From the Director

By Damon E. Jaggars, Vice-Provost & Director of The Ohio State University Libraries

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Drinking from the Fire Hose

Drinking from the fire hose. That is what I’ve been doing for the past month, my first here at The Ohio State University. It has been whirlwind of meetings, receptions, and other opportunities to meet new colleagues inside and outside of the Libraries – a process organized to help me assemble an understanding of how Ohio State is structured, how decisions are made, and to foster the relationships important to our collective future success.

Over the past four weeks, I’ve met with 14 university administrators, the Office of Academic Affairs Leadership team, the Council of Deans, the Council on Distance Education, Libraries, and Information Technology (DELIT), Faculty Advisory Council, Staff Advisory Council, the Director of the Center for Library Initiatives at the CIC, and multiple current and prospective donors, among others. And last Friday, I began my internal listening tour with a morning of meetings with colleagues at the Library Tech Center. The calendar for March is just as crowded, if not more so.

Notable during my meetings with stakeholders from outside of the Libraries, I’ve been asked several times for my views “on the future of the Libraries at OSU” or something thereabouts. I’m sure many of you have been confronted with similar questions from time to time, but I thought it might be useful to share the outlines of how I’m answering such questions as I interact with our colleagues across campus and beyond.

I usually begin by offering what I consider to be the three broad missions of an academic research library as context: (1) to support faculty teaching, student learning, and community outreach; (2) to support research and the creation of new knowledge; and (3) to selectively collect and preserve our cultural heritage. Obviously, there is interplay among the activities that support these increasingly overlapping missions, but I’ve found framing the work of academic research libraries in this way to be helpful as a foundation for conversations with folks from outside the profession.

Next, I admit that I don’t know enough yet to offer much prescriptive detail but can say that:

  • to be vital to the academic enterprise, the Libraries must position itself as an active, engaged participant in solving university-level problems (Looking outside ourselves);
  • to maintain its vitality, the Libraries as an organization must continually renew its expertise, facilities, service programming, and business practices (Change never ends);
  • the Libraries must become more sophisticated in how it identifies and presents its stories of success and impact to external stakeholders (Success enables success).

Lastly, I posit that a successful academic research library is ever sensitive to where the university and its component parts are heading. You want to find the future of the Libraries at OSU? Look to where teaching and research within the academic disciplines and cultural acquisition are moving, and you will see the Libraries skating to the same puck, sometimes as partner, sometimes as leader, always engaged.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts about our collective future as we interact in the coming weeks. This is going to be a lot of fun…

Damon Jaggars
Vice Provost and Director of University Libraries

From the Director – March 3, 2015 – Leadership Transition

Dear Library Faculty and Staff

It is with very mixed emotions that I have informed Provost Steinmetz of my intention to step down as Vice Provost and Director of University Libraries on January 31, 2016.

It has been my greatest honor and privilege to serve as your Director for the last 5 years and as your colleague for 21 years. In January 2010, I returned to The Ohio State University Libraries to my dream job. When I first came to OSU as a 29-year-old, I could never have imagined that I would someday lead OSU Libraries. In fact, I thought I would spend a few brief years in Ohio advancing my career, and then return to a next job back in the south (at least that is what I told my family who couldn’t imagine me living among the “Yankees”). But I fell in love with Ohio and Ohio State and I also fell in love with a Cincinnati native, my husband, Frank. Having known from a very early age that I wanted to be a librarian, I have had a much accelerated career. My administrative career now spans 33 years. As a result, I would like to begin another phase of my professional life.

Once I retire at the end of January, I will have the usual separation period and then return to complete work as the co-chair of the IFLA 2016 National Committee. Following that Congress in Columbus in August 2016, I will conclude my time at OSU but continue my professional involvement in libraries in other ways. Those changes will also afford me the opportunity after 20 years of marriage to finally live with my husband full-time in our home in Scottsdale, AZ.

There will be time over the coming months to talk about how much my time at OSU has meant to me and how I feel about the work we have done together. Together we have created a library system that is the pride of the University. Each of you, and your predecessors, have defined and built a library with an abiding culture of service, unequalled professionalism, and an unrelenting quest for excellence. During this period, I, and I hope each of you, will continue to move full speed ahead on achieving the goals we have set. With your support, the next Vice Provost and Director of University Libraries will lead the Libraries to even greater success.

