Open Access Week is an international event that raises awareness of the many benefits of making research free and open for others to use. This year’s theme is “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge,” which asks libraries and researchers around the world to consider how they will create and support platforms for sharing knowledge that are “inclusive, equitable, and truly serve the needs of a diverse global community. Asking ourselves and our partners ‘open for whom?’ will help ensure that considerations of equity become and remain central… .”
At Middlebury, we are considering “open for whom?” through two goals for the upcoming year: expanding our efforts to support campus-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; as well as identifying our role in building and sustaining the infrastructure required for digital scholarship.
Other open access efforts at Middlebury include:
Digital Collections at Middlebury, our open-source repository that houses digitized works from our archives, along with student theses, scientific datasets, and faculty open access articles.
The Open Access policy, adopted by faculty in 2016, grants the college a license to republish scholarly essays by faculty in our online repository.
Lever Press, a consortial open access publisher focusing on “digital-first” online scholarly monographs.
An examination of digital scholarship infrastructure, supported by a Mellon grant and led by Dean of the Library Mike Roy (along with a multi-school team of library professionals), with the goal of envisioning a more modern and sustainable system that would enhance scholarly communication at colleges, universities, and research libraries.
Finally, are you wondering where to find open access research? Here are a few places to look:
LibrarySearch, Middlebury’s new discovery service (the replacement for Summon). Find Open Access materials by going to “Search Options” then “Collection” and finally “Open Access Scholarship.” LibrarySearch is still a new service and a work-in-progress, so please get in touch with a librarian with any questions!
We’ve been updating our records with new subject headings from the Library of Congress.
Until last week, the record for Christine Jorgensen’s autobiography had one subject heading: “Sex change.”
This means that despite the fact that Jorgensen was a transgender woman, and the first American to become widely-known for having sex reassignment surgery, you wouldn’t find her autobiography at Middlebury if you searched the catalog for “transgender.”
Preservation Manager Joseph Watson asked Cataloger Marlena Evans if the Library of Congress had perhaps updated their subject headings to reflect current terminology used to represent the transgender community.
Thanks to Marlena’s diligence, we now know that Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) include a number of terms (at least 47!) that we can use to catalog works by and about members of the transgender community. Marlena has also updated other records in Special Collections with new subject headings (see below!).
If you’ve ever wondered about those clickable subject headings in library catalog records, they are anything but arbitrary. The Library of Congress maintains a thesaurus of controlled, precise subject headings that catalogers and librarians all over the United States assign to their holdings and use to find works about similar topics.
Researchers use these too! You can click any one of the headings in a record and find similar and related works.
The Library has hundreds of databases, indexes and catalogs, providing access to millions of articles, books, films, musical recordings and primary sources. That sounds promising… until it sounds overwhelming. Where should you start your research? We used to recommend Summon, but over the summer, we replaced Summon with LibrarySearch.
Like its predecessor Summon, LibrarySearch is a great place to begin your research. That’s because LibrarySearch links you to nearly everything in our collections. And, we think LibrarySearch is even better than Summon at matching results to your search terms.
We’re still straightening out some of the kinks with our new discovery service. For example, LibrarySearch is linking to materials at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and it is not linking to many of our online newspapers. So as always, please get in touch with a librarian if you’re not finding what you need.
Profiles in the Offices and Services site are now scoped to single groups, simplifying the editing interface, allowing staff who work in multiple offices to have multiple profiles, and ensuring that staff profiles can only be edited by people in that office.
The menu in the Middlebury School of the Environment site will now display its full context.
Resolved an issue with the CSS and JS assets on the Drupal training site being gzipped twice.
Added redirects for some URLs in the old Admissions site which had gone out in print mailings.
Fixed several issues with the process that syncs newsletter membership from Banner related to the third party API’s rate limits.
Creating a new “Offices” site for institution-wide anchor functions.
Creating new Drupal 8 sites for our schools and programs.
This fall, the Library will be starting a multi-year review of our circulating monograph collection in Davis Family Library that will identify titles we can safely remove from our collection. The project was discussed with department heads and chairs last spring. A web guide is available with much more information, including definition of the materials under review (spoiler alert: only circulating books, and nothing else). We are doing this for several reasons:
The Davis Family Library’s shelves are functionally full. While you’ll see empty or partially filled shelves in places, a library needs to keep roughly 20% of its shelf space clear in order to reshelve and shift books, which is necessary when we acquire new materials.
The collection has not been systematically reviewed as a whole in decades, and we have on our shelves materials that are outdated, superseded, and/or no longer relevant to Middlebury’s academic program.
The library is short on study rooms and other usable spaces for students and faculty.
The process will be deliberative and consultative, and we invite your participation. Here is how the process will unfold:
We have analyzed the 600,000 titles in Davis Family Library and automatically marked for retention titles that were recently acquired or heavily used, or which we must retain due to our consortial obligations. This reduced the number of titles under consideration for withdrawal to 229,000.
We have created a website (Monograph Deselection Project) that lists all of the titles under consideration, organized by subject, where you can see details about each title, including its usage history, date of publication, and more.
Starting this fall, librarians will review the titles under consideration for withdrawal, and will make preliminary decisions about which titles to remove.
As these preliminary reviews are completed, we will share with departments and other interested faculty our recommendations on which titles to remove, and provide you a chance to weigh in.
Some materials may be moved into Special Collections if they have acquired an historical or other kind of value, rather than being withdrawn outright.
We’ll conduct these reviews in batches over the course of the next few years. Your Library Liaison will let you know when collections pertinent to your academic field(s) are under review. Because many faculty teach and do research in areas outside their departmental homes, we also invite those who wish to review any particular subjects to let us know via http://go.middlebury.edu/listrequest so that we can inform you when that subject is being reviewed.
Collection review is a critical part of the work of sustaining a vital, vibrant, and relevant print collection. While we recognize that it is daunting to make hard decisions about the importance of hundreds of thousands of titles, we have created, with useful help from consultations with chairs and with our advisory committee, what we think is a simple and straightforward process that provides you with the opportunity to give us valuable input into these decisions. Again, much more information is available on the project’s web guide.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.