Posts in: October, 2020

Make your library a hub for open access content

The library that I am entrusted to manage, the Open Access Digital Theological Library (OADTL), has a clear mission. We aim to make high-quality, open access content in religious studies discoverable to the global community through a single, curated search experience. Even though it may seem like an unreachable goal, I bet you could write a similar mission for your institution.

Fill in the blank:

Our library is committed to making high-quality, open access content in [our area of expertise] discoverable to the global community through a single, curated search experience.

Feels good to imagine, doesn’t it? Well, I’m here to tell you how you can accomplish that goal with very little overhead cost and no increase in staff.

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Time-traveling librarians, shared print, and being excellent to each other

Matt Barnes

There’s a scene in the movie Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure where they lament that they need some keys that were lost two days earlier. But because they have a time machine, they can just wait until later, go back in time before they’re lost, and leave them right next to where they are “now” for convenience.

It’s funny, of course. But also, kind of … smart. It shows that if you can count on someone doing something in the future, you can make current plans based on that knowledge. The trick is, each of us has to know what the other is planning.

Bill and Ted can rely on a future (and past) version of themselves to complete their plans. Library staff have to rely on shared data and common, agreed-upon signals across our collective collection.

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The Wikipedia research conundrum: Is it citable?

Chris Cyr, Ph.D.

There is a disconnect between how students are taught to use Wikipedia and the way that they actually use it. The notion of an encyclopedia that anyone can edit has led teachers to warn that Wikipedia is unreliable and should never be used or cited as a source of serious research. In reality, most of us use Wikipedia all the time in our research. Defenders of Wikipedia’s contribution model even point out that democratization of contribution is beneficial and necessary for the level of breadth, depth, and reliability it has achieved. If Wikipedia’s open contribution model doesn’t stop researchers from using it, why are students taught to avoid it?

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