The Provost will soon be appointing a search committee to begin the process of recruitment. My announcement now is intended to provide ample time for a good transition.



From the Director – October 13, 2014 – Open Access Week

Guest posting by Maureen Walsh and Melanie Schlosser

The week of October 20th is the eighth International Open Access Week, an annual educational event organized by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). This year University Libraries is using the week as an opportunity not only to raise awareness about open access (OA) on campus, but also to announce a new pilot project: the Open Access Fund for OSU Authors. (See Vice Provost and Director of Libraries’ Carol Diedrichs’ announcement at the conclusion of this post.)

First, some background on OA. The precise definition of open access is still a topic of debate, but it usually incorporates unrestricted access to and unrestricted use of scholarly literature. Put more simply, it means research made available online without paywalls, licensed for reuse.

In the 1990s, OA was envisioned as the self-archiving of research papers by their authors in open access repositories (“green” OA). The movement quickly grew to include completely OA journals (“gold” OA). Both methods are spontaneous, in that they are the result of a decision by the author at the time of publication to publish in an OA journal, or in a subscription journal that allows author self-archiving.

The last seven years have seen a more coordinated movement towards OA through faculty OA resolutions (including the OSU Libraries’ faculty OA resolution) and funder mandates. The past few years have seen even more momentum, as governments around the world began mandating public access to the results of publicly-funded research. Most public access mandates are still in the development stage, so their full impact can’t yet be determined, but the movement towards unrestricted public access to research continues to gain steam.

A common OA-related question we receive is in relation to campus-level support for OA publishing fees. Some — although by no means all — open access journals pay for the work of publication through Article Processing Charges (APCs) levied on authors. These are most common in fields where authors tend to have grant funding for their research, and many grantors allow applicants to include publishing funds in their grant budget.

Authors without grant support for APCs often turn to their home institution for help. While academic libraries are not in a position to completely fund OA publishing activity at the campus level, many have taken on the administration of such funds as a service to the university community and as part of their support for open access programs.

University Libraries is joining with Ohio State’s Health Sciences Library to launch a new pilot project supporting authors in this arena.

Maureen Walsh and Melanie Schlosser


University Libraries and the Health Sciences Library are collaborating on a pilot project addressing the issue Maureen and Melanie discussed—open access publishing fees.

The “Open Access Fund for OSU Authors” subsidizes processing fees of peer-reviewed articles authored or co-authored by OSU researchers published in eligible open access journals. Current Ohio State faculty, staff and enrolled students can apply.

Funding for publications that comply with the eligibility criteria will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. The funds can be used to cover article publication charges (APCs) or open access fees for previously unpublished peer-reviewed articles, in fully open access journals where articles are made available immediately with no embargo period.

Awards are limited to a maximum of $1,000. Our two organizations have allocated a total of $20,000 toward the pilot, which will run until the fund has been exhausted. We will then evaluate the project and its impact.

I encourage authors who meet the criteria described to consider applying to the fund through the project website: Applications will be accepted beginning October 20.

–Carol Diedrichs

From the Director – September 15, 2014 – Research Commons Progress Report

Just about a year ago, I wrote a blog posting about our Research Commons Task Force report.   Here are a few of the next steps that were included in that September 23, 2013 posting:

Next Steps

  • Completion of recruitment and hiring of the public services cohort
  • Initiation of a feasibility study of the space on the 3rd Floor of the 18th Avenue Library
  • Appointment of a Research Commons Implementation Team
  • Establish an Advisory Board for the Research Commons

So what progress has been made to date?


Not only have we hired most of that public services cohort, but they have arrived and are already making significant contributions to our services and our plans for the Research Commons. These individuals include:

  • Amanda Rinehart –Data Management Services Librarian
  • Josh Sadvari — Research Commons manager (including GIS expertise)

Feasibility Study

The feasibility study has been completed. Based on that study we have just proposed the budget for the project and requested approval to proceed. That approval was given by the Board of Trustees at their late August meeting. Our next steps are the process for hiring the architects who will actually design the space and see it through to implementation. We are still hopeful for an opening of the physical space in January 2016.

