*Brian Striman writes:
Below are the minutes of the OBS/TS SIS Research Roundtable. Both Ellen and I decided that it was important to include the entire minutes in this column for TSLL. Mae Clark, Librarian at the University of Florida (Gainsville), was a trooper and volunteered to do the minutes.
MINUTES OF THE RESEARCH ROUNDTABLE
The OBS/TS SIS Research Roundtable for technical services librarians interested in research and publishing met from 3-4 p.m. Sunday afternoon in Baltimore. Brian Striman from the University of Nebraska Schmid Law Library and Ellen McGrath from SUNY Buffalo led the discussion. Twenty-two librarians came to learn more about beginning a publishing career.
After introductions were made, Brian began the meeting with an announcement about the newly approved OBS/TS Joint Research Grant Committee. Two members from each SIS and Brian, who will serve as Chair, will comprise the initial Committee, which will award grants to qualified applicants. Specific details concerning the grant applications and the application process will be written about in the December issue of TSLL in a separate article (not in the Research and Publication column).
That announcement was followed by a review of agenda items from last year's Research Roundtable. A reminder was given that the Roundtable's distribution list sends notices to members of calls for papers, articles needed and other publishing opportunities. Discussion then followed about the suggestion made last year concerning mentors for librarians wanting to publish. A suggestion was made to expand this idea of mentoring from simply encouraging and suggesting topics for publication to the need for "readers." Several participants indicated that there was no one at their library to read and critique preliminary drafts of articles. The consensus reached by the group was that when someone had a draft of a paper ready, they could send an e-mail to Ellen McGrath giving the topic, a brief synopsis of the paper, length of the paper, and deadline information. Ellen will then send the information to the distribution list and anyone willing to serve as a "reader" could respond to the author.
The discussion then moved to possible places to submit articles and ways to become published. It was pointed out that before beginning an article the author needs to decide what is the purpose in publishing the article. Publishing in newsletters and refereed journals both have benefits but the benefits are different. Newsletters publish submissions more quickly than do research journals because newsletters are not refereed. The benefit in publishing in newsletters is speed and they are less formal so they are often a good place for authors to submit their first efforts. However, librarians on tenure tracks often are required to publish articles in refereed journals which sometimes take much longer to be published.
Mary Dzurinko, Editor of TSLL, announced that she was currently searching for additional column editors to write about the Internet, serials, or to write a guest column. Each column must appear in only two issues of each TSLL volume, so volunteers would not necessarily have to write for every issue. Columns could have co-editors if two librarians wanted to share the responsibilities. In fact, at the end of the meeting two attendees volunteered to write the column for acquisitions. Any other volunteers should contact Mary at 410-235-2821, or e-mail to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other suggestions for topics of articles dealing with acquisitions can be found in the publication Against the Grain (contact: Katina Strauch, Citadel Station, Charleston, SC 29409). For folks interested in acquisitions, another way to begin writing is by volunteering to report on AALL meetings and sending the reports to AALL and other publications. Sending articles to Library Acquisitions: Practice and Theory was another suggestion. Already, meetings from ALA and MLA pertaining to acquisitions are published there. Two opportunities to publish that are related to LC classification schedules were suggested. Notes relating to the LC schedules that are under development will be needed. The newly released JZ-KZ schedules should provide opportunities for articles. A final suggestion for publishing opportunities was to review Guide to Publishing Opportunities by Carol F. Schroeder (Haworth Press, 1995).
The meeting closed with reminders of other programs with related topics for those interested in writing for the profession. One final recommendation was to send a brief sketch of your idea for a journal article to the journal's editor before beginning an extended research paper. Someone else may already be working on that same topic.
Minutes taken by Mae Clark
RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS
Well, this is PDE (Pretty Darned Exciting). The Research Roundtable is really taking off and is now producing good results. For example, look at the current list of TSLL editors; there are now two new co-editors of the Acquisitions column! This was a direct result from discussions at the Baltimore Research Roundtable.
In almost every column, Ellen and I like to tell you of our colleagues' successes in publishing:
» Aaron Kuperman, Law Cataloger at the Library of Congress, has published two articles in recent issues of AALL's Foreign Comparative and International Law newsletter [note: Catalogers using the LC schedules would do well to read these articles].
» Carol Avery Nicholson (and a host of our other law tech services colleagues who helped with the book) recently had the newest edition of the now famous Law Library Systems Directory published by Fred Rothman.
» Susan Goldner co-authored the still on-going AALL Annual Meetings: an Annotated Index of Recordings published by Fred Rothman [hint: This is another place to browse through the contents to pick up publishing ideas].
» Law catalogers are giving praise and thanks to Melody Busse Lembke and Rhonda K. Lawrence for their newly published 3rd edition of Cataloging Legal Literature. [editorial ramblings: New law catalogers please take this book seriously, paying special attention to Part I: General Observations on Law and Legal Publishing. This book is, or should be, your main source of authority for law cataloging].
One publication that needs mentioning again is a book that every technical services law librarian should know about, Publication Opportunities for Law Librarians: An Author's Guide by Dennis Benamati and Evelina Lemelin and published by Fred Rothman. I've picked out a few tech services journal titles that are included in this nifty book: Acquisitions Librarian, Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, Collection Management, Electronic Library, Government Information Quarterly, Law Library Journal (duh!), Library Hi Tech Journal, OCLC Systems & Services, Online, Serials Librarian, Special Libraries, Technical Services Quarterly, and Technicalities. Plus ... there's a bunch of good information on publication guidelines for all the AALL SIS and Chapter newsletters!
I attended the AALL Baltimore program "So You Wanna be an Author ... " and jotted down a lot of notes that included sage advice from those who are knowledgeable about authoring and editing and publishing. Please contact me about this, or you can order the program tape. Maybe in the next TSLL Research and Publications column, Ellen will include some of the tips that were covered in the program.
In the area of publication opportunities, I got an e-mail on Aug. 21 for a Call for Reviewers. It's for the following publications:
» Computers in Libraries -- seeks articles or proposals for its "CD-ROM Librarian" section. Any library-related topic dealing with optical information resources or multimedia in any format is suitable. More information is available at http://www.infotoday.com. Send submissions to email@example.com.
» NewMedia Review -- this weekly e-mail newsletter seeks CD/DVD-ROM reviewers, as well as book and Web site reviewers. More information is available at http://www.execulink.com/~island/nmr. Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
» Larry Mehren, Director of Gale Research Products Development Division, is seeking reviewers on topics dealing with cataloging and classification in an automated environment, especially in the online classification area. Contact Mr. Mehren at 800-347-4253 ext. 1370, or via e-mail at email@example.com.
» There's a brand new journal titled Journal of Internet Cataloging. If you want to see it, contact me and I'll fill out a sample copy post card and you can see it for yourself. It has plenty of publishing potential and in the back are guidelines for submission and a submission form. It's published by Haworth Press.
Ellen and I hope you enjoy our columns. If you have any comments or ideas, please contact either of us, and remember --- all you have to do to publish is to START with an idea. Jot it down on a slip of paper or whip up a quick sentence or two, then contact somebody in the profession: me, Ellen, Frank Houdek, Peter Beck (but not Bob Berring--<grin>), Donna Heroy, or Michael Saint-Onge.
Have a nice fall everybody. There's no better time to begin a research project than fall. If you need financial assistance for your research, contact Brian Striman who's Chair of the OBS/TS SIS Joint Research Grant Committee. He'll send you the forms to fill out and if you qualify to receive a grant award, you may just get the help you need to be on your way to publishing!