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Miles Conrad Award 2020: A panel discussion with James Neal, Deanna Marcum, and Todd Carpenter


This paper is based upon a panel discussion that took place after James G. Neal gave his 2020 Miles Conrad Award address during the inaugural NISO Plus conference that was held in Baltimore, MD (USA) from February 23–25, 2020. The discussion was a thoughtful conversation among three information industry leaders - Neal, Deanna Marcum, and Todd Carpenter - that touched upon many of the issues that continue to swirl within the information community today, such as information literacy, information access, policy awareness and advocacy, digital preservation, collaborative initiatives, diversity, information access and control, etc. There were no clear solutions to the issues, but there was general agreement that the future success of all stakeholders requires that we identify those things where we have common interests and common concerns and build the capacity for legal, legislative, and policy advocacy that will allow all stakeholders to be players not only in their communities, but also, and perhaps even more importantly, in Washington, D.C. and in international venues where global information policies are being set.


Following the 2020 Miles Conrad Lecture given by James G. Neal, University Librarian Emeritus, Columbia University (NY), a panel discussion was held to discuss in more detail some of the issues that Jim raised during his presentation. The goal was to see if/how the issues could be addressed and perhaps drive some implementation of potential solutions. Panelists included James Neal, Deanna Marcum, Senior Advisor, Ithaka, and Todd Carpenter, NISO Executive Director.

2.Roles of professional associations

Todd opened the discussion with a question relevant to the information community by asking Jim how he sees organizations such as NISO and NFAIS playing a role in the “radical collaborations” that he mentioned in his award address. Jim said that he believes that there are several important things that organizations such as NISO and other professional associations should be doing. First of all, they need to be a primary advocate for the role that all stakeholders in the information community - libraries, information intermediaries, and publishers - play in our communities. They need to demonstrate, and help us demonstrate, why we are important and how and why we add value. And they need to provide us with the tools to influence thinking about what we are and where we’re going. Secondly, Jim believes that these types of associations need to provide for the professional development of the people in the field. As he emphasized in his remarks today, we are constantly changing and we all need the ability to learn and to grow. Professional associations can provide those opportunities for us. Also, they need to be an important voice on the national and international level in the very complex policy areas in which we work.

In his award address Jim listed a whole series of policy concerns ranging from intellectual freedom to intellectual property. In addition, he said that he believes that we need to develop much more of a presence in the legal, legislative, and policy arena. The associations can help us do that. The last point that he made was that we as a community of libraries, publishers, and information distributors, tend to stand side-by-side, but not together. And he believes that the associations can help us build a “radical relationship” among us so that we, as one united voice, can be far more effective in our work, less dependent upon redundant investments, and can build a much more effective collaborative strategy by working together, rather than on the fringes of our work. These are the critical roles that NISO and other associations should and can play.

3.Building a collaborative information community

Todd then asked Deanna, as a past-President of NFAIS, an organization noted for bringing the information community together, what she believes would be the impact of such a radical collaboration. She noted that one of the things she appreciated most about NFAIS was that it was the one place where librarians, publishers, government, and technologists came together. And many of the problems that we need to resolve involve these communities. So it is really important that NISO, as it continues its work, think about the ways in which these four groups of stakeholders can come together to solve problems. Also, NISO can provide a platform for volunteers. One of the challenges that most associations have, of course, is that we rely on volunteers. And the staff of any of these professional organizations will typically be relatively small. But providing a place in which interested and active volunteers can come together and do real work in search of solutions to some of these problems is very important.

Todd added that one of the things that he has found within NISO, and within NFAIS as well, is the diversity of the communities that are attempting to resolve some of these issues. It has always been very gratifying to see the different communities come together to help advance common interests, rather than come together in an adversarial way and be at loggerheads.