Implementation Team and Advisory Board

The Research Commons Implementation Task Force and the Research Commons Partnership Advisory Committee have been established.  You can find their charges and membership here .  In addition to our original partners we have added the Technology Commercialization Office and The Writing Center.

Additional Progress

Beyond what we initially expected a year ago, substantial work has begun to stand up the services of the Research Commons before the actual physical space is available. The virtual Research Commons website can be found here

The hiring of Amanda and Josh as well as the work of others has enabled us to begin offering new services in GIS and data management. Beginning this October and extending through the spring semester, you will see a full plate of workshops being offered under the Research Commons umbrella (and in collaboration with our partners).

1)    Habits of Highly-Effective PIs: Succeeding in Research at Ohio State

Data Management Services and Office of Research

Thursday, October 2, 12:30 – 2:30pm (Thompson Library, Room 165)

2)    Keys to Research Success: Keeping Your Data Organized

Data Management Services and Undergraduate Research Office

Friday, October 17, 11:00am – 12:00pm (Thompson Library, Room 150A/B)

3)    Fair Use and You: Copyright Considerations for Writing Theses and Dissertations

Copyright Resources Center and Writing Center

Tuesday, October 21, 3:00 – 4:30pm (Thompson Library, Room 165)

4)    Opening Access to your Research: Strategies for Digital Scholarship

Digital Content Services and ODEE

Friday, October 24, 10:00am – 12:00pm (18th Avenue Library, Room 070/090)

5)    Protecting and Promoting your Research: From Copyright to Commercialization

Copyright Resources Center and Technology Commercialization Office

Wednesday, October 29, 2:00 – 4:00pm (Thompson Library, Room 165)

6)    Getting Grants: Finding Funding and Planning for Data Management

Data Management Services and Office of Research

Tuesday, November 4, 1:00 – 3:00pm (Thompson Library, Room 165)

7)    Undisciplined Research: Planning and Publishing Across Disciplinary Boundaries

Digital Content Services and ODEE

Friday, November 14, 10:00am – 12:00pm (18th Avenue Library, Room 070/090)

8)    Research Writing 101: Best Practices for Citation Management

Research Services and Writing Center

Thursday, November 20, 11:00am – 12:30pm (Thompson Library, Room 150A/B)

9)    Human Subjects Research: Assistance with IRB Forms and Data Management

Data Management Services and Office of Responsible Research Practices

Tuesday, December 2, 10:00am – 12:00pm (Thompson Library, Room 150A/B)

The implementation task force has made great progress and the planning for the physical space is well underway. Congratulations on this great progress to date!

From the Director – September 23, 2013 – Research Commons Task Force Report

Our Research Commons Task Force has done a marvelous job.  Their report [] is available here including an executive summary, recommendations and findings, as well as variety of appendices with additional information.

The task force was chaired by Meris Mandernach, and included Beth Black, Tschera Connell, Danny Dotson, Todd Efkeman, Bruce Leach, and Terry Reese.  The TF was advised by a group of stakeholders and potential partners including:  Jeff Agnoli (Office of Research); Ola Ahlqvist (Geography); Mike Hofherr (Distance Education and e-Learning); David Staley (History); Allison Snow (Undergraduate Research Office); and Sandra Enimil (Libraries’ Copyright).

The report recommended that the Research Commons (to be housed on the 3rd floor of the 18th Avenue Library)  be based and formed around services rather than merely providing a space.  Focusing on services provides the most useful support to researchers.  A four-pronged services model was recommended focused on consultations, education/training, referrals, and showcasing research.

  • Consultations
    • Campus partners will offer office hours at specific times throughout the week in the Commons space.  Partners include the Copyright Resources Center, Office of Responsible Research, Office of Research (grant support), Digital Content Services (institutional repository and publishing), subject librarians, Undergraduate Research Office, and Statistics.
    • Higher-end computing infrastructure such as data management, GIS and digital humanities support will be provided by new librarians with this expertise. In particular we have noted a growing interest in GIS, mapping and data services across disciplines and the growing need for support services in these areas.


