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If Rumors Were Horses

by | May 9, 2022 | 0 comments

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Against the Grain V34#2

Happy Spring!  Lots of rumors and news and updates to keep up with these days.  We’ve been posting them online at https://www.charleston-hub.com/category/rumors/ in order to keep up and not have to wait until the next journal issue.  Take a look and keep up with all the latest there!

Making Big Moves

Tom Gilson

Carol and Tom Gilson are moving away from Charleston after many years.  Carol has lived in Charleston since she was a child and Tom came here in the early 1980s.  They have lived here since they were married more than 25 years ago.  A lot of people are moving out  of Charleston these days because of traffic and expenses, not to mention increased flooding and the threat of hurricanes.  Not me!  I love Charleston.  Carol and Tom have just moved to Newberry, SC, which is known for its  small-town history and charm.  It is much smaller than Charleston (10,245 in 2019) and has a college and an opera house.  Just outside downtown on a lonely stretch of road is one of the premier producers of orchids.  By any chance, do you know the Nero Wolfe mysteries?  Written in the thirties and set in a New York Brownstone, these are some of my favorite mysteries.  Rex Stout, the author, was a librarian.  He raised orchids in his spare time.  Stout was also a gourmand and produced a few recipe books.  But back to Tom and Carol!  Tom is not leaving ATG or the Charleston Conference, thank goodness!  Whew!  Watch for his daily News & Announcements and interviews!

An update from the semi-retired-but-still-very-active T. Scott Plutchak, as mentioned in this issue’s Letter to the Editor:  “The Scholarly Publishing Roundtable, which issued its influential report in 2010, included several Charleston regulars among its mix of academics, librarians, and publishers.  The report had a direct and significant impact on the development of public access policies in the U.S.  The story of how the Roundtable came to be and why it was successful has now been told in an article just out in Learned Publishing.  The Roundtable was unique in successfully bringing together people with very different views of the future of publishing to develop recommendations that were then incorporated into the guidance provided by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  The reasons for that success will be of interest to many who’ve been involved in the long-standing controversies around Open Access.  The published version can be found here:  https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1452  People without access to the journal can find the Accepted Manuscript here:  https://tscott.typepad.com/tsp/2022/03/the-scholarly-publishing-roundtable.html.”

The versatile Mark Cummings, editor and publisher of Choice, since 2013, has announced that he will retire effective April 2, 2022.  Mark came to ACRL after a long and distinguished career in academic and educational publishing.  He began his professional life in the reference and professional books division at Macmillan, with stints at Scribner’s and Oxford University Press.  In the early 1990s, he joined Grolier Publishing Company as editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia Americana and went on to become vice president and publisher of Grolier’s reference division.  He later concentrated on educational technology, first at Scholastic and then at Weekly Reader.  Cummings holds a B.A. from Michigan State University along with M.A. and M.Phil. Degrees from Yale University in East Asia-related fields.

During his time at Choice, Cummings introduced new and innovative ways of working to the unit, expanding from the traditional magazine and digital reviews into new products including sponsored webinars, podcasts, bibliographic essays, newsletters, and white papers.  Cummings boldly led a reexamination of long-held editorial goals, moving the flagship product Choice Reviews away from a singular focus on collection development for undergraduate instruction toward a broader critical assessment of important writing in all fields designed for a broader university audience.  He was instrumental in the building of Choice Reviews.org, a database of more than 200,000 reviews, representing more than a quarter-century of scholarship, and Choice360.org a showcase for all the new digital products developed under his leadership.  He worked with the Charleston Company to create ccAdvisor, the only peer-reviewed, continuously updated, fully searchable database dedicated to providing in-depth, critical reviews of digital resources for the academic and library markets.  In 2021, Cummings launched the content vertical “Toward Inclusive Excellence,” led by editor Alexia Hudson-Ward, which incorporates a weekly blog.  With great ingenuity and drive, Cummings approached the challenge of reviving and extending the Choice brand in the face of a changing market.  By building these new products, the Choice media portfolio now attracts upwards of 65,000 viewers annually.  Rachel Hendrick, Choice’s Director of Operations, will serve as interim editor and publisher.  Rachel joined ALA in 2014 as the operations manager at Choice and in 2016 became the director of operations.  Rachel was initially attracted to Choice because of its mission to provide reviews to academic libraries, but she has found there a community of innovative content creators.  As for Mark, I expect to hear of him attending many Metropolitan Operas!

