10 Years, 10 Million Downloads

26 May

Real-Time Readership Map - LargeThis month, DigitalCommons@ILR recorded its 10 millionth full-text download. This corresponds with the tenth year the repository’s been in operation, so naturally we’re celebrating:

Launched just over a decade ago, DigitalCommons@ILR provides free online access to over 21,000 resources for executives, managers, workers and researchers. It serves as a repository not only of scholarship produced by faculty and researchers, but also historic and born-digital materials relevant to the ILR community and workplace researchers and practitioners internationally.

Covering all aspects of work and the workplace, DigitalCommons@ILR documents are freely available online with no access restrictions. Researchers from every state in the union and around the world download items, often found through Google searches, on everything from general workplace subjects such as creativity or teamwork to specialized questions such as the transition from disability to retirement benefits or the implications of specific labor laws and rulings. The site’s real-time readership map showing download locations emphasizes the school’s global reach as it pursues its mission of “Advancing the World of Work.”

Follow the link to read the whole press release. I want to take this opportunity to give accolades to the folks who helped make this happen:

  • Mary Newhart was the first repository manager, and really set the stage for everything that’s come since. She made it happen. Anything I’ve been able to do as repo manager is building on the foundation she laid. (She also hired me, and I’m very grateful for that.)
  • Suzanne Cohen and Deb Schmidle helped establish the collection development policy that still governs the repository today, and which I used as the basis for collection development at Scholarly Commons.
  • Steve Gollnick has done the lion’s share of work in getting material ready for the repository and actually uploading it. It’s painstaking and endless work, but Steve does it with skill and aplomb.
  • Deans Harry Katz and Kevin Hallock, Directors Gordon Law and Curtis Lyons, and all the other administrators who believed in our work and provided support over the last decade.
  • Many, many student workers who put in hours making this thing go.

I’m lucky to be a part of a project like DigitalCommons@ILR, and I’m deeply grateful to all the folks who have helped it succeed.

To Collect and Preserve: The State of State-Level CBA Collections in the U.S.

6 May

If you’re going to be at Fighting Inequality: the Joint Conference of the Labor and Working-Class History Association and the Working-Class Studies Association or the SLA Annual Conference, be sure to check out Aliqae Geraci and I presenting on the research project that we’ve been working on for the last two years! (Seriously, we contacted hundreds of state agencies for this thing. We were not messing around at all, here.)

We’ll be presenting the research in different ways to the two very different audiences, so here are both write-ups.


Battles over public sector collective bargaining rights have played out on the news, in legislative sessions, and through public demonstration. However, these public policy debates often occur without ready public access to the CBAs that trace and describe the working conditions and employment relationships in dispute. Inspired by Cornell University’s digital collection of New York State CBAs, and researchers seeking similar state collections, the authors conducted a national survey of each state’s CBA collection policies, mapping regulations and collections, and identifying historical scope and degree of public accessibility. The survey revealed dramatic variation across states, requiring deeper investigation of the impact of information gaps on working class participation in public discourse. The authors discuss potential avenues for information policy reform, and outline best practices for state agencies and labor organizations to partner with libraries to create accessible collections that comprehensively document public sector collective bargaining.

And for SLA:

Through collaboration with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board, Cornell University’s Martin P. Catherwood Library has established a collection of public sector collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), including 7,000 held in their open access digital repository, DigitalCommons@ILR. ILR Research Librarian Aliqae Geraci and Digital Projects Coordinator Jim DelRosso will present their preliminary research findings of a 50-state survey identifying and evaluating similar state-level collections of public sector CBAs, and discuss standards and best practices for libraries seeking to develop publicly accessible collections in partnership with government agencies.

Program Takeaways

  1. Participants will be briefed on key issues surrounding public sector labor relations in the United States in order to interpret the findings of the state-level survey of collective bargaining agreement collections and assess their comprehensiveness and accessibility.
  2. Participants will map existing state-level print and digital CBA collections in order to strategically identify potential partnerships and collaborative opportunities between libraries, labor unions, and government bodies.

So if you’re going to be at LAWCHA/WCSA in Washington, DC at the end of May, or at SLA in June, please join us! We promise you’ll learn something.

Farewell, 2014

24 Dec

Our library closes to the public at noon today, and that’ll wrap up 2014 for me, work-wise. In so many ways, it was not the year I expected to have. Running for President-Elect of SLA was a huge part of that, naturally, but even things I knew about going in — like my digital scholarship fellowship — took me to unexpected places.

It was exhausting and exhilarating, and rarely did the two take turns. I already have much to prepare for in 2015, so the upcoming week and a half of (relative) rest is not something I’ll be taking for granted. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.

I also hope I will never take for granted all the excellent people I’ve gotten to work with in 2014, at HLM and Cornell, in SLA, and beyond; thank you for doing wonderful work and occasionally letting me be a part of it.

