Miles Conrad Award 2020 Discussion (complete) - Todd Carpenter, Deanna Marcum, Jim Neal
Miles Conrad Award 2020 Discussion (complete) - Todd Carpenter, Deanna Marcum, Jim Neal
https://asa1cadmoremedia.blob.core.windows.net/asset-2c738439-0171-4c3f-b973-acdc8ff5df38/Miles Conrad Award 2020 Discussion (complete) - Todd Carpent.mov
SPEAKER 1: So to follow up Jim's remarks as part of this presentation to the NISO Plus conference, wanted to sit down and have a conversation with Jim and Deanna Marcum. Deanna is Senior Advisor at Ithaca, and she is also the former president of NFAIS and a luminary in our field. Wanted to have an opportunity to discuss some of the issues raised by Jim's presentation and see where we could take some of these ideas and maybe drive some implementation of some of these opportunities that exist in our space.
SPEAKER 1: So let's kick off with a question relevant to our community. Jim you, talked about radical collaboration, and how do you see organizations like NFAIS, like NISO, and what are our roles in helping to bring about those collaborations that you and I had discussed?
JIM: Well, I think there are several important things that organizations like NFAIS and NISO and other professional associations should be doing. First of all, I think they need to be a primary advocate for the role that we as libraries, we as information intermediaries and publishers play in our communities. They need to demonstrate and help us to demonstrate why we are important, why we add value. And to provide us with the tools to influence thinking about what we are and where we're going.
JIM: Secondly, I think these types of associations need to provide for the professional development of the people in the field. We're constantly changing, as I emphasized in my remarks, and I think we all need the ability to learn and to grow. And I think the associations can provide those opportunities for us. I think these associations also have to be an important voice on the national and international level in the very complex policy areas in which we work.
JIM: I listed a whole series of policy concerns, ranging from intellectual freedom to intellectual property and I think we need to develop much more. Of a presence in the legal, legislative, and policy arena. And I think the associations can help us do that. The last point I'll make is that we as a community of libraries, as a community of publishers, as a community of information distributors, we tend to stand side by side and not with one another.
JIM: And I think the associations can build that sort of radical relationship among us so that we can be far more effective in our work, less dependent on redundant investments, and build a much larger voice and a more effective collaborative strategy by working together, rather than on the fringes of our work. And I think those are critical roles that NFAIS and NISO and other associations should and can play.
SPEAKER 1: And Deanna, as having led NFAIS, as one of the convening organizations that brings these communities together, what do you think is the impact of that? How can we be more effective in leading the community?
DEANNA MARCUM: One of the things I appreciated most about NFAIS is that it was the one place where librarians, publishers, and technologists came together. And many of the problems that we need to solve involve those three communities. So it's really important that NISO, as it continues this work, thinks about the ways in which these three communities can come together to solve problems.
DEANNA MARCUM: And it's also a platform that can be provided for volunteers. One of the challenges we have, of course, is we rely on volunteers. And the staff of any of these professional organizations will be relatively small. But giving a place where the volunteers can come together and do real work and try to find solutions to some of these problems is really important.
SPEAKER 1: Yeah, one of the things that I found within NISO-- and I've seen this in NFAIS as well-- is the diversity of the communities in trying to solve some of these issues. It's always been very gratifying to see the different communities come together. And in a way to help advance common interests, rather than an adversarial way, in which the communities is often in different circumstances at loggerheads.
JIM: I think, as Deanna has said, we are trying to solve national and international information challenges on the backs of institutional budgets, and that's simply not going to work. We need to build systemic national and global strategies. We need to stop duplicating our investments, because we have such limited resources. Therefore the thinness of what we're accomplishing in these very challenging areas will never help us solve these challenges unless we find a way to co-invest.