A Touch of Humor and Timely Travel

Jacob Hinds and Maddie Hinds visit the Liberty Bell

I missed the opportunity to play an April Fool’s joke on y’all.  Here’s an alternative story!  In 1996, Taco Bell duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell.  This story is especially relevant when I tell y’all that Leah Hinds and her two children Maddie and Jacob traveled to Philly to get a replacement for Leah’s lost passport!  The kids had the opportunity to visit the Liberty Bell and many other famous Philly attractions!  And Leah was able to attend the Fiesole Retreat in Athens with a new passport!  Read all about it here!  https://www.charleston-hub.com/2022/04/fiesole-retreat-2022-tradition-meets-innovation/

Something especially timely and important from the Fiesole Retreat was project that was presented there by Quinn Dombrowski, Stanford University, as part of Ann Okerson’s panel on Cultural Heritage: SUCHO — Saving Ukranian Cultural Heritage Online: “We are a group of more than 1,300 cultural heritage professionals — librarians, archivists, researchers, programmers — working together to identify and archive at-risk sites, digital content, and data in Ukrainian cultural heritage institutions while the country is under attack.  We are using a combination of technologies to crawl and archive sites and content, including the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, the Browsertrix crawler.  So far we have saved more than 30TB of scanned documents, artworks and many other digital materials from 3,500+ websites of Ukrainian museums, libraries and archives.”  (https://www.sucho.org/)  Leah also reports that Quinn makes her own clothes and custom created several amazing dresses just for the Fiesole Retreat.  You can see photos in the #fiesole2022 thread on Twitter!

Charleston News and Announcements

Oh!  I am sure that you all will be interested in a swanky new hotel in Charleston!  The Pinch Hotel (https://www.thepinch.com/) is located where the old Bob Ellis shoe store was at King and George.  And, for sure, plan on coming to Charleston in November 2022 for the Charleston Conference we will learn a lot, meet up with colleagues, plus have a lot of fun!  Come on down!!  The Call for Papers will be opening any day now.  Watch for updates at https://www.charleston-hub.com/the-charleston-conference/.

And speaking of Charleston, mark your calendars for Charleston In Between May 11-12.  The Charleston Conference is planning a very special “In Between” virtual conference event to explore important late-breaking developments that can’t wait until November for discussion.  Topics to be covered include:

• An update on the Clarivate/ProQuest acquisition from last year’s Charleston In Between,

• Exploration of consolidation and competition within the industry at large,

• Efforts by ResearchGate and Elsevier to host the content of other publishers, and 

• Updates on recent news developments, with a focus on the Ukraine Conflict and its chilling impact on the conduct of research, scholarship, education.

We have a stellar line-up of panelists in the works, with Roger Schonfeld (Director, Libraries & Scholarly Communication & Museums, Ithaka S+R) and Ann Okerson (Senior Advisor, CRL) as panel moderators.  Registration will be opening soon so be sure to save the date! 

The Charleston Report has a big announcement: “Times and formats have changed, as we all know.  Our “In the Field” reports and many other items of interest in the newsletter can now be found easily using The Charleston Hub.  After careful consideration, we have reached the decision to discontinue the print and PDF newsletter effective June 30, 2022.  We will be creating an Open Access Archive of past TCR issues which will be available on the Charleston Hub as well for your historical reading pleasure!  Watch for our final issue — v.26 no.6, May/June 2022 — which will arrive to you the last week of June.”  Some excerpts from past issues include:

• The U.S. Federal Communications Commission will seek to bring Internet speeds of 1 gigabit per second by 2020 to community institutions such as schools and government buildings.  Reuters, March 4, 2010, http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6233NJ20100304

• <2%…The percentage of all books sold in 2009 that were eBooks, according to Bowker.   NYTimes.com, February 27, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/business/economy/28count.html?ref=todayspa.

• 5 million…The number of iBooks downloaded in the first 65 days since the launch of the iPad.

TheBookseller.com, June 8, 2010.

Wonder what those numbers would look like today?

A Little More You Need To Know 

This just in!  Courtney McAllister already wears many hats — Library Services Engineer at EBSCO, Charleston Conference Director, Associate Editor of The Serials Librarian and Serials Review, and more.  And now she’s been elected VP/President Elect of NASIG, 2022-2023!  Congrats to you, Courtney! 

The prolific Nancy Herther is at it again.  She’s done a three-part series on BookTok: Book Reviewing in the Age of Social Media, A New Era in Global Book Promotion and Consumption, and Covid, Reading, and the Future of Apps.  These in-depth articles include quotes, interviews, and stats on the rise of the viral video-sharing app TikTok and it’s subthread BookTok.  Says Nancy, “Momentum is strong and clearly still growing and anyone in the educational, publishing or information industry certainly applauds this increasing interest and the use of social media to reinforce the value of reading, learning and sharing.  Better understanding the impact of TikTok and social media in general on the book industry, readers and the rediscovery of incredible works of literature is fundamental today as well.” See the series and more articles by Nancy at https://www.charleston-hub.com/2022/04/booktok-part-3-covid-reading-and-the-future-of-apps/.

That’s it for now.  Thanks and see you next issue (or online)!  

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