I am grateful to the folks out there fighting the good fight for our profession, our society, and our world; the folks whose risks and efforts completely eclipse my own. My gratitude and admiration go out to #teamharpy, and the people working hard in their support, as well as anyone who takes to the streets in pursuit of justice and the acknowledgement that #BlackLivesMatter.

I am also deeply grateful to my family for all their support, even in the face of the most unexpected and barely explicable librarian shenanigans.

Thank you all. Happy holidays, Happy New Year, and I hope to see you in 2015.

Uploading CBAs to DigitalCommons@ILR

9 Dec

Yes, this is a blog post about a blog post.

As part of the grant we got from the NHPRC to digitize and disseminate collective bargaining agreements, we are documenting those efforts in a blog. I just uploaded a post discussing uploading CBAs and this post couldn’t get any more meta unless I started discussing metadata which I do in the blog post so I’m going to stop now.

Here’s a short excerpt; please go check out the whole thing if you’re interested:

As discussed on this blog in September, Digital Consulting & Production Services has been working on digitizing shipments of the collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) in the education retail industries. Once those digital copies are returned to Kheel, it’s time to make them available to the world. That’s where DigitalCommons@ILR comes into the picture. 

Why I support #teamharpy

13 Oct

I touched on this a while back, and have posted extensively about it on social media, but I realized I couldn’t countenance writing another entry here until I’d talked about #teamharpy at greater length. Frankly, it’s overdue, and I’m sorry about that.

I support #teamharpy. I admire nina de jesus and Lisa Rabey for their courage and their actions.

I support #teamharpy because harassment is a problem in the library world and beyond, and it’s only going to get worse if we ignore it or try to silence those who speak to it. That’s certainly the case within our profession as we continue to look to tech culture, start-ups and the like for inspiration, because if anything the culture there is worse.

I support #teamharpy because I’ve seen the pushback to even the most basic attempts to combat harassment at conferences — the ALA and SLA Codes of Conduct, for example, not to mention the actual enforcement of same — so I have no patience for critics who claim that #teamharpy didn’t address this situation in the correct way. What the correct way would’ve been is always poorly defined, because better means to address this kind of situation basically don’t exist. I wish they did. We should make it so they do, but let’s not pretend we already have.

I support #teamharpy because librarians, as a profession, should oppose SLAPP suits whenever they occur. If we’re willing to call out this kind of behavior when it’s a publisher trying to silence a librarian, it’s unconscionable to claim that we have to shut up and “let the courts decide” when it occurs within our own community.

I support #teamharpy because it’s the right thing to do.


EDIT: I can’t believe I forgot to link to the petition asking Joe Murphy to drop the lawsuit. Go forth and sign it.


SLA Election Results

25 Sep

The results of the SLA Board of Directors election are in, and I want to congratulate Tom Rink on being elected to the office of President-Elect. Tom was a great candidate, and I know he’ll be an exemplary President-Elect and President for SLA. And I want to congratulate everyone else who’ll be joining the Board come January: Kim Silk (chapter cabinet chair-elect), Ruth Kneale (division cabinet chair-elect), Kevin Adams (director), and Catherine Lavallee-Welch (director).

Also, I salute Valerie Perry, Elaine Lasda Bergman, Dr. Saif Al-Jabari, and David Cappoli for stepping up and running for office. SLA is a stronger organization for their dedication and enthusiasm, and I know they will keep working to make the Association better. We truly had an excellent slate of candidates this time year.

For me, being nominated was a great experience, and a profound honor. I am thrilled that I had the opportunity to meet so many SLA members over the past six months, and speak with so many of you about the issues that are important to you.

Thank you.

Stuff and happenings

23 Sep

Three items of note:

First, there’s a little more than 24 hours left in the SLA Board of Directors election. If you can vote and haven’t yet, do so! If you have, thanks for stepping up to make the Association stronger. And in case anyone’s new to this blog, I am running for President-Elect, so please throw some consideration my way.

Second, I wrote a long post over at Cornell University Library’s Digital Scholarship and Preservation Services blog about the Repository Executive Group. (For those of you who prefer brevity, I posted in the CUL DSPS blog about RepoExec.*) Chairing that committee made up a large part of my fellowship work, and I cover a lot of what we did in that post.

Finally, if you haven’t been following the #teamharpy case, I recommend checking out the blog that nina de jesus and Lisa Rabey have set up, which both explains the case and lets you donate to their defense. Also very much worth highlighting is their call for witnesses. It is a deeply messed up situation that they’re in, and I admire their actions and their courage. They have my support, and deserve yours.

So, that’s what’s up. A lot going on, and in less than 36 hours I’m going to find out a lot more about my next three years. Be well, folks.


* Though, if you prefer breveity, you probably won’t like the post.


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