Digital Scholarship @ The Libraries

Inspiring innovative digital scholarship at the OSU Libraries and beyond

Author: Melanie Schlosser (page 1 of 6)

Closing this blog

When this blog launched in 2012, the Libraries, the university, and the broader digital scholarship environment were very different. The blog filled a need for a collaborative space for faculty and staff from across the Libraries to talk about the work they were doing to create and support digital scholarship, and – I hope – raised awareness of the opportunities and challenges in this area. It was one of the first group blogs in the Libraries, and was, I believe, the only one that regularly published content from different departments and divisions.

In the years since, the Libraries has developed a thriving program of support for digital scholarship, based in the Research Commons. This program encompasses numerous partners from in- and outside the Libraries, and covers areas from copyright to data management to digital humanities. The Research Commons has also become an essential partner for Publishing and Repository Services, this blog’s ‘home’ department. The big questions the blog was created to explore – namely, what is digital scholarship and what should libraries be doing to support it – have, of course, not been answered conclusively. The questions themselves, however, have shifted as the Libraries has started doing more and more work in this area. At this point, conversations on the topic are more likely to start with questions like, “What are we doing to support digital scholarship?” and move on to, “How can we continue to improve and evolve our digital scholarship program?” I am thrilled to say that the Research Commons blog has stepped handily into the breach, and provides a great place to explore these and other related questions, and Publishing and Repository Services has begun contributing to the discussion there.

After four years, it is time to put the Digital Scholarship blog to bed. The blog site itself will remain live, so that the content published on it can be found and used, but we will no longer be publishing new posts. Thank you to everyone who has followed or contributed to the site over the last four years – your attention and work helped build the strong digital scholarship program that exists in the Libraries today. If you are interested in following its continued development, sign up to follow the Research Commons blog.

Staff position: Repository and Publishing Services Program Assistant

The Libraries’ fabulous Digital Content Services department is looking for a Program Assistant to support our repository and publishing programs. An excerpt from the job posting:

The Program Assistant performs production work for Digital Content Services across the repository and publishing programs on multiple simultaneous projects; production work includes submitting content, creating metadata, designing and documenting workflows, scheduling and supervising the production work of student assistants, and tracking projects in project database; works collaboratively with the Interim Co-Heads of the Department and other departmental staff; requires attention to detail, sound judgment and decision making, and knowledge of related and applicable software programs.

Come work with us! Read the full posting and apply by 2/28.

How to avoid predatory open access publishers

When you’re a librarian working with open access publishing, there is a question that comes up a lot. It’s one that many of us dread, because it tends to come with a lot of baggage, and it can be tricky to answer in a way that satisfies the querent. The question is, “What about predatory open access publishers?” Sometimes it’s asked as an attempt to discredit OA publishing as a whole, in which case it’s likely that no amount of logical argumentation and no set of facts will be acceptable as a response. More often, though, it’s asked in the context of problem-solving. Predatory OA is a threat – to vulnerable junior scholars, to authors in developing countries, to the enterprise of scholarly publishing as a whole – so what should we do about it? It’s tempting to toss off a quick, “Don’t give them your work to publish. Problem solved!” It has the advantage of brevity, but it doesn’t do much to address the very real fears of scholars who don’t have the training and the experience to confidently evaluate the worth of a given publication. To give me something to point people to when the question comes up, and to provide a useful alternative to lists of predatory publishers (more on this in a minute), I decided to share my own understanding of what constitutes a ‘predatory’ publisher and offer a set of criteria by which authors can evaluate publications. It doesn’t provide any easy answers, but hopefully it provides some useful guidance.

Why can’t I just look at a list?

Before we get to the good stuff, it’s worth taking a moment to consider the many lists in this space. ‘Tis the season, so we’re going to call them “nice” lists and “naughty” lists.

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Multi-author blogs: Getting the most out of a tricky (but powerful) format

The OSU Libraries WordPress Users Group recently met to discuss a topic near and dear to my heart: multi-author blogs. As you may have gathered from my last post on the topic, I’m a big fan of the group blog format. It allows for a broader perspective on a topic and a range of voices, and good multi-author blogs are truly more than the sum of their parts. You may  have also noticed that I don’t recommend that everyone venture blithely into the group blogging realm, because it comes with a set of built-in challenges that some folks will be happier dealing with than others. Based on the Users Group discussion, here is some advice to help you get the most of of your multi-author blog.

