July 1, 2016
We are pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 Litwin Books Award for Ongoing Dissertation Research in the Philosophy of Information. We are granting this year’s award to Robert Montoya of the UCLA Department of Information Studies, based on his dissertation project, tentatively titled, “Articulating Composite Taxonomies: Epistemology and the Global Unification of Biodiversity Databases.” Montoya’s nominating faculty member wrote:
“Our field, information studies, is often misunderstood as a field in which technocrats and managers impose standards on data or records for the purpose of implementing tasks that make it easier for people to find and use information or cultural legacy materials. This misapprehension ignores the complex and profound inquiry into the nature of knowledge models, epistemological discourse, and the historicity of these models and discourses across fields, disciplines and professions. Robert Montoya’s work on classification and nomenclature is relevant to scholars and scientists working with the identification and assessment of species viability. Perhaps more importantly for the Information Studies community, his work on classification used in the natural sciences is going to offer insights into the ways classification systems and knowledge organization meet a specific set of conditions in application and use. His dissertation should also be of interest to those working in the history of science, cultural history, bibliographical study, and discourse analysis from a philosophy of knowledge perspective.”
The award consists of a certificate suitable for framing and $1000 check.
Since this award is for ongoing research, other applicants who are still working on their dissertations will be eligible to enter their work next year, and we strongly encourage them to do so.
For more information about the award, please visit http://litwinbooks.com/award.php.
June 8, 2016
We want to recognize and celebrate that June is GLBT Book Month, and draw attention to a few of our titles:
May 19, 2016
Progressive Community Action: Critical Theory and Social Justice in Library and Information Science
Editors: Bharat Mehra and Kevin Rioux
Published: May 2016
Printed on acid-free paper
Title page, Table of Contents, Preface, and Introduction (PDF)
Social justice in library and information science (LIS) seeks to achieve action-oriented, socially relevant impacts through information work. This edited volume includes papers that explore intersections between critical theory and social justice in LIS while focusing on social relevance and community involvement to promote progressive community-wide changes. Contributors include LIS researchers, practitioners, educators, social justice advocates, and community leaders who identify theories, methods, approaches, strategies, and case studies that apply these intersections in mobilizing community action to deliver tangible community building and development outcomes.
Demonstrating and articulating these community outcomes are particularly important today, as stakeholders increasingly require LIS professionals to provide evidence of relevance and accountability. This timely book offers a unique perspective in identifying what LIS professions are doing (or can do) in the contemporary context of the 21st century.
The critical theoretical base of the book frames a proactive, less-traditional concept of the LIS professional. It showcases and markets LIS in new ways that highlight its role in taking progressive social actions, bringing positive community changes, and developing relevant community services.
The frame of study is inclusive of (though not limited to) academic, public, school, and special libraries, museums, archives, and other information-related settings. An international context of analysis is included along with a focus on social impact and community involvement in LIS practice and research, education, policy development, service design, and program implementation.
About the editors:
Dr. Bharat Mehra is Associate Professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee. His research furthers diversity and intercultural communication and addresses social justice and social equity agendas to meet the needs of minority and underserved populations (e.g., lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people; racial and ethnic minorities; international communities; low-income families; rural residents; amongst others). He has applied conceptual frameworks in LIS (e.g., human information behavior, information seeking and use, social informatics, etc.) in combination with interdisciplinary approaches from critical theory, feminist and cross-cultural studies, postcolonial literature, race and gender research, and community informatics or the use of information and communication technologies to enable and empower disenfranchised communities to bring changes in their socio-cultural, sociopolitical, and socioeconomic circumstances. Drawing on the intersections between the research-teaching-service missions in the American academy, Mehra’s work helps to re-conceptualize institutions of higher learning in an expanded capacity of community engagement to partner with people on the margins of society to bring significant changes in their everyday lives.
Kevin Rioux, PhD, is Associate Professor of Library and Information Science at St. John’s University, New York. In his teaching and research, he uses social justice metatheory, information behavior frameworks, and integrated human development models to explore issues related to information access and information technologies as tools of social and economic development in both local and international contexts. Rioux is also a Senior Vincentian Research Fellow and is on the faculty of St. John’s Center for Global Development, which offers a hybrid Rome-based M.A. program in global development and social justice. His work with the Center involves supporting graduate curricula and research on the causes of poverty and social injustice in urban areas, slave labor practices, human migration, education, gendered health issues, food security, and sustainable development.
Now available on Amazon.
April 30, 2016
In the early 2000s, as Amazon was emerging as a major player in the book world, I understood them as the faceless evil that was killing off the independent bookstore, which by contrast represented (along with libraries) the individuality of human understanding, the knowledge of literature, independence of spirit, and the flickering candle of enlightenment; in short, everything that was good. Publishing was said to need independent bookstores to survive. It was good to be motivated by such a drama.