  • Education and Training
    • Existing training and workshops provided by campus partners will be provided in the space.
    • Existing library training and workshops specific to the research lifecycle will be provided.
    • New training and workshops will be developed as needs emerge


  • Referrals
    • One of the glaring gaps identified by the task force was a basic lack of information or understanding around the types of research services currently available to the campus community.
    • Many services have been developed to serve particular departmental or college constituents but with little effort to build connections between these groups.
    • The Research Commons will serve as a triage service point to foster referrals to appropriate research services on campus.


  • Showcasing Research Output
    • Research output will be showcased in the physical space as well as through programming such as colloquia.  These showcases will be physical, virtual and experiential.

I had the opportunity to discuss the report with the Vice Provost/Vice Presidents group at our regular Monday morning meeting.  There was much interest in the concept but also many questions and suggestions.

Next Steps

Our next steps include:

  • The creation of a PowerPoint presentation about the proposed research commons to be used in next level discussions including:
    • The Graduate Council
    • Council of Graduate Students
    • Inter-professional Council (official student government of the 6 Professional Colleges of Dentistry, Law, Medicine, Optometry, Pharmacy, and Veterinary Medicine)
    • The Council on Library and Information Technology
  • Completion of recruitment and hiring of the public services cohort
  • Initiation of a feasibility study of the space on the 3rd Floor of the 18th Avenue Library
  • Appointment of a Research Commons Implementation Team (charge being drafted)
  • Establish an Advisory Board for the Research Commons (charge being drafted)

Strategic Plan

The Research Commons is a key tactic  in our strategic plan:  increase engagement of librarians in the research process and investigate options for a research commons focused on a suite of advanced research services such as GIS, data, copyright and digital scholarship.  This initiative is part of Strategic Focus Area #3 – offer enhanced and innovative research services to faculty and graduate students.  We’re offer to a great start.

From the Director – May 14, 2012 –May 2012 Strategic Plan Update

As the end of the fiscal year approaches, many of our activities turn to assessment and progress reports.  Just like you, though in a different format, I have to complete an assessment of my own performance and the accomplishments of our Libraries for my boss.  One of the pieces of that assessment is a progress report on our strategic plan.

Status Report on 2010-2012 Strategic Plan

Shortly after my arrival in January 2010, we embarked on the creation of a strategic plan for 2010-2012.  That plan – the first one – is the one that is used as part of this year’s assessment.  At this link you will find a document that notes progress on the plan.  My thanks go out to Nancy O’Hanlon and Quanetta Batts who created the first draft of this progress report.

Here are some highlights:

Accelerate the transition to electronic formats (4.1.A.1):

  • FY2009-11:  expenditures for electronic resources increased from 44.2% to 64.4% of the materials budget.
    • E-Journals:  increased from 60.5% to 90.7% of the serials budget.
    • E-Books:  increased from 10% to 13% of the monographs budget.

Expand projects to digitize the Libraries’ unique and distinctive collections (4.1.A.2): 

  • As of July 2011, the Libraries have digitized or acquired 467,682 items for digital collections such as the Knowledge Bank, OhioLINK, and The Lantern online archive, an increase of 250% over 2010.

Engage in and adopt culture transformation (3.3.A.1.):

  • A new staff performance management process was implemented in 2011. The process now includes four steps including planning and goal setting, 2 mid-year check-ins and an annual review.

Check out the report in more detail.

LibQUAL Summary:

In addition to the strategic plan, Sarah Murphy has created a four page summary of our 2011 LibQUAL results.  In particular, check out the chart that shows how we have been closing the gap between desired service and perceived service.  In this case, the lower the number, the better.  The lower the number is on the left axis, the smaller is the gap between what users want and what they perceive we are delivering.  Your work with the public, behind the scenes, and in the smallest detail works together to enable us to meet (and exceed) the needs of our users.  Check out this summary webpage here.

New Strategic Plan – 2013-2015

We spent considerable time last year working on our new draft strategic plan.  That plan is still a draft and will not be formally submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs for review and approval until November 2012.  As I noted at a recent General Libraries’ meeting, we will have to modify the existing plan to meet the newly established strategic planning framework for support units.  But its essence will remain.  We will share drafts in the fall as we make that change.  However, for once we are ahead of the game and that plan is the functional plan that is guiding our decision making.  And we are making tangible and concrete progress on its initiatives already.

