapters to your editor.

– Make sure when you’re submitting that your citations are correct.

– Ask lots of questions along the way.

– Coauthors can be helpful but also stressful.

Wendi Arant Kaspar, journal editor for Library Leadership and Management and Journal of Academic Librarianship:

– Journal submissions are not transactional events; they are iterative.

– Editors rec. lots of submissions; avoid shopping around your article. This doesn’t help your chances of getting published!

– Be sure to read and carefully follow submission guidelines. Make sure the articles you send in are well edited.

– Remember: editors are stewards of the publication. They are following the scope of the publication as closely as possible. Their mission is to follow precedent while following current trends.

– It is ok for authors to follow up in the status of their submission and to hold people accountable to the timeline they set.

– Do a literature search in advance of submitting as a measure of due diligence. What has already been said on this topic? Be sure to cite these articles, including any previous contributions of your own.

– Write something you feel passionately about; write to your calling.

– Bring passion and energy to your topic. This will make your content pleasurable to read.

David Lankes, author and professor at Syracuse.

– Have something to say! Data is not inherently interesting.

– Projects generate publications.

– Think about your impact. What are your goals? Think about the arc of your research.

– Don’t publish to get rich!

– Expand your definition of research: conceptual pieces are okay too! Publishing needn’t be a datafest.

– Papers are vital to academic promotion in LIS. They are the most citeable. Empirical papers, project spin-offs are easiest to publish. Venue matters. Work on something interesting and present it; invites to publish will arise.

– Books are energy intensive and cited least often. Quality of the press matters here as well. Don’t expect full service; you may need to pony up for expenses like touring in support of the book.

– Remember: this is an author’s market! If you truly want to, you can get published.

Char Booth:

– Writing is hard! Can be painful and frustrating. BUT there’s meaning to be found in the work.

– Be nice to your editors, even after your paper returns with red ink. Their jobs aren’t easy either.

– Revising is a pain too, but necessary.

– The process of writing is what makes meaning, not just the outcome.

– Motivation and balance are required.

– Advice: think about the spectrum of publishing – how many ways does writing happen in your life? Your voice and persona are evident thru all of these venues. Make every tweet, blog post, email count! People will read that which is well written. Be the person people want to read.

– Archive ALL of your writing, even the stuff that gets left on the cutting room floor. This content can be sorted through for inspiration at a later time.

– Point / purpose / tone / time

– Keep feasibility in mind. If you can’t do it, don’t do it.

– Document your work! Archive everything you’ve done, even the cut bits.

– Take space from writing as necessary.

– Find like minded folks to act as editors. Find reciprocal relationships.

– Be humble and kind to yourself; be humble and kind to others.

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On Copyright and Fair Use

Copyright and licensing is sort of my bag, so I’ve spent the majority of my session time so far in panel presentations on these topics. On Saturday I heard a panel called Fair Use, Intellectual Property and New Media with Jack Lerner, Kevin Smith, and Dean the Entertainment Lawyer (I didn’t hear his last name and it’s not in my program). Today (Sunday) I listened to Kenny Crews, Gretchen McCord and Carrie Russell speak on a panel entitled Do the Right Thing: Empowering Ethic Copyright Usage in Libraries.

In Saturday’s event, four cases were used as the lens through which the intersection between fair use and new media could be evaluated: Author’s Guild vs Google, Author’s Guild vs Hathi Trust, AIME vs UCLA (about fair use and streaming video via web pages exclusive to certain courses), and of course the recent Georgia State decision. The implications of that last one was on everyone’s mind, due to both the recentness of the judge’s verdict and also the potential impact to the library’s ability to claim fair use in copying for e-reserves.