Considering this context, you can imagine how surprised I was to discover, as a new participant in the world of alternative press publishing in 2006, that Amazon would be our best outlet for books, and independent bookstores, with a few exceptions (most notably Bluestockings in New York) would be almost impossible to work with.
Let me explain by sharing some facts about the book trade and how our press fits into it.
The book trade has different segments; the ones we’re concerned with here are trade publishing and scholarly and professional publishing. Trade publishing is what most people think of when they think of the book trade. It’s the books that you find in bookstores and the public library, that authors talk about in radio interviews, and that get reviewed in the New York Times Book Review. To make money in trade publishing, publishers do a lot of advertising and marketing to achieve high sales figures, and compete on price. Profit margins are small, and publishers depend on big hits in order to be profitable. Bookstore sales are essential, and books reach bookstores through distributors. In order to make their money in all of this, bookstores expect a certain discount, and the distributors expect a cut as well. Bookstores also expect distributors to accept returns of all unsold copies. Typically, bookstores take a 45% cut of the retail price, with distributors taking an additional 15%. With the competition on price, that leaves just a sliver for the publisher on each copy sold. If that sliver is extended to 200,000 copies sold, it is significant money, making trade publishing a big business.
Scholarly and professional publishers, on the other hand, do not sell in high volumes. The market is mainly academic libraries, and in some cases university bookstores. A typical scholarly book that is sold to research libraries will sell 200 copies. As a rule of thumb, sales of 500 are necessary for a book to be profitable, and that is not always reached. Consequently, cover prices are much higher. Also, since this part of the industry doesn’t need to support brick and mortar outlets, vendors to libraries are willing to take a much smaller cut, generally 20 to 25% of the retail price. University bookstores have a captive audience and are willing to accept these kinds of discounts as well. And although they usually expect to be able to return unsold copies, they accept it when they can’t.
Enter Amazon. You have probably read about Amazon’s battles with major publishing conglomerates over pricing and discounts, and these stories make them appear to be the enemy of the publishing industry, squeezing profits and making things generally difficult (even as they give these publishers much of their sales). But that is a story about the trade segment of the industry. At the same time, Amazon gets a lot of its power though being a place where you can buy just about any book, including books coming from scholarly and professional publishing houses. In that market, Amazon participates according to the prevailing terms, meaning they accept a 25% discount and are okay with not being able to return unsold copies.
Library Juice Press and Litwin Books, being niche publishing imprints in scholarly and professional fields, have a business model that is based on low sales volume, small discounts, and generally a lack of interest from bookstores, which have a more general readership. On those rare occasions when an independent bookstore is interested in our books, usually to meet an individual customer’s request, they are likely unwilling to accept our terms, and there is no sale. “What should I tell the customer?” they sometimes ask. “They can buy it on Amazon.”
The implications of this state of affairs might be a bit sad, because independent bookstores are a unique sort of institution that represents important values. Independent booksellers actually know what they are selling, have read the books, have had the authors visit to read from them. They are knowledgable about books and literature and impart that knowledge to their book-loving clientele. Amazon, of course, is a powerful machine with no heart and no soul and no human understanding. At any rate, that is one way to think about it.
I would like to propose another way of thinking about the ecology of books and reading of which Amazon is a part. What independent bookstores offer, and represent, is connection to the readers in a local community. Communities now, however, can be geographically dispersed and bound together by shared interests, niche interests like library studies. A local community may have only a couple of people with those interests, not enough for the local bookstore to serve them profitably. Librarians who buy our books may find their local communities very important; they may buy locally, they may want their foods to be grown within a 50 mile radius, they may cultivate relationships in their neighborhoods, and they may patronize their local independent bookstores for that reason. But they continue to participate in geographically dispersed communities based on niche interests. Their love of what is local is generally not inspiring them to get rid of their internet connections. And if they want books related to their niche interests, Amazon is the soulless machine that serves them. It is the logistical source for buying books. Part of the function of an independent bookstore in this equation, however, is not logistical but knowledgable. That factor is replaced by another participant, one in which a lot of soul is present – the niche network of knowledgable people linked by social media. Where the independent bookseller helps customers find the right book, niche customers using Amazon already know what they want when they go to the site, because they have found out about it from peers, mentors, and mavens. So, independent bookstores are not being replaced only by Amazon in that context, but by soulful people as well, albeit ones who don’t get to talk face-to-face all that often. We are happy to let Amazon be their source because we exist in a geographically-dispersed niche that local independent bookstores are not a natural part of.
So that is where we stand.
