5 Questions with… Amie Freeman

AmieFAmie Freeman is the Scholarly Communication Librarian at Thomas Cooper Library at the University of South Carolina.  She recently took part in our “Five Questions” series to tell us about her role. 

If you or someone you know would like to be part of this series, please contact John Burger.

1. Describe your current scholcomm position.
I’m part of the new Digital Research Services Department at the University of South Carolina. In my role as the Scholarly Communication Librarian, I lead outreach efforts to faculty in support of scholarly communication innovations and reforms and supervise activities related to open access and open education. I also oversee our Institutional Repository, Scholar Commons, and am working with the Digital Research Services team to grow digital publishing initiatives.

2. What attracted you to scholcomm work?
I worked in Interlibrary Loan for several years and absolutely loved the openness and collaboration of the resource sharing community. I initially enjoyed working with the intellectual property pieces of ILL and gravitated more and more towards scholcomm work as I became involved with open education. Because so much of my early career was driven by the willingness of other institutions and librarians to share their resources, it was easy to see value of creating services and initiatives to promote open science and research sharing on a more extensive level. It’s fascinating to observe new methods of scholarly publishing develop and to discover which of those methods are and are not sustainable. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to move into this role full time and to be able to focus on these shifts in scholarly communication and digital research.

3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I know it’s a cliché, but of course I have to say the people. The faculty, students, and librarians I work with are brilliant in so many ways and it’s wonderful to be able to make connections with their teaching and research. Seeing someone I’ve worked with publish in an open access journal or use an OER in their teaching is a uniquely gratifying experience. It’s also incredibly rewarding to watch new concepts click into place when talking to faculty and students and to realize that I might have made a small difference in the world of scholarly communication.

4. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?
This is a tough one! There are so many areas that need to evolve, but it’s hard to decide which would be the most impactful. If I had to narrow my answer down to one thing, I think that I’d like to change the attitudes of the “we’ve always done it this way” folks. I’m referring not just to one group, but across academia—publishers, administrators, tenure and promotion committees, faculty, and librarians. What we’ve been doing no longer works and we must be willing to try new things to see what does. We’re not always going to succeed, and we might occasionally make a bigger mess of things, but that’s okay. Eventually we’ll get it right, but only if we’re willing to accept that experimentation is necessary to lead us to a more sustainable scholcomm ecosystem.

5. If you were NOT a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?
I’ve always enjoyed working with people, and my favorite job in college was working as a barista. Owning an upscale coffee and wine bar seems like it would be an exciting way to combine those two passions. While I can’t really imagine life outside of librarianship and, to be honest, don’t know all that much about wine, I’d like to pursue this dream after retirement—preferably in a tropical location!

Give 3 minutes, get back what matters

The ASERL ScholComm Interest Group’s priority is on building a community of practice within ASERL libraries for scholarly communication. You have 3 minutes to contribute what matters to you and your institution for future learning and development opportunities, right?

Ready, set, go:
ASERL SCHOLCOMM Professional Development Survey 2019

Survey closes on June 6, look for results and next steps after that.



Save the Date: SCUNC 2019 in Nashville


PLEASE SAVE THE DATE! The third Scholarly Communications Unconference, affectionately known as SCUNC, is happening at Vanderbilt University this summer.

When: June 3 – 4, 2019 — Starts 3pm CST Monday, ends 3pm CST Tuesday

Like Orlando in 2015 and Atlanta in 2017, SCUNC 2019 will be a THATCamp-like format, focusing on issues in Scholarly Communication important to attendees.

Registration will be limited to the first 50 ASERL members who register, and the $50 conference fee will be billed by ASERL at a later time.

Watch this space for details on registration, session proposals, and timelines.

See you in Nashville for SCUNC 2019.

Your SCUNC 2019 Planning Committee:

Ellen Ramsey, University of Virginia
Andy Wesolek, Vanderbilt University
Claudia Holland, Mississippi State University
Melanie Kowalski, Emory University
John Burger, ASERL (ex officio)

5 Questions with… Rebekah Kati

r-kati Rebekah Kati, Institutional Repository Librarian, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This is #13 in our series of get-acquainted posts featuring members of the ASERL Scholarly Communications community.

1. Describe your current scholcomm position.
I am the Institutional Repository Librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am one of two repository librarians in my department; I manage the services for the Carolina Digital Repository, which is UNC’s institutional repository, while my boss manages the special collections repository and the overall program. My main initiatives since I started in the position last October have been to create and implement a new data services policy and develop a strategy to identify paywalled content that can be legally imported into the repository. My group is launching a new institutional repository system (maybe by the time you read this!), and I am working with our development team to identify requirements. Once that is complete, I will be writing documentation, training staff, creating new services, identifying improvements and ingesting content into the repository.

2. What attracted you to scholcomm work?
I became interested in digital collections in grad school, while I interned for the Indiana University Digital Library program. Through my coursework, I learned about institutional repositories and thought they were fantastic. Offering free, legal access to scholarly content seemed to me to be a key role for librarians. I accepted my first librarian job because I was supposed to head a repository implementation. Unfortunately, that project didn’t materialize to due budget cuts but I kept looking for opportunities to expand my knowledge and involvement in scholarly communications. As I learned more about open access, licensing and other scholarly communications topics, I became fascinated and wanted to work in a scholcomm position. This led to a job at a university press that was part XML specialist, part digital content project manager and part journals production project manager. While I liked working for a publisher, I was disappointed that there weren’t more opportunities to work on open access projects and I missed the library environment. I’m very excited to take part in both at UNC!

3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I’ve always liked fixing things, so working in the repository every day and figuring out solutions to make content available is very rewarding. I also love working with my wonderful colleague Jennifer Solomon, UNC’s Open Access Librarian.

4. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?
Outside of redefining promotion and tenure systems to incentivize open access (which has been noted several times already), I would like to see institutions fund and support scholarly communications initiatives more fully. In libraries, we talk a lot about authors’ labor in the research, authorship and peer review process, but we don’t tend to address academic journal editors’ labor. One reason that editors bring their journals to publishers is that they don’t have the time or inclination to do the copyediting, typesetting, design, online content platform optimization and hosting and marketing that is needed to get their journal an audience. If universities want to take their content back from publishers, they need to provide and fund viable alternatives. That could mean more support for their repository program, library publishing program and university press.

5. If you were NOT a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?
I imagine I would be working as an e-resources or web librarian, since I used to work in those areas.