JIM: I used the word "power biosys" in my presentation. It's an obscure word from biology, usually applied to phenomena like Siamese twins, where we share body parts and share body systems, body organs. And I think we need to migrate to that reality that we will only really make significant progress if we're able to share our investment and share the work in much more comprehensive and much more radical ways than we have in the past.
DEANNA MARCUM: And I think that means not assuming that you can just make a $25,000 contribution and it's going to get solved. We really have to think about the budgets that are needed for these problems. And I think the organizations like NISO can help us with those, understanding where we make investments that are going to pay off and thinking not just about the financial contribution, but the people contributions that we make to those organizations, so that there are real roles and responsibilities and accountability, both at the professional association level and at the institutional level.
JIM: I think we can all identify a dozen organizations that we have collaboratively created over the last decade. Many of them have disappeared, and many of them are floundering, because they're dependent to a large extent on foundation and federal grants. And that's not going to sustain that business going forward, so we need to be much more creative at the front end in how we not only invest our resources, but how we're going to build that capacity on a continuing basis.
DEANNA MARCUM: Was really one of the reasons that we brought in place at NISO together. And I think it's a real opportunity to build on the two foundations to a stronger core.
JIM: And it's one of the reasons why we bought our LG and OCLC together. Basically, for the same reasons.
SPEAKER 1: Sure. Yes. One element of building this community is not just the funding, but it's also, Deanna, you mentioned, the people. And Jim, this has been an important element for you throughout your career, is fostering the development of leadership and mentoring within the community. How has that changed?
SPEAKER 1: How has that grown? Where do you think-- where do you think the community needs to go to help develop the skills and the people necessary to make these changes?
JIM: Well, I think we all, who work in the information community, in the information industries, are facing such a rapid pace of change that we need to make both a personal and organizational commitment to the development of the people who work in our organizations and who we serve through our organizations. We've had, as I mentioned in my remarks, this massive turnover in leadership across the publishing industry, the information technology industry, and certainly, in all aspects of librarianship.
JIM: And how do we make sure that we have the next generations of leaders to step up and assume those responsibilities? One area of particular interest and concern for me has been, how do we diversify not only the professional membership in our communities, but how do we develop a diversified leadership, group of individuals? I think that many organizations have embraced diversity, equity, and inclusion, but too often, we don't treat it as what we are, we treat it as what we do.
JIM: And I think we need to make it such an integral part of how we think about our work going forward. The communities that we serve need to see themselves in the leadership and the work that we do in the information industries. So professional development, leadership development, diversity-- those, I think, are critical elements going forward.
DEANNA MARCUM: Well, it's interesting if you think about it, when we started as librarians, you needed to know about collections, you needed to know about the research process. And so it was fairly easy. We thought it was hard then, but it was actually fairly easy to figure out a librarian should know. Today, a librarian is a lot of different things, and we don't have the collections as the focus.
DEANNA MARCUM: We have services as the focus. So we're now an aggregation of professions. And we need to think about professional development in that way. We need to develop information technology people. And we need to develop big data people. And we need to develop, you know, you can name all of these different kinds of services. And the leader of these organizations will have to think about all of those.
JIM: I published a paper in Library Journal a number of years ago, which got me actually into a lot of wonderful trouble. It was called Raised by Wolves, The New Feral Professional. Feral professional in the academic research library. And it was a reflection. It was a recognition that we were, in fact, diversifying the professional backgrounds and capabilities of our staffs. And when I was retiring from Columbia a number of years ago, I asked the human resources department to take a look at the 600 plus professionals, the 330 plus professionals-- there were 600 staff-- on the library's staff, and to take a look at their academic credentials.
JIM: And that they found was that about 40% of those individuals actually had the MLS. 60% had other credentials. And it's the technologists, it's the big data, but it's also fundraisers and space planners and HR people and so forth.
DEANNA MARCUM: Yes. So many different--
JIM: We need a whole host of expertise in order to make the new organizations going forward work well and be effective.