There have been occasions, however, when we have produced a book that has a potential wider interest, like Chris Roth’s fantastic book on secessionist movements around the world. These experiences have been frustrating, because our position as a scholarly and professional publisher makes it impossible to give those books the marketing they deserve. Chris’s book in particular is one that people really want when they get a chance to see and touch it, so not having a good avenue to get it into bookstores has been a real hindrance to sales. Since that book is outside the niche network that we are connected to as a publisher, social media is less effective for us in marketing it. Distributors generally want the exclusive right to sell all the books in a given ISBN range, so we can’t give them just the one book to work with. Consequently, I feel pain over not being able to generate the sales that Chris’s book deserves. I feel good about bringing the book to publication (we developed the idea for it together), but in the future I will probably avoid getting involved in projects that really belong in the trade book marketplace. The idea of entering the cut-throat trade publishing market in earnest is not appealing.
If you have been reluctant to buy our books on Amazon, I hope what I’ve said might change your mind. If not, feel free to hate on Amazon and request our books at your library through inter-library loan. (Although that means one fewer sale, we feel that supporting libraries supports us by extension.)
April 5, 2016
I was just asked on Twitter how Library Juice got its name, from someone who wondered why we don’t state it in our “about” pages. I think a lot of people wonder why a serious business has what some might consider a silly-sounding name, so I think I should address that. The first part of the answer is that at the beginning, it wasn’t a serious business, but something very experimental and playful. So here is the story of how Library Juice got started…
Back in 1997, the World Wide Web was very new and very exciting. It was before social media, before blogs, before Twitter, and before Facebook (or Myspace or Friendster), but it nevertheless presented great new opportunities for networking and communicating with all sorts of people. At that time, I was a student in the MLIS program at San Jose State University (obviously before it was an online program). We were a cohort that was exploring the new potential of the Web for librarianship (although it must be said that the internet had existed for some time in text form, and librarians used Gopher and command-line databases like Dialog and Lexis-Nexis to a great extent already). SJSU was one of the more progressive programs, and a couple of years earlier had started a Listserv for the community of students, alumni, and faculty to communicate.
As library students go, I was particularly inspired by all the potential of libraries and their ethical foundations. I did a ton of outside reading, and found linkages between the curriculum and outside ideas, in philosophy and politics. I also delved into the history of progressive movements and activism in ALA, and was inspired by people who came before me, like Sanford Berman. I joined ALA SRRT and the Progressive Librarians guild in 1997, and became active in those organizations, and found my community there.
I had a burning desire to share what I was finding with the SJSU community that served as my entry point into this inspiring profession, so I began using the Listserv heavily. I reposted discussions and news items that came from other places, and wrote about political and philosophical topics that were of no interest to the majority of list members. I was posting very heavily, to the point that I was the most frequent poster on the list. I wasn’t engaging in arguments, I should add, just sharing what inspired me. But complaints began coming in about the volume of these “irrelevant” posts. At first I ignored them, but in January of 1998 I took heed and found a good solution. I announced to the list that I would be setting up my own email distribution service for people who were interested. (I got the idea from Phil Agre’s Red Rock Eater news service, which had been going for some time.) Very quickly, 80 people signed up, and I began distributing a weekly email.
With the first issue out, I saw that it needed a name. I don’t remember what other names I considered, but Library Juice seemed like it was a good description of what that distribution service was about. It was the “sweet essence” of librarianship as I saw it, with all its inspiring political and philosophical meaning. “Juice” also referred to the electricity behind the WWW as the emerging new medium for librarianship.
Library Juice, the email newsletter, ran until 2005, first as a weekly and then as a biweekly publication. After the first year it had around 2000 subscribers. Issues went out by email and were posted on a website as well. It was plain text, running to about 40K with each issue. It consisted of news items collected from other lists, email discussion threads, press releases, and short essays, often by me. This was the kind of material that would eventually be found on blogs, but before blogs, this email newsletter filled a definite need. (Back issues are all on the web, and can be found here.
Things gradually changed over the 7 or so years that I was publishing Library Juice, the email newsletter. One issue was that it became more complicated to send out an email to 2000 people, with spam blocking measures coming into use especially. With the emergence of blogs as a place where people could find press releases and commentary, the content had to change in order to provide something different. I began writing more essays and publishing essays by other people. I also began dredging up interesting articles from pre-1923 library journals, typing them up and republishing them in the newsletter. But the whole thing began to feel untenable, so in 2005 I discontinued it.