Jim noted that as Deanna has already said, we are trying to solve national and international information challenges on the backs of institutional budgets and that route is simply not going to work. We need to build systemic national and global strategies and we need to stop duplicating our investments, because we have such limited resources. Therefore the thinness of what we are accomplishing in these very challenging areas will never help us solve the problems unless we find a way to co-invest. He added that he used the word ”parabiosis” in his earlier presentation. This is an obscure word from biology, usually applied to phenomena such as Siamese twins, where body parts, systems, and organs are shared. And he believes that we to emulate that togetherness in order to make significant progress. We need to share our investment and share the effort required in much more comprehensive and radical ways than we have in the past.

Deanna said a number of specialized organizations have been created to deal with specific problems, and the typical membership contribution is twenty-five thousand dollars, but it is important to realize that one cannot assume that making a twenty-five thousand dollar contribution will make a problem go away. We really need to think about the realistic budgets that are required to address these problems. And she believes that organizations such as NISO can help with that reality. They can help to identify where investments can be made that have a strong probability of paying off. And they can also help to focus not only on the necessary financial contribution, but also the people contributions (volunteers) that must be made to those organizations, so that there are real roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities, both at the professional association and institutional levels.

Jim said the he believes that we can all identify a dozen of organizations that we have collaboratively created over the last decade. Many of them have disappeared, and many of them are floundering because they are dependent to a large extent on foundation and federal grants. And that dependency is not a sustainable business model. So, we need to be much more creative at the front end in how we not only invest our resources, but also in how we are going to build that capacity on a continuing basis. Deanna noted that this was one of the reasons that NFAIS and NISO were brought together - it offered an opportunity to build on the two organizations and create a stronger core. Jim added that this is why the Research Library Group (RLG) and OCLC were brought together in 2006 (see:

4.Mentoring volunteers and building leaders

Todd said that one element of building the type of collaborative community that has been described is not just the funding, but it is also, as Deanna mentioned, the people. He then asked Jim how fostering the development of leadership and mentoring within the community has changed over the years. How has it evolved? Where does he think that the community needs to go to help develop the skills and the people necessary in order to drive change in the information community?

Jim said that he believes that all of us who work in the information community 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 to those who we serve through our organizations. We’ve had, as he mentioned in his remarks, this massive turnover in leadership across the publishing and information technology industries and, certainly, in all aspects of librarianship. So how do we ensure that we have the next generation of leaders ready to step up and assume those responsibilities? One area of particular interest and concern for Jim has been how we can diversify not only the professional membership in our communities, but how we can develop a diversified group of individuals who can step into leadership roles. He believes that many organizations have embraced diversity, equity, and inclusion, but too often they don’t treat it as what they are - they treat it as what they do. And he thinks that we need to make diversity an integral part of how we think about our work going forward. The communities that we serve need to see a reflection of themselves in the leadership of the information industry and in the work that we do. So professional development, leadership development, and diversity - those, Jim said, are the critical elements going forward.

Deanna noted that it is interesting if you think about it, that when our generation started as librarians one needed to know about collections and the research process. In retrospect, it was fairly easy to figure out what a librarian needed to know, although at the time we thought it was hard. Today, a librarian plays many diverse roles. We no longer have the collections as our focus - we have services as our focus. We now are an aggregation of professions. And we need to think about professional development in that way. We need to develop information technology people; we need to develop Big Data people, etc. And the leader of these organizations will have to think about all of those diverse roles that a librarian needs to fill.

Jim said that a number of years ago he published a paper in Library Journal that actually got him into a lot of wonderful trouble. It was entitled “Raised by Wolves: Integrating the New Generation of Feral Professionals into the Academic Library” [1]. It was a reflection and a recognition that we were, in fact, diversifying the professional backgrounds and capabilities of our staffs. And when he was retiring from Columbia a number of years ago, he asked the human resources department to take a look at the three hundred plus professionals on the library’s staff, and to take a look at their academic credentials.

They found that about forty percent of those individuals actually had a Masters in Library Science and that sixty percent had other credentials - in technology, Big Data, fundraising, space planning, human resources, etc. We need a whole host of expertise in order to make the new organizations going forward work well and be effective.

