battle,  digital scholarship,  higher ed

Open scholarship, social media & libraries


I gave a presentation to a conference of university librarians in Aarhus, Denmark last week. Social media and the role of the librarian was their theme. I won’t pretend to be an expert on libraries, but taking Shelby Foote’s quote that “a university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library” you could argue that the factors affecting higher ed are the same for libraries.

The talk was kind of a cross over between my Digital Scholar book and the new Battle for Open one. My argument was that openness represents a key direction for libraries, and that social media plays a vital role in this. I then set out four such areas: MOOCs, OERs, Open Access and Open Scholarship, and the role of social media in each. You can view social media as the glue binds these, or the substrate, that underlies them. For instance, social media creates a pressure for open access, since people want to share articles, and there is no point tweeting a link to an article that asks someone to pay $50 to view it.

The talk went well (I think) and provoked some good discussion. Anyway, the slidedeck is below:



  • Bay_gina

    Being one of those librarians:
    Yes indeed your talk did provoke a lot of questions & reflections reg. the role of the “networked librarian”. And quite a lot of us seem to have doubts about how to take this role.
    But as one of the Danish presenters, Lone Koefoed (@koefoed) put it: “The librarians should be where the knowledge is and that is not necessarily in the library anymore”
    So we need to think a lot more about this – how & where to be in the social media – and why.
    From my talks with colleagues during the day and afterwards I found that it is questions like the ones below that are at stake:
    Do we have the courage to go mingle in and join the researchers’ conversations in the social media?
    Would they really want us there?
    How can we contribute and enrich the conversations?
    How do you manage the balance between being professional and giving something of your own private self in a meaningful way?
    So … we need to get started experimenting – but hopefully your talk and the seminar has boosted the process.
    Eg. Lone Koefoed presented two Danish projects that are really inspiring:
    *She was one of the initiators of @AUforsker which each week lets a researcher from Aarhus University present her/himself and his/her research.
    * With a colleague she has recently used twitter to organise an alternative to a government ‘quality commission’ (consisting of mostly economists) inviting the online academic community to contribute to an alternative report on improving quality in education.
    (Using #altudvalg – all in Danish I am afraid).
    Both projects should work as inspirations for moving us further out there – being digital, open and accessible …
    Once again thank you for a great talk
    – and looking forward to following your work

  • mweller

    Hi Gina, I’m glad it provoked discussion. I don’t have answers to your questions (and I would be wary of anyone who did). I think it is a matter of being willing to engage with them and try things out. The work of Lone sounds interesting and reinforces the point I was making about the importance of online identity and how social media underlies this. Good luck with this discussion as it progresses.

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