I felt that my avocation needed to continue somehow, and I wanted it to be something more than just another blog. I did turn the email newsletter into a blog (the blog you are reading now) in 2005, but wanted to do more. The possibility of publishing books had come to mind through a number of influences. One was the fact that a professor at SJSU, David Loertscher, had a side business publishing and distributing books himself, with High Willow Press. Another was reading about Ralph Shaw, a LIS professor in the 1950s, and the history of Scarecrow Press, which he started. Another was playing with the booklet product that Cafe Shops offered and seeing that laying out and printing a book was something doable. I learned about Lightning Source, which offered print-on-demand services to publishing companies. I had conversations with Tony Dierckins, a small press publisher in Duluth, MN, where I was living, and phone conversations with Robbie Franklin of McFarland Publishers. In 2006 I started working on the first four books published by Library Juice Press, which were published in December of that year.
As I got more serious, I started the company Litwin Books, LLC and spun off Library Juice Press as an imprint strictly for an audience of librarians. Although Litwin Books publishes a bit more broadly, the majority of new titles are still LJP titles, and most of our book sales are through that imprint. Between those two imprints and the smaller, more trade-publishing oriented Auslander and Fox, we’ve published 62 books all told, with about five to seven new titles coming out each year at the current rate. Publishing books was my avocation through my library career.
Fast forward to 2012… I had left my last library job to enter the PhD program in information studies at ULCA and had finished the first year of coursework. The funding situation for the following school year would be less strong than the first, and I needed to figure out a way to earn money on the side to continue my studies. I devised a plan to offer online classes for librarians’ professional development using Moodle, and began working on the project that summer. It quickly became a full time job, and I dropped out of the program before the second year.
Naming the online course business presented a dilemma. The Library Juice name was well-established, and had the advantage of an existing presence in the library community. Other names might have worked as well, but I decided to call it Library Juice Academy, to attach it to the brand that I had built, despite its sounding a bit silly in the new context. I sometimes wonder if having a silly-sounding name hurts the business, but things have been going well, so I don’t worry about it too much. I also wonder if using the same name as the publishing company was wise given that what we offer in terms of online courses, which are skills based and often technical, is so different from the books that we publish, which are political and philosophical. But again, it doesn’t seem to have hurt the business.
And that brings us to today. I’m happy to answer questions in the comments…
March 21, 2016
You can get news from Library Juice Academy and Library Juice Press (and Litwin Books) via email. Here are the links to sign up:
Library Juice Academy email updates
Library Juice Press (and Litwin Books) email updates
We sometimes get requests to be put on our mailing list. Library Juice Academy hasn’t had one until now. The Library Juice Press mailing list has been going for a number of years and will continue.
March 16, 2016
Award for Ongoing Doctoral Dissertation Research in the Philosophy of Information
1. Nature of the Award
1.1 The award shall consist of $1,000, given annually to a graduate student who is working on a dissertation on the philosophy of information (broadly construed). As we see it, the range of philosophical questions relating to information is broad, and approachable through a variety of philosophical traditions (philosophy of mind, logic, philosophy of information so-called, philosophy of science, etc.).
2. Purpose of the Award
2.1 The purpose of this award is to encourage and support scholarship in the philosophy of information.
3.1 The scholarship recipient must meet the following qualifications:
(a) Be an active doctoral student whose primary area of research is directly philosophical, whether the institutional setting is philosophy or another discipline; that is to say, the mode of dissertation research must be philosophical as opposed to empirical or literary study;
(b) Have completed all course work; and
(c) Have had a dissertation proposal accepted by the institution.
3.2 Recipients may receive the award not more than once.
4.1 The Litwin Books Award for Ongoing Doctoral Dissertation Research in the Philosophy of Information is sponsored and administered by Litwin Books, LLC, an independent scholarly publisher.
5.1 Nominations should be submitted via email by June 1, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
5.2 The submission package should include the following:
(a) The accepted dissertation proposal;
(b) A description of the work done to date;
(c) A letter of recommendation from a dissertation committee member;
(d) An up-to-date curriculum vitae with current contact information.
6. Selection of the Awardee
6.1 Submissions will be judged on merit with emphasis on the following:
(a) Clarity of thought;
(c) Relevance to our time;
(d) Evidence of good progress toward completion.
7.1 The winner and any honorable mentions will be notified via letter by July 1.
Jonathan Furner, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, UCLA
Ron Day, School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University
Melissa Adler, College of Communication and Information, University of Kentucky
2015: Quinn DuPont, of the University of Toronto Faculty of Information, for his dissertation précis, titled, “Plaintext, Encryption, and Ciphertext: A History of Cryptography and its Influence on Contemporary Society.”
2014: Patrick Gavin, of the University of Western Ontario FIMS, for his dissertation propsoal, titled, “On Informationalized Borderzones: A Study in the Politics and Ethics of Emerging Border Architectures.”
2013: Steve McKinlay, of Charles Sturt University, New South Wales, Australia, for his dissertation proposal, titled, “Information Ethics and the Problem of Reference.”