5.The roles of information community stakeholders

Todd noted that we are actually working in a much broader community outside of the traditional institutions, publishers, and vendors. He asked Jim how he sees the information 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 said that it is wrong or probably unnecessary for us to pit ourselves against the 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 the partnership that we have developed with our communities - whether it is a campus, a company, a school or a city - that working relationship between the information professionals and the practitioners and the scholars who work in that space. To Jim, that is where we can add a lot of value. He believes that it is hard, as he noted in his remarks, to draw a line between what we do in the information industries and how students and citizens are effective and how faculty and researchers are productive. How do we add to the economy, the values, and the impact of our communities? Jim believes that we have a special role in that relationship and that we need to demonstrate that more effectively in order to distinguish us from those large technology companies.

Deanna added that in many ways, she believes that the biggest challenge that we have not yet addressed is building a robust, useful, digital library. And in order to do that, we are going to need those Silicon Valley organizations. We’re going to need their funding and their technology. And they will need to understand how we plan to provide services with that digital library. It is probably the biggest radical collaboration project on the agenda. And how we do that, how we become effective partners with the industry technology giants is not only in terms of money, because they have a lot more than we’re ever going to have, but it will also be in terms of how we can combine forces in a way that benefits society. That is the big collaborative project upon which we need to focus.

Jim said that there are not many organizations in this world that we can identify and that our communities can identify, as really representing the public interest. And he believes that is one of the important values that we bring and we need to continue to emphasize that fact. But we do not 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? We give them a sense of freedom and anonymity in carrying out their information inquiries. And that, he believes, is the value of privacy and confidentiality that librarians need to continue to sustain. He believes that Deanna is correct: building that global digital library is essential. We made an effort in that direction with the Digital Public Library of America (see: We need to link that library up with other initiatives around the world, particularly the European initiatives such as Europeana ( and the European Union Digital Library (

6.Preserving the digital record

Jim added that he believes that there is a concomitant challenge - how do we capture and preserve the digital record? We have several tools that we have put in place in an attempt to deal with journals and they have had modest results. But no one is preserving e-books. No one is preserving e-government. No one is preserving e-media, much less the billions and billions of objects that are created in a born-digital environment, that are largely ephemeral, largely multimedia, and largely dynamic. We do not have an understanding of how to retrieve such objects, how to take care of them, and how to ensure that they are both available and usable going forward. The Internet Archive has done some important work in the web space. But this is an enormous challenge. Consider this challenge within the context of scholarly integrity. What if an author or researcher publishes a paper and they cite a number of born-digital sources in their footnotes. Then a reader, comes along six, twelve months later, and says, “Wow, this is an interesting thesis and I want to take a look at some of the evidence that they presented”. But the reader cannot find those sources, because they’ve disappeared or they’ve changed or they’ve moved. Then he/she may have to question the integrity of the work that is being presented to them. And how are we going to write about the first twenty years of this century if we are unable to access the social and digital media that define the way in which we work?

Todd agreed. He noted that we communicate online and that is changing radically. What each of us experience when reading the Washington Post or the New York Times differs because our experiences are so dynamically driven. What does it mean to preserve that? We are not having those conversations.

Jim agreed with Todd and Deanna said that one of her concerns is that when you describe the problem, people say, “Oh, gosh, this is so complicated. It costs so much money.” And Jim reflected on how he always goes 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 [2]. And we almost need to take the first bite and begin to show how this preservation can be accomplished. This is another place where professional associations can exert real leadership in helping people understand that digital preservation is a huge problem. Deanna agreed saying that it can be divided into steps, and these steps can be taken. Then we need to show results and demonstrate that we are making progress. We also need to provide visual reminders. Remember those thermometers you used to have in the town square, showing how much money was being for something or other and how progress was being made towards the specific goal. She believes that demonstrating results would make a big difference in helping every institution understand that it has a part to play in meeting the challenge.

Jim agreed and noted that we still have a sign on Union Square in New York City that tells us the amount of the national debt and how that number is constantly shifting [3]. He would like to see a similar display of the number of digital objects we lose. And sees that number going up and up. Deanna noted that we have no idea what that number actually is and that is the problem! Jim added that he does not believe that we know how much money we’re losing in our government, either. But he believes that digital preservation requires vision and noted that vision without action is a daydream. So, we need not only ideas, but also firm strategies, resources, and standards - NISO - to help us really build this capacity.