SPEAKER 1: And we're working in a much broader community, really, outside of the institutions, outside of traditional publishers, outside of traditional vendors, outside of traditional institutions. How do you see our community reacting to that expanded scope? How do we as a community deal with companies coming in from, say, Silicon Valley, who are invested in our space, who come with far more resources than institutions or even publishers might have to address some of these problems?
JIM: I think it's wrong or probably not necessary for us to pit ourselves against these large international search engine technology companies. They have a global presence. We have a community presence. And we need to find a way to demonstrate that that partnership that we have developed with our communities-- whether it's a campus, whether it's a company, whether it's a city, school-- that working relationship between the information professionals and the practitioners and the scholars who work in that space.
JIM: To me, that's where we can add a lot of value. I think it's hard, as I said in my remarks, to draw a line between what we do in the information industries and how students and citizens are effective, how faculty and researchers are productive. How do we add to the economy and the values and the impact of our communities? I think we have a special role in that relationship and we need to demonstrate that more effectively to distinguish us from those large technology companies.
DEANNA MARCUM: In many ways, I think our biggest challenge that we have not yet addressed is building a robust, useful, digital library. And in order to do that, we're going to need those Silicon Valley organizations. We're going to need their funding. We're going to need their technology. They are going to need our understanding of providing services with that digital library.
DEANNA MARCUM: And it's probably the biggest radical collaboration project on the agenda. And how we do that, how we become effective partners-- and we can't think about it only in terms of money, because they have a lot more than we're ever going to have-- but how do we combine forces in a way that benefits society? And that's the big collaborative project we need to focus on.
JIM: You know, there are many organizations in this world where we can think about, and who our communities think about, as really representing the public interest. And I think that's one of the important values that we bring. And we need to continue to emphasize that. But we don't ask people, when they come in through the physical or virtual doors of the library, why are you here? What do you want to do?
JIM: We give them a sense of freedom and anonymity in carrying out their information inquiries. And that, I think, is a value of privacy and confidentiality that we need to continue to sustain. I think that Deanna's correct. Building that global digital library is essential. We made a effort in that direction with the Digital Public Library of America. Trying to link it up with other initiatives around the world, particularly the Europeans.
JIM: But I think there's a concomitant challenge, which I mentioned in my remarks, which is, how do we capture and preserve the digital record? We have several tools that we've put in place to try to deal with journals. They have done-- they've done some modest things. But no one's preserving e-books. No one's preserving e-government. No one's preserving e-media, much less the billions and billions of objects that are created in a born digital environment, which are largely ephemeral, largely multimedia, largely dynamic.
JIM: We don't have an understanding of how to get them and how to take care of them and how to be sure that they're not only available, but usable going forward. The Internet Archive has done some important work and some important capture in the web space. But there's enormous amount of challenge. I mentioned scholarly integrity. If an author or researcher publishes a paper and they've cited a number of born digital sources in their footnotes.
JIM: And I, as a reader, come later, six months, 12 months out, and I say, wow, this is an interesting thesis. I'd like to take a look at some of the evidence that they presented. And I can't find those sources, because they've disappeared or they've changed or they've moved. Then I have to question the integrity of the work that's being presented to me. And how are we going to write about this first 20 years of this century, if we don't have access to the social media, the digital media, which pleasingly defines the way we work?
JIM: And help produce science and culture?
SPEAKER 1: Yes. And how we're communicating is online, changing radically. And what your experience of the Washington Post or the New York Times is so dynamically driven. What does it mean to preserve that?
SPEAKER 1: Because your experience is different from mine.
JIM: Exactly. And we don't-- we're not having those conversations.
DEANNA MARCUM: And one of my concerns is that when you describe the problem, people say, oh, gosh, it's so complicated. It costs so much money. And I always go back to Billy Frye, when he was the president of the Commission on Preservation and Access. And he said, when confronted with the need to eat an elephant, you need to take the first bite. And we almost need to take the first bite and begin showing how this can be done.