March 8, 2016
“The Library Juice Press Handbook of Intellectual Freedom” named 2016 Eli M. Oboler Award winner
Office for Intellectual Freedom
The Intellectual Freedom Round Table has announced the winner of the 2016 Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award, which recognizes the best published work in the area of intellectual freedom. The 2016 award goes to The Library Juice Press Handbook of Intellectual Freedom, edited by Mark Alfino and Laura Koltutsky. The publisher is the Library Juice Press.
In recognizing The Library Juice Press Handbook of Intellectual Freedom, the Oboler Award selection committee said it believed that the book was an enormous contribution to the existing literature and indispensable to a thorough discussion of the subject of intellectual freedom. The book looks at intellectual freedom from a wider range of theoretical perspectives and in connection with a wider range of cultural topics, under the premise that “thought and action about intellectual freedom needs to be informed by a broader and more complex range of topics and theoretical reflection than it typically has been.” The 21 articles focus on topics including threats to intellectual freedom, academic freedom, the arts, the internet, censorship along with connections to contemporary social issues and institutions, and historical and cultural theories.
The Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award, which consists of $500 and a certificate, is presented for the best published work in the area of intellectual freedom. The award was named for Eli M. Oboler, the extensively published Idaho State University librarian known as a champion of intellectual freedom who demanded the dismantling of all barriers to freedom of expression. The award has been offered biennially since 1986.
The award will be presented at the IFRT Award Reception & Member Social at the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando in June.
The Intellectual Freedom Round Table is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award.
The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) provides a forum for the discussion of activities, programs, and problems in intellectual freedom of libraries and librarians; serves as a channel of communications on intellectual freedom matters; promotes a greater opportunity for involvement among the members of the ALA in defense of intellectual freedom; promotes a greater feeling of responsibility in the implementation of ALA policies on intellectual freedom.
March 4, 2016
Call for Proposals: Reference Librarianship & Justice: History, Practice & Praxis
Editors: Kate Adler, Ian Beilin, and Eamon Tewell
Publisher: Library Juice Press
Reference work often receives short shrift in the contemporary discourse and practice of librarianship. Conversations that concern critical pedagogy, social justice, and theory tend to revolve around instruction or cataloging practice. Moreover, reference librarians and reference services themselves seem to be disappearing. Reference Librarianship & Justice: History, Practice & Praxis seeks to stake out a space and make a passionate case for reference work in a manner that is historically, socially and politically compelling. It will highlight the unique position of reference librarianship, a liminal and dialectical space, potentially distinct from the power dynamics of classroom instruction and singular in its mission and practice. At heart, reference is a conversation and partnership. The stakes are significant, not only because of the unique potential for social justice work but because of the risk that the profession is now overlooking reference’s central importance.
Libraries can be viewed as “leaks in the informational economy” (Vaidhyanathan, 2004) and reference services inside and outside of the library have the capacity to create radical spaces of critique and social justice. Reference has a long history of contributing to libraries as sites of democratic access to information, ideas, books, and culture. That access is an essential element of an informed democracy and the intellectual engagement of the autonomous individual. Yet we overlook that this access doesn’t happen magically. Point-of-need interaction, key to the positioning of libraries as agents of social change, often pivots around the work of reference.
The Book’s Three Sections:
Part 1: Praxis
This chapter will mine diverse theoretical frameworks as they pertain to Social Justice & Reference. This may include the canonical theorists that Critical LIS Literature has traditionally engaged but an emphasis will be placed on work beyond the canon. In so doing, it will trouble and broaden traditional academic conventions. For example, the work of various activist traditions and social movement thinkers might be discussed, or epistemologies associated with non-western cultural ideas of property, ownership, knowledge, etc. Contributors are also encouraged to look to theorists writing in a variety disciplines: architecture, computer science, or law, among others. These frameworks can come from both inside and outside LIS literatures. For example: How has work in the area of radical cataloging or archival theory served to provide a lens through which to engage reference work?
Part 2: History
Part 2 makes the case that reference librarianship has a long tradition of social justice work. It will feature historical studies of reference work both in and out of libraries, international and domestic (e.g. librarians in totalitarian regimes, librarians during the cold war, etc.). In this section we encourage authors to make connections from the past to the present: what historical examples of reference service might serve as inspiration or as caution for present day efforts to provide a socially conscious reference service? Possible examples: reference work in Nazi Germany or Nazi-occupied Europe; reference services in segregated, Jim Crow libraries.
Part 3: Dispatches from the Field
Articles about mindful, social justice-oriented reference work in diverse settings (e.g. rural, Native American reservations; inner-city neighborhoods; situated within myriad institutions such as the federal government; and within myriad collections, e.g. archives, special collections, etc.) Part 3 seeks to bring parts one and two together. We laid the groundwork for the book’s claim about the centrality of social justice in reference work by presenting a variety of theoretical models; we’ve explored the rich genealogy of social justice in reference librarianship by looking to the past in part 2; and now, in our closing section, we seek to illuminate parts one and two and their relevance by looking to practice today.