Todd said that one of the problems that we have to watch out for is scope creep. We acknowledge that we want to solve this huge problem. And yet, there is this extra problem over here, which is even bigger, and we cannot address this narrow problem without also addressing, for example, all of metadata. Well, the problem with “all of the metadata” is rather a large problem. To be achievable, let’s just focus on a relatively narrow problem.

Deanna agreed that whenever we create something new, we do have a tendency to try to throw all of the old problems on it so that we can finally solve them. What we really need to do is think in terms of making progress toward an ultimate goal and showing how things are connected. We simply cannot allow ourselves to burden every project with all of the unsolved things that are on the agenda.

7.Copyright and fair use

Todd went back to something that Jim mentioned earlier - the values of this community, the values of librarianship, and the values that actually extend from scholarly publishing into the communities that we touch. How do we reinforce those values in an era when people are caring less about privacy? There’s more and more tracking and there is more and more intrusions into our private lives. Todd noted that some of these values are tied to the policy work that Jim has done and Todd asked how we can advance these values of our community.

Jim said that he agrees that values are shifting as well as are the relative weights and importance of those values. New generations embrace these values in different ways and he does believe that when we really scratch at the surface, people ultimately do care about privacy issues. They care about issues of censorship and ambiguity or anonymity. They really want the ability to use information in effective ways. Our core value of Fair Use and the exceptions which exist within the copyright law are facing enormous challenges. The First Amendment is being looked at in a very, very different way. And he believes that we need to continue to keep that out in front of us, redefine these values within the context of new events and new generations of information professionals, and the people who use our libraries and use our services. Deanna added that it really goes back to something that she and Jim were talking about earlier. It starts in elementary school. We need to ensure that people are trained to understand how information is used. They need to know what constitutes authentic information and how privacy and intellectual freedom issues are addressed in a democratic society. And we have to ensure that those things remain uppermost in our educational system and that librarians continue to talk about these values and what they mean to individuals.

Jim said that what provoked his earlier conversation with Deanna was the status and situation of school libraries. We are seeing across this country, and actually across some European countries as well, the closing of school libraries, the de-professionalization of school libraries, and the erosion of resources to support the work of school libraries. And he has argued that this is foundational. We who work in academic and public libraries cannot do our work well if we do not have confidence that young people are coming out of school not only with an understanding of these values, but also with an understanding of how information is organized and how to use it effectively. And he believes that we are now beginning to see the fallout from the closing of school libraries. Students are showing up at the doors of public and academic libraries needing a lot more attention, a lot more work, and a lot more background in these critical areas.

Todd agreed that information literacy or lack thereof - is a huge issue. And today children are growing up in a digital environment. Understanding how that digital environment works and learning some of the skills that are brought to these questions by librarianship are so important to their being able to navigate this environment.

8.The importance of information policy awareness

Todd then noted that Jim has spent a lot of time advancing policy issues in our community. For many years copyright has been a particular activity area of interest to Jim and Todd asked him how he sees our community working together to address some of these problems related to copyright and information access, especially with regards to the shift from access being controlled by copyright to being controlled by license agreements and contracts. How do we as a community address some of those issues in a collaborative way?