DEANNA MARCUM: This is another place where professional associations can exert real leadership in helping people understand that it is a huge problem. But it can be divided into these steps, and these things can happen. And show results, show that we're making progress. We also need to-- remember those thermometers you used to have in the town square, showing how much money you raised for something or other?
DEANNA MARCUM: You know, how much are we doing? Are we making progress toward that? I think that would make a big difference in helping every institution understand that it has a part in play.
JIM: We still have, on Union Square in New York City, that sign that tells us how much the national debt is, and it's constantly shifting. I think I would like to see a similar display of the number of digital objects we lose. And I see that number going up and up.
SPEAKER 1: And I think--
DEANNA MARCUM: We don't even know.
JIM: We don't.
DEANNA MARCUM: And that's the problem.
JIM: Exactly. I don't think we know how much money we're losing in our government, either. But I think it's going to take vision. But remember that vision without action is a daydream. So we need not just ideas, but we need firm strategies, we need resources, and we need standards. NISO. To help us really build this capacity.
SPEAKER 1: I mean, one element of this infrastructure, the output, the tiny bites you were saying about the elephant, are little-- each individual specification, they build on each other. One of the challenges we often run into is scope creep. We want to solve this huge problem. Well, there's this extra problem over here, which is even bigger, and we can't address this narrow problem without also addressing all of metadata.
SPEAKER 1: Like, well, all of metadata is rather a large problem. Let's focus on this narrow problem.
DEANNA MARCUM: Well, we do have a tendency to-- whenever we create something new, we try to throw all the old problems on it so that we can finally solve them. When we just-- we have to think in terms of making progress toward an ultimate goal and show how things are connected. But we can't burden every project with all of the unsolved things that are on the agenda.
SPEAKER 1: One of the things you mentioned earlier was the values-- the values of this community, the values of librarianship, the values that actually extends out into scholarly publishing in that community. How do we reinforce those values in an era when people are caring less about privacy? People caring-- there's more and more tracking. There is more and more intrusions on our private lives.
SPEAKER 1: And one of these values-- some of this is tied to some of the policy work that you've done. How do we advance the values of our community?
JIM: I agree the values are shifting, and the relative weight and importance of values is moving. New generations, I think, embrace these values in different ways. I think that when we really scratch at the surface, I think people ultimately really care about issues of privacy. They care about issues of censorship and ambiguity or anonymity. They really want some ability to use information in effective ways.
JIM: Therefore, our core value of fair use and the exceptions which exist within the copyright law, we're facing enormous challenges to intellectual freedom. The First Amendment, I think, is being looked at in a very, very different way. And I think we need to continue to keep that out in front of us, redefine these values in the context of new events and new generations of information professionals, and people who use our libraries and use our services.
DEANNA MARCUM: And it really goes back to something you and I were talking about earlier, Jim. It starts in elementary school and making sure that people understand how information is used and what constitutes authentic information, and how are privacy and intellectual freedom issues addressed in a democratic society? And we have to make sure that those things are still uppermost in our educational system.
DEANNA MARCUM: And that they transfer, and librarians are always there talking about these values and what they mean to individuals.
JIM: And I think-- what provoked my conversation with Deanna earlier was the status and situation of school libraries. We are seeing across this country, and actually across some European countries, the closing of school libraries, the de-professionalization of school libraries, the erosion of resources to support the work of school libraries. And I've argued that this is foundational. We who work in academic and public libraries cannot do our work well if we don't have the confidence that the young people are coming out of their schools with an understanding of these values, but also an understanding of how information is organized and how to use it effectively.
JIM: And I think we're beginning to see the fallout from the closing of school libraries in how students show up at our doors, in public and academic libraries, needing a lot more attention, a lot more work, and a lot more background in these critical areas.
SPEAKER 1: And information literacy is a huge issue.
JIM: Huge, yes.