What can a group blog do for you?

The major benefits to working with the group blog format are interest, connections, and efficiency. Having multiple authors can make your blog more interesting by incorporating different perspectives and writing styles, and allowing you to cover a broader range of topics. It may give you an opportunity to connect with people you don’t otherwise have many opportunities to work with – inside of your organization and elsewhere. Finally, if writing time is limited for you, or you find you are more adept at the editing side of things than the authoring one, facilitating other people’s posts may allow you to more efficiently create a great blog.

What won’t it do?

Having multiple authors isn’t a sneaky way to ‘outsource’ your blog, and it won’t necessarily cut down on the total time you need to spend on it. If you have an opportunity to contribute to someone else’s group blog, congratulations! Most of us, if we want to work in that space, need to make it happen ourselves, and will therefore find ourselves in an editorial role. Being an editor means that you will need to articulate a vision for your blog, set it up, do a bit of writing yourself, and then recruit content. And then recruit some more content. And then follow up with the folks you recruited so that they actually turn something in. Depending on your own work habits and the level of investment on the part of your authors, it can be just as time-consuming as writing content yourself.

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Staff position open in Digital Content Services

Interested in supporting digital scholarship? There is a staff position open in the Digital Content Services department, which encompasses the Knowledge Bank and Publishing Programs. An excerpt from the posting:

The Digital Content Services (DCS) Projects Coordinator performs and coordinates production work for Digital Content Services across the repository and publishing programs and multiple software platforms (e.g., DSpace and Open Journal Systems), on multiple simultaneous projects. Production work includes submitting content, creating metadata, HTML layout editing, and providing technical support; designing and documenting workflows, scheduling and supervising production work, facilitating communications, and tracking projects to completion; works collaboratively with the Interim Co-Heads of the Department and other departmental staff; requires an in-depth understanding of the suite of digital content services provided by the department, attention to detail, sound judgment and decision making, and knowledge of related and applicable software programs.

Learn more about the position and apply online at, job opening 410104. Applications will be accepted through August 2, 2015.

Beyond the Nuts and Bolts: Blogs as Publishing

Editing icon by Luis Prado on the Noun ProjectThis (very long) post is based on a Libraries’ workshop on blogging, held on 5/27/15, which was the second in a two-part series. View the original slides for this workshop here. Part one of the series was taught by Beth Snapp, and was titled  “Carousels, Drop-Down Menus, and Forms: Little Known Features of OSUL Blogs.” 

Why should librarians blog?

If you are reading this, the odds are you don’t think blogging in libraries is a complete waste of time. Nevertheless, I’d like to open with a brief discussion of what I see as the most compelling reasons for us to put our time and energy into blog-based publishing. I think of this list, collectively, as The Visible Library. (It’s a play on the phrase “The Invisible Library,” which is used to refer to those books that only exist in fiction.) All of these are ways in which blogging can provide greater visiblity to libraries and the work of librarianship:

  • News and updates: Since they are easy to use and allow for chronological, serial posting, blogs are a good platform for announcements about services, collections, facilities, and upcoming events.
  • Broaden the reach of our events: Speaking of events, we have too many of them that are completely invisible and inaccessible to anyone who wasn’t able – because of time or geography – to attend in person. Blogs can be used to distribute write-ups of events, to share research or interesting work done during the planning phase, or to continue the discussion afterwards.
  • Educate users and peers: This one’s pretty self-explanatory.
  • Tailored discovery: In our broad discussions about the principles of library discovery last fall, one of the ideas that consistently rose to the top was the need to provide tailored discovery environments for different groups. That’s a really tricky thing to do in traditional discovery environments (like the catalog), but a fairly easy thing to do in a blog environment. A blog can serve as an entry point into the library for a specific user group, where resources, services, and events of possible interest to that group are aggregated and described in accessible terms.
  • Make the work of librarianship more visible: I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for this one. The work of librarianship is fascinating, and largely invisible to folks outside of it. It includes intensive research and innovative teaching, interesting (if geeky) technical processes, and the development of cutting-edge services. One of the best ways we can advocate for ourselves and advance professional practice is to show people – users and peers – what we do.