Jim said that he believes that we need to embrace and accept policy work as part of our professional responsibility and he does not think we have done that. He believes that we have left it to a couple of individuals to really run with policy, and that we really need to expand the community of knowledge in the community and active participation in policy work. Each of us as an information professional, whether we are in the technology, publishing, or the library community, we need to make a commitment to understanding these policy issues. We need to be able to communicate policy issues to the communities in which we work as well as to the communities that we serve. We need to be willing to engage in the legislative, legal, and policy process. During the past couple of years we at the American Library Association (ALA) have tried to do two things in order to strengthen our policy work. One, we have created something called the ALA Policy Corps, of which Todd is a member. Our goal was to build a group of individuals who would have a very deep understanding of a specific policy area. And we have made a commitment to maintain that group and keep them current. But we also need to be willing to participate in the regional and national conversations, to testify before Congressional committees, to be interviewed by the national press, and to work with coalition partners. We are in the third year of that effort and he believes that they have made some progress. And Jim believes that over time, we will strengthen our national presence with those experts. But we also need to build a grass roots capacity. So ALA is now working on creating a library advocacy team in all four hundred and thirty-five congressional districts in this country. So that when a really important issue comes up at the national level 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. This grass roots strategy, he hopes, will strengthen ALA’s capacity for policy advocacy.

Deanna added that the creation of these advocacy teams is really an example of professional development and that we need to have librarians understand that “lobbying” is not a dirty word. It is the way in which legislation gets done and, Jim interjected, it is how funding gets allocated as well. Deanna agreed and added that it is really important that people learn about policy issues and she agreed with Jim that librarians have not done much to further that education. In our libraries and in our professional associations, we need to do more. Todd agreed but said that this lack of action is true not only for libraries - it’s true for the publishing industry as well.

Todd added that policies related to technology are important because we all depend on our technology infrastructures. Decisions taken in Washington, DC impact the entire information community; e.g., the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and net neutrality. Regulations in all sorts of areas could have a drastic impact on the work that we do. Todd said that one of the reasons he participated in the ALA Policy Corps that Jim mentioned is that while policy is certainly an area of which he was aware, it was not an area with which he was deeply engaged. There lies opportunity and it is why he promotes policy advocacy. Raising an issue with politicians and making them aware of the nuances such as concerns about copyright versus licenses is a step in the right direction. Why? Because in the hundreds of things that politicians have to worry about, where do libraries, where does publishing, where do these issues really fall? Likely not at the top of their list of priorities. And if we are not standing there, knocking on their door, they will pay attention to something else. Whomever IS standing at their door knocking.

9.Information access and control

Deanna said that they pay attention to the…and Jim jumped in and said “noise” - politicians pay attention to the people who do walk in the door. Jim also said that Todd mentioned an area which is of growing importance to him and of which he has been speaking frequently over the last year or two. And that’s the movement from copyright-based information access to license-based information access. And what many of the people who work in the information industry do not understand is that the contract that you sign defines what you can and cannot do with the information that you’re gathering. You may or may not be able to exercise Fair Use or other exceptions in the copyright law with the content for which you have contracted. Several European countries and southeastern Asian countries are now moving towards a copyright regime that indicates that contracts cannot trump copyright - copyright exceptions must be embraced within contracts. In the U.S. such action is challenging because copyright is a federal law while contracts and licenses are bound by commercial state laws. So how do we build that relationship legally across those different communities of legislative responsibility? Jim believes that we are only beginning now to unpack this issue and understand how it might be addressed.

Deanna said that this is a really important issue within the context of preservation, because what we can preserve is very much defined by what is in those contracts and license agreements. Jim agreed and noted the he served on something that the Library of Congress set up a number of years ago, called the 108 study group (see: 108 is that section of the U.S. copyright law that provides the specific exceptions for libraries and archives, copies for users, preservation, interlibrary loan, etc. (see: And we were trying to bring section 108 into the digital environment. We did not make any progress in getting the content industry willing to extend that preservation right to born-digital content. And that’s why we are facing these challenges.

Todd said that even today some of those issues are getting more and more prominence. He was speaking last week with Winston Tab, the current Sheridan Dean of University Libraries and Museums at the Johns Hopkins University here in Baltimore, about the partnership that they are doing with the Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation to share their collections (see: They hope to develop a common collection, one such as Jim and Deanna were talking about - a common digital library. But this is more than just digital. It’s physical as well. So, Todd asked how do you build a joint collection that doesn’t address or isn’t reliant upon the provisions of section 108?