SPEAKER 1: And increasingly, as we spend more of our lives in a digital environment, as kids are growing up in a digital environment and understanding how that digital environment works, and some of the skills that are brought to these questions by librarianship, are so important to navigating this environment.
JIM: Yes. No question.
SPEAKER 1: So, you've also spent a lot of time related to the question of the environment on policy issues and advancing policy issues in our community. Copyright has been a particular activity area for you for many years. How do you see our community working together to address some of these problems that are growing and related to copyright, related to information access?
SPEAKER 1: You mentioned the issues of moving from copyright to licensing. How do we as a community address some of those issues in a collaborative way?
JIM: Well, I think we need to embrace and accept policy work as part of our professional responsibility. I don't think we've done that. I think we've left it to a couple of individuals to really run with this, and therefore, we need to expand the community of knowledge in the community and participation in our policy work. Each of us as an information professional, whether we're in the technology, the publishing, or the library community, we need to make a commitment to understanding these policy issues.
JIM: We need to be able to communicate those policy issues to the communities in which we work, in which we serve. We need to be willing to engage in the legislative, legal, and policy process. At the American Library Association, over the last couple of years, coming out of my years as president, we've tried to do two things in order to strengthen our policy work.
JIM: One, we've created something called the elite policy corps, of which Todd is a member, in which we needed to build a group of individuals who would have a deep, deep understanding of a policy area. And we made a commitment to keeping up with that. But also be willing to participate in the regional and national conversations, to testify before Congress committee, to be interviewed by the national press, to work with coalition partners.
JIM: And we've made some progress. We're in the third year of that effort. And I think over time, we will strengthen our national presence with those experts. But we also need to build a grass roots capacity. So we are now working on creating a library advocacy team in all 435 congressional districts in this country. So that when an issue comes up at the national level that is really important, we can activate that network of grassroots advocates to move into their congressional offices at the local level to speak to the issue and to influence the thinking and the votes of those who represent them in Congress.
JIM: This grasstops grass roots strategy, I hope, will strengthen our capacity.
DEANNA MARCUM: And it's really a professional development issue.
JIM: It is.
DEANNA MARCUM: We have to have librarians understand that lobbying is not a dirty word.
DEANNA MARCUM: It's the way legislation gets done and--
JIM: Funding gets allocated.
DEANNA MARCUM: Funding gets allocated. And so it's really important that people learn about policy issues. We haven't done much with that, you're right. In our libraries or in our professional associations, we need to do more.
SPEAKER 1: And I think that's true, not only in libraries. So I think that's true in the publishing industry.
DEANNA MARCUM: It's in all of these.
SPEAKER 1: In technology. Because it is so critical. Decisions taken in Washington impact our entire community. Say, with the FCC and net neutrality, or intellectual property rights, or privacy. Regulations in all sorts of areas could have a drastic impact on the work that we do. And there isn't-- and one of the reasons that I participated in the policy core group was, it was an area that I was aware of, but not deeply engaged with.
SPEAKER 1: And there is an opportunity, not from a particular policy perspective that I'm advocating copyright for librarians or for publishers. Simply raising the issue with politicians, making them aware of the issues is a step in the right direction, because in the 700 things that they have to worry about, where do libraries, where does publishing, where do these issues fall? And if you are not sitting there, knocking on their door, they will pay attention to something else.
DEANNA MARCUM: They pay attention to the--
DEANNA MARCUM: The noise. The people who do walk in the door.
JIM: Yes, right. And you mentioned, Todd, an area which is of growing importance to me, which I've been speaking a lot about over the last year or two. And that's the movement from a copyright based information to a license based information access. And what many of the people who work in the information industry don't understand is that what you sign, the contract that you sign, defines what you can do with the information that you're gathering.
JIM: You may or may not be able to exercise the fair use or other exceptions in the copyright law with the content that you've contracted for. Several European countries and southeastern Asian countries are now moving towards a copyright regime that indicates that contracts can not trump copyright. That copyright exceptions have to be embraced within contracts.
