Our networked era’s unprecedented voluntary efforts to share knowledge freely and to encourage curiosity and learning are quite exhilarating: Wikipedia, Creative Commons, the Public Library of Science, the Open Knowledge Foundation—I could go on. At the same time, new commercial and policy developments that ostensibly protect our liberties and rights are encroaching on the equitable information access long fought for and sustained by libraries.
Fostering the “open” movement and protecting equity of information access are at the heart of my commitment to libraries and to information science. To date, my involvement has been mostly indirect. But I hope to eventually make research and advocacy in these areas a part of my career.
The process of advocating for and leading development of the policy catalyzed my engagement in user advocacy and policy in the digital environment. From this time onward, I became increasingly sensitive to the impact on users of the design of digital environments and committed to ensuring that the human experience remained paramount in system design.
- Read the policy.
In this exploratory study, three fellow graduate students and I investigated tensions between library materials costs and scholarly publishing models at two research universities, the University of Utah and the University of Washington. Through extensive interviews with librarians and publishing representatives and background research into the library and research cultures of the two institutions, we identified the key challenges they faced and some potential resolutions.
To me, the most remarkable discovery of this study was the critical role of organizational culture. The cultures and practices of publishers, libraries, and scholars—who for so long had collaborated seamlessly—were drifting apart, causing a deep distrust to grow between them. And as a result, simple solutions emerging via the Internet, such as open-access publishing, were gaining little traction. The experience has prompted me to look beyond these two institutions to discover (and advocate for) the efforts of small but growing number of scholars and librarians who are coming together to create innovative solutions for scholarly publishing.
- Read the case-study report.
Aware of emergent scholar involvement in the “digital humanities” (non-traditional, often multi-disciplinary scholarship that capitalizes on digital tools) and interested in it myself, I developed this workshop to help humanities scholars get started with digitization of printed materials. It incorporates pedagogical theory and user analysis and includes an assessment rubric and lesson plan. Supporting digital humanities scholarship is a natural fit for academic libraries, and this workshop was designed for such a setting. Designing the workshop provided welcome instructional experience, as my exposure to date has been limited.
- Read the workshop plan.
As a communication specialist with the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), I had the opportunity to collaborate with other ELI staff and a small team of educational technologists and scholars from across higher education to develop a practical guide to using podcasting in the college classroom.
The project began with a user analysis and proceeded with background research on existing practices, interviews with innovative technologists at a variety of universities in the United States and Australia, and collaborative synthesis of findings into a practical tool. My role also included some of the final drafting, copyediting, formatting, and marketing.
One of the most rewarding aspects of the project was helping professors share their knowledge more effectively with students. The project was also my first exposure to professional collaborative research and writing of this sort. I loved the process—from the team’s struggle to determine how the audience would use the guide to the engaging and productive discussions with practitioners that resulted in the final draft.
- Read the Guide to Podcasting [PDF].