Jim said that when he was at Columbia he 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 the New York Public Library, Princeton University, and Columbia University did with their off-site Research Collections and Preservation Consortium facility (ReCAP - see: He said that it is one of the largest, if not the largest, print repository in the world. And basically, it was agreed early-on that it would be a single collection co-owned by all three of those institutions. Harvard is now part of that conversation, as well. And Jim believes that we need to build those radical strategies around the history of our libraries and collections, and then translate that collaborative capacity into managing the new digital environment.

Todd noted that one of the projects that NISO has been involved in, and that he himself has personally been involved in, has to do with collection assessment and changes of assessment over time in an environment where a collection is spread across multiple institutions (see Measures that Matter at Todd added that defining what the library is by how many items it has in its collection is becoming antiquated. Jim agreed. He said that to him it’s all about usability. In other words, can we as a library or could he as a librarian, deliver the information to the user in an effective, timely way, regardless of where the information comes from? He added can he provide users with the tools that enable them to use that information effectively? He said that he believes this will be the point of evaluation going forward. Deanna agreed that this is the standard that we want to achieve.

10.Open access

Todd said that another element of information access is the movement in our community towards Open Access. He asked Jim how he sees the library community and the publishing community reacting to this increasing trend towards open access of content. And what is the role of a library if all of the journal literature is available free to whoever has a web browser?

Jim responded by saying that this issue has been a part of his thinking since the 1980s, although it was not called open access back then. He has always felt that the library community was like a Greek chorus, standing on the side of the stage, screaming at the Academy, saying, “Information cost too much. We give too much of our rights away.” He believes that the library challenge throughout the 1990s was trying to educate the communities with which the libraries worked that the cost of information was, indeed, a real serious challenge. The ability to sustain collections and provide our communities and researchers with access to information was going to be seriously challenged by the cost of these materials. And the fact was that our researchers and our authors were giving this information away without retaining any rights. Jim mentioned the Association of Research Library meeting, where he believes that Clifford Lynch, sort of opened the proverbial window and screamed, “We are mad as hell, and we’re not going to take this anymore.” He believes that the open access movement, SPARC, was born within the library community as a result of Lynch’s actions (see: He believes that we have since moved way beyond the notion of providing open access to the research literature. While the concept of open access was born within the context of journals, it now extends to educational resources, data, and media. He said that a whole variety of strategies have been attempted at multiple levels - by universities, publishers, governments, and international coalitions, to try to bring more and more content in an open way to the communities that the information community serves, especially the information that is paid for with taxpayer dollars. He noted that there is a very interesting speculation that there is an executive order moving around Washington, DC right now that would, if signed by the U.S. President, make all federally-funded research output openly-available without any embargo [4]. And when you combine that with Plan S in Europe (see:, a pretty intimidating and pretty exciting strategy for making more and more content openly-available emerges. Jim said that last week he also posted on Facebook a study that showed that the cost of textbooks to students is starting to decline after many, many years of going up. He believes that a number of strategies have been implemented to reduce those costs, but also believes that open access to educational resources is a contributing factor.

Deanna said that she had a couple of reactions to Jim’s statements. In thinking about it, certainly open is the direction in which we are going. And that will increase by leaps and bounds. But we have to consider the whole scholarly communication system and make sure that all parts of it are thriving. She worries that librarians have tried to address openness as silos, and we really need to work on this issue with all stakeholders. The other point she wanted to make was about open educational resources. She believes that there is a great role for libraries in beginning to identify appropriate, valid, authentic, high-quality educational resources. This will be a huge service to the faculty, and doing it in partnership with faculty, she believes will bring costs down significantly.

Jim said that he is not as much concerned about the large scientific medical publishers in terms of their ability to survive in the open context. In many ways, they have moved on to applications and apps of various flavors. What he worries about in this context is the future of the scholarly societies and university presses, which he believes are much more vulnerable economically and who are more aligned in a partnership way with the library community. Deanna agreed, especially for the humanities and social sciences, and Jim said that a shared solution to this potential risk needs to be found.