JIM: In the US, this is challenging, because copyright is a federal law. Contracts, licenses, are commercial state laws. And so, how do we build that relationship legally across those different communities of legislative responsibility? And I think we're only beginning now to sort of unpack this issue and understand how we might address it.
DEANNA MARCUM: And that's a really important issue, going back to preservation, because what you can preserve is very much defined by what's in those contracts.
JIM: Right. I served on the something the Library of Congress set up a number of years ago, called the 108 study group. 108 is that section of US copyright law that provides the specific exceptions for libraries and archives, copies for users, preservation, interlibrary loan, et cetera. And we were trying to update that into the digital environment.
JIM: And we did not make any progress in getting the content industry willing to extend that preservation right into born digital content. And that's why we're facing the challenges that we are.
SPEAKER 1: And there's, even today, some of those issues are getting more and more and more prominence. I'm thinking of the work-- last week was talking with Winston Tab, who's the dean here at Hopkins, about the partnership that they're doing with the Ivies Plus coalition to share their collections.
SPEAKER 1: And develop a common collection, as you were talking about, a common digital library. This is more than just digital. It's also physical, as well. How do you build a joint collection that-- if it doesn't address or isn't reliant on the provisions of section 108?
JIM: So I was-- when I was at Columbia, I was very involved in the early thinking and planning for that collective collection across the Ivies. And one of the first iterations of it was work that New York Public Library, Princeton University, and Columbia University did with its off-site recap facility. And I think it's one of the largest, if not the largest, print repository in the world. And basically, we said this will be a single collection co-owned by all three of those institutions.
JIM: Harvard is now part of that conversation, as well. And I think we need to sort of build those radical strategies around the history of our libraries, our collections, and then translate that capacity, that collaborative capacity, into managing the new digital environment.
SPEAKER 1: Yes. Yeah, one of the projects that NISO has been involved in, and I have personally been involved in, have to do with assessment.
SPEAKER 1: And changes of assessment over time in an environment where your collection is spread across multiple institutions. Defining what the library is by how many items it has in its collection is antiquated, almost.
JIM: It is. It is--
DEANNA MARCUM: And it's based on accreditation standards, so much of which is-- that has to be changed.
SPEAKER 1: Scope creep.
DEANNA MARCUM: Scope creep.
JIM: Yeah. It's all about-- to me, it's all about usability. In other words, can we as a library-- can I, as a library, get the information you need into your opinions in an effective, timely way, regardless of where it comes from?
DEANNA MARCUM: That's the standard.
JIM: And can I provide you with the tools that enable you to use that information effectively? And that, I think, is what's going to be the point of evaluation going forward.
SPEAKER 1: Another element of access is the movement in our community towards open access, as I mentioned in my comments about in your background and your involvement with Spark. How do you see the library community and then publishing community reacting to this increasing trend towards open access of content? And how do we-- what's the role of a library if all of journal literature is available free to whoever has a web browser?
JIM: So this issue has been a part of my thinking since the 1980s. We wouldn't call it open access then. But I always felt what we as a library community were like a Greek chorus, standing on the side of the stage, screaming at the Academy, saying, it cost too much. We give too much away. You don't care about this faculty member researcher. And I think our challenge over the 90s was trying to educate the communities that we work with that this was, in fact, a real serious challenge.
JIM: That our ability to sustain our collections and provide our communities and our researchers with access to information was going to be seriously challenged by the cost of these materials. And the fact that our researchers and our authors were giving this information away without retaining any rights. I remember the Association of Research Library meeting, where I think it was Cliff Lynch, who sort of opened the proverbial window, and screamed, we're mad as hell, and we're not going to take this anymore.
JIM: And out of that incentive, I think, was born the open access Spark movement within the library community. I think we've moved way beyond the notion of providing access to the research literature. Open access was, I think, born in the context of that, the journals. But we have so much now thinking around open educational resources, around open data, around open media.
