*Ellen McGrath writes:
As I peruse my preceding column, I linger on the last paragraph in which I issued a challenge to everyone to publish something, no matter how brief. It all fits nicely with the comments I have been formulating to open this column. I write this in late January, a time not too far removed from New Year's day and those resolutions I assume some of us have made in the spirit of the season. One of my resolutions for 1998 is to publish something more substantial in addition to the regular newsletter columns I do. I enjoy co-editing this column very much, as I do the ALLUNY Newsletter column I co-edit. Yet I feel the need to embark on an in-depth research project with a more structured, lengthy outcome.
Of course as soon as I made my resolution, other things intervened: a mini-crisis at work, an annoying bout with the flu -- you know, the usual. Then I read an editorial in the January 1998 issue of the C&RL News. It is called "Academic Librarians as Scholars: Publishing Is Your Moral Obligation" by John Newman. The upshot of this piece is Professor Newman taking his readers to task for using the excuse of not having enough time to avoid conducting research and publishing. To quote from the opening section, "Broadly stated, my opinion is that academic librarians should publish more and complain less. I think that scholarship is both an obligation and a pleasure and that concerns about lack of time can be managed." Rather a simplistic view maybe, but I know it caught my attention.
First of all, I should say that even though Professor Newman makes certain remarks about the academic environment, I think non-academic librarians will also find many points in his essay with which they can agree. He makes an excellent argument that perhaps we might overlook as obvious, namely that research is what we do, so we should be able to perform our own research efficiently and effectively. As to finding the time, Professor Newman exhorts us to just begin a project and then see how much time can be carved out to pursue it. He observes that far too often, librarians simply lament the lack of time and so do not even commence any research. I know I have been guilty of this in the past, but hopefully with my resolution and the inspiration of this editorial piece, that will all change this year. Wish me luck!
Another resolution I am trying to follow through on is to keep abreast of my professional reading better, an activity that should help out in my research and publishing too. In doing so, I came across a couple articles that might be of interest to the readers of this column. "Writing for Journals in Library and Information Science: A Report of a Survey" by Mohammad Mury and Mitchel Walters was in v. 31, no. 4 (1997) of The Serials Librarian. The purpose of the survey was to "gather information for an online version of the previously mentioned journal guides." Some of these journal guides have been mentioned in this column, so I found this update and promise of an online version quite interesting.
An article in v. 23, no. 5 (Sept. 1997) of The Journal of Academic Librarianship caught my eye. It is by Barbara I. Dewey and is entitled "In Search of Practical Applications: A Public Services Research Agenda for University Libraries." It struck me that I rarely see this type of article in the law library literature, but it is much needed because it takes a broad view of trends in a particular area. It also sows fertile ground for further research ideas. In the case of this article, the area is public services in university libraries, but couldn't it just as well be technical services in law libraries? I hope so.
The importance of research to AALL is evident in the fact that a full day workshop is scheduled for tha annual meeting in Anaheim. It is called "Author, Author: How to Research, Write, and Publish" and scheduled for Saturday, July 11, 1998. Unfortunately, it appears that it may conflict with one or more workshops of interest to catalogers. But I do hope that some technical services people will attend. On a related theme, I noticed there is a session called "When Write is Wrong: A Look at the Professional Literature in Library and Information Science" in the preliminary program for the eighth annual Feather River Institute to be held May 14-17, 1998. If you do attend either of these, please consider writing up a summary of the workshop for submission to a newsletter or journal, many of which have news sections with just such reports.
Two of our colleagues, Anna Belle Leiserson (Vanderbilt) and Jack Montgomery (U. of Missouri-Columbia), are already authors. Check out their article "Outsourcing Revisited: What Are Recent Events Telling Us?" in v. 8, no. 5 (Sept./Oct. 1997) of Trends in Law Library Management and Technology.
Here are some publishing opportunities I encountered:
» A call for reviewers for the "Best Legal Reference Books of [year]" annual LLJ article was posted to the new TS-SIS listserv in January. The deadlines for this year's will have passed by the time you read this, but it's not too early to start thinking about next year. The new editors are Amy Atchison (UCLA) and Denise Russell (USC).
» To reiterate a point already mentioned, a call was posted to a number of listservs soliciting news items for the Journal of Internet Cataloging. These should be "summaries of relevant presentations, workshops, discussions, and/or programs ... at ... professional library, information science or computer science conferences." Contact: "News from the Field" column editor, Gerry McKiernan at email@example.com
» Submissions for the Legal History & Rare Books Newsletter are also desired. "Subject matter is open, but should of course have some relation to legal history or antiquarian themes." Contact: editor Daniel Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org
» "Annotated bibliographies or bibliographic essays on any aspect of Internet technology" are being requested for Internet Reference Services Quarterly. Contact: Deborah Curry, email@example.com
» There was a blurb in the October 1997 issue of Technicalities calling for "knowledgeable reviewers to handle new publications in both book and computer-related form." If you are interested, send your resume/CV along with your name, title, institution, preferred address, fax, telephone, e-mail and area(s) of expertise to the editor, Sheila S. Intner, 11 Hupi Woods Circle, P.O. Box 151, Monterey, MA01245, firstname.lastname@example.org
» Betty Roeske posted to the TS-SIS listserv in December on behalf of the new editor of PLL Perspectives to ask if a technical services person would want to contribute a column in that forum. I hope an interested private law librarian involved in tech services has already contacted Betty, but just in case, here's her e-mail address: email@example.com
» A call for papers for a special issue of Advances in Collection Development and Resource Management (JAI Press) was issued in December. The deadline for abstracts for the special issue was March 1st, but I did want to give this title a brief mention as another place for potential publication.
» These opportunies present chances to participate more actively if you are a member of either of these organizations. NASIG (North American Serials Interest Group) put out calls for a NASIG newsletter editor and a NASIG archivist. ALCTS (ALA's Association for Library Collections & Technical Services) announced on December 30th that volunteers were needed for a number of ALCTS committees. The form is available at http://www.ala.org/alcts/you/vol.html. And earlier, Judith Niles had called for volunteers to serve in the ALCTS Aquisitions Section. The URL just given can be used or direct questions to Judith at firstname.lastname@example.org
I guess that is plenty for this column. In the next one, there will already be reminders of the coming Research Roundtable meeting in Anaheim. Where does the time go? Better start on your research/writing project today!