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If Rumors Were Horses

by | Jun 30, 2023 | 0 comments


By Katina Strauch with Contributions from Leah Hinds

Against the Grain V35#3

It’s finally getting to feel like summer here on Sullivan’s Island.  Mind you I am not complaining but it has been unseasonably cool and breezy over the past months.  Sometimes it was even like February.  But now the heat is here and let’s hope the breezes keep up anyway!

Cough Cough

Dr. Brian Fors, curator of MUSC’s Waring Historical Library, is interested in the future of historical medical collections and is beginning a campaign to update the facility.  How about this 1834 “recipe for a cough” which calls for 60 grains of saltpeter, which was one of the components of gunpowder.  (See Reclaiming history by Tom Corwin, October 3, 2022, Post and Courier.com) Waring is a special collections and rare book library of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) named for Joseph I. Waring, Jr., the first director of the Historical Library.

Charleston Conference Memories and Intrigue

Have you been to The Ordinary restaurant on King Street in downtown Charleston?  It’s billed as a “fancy seafood oyster bar.”  It was once a Bank of America building where, when I first moved to Charleston, I made my very first bank deposit into my first Charleston Conference checking account. 

Reading a biography of Robert Maxwell, The Fall by John Preston.  The things we don’t do for the Charleston Conference!  It was winter in Oxford, England.  We had just gone to Blackwell’s Bookshop.  We decided to visit Headington Hill Hall in the east of Oxford.  It was built in 1824 for the Morrell family, who remained in residence for 114 years.  It became the home to Pergamon Press and to media tycoon Robert Maxwell.  It currently houses Oxford Brookes School of Law.

Anyway, I went to Pergamon Press trying to meet Robert Maxwell and ask him to speak at the Charleston Conference.  Talk about young and naïve!  At least I saw the magnificent place and had lunch with Brian Cox!  Moving right along, the Charleston Conference was in session when the news broke that Maxwell had died on his yacht.  Did he jump or was he pushed?  Many publications have been filled with speculation.  I have been reading FALL: The Mysterious Life and Death of Robert Maxwell, Britain’s Most Notorious Media Baron (Harper, 2021).  Many years later I also made another unsuccessful attempt to get Jeff Bezos as a speaker at the Conference!  Oh well.  Fun memories!

Serendipitous Book Finds

Caroline Goldsmith, our Associate Director at the Charleston Hub, wrote to me recently about a find at a local bookstore in Greenville, SC.  “Look what we came across today in one of our favorite book stores (Mr. K’s Used Books) in their “local” section!  We had to buy it, of course.”  This history of the College of Charleston was written by my daughter Ileana and me back in 2000!

Trends and Insects at SSP

Were you at the recent SSP 2023 annual meeting in Portland, Oregon?  Leah Hinds and Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe led the Charleston Trendspotting session, forecasting the future of trust and transparency.  This was the sixth time the Charleston Trendspotting session has been held in different versions and settings.  It’s designed to offer a chance to proactively examine trends and issues facing the library and scholarly communications world, and it featured a “Futures Wheel” activity to get the creative juices flowing and allow attendees to work together in small groups to come up with trends and their impacts.  The session had many attendees despite the fact that they were scheduled opposite several sessions like Heather Ruland Staines’ incredibly clever musical on metadata.  This was a re-telling of The Ant and the Grasshopper, with a huge cast of insects complete with costumes and cleverly written spoofs of well-known songs, including “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Metadata” and “Welcome to the (Metadata) Jungle.”  They even had printed programs with bios of all the characters.  I was privileged to hear a few previews of the songs from Heather, and I can’t wait to watch the video recording for this one!

Make Mine Music!

Have y’all visited CMUSE music news and entertainment website?  Am I repeating myself?  This is a very wonderful place to belong to especially if you are a music junkie like myself!

Speaking of music, have y’all noticed the section Above the Fold on the Charleston Hub?  These are snippets posted weekly on Fridays featuring music/album/concert reviews, pop culture, food/restaurant reviews, new initiatives, games, and much more!  Topics not necessarily related to librarians, publishers or vendors, but interesting and engaging for everyone!  If you’d like to contribute an article for this new online column, please contact us at <info@charleston-hub.com>.  Marcie Cohen just posted news recently about British singer Jesse Ware’s new album That! Feels Good!, … “a collection of odes to pleasure heavily steeped in disco aesthetics.”


Dr. Colleen Shogan assumed the role of Archivist of the United States today and, immediately after taking the oath of office, began her work as the head of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Shogan is the 11th Archivist of the United States and the first woman to hold the position permanently.  She was nominated by President Biden on August 3, 2022, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 10, 2023.  She succeeds David S. Ferriero, who retired as Archivist in April 2022.  Prior to her appointment, Shogan most recently served as senior vice president of the White House Historical Association.  She previously worked for over a decade at the Library of Congress in senior roles as the Assistant Deputy Librarian for Collections and Services and the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service.

Earlier in her career, Shogan worked as a policy staff member in the U.S. Senate and taught at Georgetown University and George Mason University.  She earned a BA in Political Science from Boston College and a Ph.D. in American Politics from Yale University, where she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow.  She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Order of the Cross and Crown, and the United States Capitol Historical Society’s Council of Scholars.

ATG and Conference Updates

ATG and the Charleston Conference are ecstatic to welcome Lesley Montgomery to our group.  Lesley worked hard to get her library degree and lickety split was hired as a cataloger at Tulane University.  Lesley has written a Special Report for this issue of ATG that brings us up on what’s happening in the cataloging and classification world!  Many of you remember Jack Montgomery, Lesley’s husband, in his role as a Charleston Conference Director for many years.  We jokingly called Jack “The Voice of God” for his wonderfully deep radio voice coming through the speakers to the Carolina Ballroom from upstairs in the overflow seating in the Gold Ballroom of the Francis Marion, back before the days of the ample seating in the Gaillard Center.  Lesley and Jack are also in a band that played several times at conference receptions in the past.  We’re happy to have the other half of this dynamic duo working with us now that Jack has retired!