Todd said that last week someone was commenting that if you want to move people in the direction of openness by forcing it on these smaller societies, you are essentially driving people into consolidation. Jim acknowledged that fact and Deanna said that this may not be a bad thing. It depends on where you sit, of course, but she believes that 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 said that he speculated last year when he spoke at the Frankfurt Book Fair about the relationship between publishers and readers and whether there would continue to be an intermediary, such as the library, who would be responsible for the acquisition, leveraging, and organization of the information that ultimately is accessible to the student and the researcher. Or whether the publisher was going to draw much more of a direct commercial relationship with the reader. And he believes that this is still an open question. Deanna agreed.

11.Information literacy

Todd noted that this gets to the point Deanna had made earlier about the role of the librarian in vetting content. Years ago, if content made it into a library collection, it was a valid resource. He is worried, though, that without those intermediaries (either publisher direct to the reader or the library as an intermediary) in an environment where students are not information literate, how will they be able to assess the quality of what looks like a research article, one that might have been posted in a repository as a preprint, but that was never vetted, never officially published, never peer reviewed? There are ways in which the information flow can be manipulated. And by removing the vetting process, he thinks 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 of quality?

Both Jim and Deanna responded by saying that is where information literacy comes in. Jim added that we need to teach young people how to make those assessments and those judgments. And the library filter may no longer be the way that young people will accomplish that moving forward. He said that he recently saw a figure that said that in 2013 there were 250,000 new books, both digital and print, that were published by academic and trade publishers. And that there were 250,000 additional books that were published by small and independent presses. And there were an additional 500,000 books 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 the book publishing environment, then we have such an explosion of content that people need new tools and new strategies for making good, reliable judgments about what is legitimate, what is current, and what is useable, viable information.

Deanna added that we probably need to talk about information literacy as being part of the entire educational experience - not just 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 do we best educate young people today?

Jim said that we have challenges of this sort in the mainstream scholarly journal environment, as well. We have had this enormous growth in tertiary journals that are appearing - journals that do not apply the traditional rigor in terms of evaluating content for publication, and who don’t really care about the historical tools that have been used to vet and to measure impact. But we also have mainstream journals that have gotten into some trouble as well, where individuals are not always transparent about the relationship between their research and the industries that support their work. The advisory committee, for example. Deanna interjected the term “pharmaceuticals,” and Jim agreed - the pharmaceutical industry and the boards on which they sit. So he believes that there is a growing suspicion around even mainstream research, which he views troubling, as well.

12.Moving forward

In drawing the conversation to a close, Todd noted that one of the goals of this conference - and one of the goals of bringing both NFAIS and NISO together - was to propel action. He noted that both Jim and Deanna have talked about a variety of potential collaborations. He then asked in what ways we can, as a united information community, most effectively collaborate. What are the areas with the most potential for fertile growth - for things that NISO and NFAIS, in partnership with other organizations, can do? Where can we best direct our efforts to bring change and collaboration about?

Jim said that he will echo some of the things that he said in his award presentation. One, he believes that professional development is key. All professional associations 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 does not have to be at a conference. It can take many forms of synchronous and asynchronous learning. 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, advocate that all members of the information community roll up their sleeves around policy. Identify those things where we have common interests and common concerns and build the capacity for legal, legislative, and policy advocacy that allows us to be a player not only in our communities, but also, and perhaps even more importantly, in Washington, D.C. and in international venues where global policy is being set.

Deanna said that she will end on a really practical note. One of the goals within NFAIS with regards to the merging with NISO came from the realization that while NFAIS was really good at identifying current critical issues and bringing in expert speakers who could talk about what’s coming next, NISO was and is really great at implementation. And so her hope from the NFAIS perspective was that the new organization would use these conferences to identify the most pressing issues; put together working groups (active groups with a capital W) comprised of people who really care and who could give the time needed to address issues and whose organizations would support them: working groups that would put together projects and from time-to-time communicate the progress that was being made. That was our hope. And that’s what we see happening, and we’re delighted. Jim added – the goal of putting ideas into action.

Todd closed the session by congratulating Jim on his Miles Conrad award and by thanking both Jim and Deanna for taking the time to participate in the panel and for their leadership, not only within NFAIS and NISO over the years, but also within the information community overall.