Possible Chapter Topics:
– Reference as praxis: Explorations of diverse theoretical models and frameworks through which to think about Reference. We encourage proposals that engage thinkers, writers and traditions beyond the traditional Critical LIS canon, though new engagements of canonical thinkers are welcomed too.
– Studies exploring the historical tradition of reference librarianship as social justice practice. We encourage proposals that seek to connect and draw parallels between librarianship’s historical tradition and contemporary practice and the contemporary context.
– Examples of specific social justice initiatives tied to reference services.
– Linking reference services to social justice movements outside of the library.
– Innovations in reference service to better serve marginalized and oppressed groups.
– Reference work and anti-racism.
– Successful efforts at repurposing reference services with a social justice and/or critical focus.
Please submit the following to ReferenceAndJusticeBook@gmail.com by July 1, 2016:
– An abstract of up to 500 words describing your proposed chapter
– A brief biographical statement about the author(s)
Notifications will be sent by July 29, 2016. First drafts will be due December 1, 2016, with an anticipated final publication date of Fall 2017. Chapters are expected to be between 2000 and 5000 words.
February 21, 2016
Hi…. This is a follow-up to my December 15 post, “A note on our copyright statements.” I want to follow up because there was a comment that was critical of our copyright policies, apparently reading a few things into what I said that weren’t true. I responded to the comment but I wanted to make the clarification here.
The basic point of the earlier post was that a simple copyright statement on the copyright page of a book, e.g. “Copyright 2017 Wayne Bivens-Tatum,” or “Copyright 2015 respective authors” can be misleading about who actually has the publication rights. That’s because a publishing agreement often gives an exclusive right to the publisher, usually for a limited time. I wrote that post in a style that was maybe a little bit officious and legalistic, but copyright is about rules that can be a bit technical. It was this tone, I think, that gave the commenter the impression that we are highly proprietary about rights and not friendly enough to open access publishing. She asked why we don’t use a Creative Commons license, why the prices are so high for our books, why aren’t our books open access after an embargo period, and why don’t we use a contract that allows authors to use their work for whatever purposes they want. I addressed her questions in a response to her comment. I’ll put my answers here and say a bit more as well.
First, I want to say a bit about what is typically in our contracts with authors. The contracts differ between the authors or editors of a book and contributors of chapters to an edited volume. Contributors of chapters to an edited volume have always had an immediate right to put their work in an institutional repository, which qualifies us as open access to an extent. In addition, for the past few years our contracts with contributors have been “non-exclusive,” which means that in fact they can do whatever they want with their chapters right away and forever. They can put them on a website or whatever they want. We’re not too worried about this competing with book sales, since it distributes access to the contents through all of the different contributors and the different methods they want to use. The way we look at it, it would not be easy or necessarily possible to pull together the whole book for free, even though authors could get together to do that if they wanted (though that we not be very fair to us).
Authors of books or editors of collections get a different kind of contract that gives them less rights at first. They don’t sign over their copyright, but they give us a temporary exclusive right to publish their work, whether it’s a whole book or the editor’s contribution to a collection (introduction, arrangement, etc.). After maybe five years, our exclusive right automatically renews unless the authors ask for it not to. At that point they can have the right to renegotiate, to take it to another publisher, to make it freely available on a website, or whatever they want to do.
Since our rights are always limited, we don’t have the right to make someone else’s work open access or put it on a Creative Commons license, nor would it make sense financially. First, about not having the rights to do it. That is something that could theoretically be negotiated with an author, meaning that if it was okay with them we could write a contract that did that. I just want to point out that since we are not the owners of the copyright, we don’t have the right to make somebody else’s work open access. That would be on them, and they could still give us a non-exclusive right to publish it and hope to break even. But break even we at least hope to do, and contrary to what you may have read, making a book free does not increase sales. And we have to sell books to break even, and also to pay authors royalties, which they are interested in. Book authors and editors typically get 15% of sales. (Contributors of chapters get a free copy of the book, in addition to maintaining the rights to their work.)
So if open access publishing is not feasible for us as a book publisher, how can it exist? It does exist – there are plenty of open access publishers out there. Most of them are journal publishers, but some university presses are beginning to experiment with open access book publishing. What you may not know about this kind of thing is that it’s financed by charging authors to publish their work. The author of a journal article is typically charged $500 to $1000 to have her article published, even in a highly reputable journal. A book can cost an author easily $7500 for a university press to publish it open access. We don’t want to do that. Sometimes there is grant funding to pay these fees, and sometimes it comes out of a scholar’s own pockets. We really don’t want to do that, so open access publishing or Creative Commons publishing is not an option for us, not as long as we hope to break even.