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Digital scholarship and the public domain

How the public domain promotes scholarship: Engaging Columbus uses 1922 OSU thesis to map Columbus neighborhoods | Copyright Corner

Looks like it’s cross-post Tuesday here on the Digital Scholarship blog! This second link is to a post on the Copyright Resources Center’s Copyright Corner blog. Maria Scheid writes about Engaging Columbus, an interesting collaborative project that makes use of digitized images from a 1922 OSU thesis. She uses the opportunity to talk about the important role of the public domain, but it’s also a great example of how digital technology can enable transformative scholarship, and a reminder of the curious life of online collections. When we digitize our content, it can be used in wonderful, creative ways that we never imaged when we put it on a scanner or submitted it to a repository. Read Maria’s post to learn more.

(More) advice from journal editors

OSU Journal Editors Offer Tips to Early Career Researchers | Research Commons Blog

On Tuesday, March 24th, I moderated a Research Commons panel discussion sponsored by the Libraries’ Publishing Program and the Ohio State Postdoctoral Association.  The panelists were current or former journal editors from a range of disciplines, and they gave some really fabulous advice to new researchers looking to understand the mysteries of publishing. If this sounds familiar, that’s because we held a similar panel a couple of years ago at the Research Expo. This one covers some of the same ground (and even has a couple of familiar faces), but it also gave some new perspectives on the subject. Josh has a great write-up of the discussion at the Research Commons blog. Enjoy!

Production Coordinator position in Digital Content Services

Digital Content Services (the University Libraries department responsible for the Knowledge Bank and the Publishing Program) is looking for a Production Coordinator. Apply online at by February 1st, 2015.

Detailed Job Description:

University Libraries’ Digital Content Services (DCS) engages with partners across the University to increase the amount, value, and impact of OSU-produced digital content including, but not limited, to working papers, technical reports, conference proceedings, journals, monographs, student scholarship, and faculty articles. DCS offers support by organizing, providing access, distributing, and preserving digital scholarship through the Knowledge Bank institutional repository program and the Libraries’ Open Access Publishing Program. The DCS Production Coordinator performs and coordinates production work for the department across both programs and multiple software platforms (e.g., DSpace and Open Journal Systems).  Production work includes submitting content, creating metadata, HTML layout editing, and providing technical support.  Production coordination includes designing and documenting workflows, scheduling and supervising production work, facilitating communications, and tracking projects to completion.  The person in this position works collaboratively with the Interim Co-Heads of the Department and other departmental staff. The position requires an in-depth understanding of the suite of digital content services provided by the department, attention to detail, sound judgment, and decision making. Current department staffing includes two librarians, two staff members, and student assistants.  There is a potential for supervisory responsibilities.

Minimum education requirement: B.A./B.S. or equivalent combination of education and experience.

Required qualifications:

  • excellent organizational skills and ability to work with detail;
  • excellent oral and written communication skills;
  • experience with project planning and development of workflows;
  • ability to prioritize, problem solve, delegate, and monitor project life cycles;
  • ability to track and manage multiple projects simultaneously;
  • demonstrated initiative with the ability to work independently, in a team environment, and closely with supervisor as appropriate;
  • ability to support software users with varying degrees of proficiency;
  • familiarity with HTML or XML.

Desired qualifications:

  • experience evaluating workflows and successfully designing or enhancing production-oriented work processes;
  • experience with HTML, CSS, PHP and other web technologies;
  • experience or familiarity with scholarly publishing environment, including concepts such as peer review;
  • familiarity with metadata standards;
  • experience creating metadata;
  • supervisory experience.

Please contact Erica Jonak with questions.

Hanging out with Open Access (and American Libraries)

Yesterday I participated in an American Libraries Live panel discussion on Open Access, broadcast via public Google Hangout. The other panelists were Emily Puckett Rodgers from the University of Michigan School of Information, and Jacob Berg, Director of Library Services at Trinity Washington University. We had a nice discussion about OA for a general audience, and I think it was helpful having three such different perspectives. I’ve embedded the video below, or you can watch it on YouTube. You can also read Jacob’s summary of his comments on his blog, or his Storify of the Twitter conversation during the broadcast.  Enjoy!

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