If a theme emerged between these two panels, it is that copyright and fair use are a two way street; there are no easy answers for librarians seeking to utilize their full rights under section 107 (which discusses the limits to exclusive “ownership”*). Indeed, copyright and the accompanying fair use guidelines are a dynamic duo (or nemeses, like Batman and the Joker?), a set of tools by which one can critically evaluate to justify a set of actions. As Gretchen McCord said, it is super important to understand the motives of those who wish to utilize previous works under fair use, and, as highlighted by Jack Lerner in the Saturday session, to use only that which nails down a point essential to answering a research question or proving a hypothesis.

Where Saturday’s panel was rooted in case law, Sunday’s took on an ethical mien. I was struck that each panelist presented a largely positive view to the proceedings of analyzing the valid applications of fair use. The answers that seem to be presented to their advisees are generally rooted in the ways that an idea or a project can be retooled in order to comply with section 107 (and now also the guidelines found in the decision in the GSU ruling). Where copyright is involved, it is easy to say no. The panelists today posited that we can and should do all we can to find a way to advocate for full and correct use of fair use clauses. Libraries have an important mission to speak for the public while respecting the rights of authors. I would say that we should advocate for balance, but as Dr. Crews pointed out, balance in copyright is in the eyes of the beholder.

* in quotes thanks to Carrie Russell’s interesting argument that holding copyright ought not be equated with property ownership

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Saturday (what a day)

If yesterday’s theme was meet-and-greets, today’s is author talks. Yes! I am pretty much experiencing a TED conference within ALA, albeit with much longer time slots.

My day started bright and early with John Irving, one of my lifelong favorites, who answered question on a variety of hot (literally) topics such as the various attitudes of his characters regarding sex (or lack thereof). The audience was treated to a reading of a portion of Irving’s new tome, In One Person. Especially relevant to this particular conference (in at least one way) is the character of Miss Frost, the transgendered librarian who provides reader’s advisory to the book’s main character, Billy.

After patiently enduring a 30 person deep line at the Hilton Starbucks, I sat in on David Weinberger’s presentation wherein he hypothesized that the properties of knowledge takes the shape of the ecosystem in which it is transferred. In this regime of the network, knowledge takes the shape of the Internet itself: unbounded, unsettled, messy, and connected. My notes are pages long, and I’m looking forward to digesting this argument by reading my signed copy of Weinberger’s new book “Too Big To Know.” Attending this session required the sacrifice of several wonderful presentations scheduled in opposition, but I’m so glad I went. I feel better educated for it.

Lastly, but certainly not least, after lunch and a nice panel on fair use and new media, I heard Glee’s Chris Colfer wax rhapsodic about authoring his YA book, The Land of Stories (see my previous post). As one of the contestants on The Glee Project (yes, I’m watching) declared about Cory Monteith, Chris Colfer is adorable in person – lively, eloquent and funny. If I sound like a fan girl, that’s because I just might be one, much to my surprise. Very rarely am I star struck!

The rest of this day is dedicated to socializing at Hack Library School’s Tweet Up, and maybe the librarian fashion show. Should be quite an event; librarians are a stylish lot!

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Photo Journal: ALA Author Talk with Chris Colfer

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More Pratt at #ALA12!

In addition to the four of us scholarship winners, Pratt SILS will be represented at ALA through means both virtual and physical. Here are a few ways you can connect with SILS remotely or on site:
  • Vinette Thomas’s Audio Blog – tune in to hear interviews from the conference
  • Pratt’s table at the Alumni Reception on Sunday, June 24th, 5:30pm – 7:30pm at the Disneyland Hotel’s Magic Kingdom Ballroom
  • Pratt’s table in the exhibit hall as part of the ALISE /LIS schools

Allison, Houda, Genna and I will keep this site alive and kickin’ throughout ALA Annual as well. Be sure to check back for further pre-conference musings, conference considerations, and post-conference reflections!

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Survival Guides

I’d like to (once again) send my props to Hack Library School, whose post on eating right at conferences made my day yesterday. HLS links to this handy doc from Alt-Annual enumerating vegan/veg/generally healthy dining options, and so too shall I.

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