From the Director – December 23, 2011 – Holiday Letter

Each holiday season, we send a holiday card with a message inserted to our key donors, library colleagues around the country, and senior leadership at the University.  The letter follows at the end of this message.  I hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with good food, time with friends and family and time to relax and recharge.  Happy Holidays!

Holiday Letter

I wanted to share some of the amazing milestones from 2011 at The Ohio State University Libraries as the year comes to a close. It has been an exciting year, filled with many things we have cause to celebrate.

We have brought together an extraordinarily gifted executive team. Five new associate and assistant directors joined the staff in 2011, bringing their talent, experience and fresh perspectives.  Their addition has also enabled us to execute a new organizational structure which better positions us for the future. Lisa Carter, Craig Gibson, Lisa Patton-Glinski, Karla Strieb and Beth Warner are working with me to build on the strengths of our library system, implement our new strategic plan, and offer innovative services that set new standards for academic libraries.

This year has also seen the two newest appointees to the Mary P. Key Diversity Residency Program, designed to assist recent library graduates in making a successful transition to academic research librarianship. Brian Leaf and Juleah Swanson joined the Libraries’ faculty as our residents for the next two years in this unique program that increases the diversity of librarians at Ohio State and furthers the growth and development of academic librarians across the country. The program is named in honor of the emerita Assistant Professor of the University Libraries who served as the fi rst chair of the Libraries’ Diversity Committee, which oversaw the start of the Residency. Mary passed away in 2010, but her legacy lives on through this important initiative.

Thanks to the unfailing generosity of our supporters, we have made good progress towards meeting the $2.5 million challenge grant offered by Jean Schulz, widow of “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz. The challenge grant raises funds for the renovation of Sullivant Hall, the future home of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum. We have received gifts and pledges totaling $2.2 million thus far, and look forward to meeting the goal in the months ahead with your help.

We received good news this year in survey results of patron attitudes toward our services. The Association of Research Libraries’ “LibQUAL” survey is administered every three years as part of a national effort to measure library users’ opinions of service quality. LibQUAL covers such key areas as the way we provide information, the impact of our staff in supporting users, and the quality of the spaces we offer. The data on OSUL—which was good to begin with—continues to improve each year, most noticeably in the satisfaction levels of key constituents—students and faculty. Clearly, the Thompson Library renovation has had a positive impact on the ratings for “Library as Place,” setting a new standard for the learning environments our users expect. As we move forward in implementing our strategic plan, I expect customers’ satisfaction with our services will continue to rise.

Preparations for the renovation of Sullivant Hall provided the opportunity to create a new home for the libraries’ highly respected Music and Dance Library and its staff. In September, Music and Dance moved into its new home on the second floor of the Science and Engineering Library. The space includes seminar rooms, a media center, music scores and the book collection, much of which is now available 24/7.

This year we unveiled the commissioned art for the Thompson Library. Renowned artist and OSU Art Department faculty member Ann Hamilton created “Verse,” a fi eld of 299 lines of text set in raised letters in the cork floor of the Buckeye Reading Room. The installation, text from three different books, describes the beginning and end of history. Its unique presentation makes up a 6,000 square foot “page,” offering a reading experience that is both complex and compelling.

In October, the Libraries and the Columbus Museum of Art announced the joint acquisition of the record books and ledger of internationally renowned artist and Columbus native George Bellows. The volumes are now housed in our Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, where they will be available to Ohio State students and faculty, as well as the general public. And as a shared resource, the collection is an invaluable asset to the Museum for informing study of its outstanding collection of Bellows paintings.

Another wonderful addition to our special collections is the archives of the Mysterious Press, founded and edited by Otto Penzler, the world’s foremost authority on and publisher of mystery fiction. These archives represent not only the complete manuscripts, corrected proofs and correspondence of the Mysterious Press’ publications, but also pristine copies of all galleys, limited editions and fi rst editions of the press. This was a highly sought-after acquisition, and greatly enhances the William Charvat Collection of American Fiction, already among the premier American fiction collections in the U.S.

I look forward to the coming year with optimism and excitement. I am very blessed to lead one of the nation’s great university libraries and to work with a talented, devoted faculty and staff whose commitment to the Libraries and its patrons is clearly visible every day. Their efforts are matched by the continuing generosity of our donors and the enthusiasm and energy of our volunteers.

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