Finally, a note about our book pricing. The commenter said our prices are high, and I responded that they are typically about half of what other LIS publishers charge. We have a philosophy of trying to make our books affordable so that people and not just libraries can buy them. But given the small quantities published, there’s no way we can compete with the low pricing of the giant trade publishers. It is all about breaking even. (Click the book covers on the right to see what our prices are like.) So I am confident that our prices are good given the overall market for LIS books.
In a typical year, we do just a little better than break even from selling books. And that is without paying us a salary, so in a sense it is all subsidized with our labor. Our online classes are more profitable, but I think that is not so much of an issue.
I hope that our policies, and our transparency, show that we are still an ethical publisher.
January 27, 2016
For Immediate Release
CHICAGO – The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is pleased to announce that Nicole Pagowsky, research and learning librarian/ instruction coordinator at the University of Arizona, has been chosen to receive the 2016 University Libraries Sections (ULS) Outstanding Professional Development Award.
The $1,000 award and plaque, donated by Library Juice Academy, will be presented to Pagowsky at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.
“Though early in her career, Nicole Pagowsky has made a significant impact to academic librarianship through broad professional engagement, scholarship, and service,” said award Chair Rebecca Blakiston of the University of Arizona. “In addition to being active in social media and professional blogging, Nicole has already co-edited two books, taught an ALA eCourse, presented an ACRL webinar, created the ACRL student retention Discussion Group, presented as a keynote speaker at a state library conference, initiated #critlib chats, and organized the first Critical Librarianship and Pedagogy Symposium. She has initiated and provided innovative opportunities for the professional growth of librarians nationwide. As librarianship continues to advance, it is library leaders such as Nicole Pagowsky who act as proactive agents of change and provide the necessary support for successful information professionals.”
Pagowsky received her M.A. in Information Resources and Library Science and M.S. in Educational Technology and Instructional Design from the University of Arizona.
For more information regarding the ACRL ULS Outstanding Professional Development Award, please visit the awards section of the ACRL website.
The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing more than 11,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. ACRL is on the Web at www.acrl.org/, Facebook at www.facebook.com/ala.acrl and Twitter at @ala_acrl.
About Library Juice Academy
Library Juice Academy offers a range of online professional development workshops for librarians and other library staff, focusing on practical topics to build the skills that librarians need as their jobs evolve. With customers in 30 countries and 100 courses in the catalog, Library Juice Academy is bringing online continuing education to a new level. Library Juice Academy is online at http://libraryjuiceacademy.com/.
January 21, 2016
Where are all the Librarians of Color?
The Experiences of People of Color in Academia
Editors: Rebecca Hankins and Miguel Juárez
Published: January 2016
Printed on acid-free paper
Now available from Amazon.com
This edited volume addresses the shared experiences of academic librarians of color, i.e. Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Native Americans and Asian Americans. These experiences are very similar and offer a narrative that explains the lack of librarians of color in academia, especially those librarians that have experienced the daunting academic tenure process.
This monograph offers a comprehensive look at the experiences of people of color after the recruitment is over, the diversity box is checked, and the statistics are reported. What are the retention, job satisfaction, and tenure experiences of librarians of color? The authors look at the history of librarians of color in academia, review of the literature, obstacles, roles, leadership, and the tenure process for those that endure. What are the recruitment and retention methods employed to create a diverse workforce, successes and failures? Finally what are some mentoring strategies that work to make the library environment less exploitative and toxic for librarians of color?
Rebecca Hankins is an Associate Professor and a certified archivist/librarian. She has been at Texas A&M University since 2003. Her previous employment included 12 years as senior archivist at The Amistad Research Center at Tulane University in New Orleans, the premier research repository on Africana historical documentation. Her expertise includes building collections and scholarly resources for the study of the African Diaspora, Race & Ethnic Studies, and Arabic Language and Culture.
Miguel Juárez is a doctoral student in the Department of History at the University of Texas at El Paso with over 14 years of academic library experience. He has worked at the State University at Buffalo Libraries, the University of Arizona Libraries, as an Assistant Professor of Library Science at Texas A&M University Libraries, as Head Librarian/Associate Librarian at the Chicano Studies Research Center at UCLA and most recently as an Associate Archivist/Librarian at the University of North Texas. Miguel has been a member of the ALA Diversity Committee and served as inaugural chair of the ALA Diversity Grant. His expertise includes building Latin@ studies collections and Chican@ archival collections.
December 22, 2015
Archival Research and Education
Selected Papers from the 2014 AERI Conference
Editors: Richard J. Cox, Alison Langmead, and Eleanor Mattern
Published: December 2015
Printed on acid-free paper
Available from Amazon.com
This book is number seven in the Series on Archives, Archivists, and Society, Richard J. Cox, editor.