JIM: We've tried a whole variety of strategies at the university level, at the publisher level, at the federal level, at the international level, to try to bring more and more content in an open way to the communities that we serve, particularly the information that is paid for with taxpayer dollars. We have a very interesting-- I put it up on Facebook this morning-- a very interesting speculation that there is an executive order moving around Washington right now that would, if signed by the president, would make all federally funded research output openly available without any embargo.
JIM: When you combine that in the US with-- what is it? Project S in Europe--
SPEAKER 1: Plan S. Plan S.
JIM: Plan S. Plan S, right. Plan S in Europe, then you really have a pretty intimidating and pretty exciting strategy for making more and more content openly available. I also published on Facebook, last week I think it was, a study that showed that the cost to students of textbooks is starting to decline after many, many years of going up. And I think a number of strategies have been implemented to reduce those costs.
JIM: But I think open access to educational resources is one of those factors.
DEANNA MARCUM: A couple of reactions to that. In thinking about-- certainly open is the direction we're going in. And that's just going to increase by leaps and bounds. But we have to think about the whole scholarly communication system and make sure that all parts of it are thriving. And I worry that we've tried to address the openness in our silos, and we really need to work on them together.
DEANNA MARCUM: And the other point I was going to make about open educational resources-- there's such a great role for libraries there in beginning to identify appropriate, valid, authentic, high quality resources. That is a huge service to the faculty. And beginning to do that in partnership with faculty, I think, will be-- will bring those costs down significantly.
JIM: I'm not as much concerned about the large scientific medical publishers in terms of their ability to survive in this context, in this open context. In many ways, they've moved on to applications and apps of various flavors. What I worry about in this context is the future of the scholarly societies, the future of the university presses, which I think are much more vulnerable economically, and who I think are aligned more in a partnership way with the library community.
DEANNA MARCUM: I agree.
JIM: And therefore, we need to find a shared solution to this.
DEANNA MARCUM: Yes. And for the humanities and social sciences in particular. Yes.
SPEAKER 1: Yeah. Someone last week was commenting that if you wanted to move people in this direction, you are, by forcing openness, et cetera, on these smaller societies, you are essentially driving people into consolidation.
JIM: Yes. I acknowledge that.
DEANNA MARCUM: And that may not be a bad thing. It depends on where you sit, of course. But I think we have to be realistic. There will be consolidations in order to do the kinds of things that need to be done. And finding a way to make sure that everyone thrives in that new environment-- there are ways to do that.
JIM: I speculated last year, I believe, when I spoke at the Frankfurt Book Fair, about the relationship between the publishers and the readers and whether there would continue to be a intermediary, like the library, sort of providing that acquisition, leveraging, organization of information that ultimately got to the student and the researcher. Or whether the publisher was going to draw much more of a direct commercial relationship with the reader.
JIM: And I think that's an open question, as well.
DEANNA MARCUM: I agree.
SPEAKER 1: Well, and this gets to the point Deanna had made earlier about the role of the librarian in vetting these materials. If it made it into, you know, years ago, if it made it into the library collection, it was a valid resource. You know, if an article was in store, for example, oh, that's OK. Right? You can use that.
SPEAKER 1: You can cite something that's in [INAUDIBLE].. I'm worried, though, without those intermediaries-- either publisher direct to the reader or the library-- in an environment where students aren't getting the information literacy, how do you assess the quality of what looks like a research article, might be posted in a repository, as a preprint, has never been vetted, never published, never peer reviewed, and it goes off on anti-vaccination or anti-climate change or smoking is healthy?
SPEAKER 1: There are ways in which the information flow can be manipulated. And by removing this vetting process, I would think that the role of the library and the role of the publisher is increasingly important for the reader. How do you distinguish between an article that's just posted on the web and something that has been vetted and is understood to be quality?
