5 Questions with… Marian Taliaferro


mt-headshot_office_07032018Marian Taliaferro,
 Digital Scholarship Librarian, College of William and Mary Libraries

This is #11 in our series of get-acquainted posts featuring members of the ASERL Scholarly Communications community.

Q1. Describe your current scholcomm position
While my title is technically Digital Scholarship Librarian, my role is all about scholarly communications — promoting and creating a strategy for the institutional repository, W&M ScholarWorks, educating the campus community on academic publishing, open access initiatives (including OER) and  intellectual property issues; and also fostering connections between information literacy and scholarly communications.

Q2. What attracted you to scholcomm work?

My interest started pretty early in my career — in 2005, with a library director who was hugely influential on my path to learning about open access publishing and all that goes along with it. She was the driving force behind a campus-wide conference on OA and building library support for it. My interest continued when I worked at a non-profit (Association of American Medical Colleges), which gave me exposure to several aspects of scholarly communication. I served a supporting role in their path to adopting a hybrid model for their peer-review journal, Academic Medicine. My role also provided general library support for the journal editorial staff and I became familiar with their workflows and concerns in publishing. I even served as a peer reviewer for the journal. At AAMC, I also witnessed the ‘birth’ of MedEdPORTAL, an open access medical education curricular tools repository.  From the get-go, MedEdPORTAL used Creative Commons licenses, and I worked as a core staff person in its development. It was also at AAMC that staff increasingly wanted to demonstrate impacts of their publications, so I began delivering metrics on publication usage and initiated and collaborated with Publications staff to investigate altmetrics tools for the Association’s publications. Finally, it was my role to procure copyright permissions for the Association and so I became familiar with educating staff on copyright and fair use. Overall, I think what most attracted me to scholarly communications work was the win-win aspect of it — leveraging my librarian skill sets for helping faculty and researchers make their work more discoverable and garnering increased impact for it, while also appreciating the publishing side of the equation from a non-profit society’s perspective. It seems a key, demonstrable success for libraries to partner with their campus communities in this way.

Q3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I have to pick just one? For me, it’s always the connections with people that are most rewarding. As anyone reading this blog realizes, copyright is very unclear to most people, so it’s gratifying to be a guide or resource for them in making things more understandable. I enjoy speaking with graduate students about fair use, licensing and embargoes; helping faculty with author agreements and learning about Open Education Resources (OERs) and serving to publish some pretty amazing electronic theses and dissertations (ETD’s).  ETDs are hugely impactful for our students and soon alumni —  we have a large retrospective conversion project rollout and campaign on the books for OA Week. I’m also enjoying helping to grow William & Mary’s scholarly communications program via creating and expanding research guides, making firmer establishments in research data management support services, and also rebranding and relaunching our institutional repository, newly renamed W&M ScholarWorks and a new design debuting soon.

Q4. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?
That faculty were more aware of how their promotion & tenure practices play into the larger publication ecosystem. It would be great if it were incredibly easy to bridge the barriers to budgetary transparency associated with providing collections in support of research and scholarship. I think that’s probably high on every librarian’s list!

Q5. If you were not a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?
Depending on the day, in no particular order and perhaps mostly if I became aware of a heretofore secret trust fund: Persian rug trader, estate jewelry sales/gemologist, helicopter pilot or landscaper… It’s probably a good thing I went the library route.