The sixth annual Archival Education and Research Institute (AERI), hosted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences in July 2014, brought together doctoral students and faculty engaged in Archival Studies from around the world, although principally from the United States. Supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, these institutes are designed to strengthen education and research, as well as support academic cohort building and mentoring in the archival community.
This publication features fifteen essays by both emerging and established archival scholars and faculty from four continents. Subjects include: dictatorship archives in Brazil, affect and agency in the archives of the countries of the former Yugoslavia, archival images in recent movies, archival systems interoperability research, cross institutional usages of EAD 2002 , Ernst Posner and archival scholarship in Washington, D.C., technical infrastructures and digital heritage preservation, the challenges of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, enabling Big Data curation in a non-archival organization, personal archiving of Web pornography, the history and future of archival education in the United States, innovative archival teaching methods in China, rights in records as a platform for participatory archiving, and archival readings of Derrida’s Archive Fever. These contributions reflect the range of new archival research, the continuing maturation of archival education, and the growing international collaboration among archival scholars and faculty.
The volume is offered in memory of Terry Cook (1947-2014), the plenary speaker at the first AERI conference in 2009.
The contents of the volume are as follows:
In Memory of Terry Cook Anne Gilliland
Introduction Richard J. Cox, Alison Langmead, and Eleanor Mattern
International Perspectives, Human Rights, and Archives
Lucian Heymann, “Dictatorship Memories and Archives in Brazil: Reflections on Politics and Projects.”
Anne Gilliland, “Studying Affect and its Relationship to the Agency of Archivists in the Countries of the Former Yugoslavia.”
Anne Gilliland and Sue McKemmish, “Rights in Records as a Platform for Participative Archiving.”
Lindsay Mattock and Eleanor Mattern, “Looking at Archives in Cinema: Recent Representations of Records in Motion Pictures.”
Archival Systems and Standards
Gregory Rolan, “Archival Systems Interoperability: Research Themes and Opportunities.”
Sarah Buchanan, “Cross Institutional Usage of EAD 2002 as an Archival Description Standard.”
Jane Zhang, “Archival Scholarship in the Nation’s Capital: Ernst Posner.”
Digital Heritage and Archives
Patricia Galloway, “Technical Infrastructures and Digital Heritage Preservation.”
Tonia Sutherland, “A Culture of Collaboration: Bridging the Gap Between Archive and Repertoire.”
Lorraine Richards, Adam Townes, and Yuan Yuan Feng, “Curation through the Back Door: Enabling Big Data Curation Capabilities in a Non-Archival Organization.”
Sarah Ramdeen and Alex Poole, “’Leaving the mouse on the left is the new leaving the tape in the VCR’: Personal Archiving, Personal Information, and the ‘Pariah Industry’ of Web Pornography”
Archival Education and Knowledge
Alison Langmead, “The History of Archival Education in America: What’s Next?”
Huang Xiaoyu, “The Innovation of Archival Teaching Method: Introducing Archival News into the Classroom.”
James M. O’Toole, “Understanding Understanding: What Do Archivists Need to Know, Then and Now?”
Robert Riter, “Derridean Influences: Archival Readings of Archive Fever.”
Richard J. Cox, Alison Langmead, and Eleanor Mattern are faculty in the Archival and Information Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences.
December 15, 2015
When Library Juice Press or Litwin Books signs a contract with an author, the contract is typical for the publishing industry in most ways. One of the commonalities in publishing agreements is that the publisher doesn’t end up owning the copyright to the work, but they do get a temporary exclusive license to publish it. As a result, the copyright statement in the actual book can be misleading to readers who might want to republish or reuse part of the book. Our copyright statements make it clear that the author is the owner of the copyright, but it would be an error to infer from that that the author is the one who has the right to give permission to use the work. They may or may not be; that right is contingent on whatever the agreement is between the author and the publisher. That agreement is likely to be too complex to fully state on the copyright page of the book (at least in a print format). I am not sure what to do about this problem other than to make sure that authors pay attention to the contract when they sign it, so that if they are approached about reusing their work they understand what they rights situation is. I think this is an issue with copyright statements in books in general. Copyright agreements are often complex, and ownership of the copyright, as opposed to ownership (temporary or permanent, exclusive or non-exclusive) of various rights therein, is not that relevant to the question of a right to republish or reuse.
(I made a follow-up to this point on February 21st, 2016.)
December 9, 2015
A review of our Handbook of Intellectual Freedom was just published on the website of ADBS, the main library association in France. The review, by Joachim Schöpfel, is in French, but Google translate makes it fairly readable in English. The book is very timely in the French context, as the reviewer points out. We’re very happy to see this connection to our colleagues in France.