JIM: Well, that's information literacy.
DEANNA MARCUM: Yes.
JIM: Teaching young people how to make those assessments and those judgments. And the library filter may no longer be the way they accomplish that. I think I saw a figure recently that said in 2013, there were 250,000 new books, both digital and print, that were published by academic and trade publishers. There were 250,000 additional books that were published by small and independent presses.
JIM: And there were 500,000 that were independently published. So the streams of production and access are shifting rapidly. And if you multiply that by the stuff that appears on the web, not in sort of the book published environment, then we have such an explosion of content that people need new tools and new strategies for making good judgments about what is legitimate, what is current, and what is useable, viable information.
DEANNA MARCUM: And it's probably going to be the case that we're talking about information literacy being part of the entire educational experience. That may not be limited to libraries. As we start talking about what it means to be an educated person, information literacy is one of those skills that everyone will need. And it probably needs to be embedded in every class. So thinking about what the digital revolution has meant for education, how we educate young people, huge.
DEANNA MARCUM: Huge.
JIM: But you know, we have challenges in this sort of the mainstream scholarly journal environment, as well. One, we've had this enormous growth in sort of-- I forget what the word is that we're using to describe these sort of tertiary journals that are appearing, that don't have the same rigor in terms of evaluating content for publication, and who don't really care about the historical tools we've used to vet and to measure impact.
JIM: But we also have the mainstream journals that have gotten into some trouble, too, where individuals are not always showing their relationship between their research and the industries that support their work. The advisory committee--
DEANNA MARCUM: Pharmaceuticals.
JIM: The pharmaceutical industry. The boards that they sit on. And so I think there's a growing suspicion around even the mainstream research, which I think is troubling, as well.
SPEAKER 1: So to draw the conversation to a close, one of the goals of this conference-- one of the goals of bringing both NFAIS and NISO together-- is to propel action. And you've talked about a variety of ways and collaborations. What are ways that we as a community can most effectively-- where are the areas of most fertile growth for collaboration? For things that NISO and NFAIS and in partnership with other organizations can do?
SPEAKER 1: Where can we best direct our efforts to bring this about?
JIM: So I'll echo some of the things I said in my remarks. One, I think professional development is key. I think-- all professional associations I think have a responsibility to educate and enable their members to grow in their understanding and their effectiveness. And that's done through workshops and programs. It doesn't have to just be a conference. It can take many forms of synchronous and asynchronous learning.
JIM: Second, to be a key national international advocate for the field, demonstrate why publishers, technologists, and librarians working together represent such a powerful and effective force, and why we continue to be relevant and important in the communities that we serve. And third, roll up their sleeves around policy. Identify those things where we have common interests and common concerns and build a advocacy-- legal, legislative, policy advocacy capacity that allows us to be a player in our communities, but more importantly, perhaps in Washington and in international venues, where global policy is being set.
DEANNA MARCUM: Well, I'll end on a really practical note. One of the-- within NFAIS, one of our goals in merging the two organizations is we were saying, NFAIS is really good at identifying issues and bringing in great speakers and talking about what's coming next. NISO is really great at implementation. And so our hope from the NFAIS perspective is that the new organization will use these conferences to identify the most pressing issues, put together working groups-- capital W working groups.
DEANNA MARCUM: People who really care and can give some time to it, their organizations will support them. Put together projects and make sure people know what progress is being made from time to time. And that was our hope. And that's what we see happening, and we're delighted.
JIM: Ideas into action.
DEANNA MARCUM: Right.
SPEAKER 1: A great way to end it. So Deanna, Jim, thank you so much for joining me today. Jim, congratulations.
JIM: Thank you.
DEANNA MARCUM: Yes.
SPEAKER 1: And thank you for all of your leadership, not only within NFAIS and NISO over the years, but for the community generally.
JIM: Thank you very much.
DEANNA MARCUM: Thank you.
JIM: Thank you, Deanna.