About the Panelists

Jim Neal is University Librarian Emeritus at Columbia University. He served as the Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia University during 2001–2014, providing leadership for university academic computing and a system of twenty-two libraries. Neal has served in many leadership capacities in the information community. For example he served as President of the American Library Association 2017–2018 and is currently a member of the OCLC Board of Trustees.  He has served on the Board and as President of the Association of Research Libraries, on the Board and as Chair of the Research Libraries Group (RLG), on the Board and as Chair of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), and on the Board of the Digital Preservation Network. He is on the Board and is the Treasurer of the Freedom to Read Foundation, and is on the Board and has served as Treasurer of the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO).

Neal has been honored many times for his significant contributions. He was selected the 1997 Academic Librarian of the Year by the Association of College and Research Libraries and was the 2007 recipient of ALA’s Hugh Atkinson Memorial Award and the 2009 ALA Melvil Dewey Medal Award. In 2010, he received the honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta. In 2015, he received the ALA Joseph W. Lippincott Award for “distinguished service to the profession of librarianship”, and the Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor Award. In 2016, he was awarded the Scroll of Appreciation by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA). And he was the recipient of the 2020 Miles Conrad Award from the National Information Standards Organization and the National Federation of Advanced Information Services. E-mail: [email protected].

Deanna Marcum is senior advisor to Ithaka S+R’s program areas in Educational Transformation and Libraries & Scholarly Communication. She previously served as Ithaka S+R’s managing director. From 2003 to 2011, Deanna served as associate librarian for library services at the Library of Congress. She managed fifty-three divisions and offices whose sixteen hundred employees are responsible for acquisitions, cataloging, public service, and preservation activities; services to the blind and physically handicapped; and network and bibliographic standards for America’s national library. She was also responsible for integrating the emerging digital resources into the traditional artifactual library, the first step toward building a national digital library for the 21st century.

In 1995, Deanna was appointed president of the Council on Library Resources and president of the Commission on Preservation and Access. She oversaw the merger of these two organizations into the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) in 1997 and served as president until August 2003. She served as director of public service and collection management at the Library of Congress from 1993 to 1995. Before that she was the dean of the School of Library and Information Science at The Catholic University of America. From 1980 to 1989, she was first a program officer and then vice president of the Council on Library Resources.

Deanna holds a doctor of philosophy in American studies, a master’s degree in library science, and a bachelor’s degree in English. She was awarded a doctorate in humane letters by North Carolina State University in 2010, and received the Melvil Dewey Medal, the highest award conferred by the American Library Association, in June 2011. Deanna was appointed to the Japan-US Friendship Commission, which seeks “to strengthen the US-Japan relationship through educational, cultural, and intellectual exchange”, in 2013. She, too, was a Miles Conrad awardee. E-mail: [email protected].

Todd Carpenter is the Executive Director of NISO. In this role, he provides leadership to NISO as well as focuses on improving constituency relationships, standards development, and operational procedures. Prior to joining NISO, Todd was Director of Business Development with BioOne, where he served the goals of both libraries and publishers by enhancing products, services, and distribution. Previously, Todd directed the marketing of approximately sixty academic journals and was closely involved in the growth of Project MUSE at the Johns Hopkins University Press. He has also held marketing and business development positions at the Energy Intelligence Group, a news service covering the oil and natural gas industries, and the Haworth Press, an academic and professional publisher. Todd is a graduate of Syracuse University and earned a Masters degree in marketing from The Johns Hopkins University. He writes a regular standards column in Against the Grain and is a Chef in the SSP Blog, the Scholarly Kitchen. In addition, Todd serves as Secretary of ISO’s Technical Subcommittee on Identification & Description (TC 46/SC 9); is Director Emeritus and former Vice President of the Board of the Foundation for Baltimore County Public Library; Director of the Free Ebook Foundation; Secretary of the Public Library Data Alliance; and on several publication advisory boards. E-mail: [email protected].



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