Charleston Vendor Showcase booth registration opened recently, and over 70% of the booth space was sold out within just a few hours.  Gosh!  This is an exciting and encouraging start to the year for sure!!!  Attendee registration is also open now, so be sure to take advantage of the “Extra Early Bird” rate to save by registering before July 12.  Conference hotel guest room blocks are also filling up quickly, so reserve your rooms and don’t miss out! 

The Call for Papers is open through July 10 for conference session proposals.  The committee will be meeting at the home office on Sullivans Island to go through the hundreds of proposals submitted, hopefully all in one day.  Whew, I’m tired just thinking about it!  Thankfully we have a great group that makes the time pass quickly when we’re having fun.  And a toast at the end of the day to celebrate being done with the review process doesn’t hurt, either! 

In Other News

This is from Choice Reviews (5-12-23): Open Access Publishing Donations and Collaborations “This week, the MIT Press received a generous $10 million donation from nonprofit and open access supporter Arcadia.  Deemed the Arcadia Open Access Fund, the gift aims to increase open access publications in STEM and HSS fields and further the accessibility of research.  Commenting on the endowment, Amy Brand, Director and Publisher of the MIT Press, noted, “With this enduring support for open books and journals, we can use our power as an academic publisher to expand public understanding of scholarship and science and to democratize participation in research.”  Next up, Taylor & Francis (T&F) is extending its collaboration with Wiley’s Knowledge Unlatched.  Under the partnership, T&F will continue to convert its titles to OA via the support of research libraries and plans to switch over more than 50 books this year.”

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announced the results of its recent Board elections for the term beginning July 1, 2023.  Karim Boughida (Dean of University Libraries, Stony Brook University) will transition to the role of Chair of the NISO Board, having served as Vice Chair for the past year.  He is replaced as Vice Chair by Robert Wheeler (Director, Publishing Technology, American Society of Mechanical Engineers), who will assume the role of Chair for 2024–25 next July.  Maria Stanton (Director of Production, Atla) rotates to the position of Past Chair, having served as NISO Chair for 2022–23.  See the full press release for details!

Lyrasis recently announced the upcoming retirement of Michele Kimpton, Global Senior Director of the Palace Project: With Gratitude for Decades of Vision and Leadership: Announcing Michele Kimpton’s Retirement Congratulations and best wishes on your retirement coming up at the end of June!

And ACRL has announced upcoming leadership changes.  “Current executive director, Robert “Jay” Malone, who came to ACRL in September 2021 after previously helming an academic society for over twenty years, will depart ALA on Friday, June 9.  During his time at ACRL, Malone supported the repositioning and improved profitability of Choice, a publishing unit of ACRL and worked with ALA’s Development Office to raise the association’s GuideStar (Candid) nonprofit ranking to “platinum,” the reviewer’s highest level.”  Malone will be succeeded by interim ACRL executive director Allison Payne, who will step into her new leadership role on Monday, June 11.

Award Winners

Congratulations to the ALPSP’s shortlist of finalists for the award for innovation in publishing!  The ALPSP Impact Award finalists for 2023:  

• Africa Commons

• eLife’s new publishing model 

• IOP Publishing double anonymous peer review and transparent peer review

• Original Études for the Developing Conductor

The ALPSP Award for Innovation in Publishing finalists for 2023:  

• BMJ Impact Analytics

• Cassyni Journal Seminar Series

• Bilingualism from submission to publication from Medwave and Kriyadocs

• Schol-AR

Congratulations, also, to the award winners announced at the SSP Business Luncheon at their recent annual meeting in Portland. 

Appreciation Awards:

Lori Carlin (Delta Think) for her service as co-chair of the Annual Meeting Program Committee.

Lettie Conrad (Outsell Inc.) for her service as the North American Editor of Learning Publishing.

David Myers (Data Licensing Alliance, Inc.) for his extended service emceeing the popular Previews Sessions at SSP’s Annual Meeting.

John Warren (George Washington University) for his service in fostering collaborations between SSP, AUPresses, and GWU.

Emerging Leader Awards:

Erin Foley (Copyright Clearance Center) has been an invested and dedicated community member since beginning her scholarly communications journey 11 years ago.  She has actively served on several SSP committees, including the DEIA committee and the Annual Meeting Program Committee, where she serves as the incoming co-chair.

Rebecca Kirk (PLOS) has been an integral part of the DEIA committee since 2020, as co-chair since 2022.  Her commitment to driving sustained and meaningful change within SSP is commendable, particularly her integration of DEIA liaisons into every committee this year, resulting in significant positive feedback.

Dianndra Roberts (Royal College of Psychiatrists) has significantly impacted the scholarly publishing community through her platform and expertise.  Her authenticity and courage in sharing the human elements of her journey have inspired industry professionals to bring their whole selves to their work.

And last but not least, the 2023 Distinguished Service Award.  “This year, Lisa Hinchliffe (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) received this prestigious honor for her long history of extensive contributions to SSP and the wider community as a Scholarly Kitchen Chef, former Board Member, engaging leader, and guest speaker in many webinars and seminars, including the very popular Introduction to Open Access.  She most recently chaired the Learned Publishing North American Editor Search Task Force.” 

That’s all, folks!  Tune in next time for more tidbits, hearsay, and rumors straight from the horse’s mouth.  Send your rumors to us for future publications at editors@against-the-grain.com.  


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