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Library – Publisher Partnerships

Studying library science means among other things studying the publishing industry and standard publishing practices. For that reason research librarians are in a good position to offer new services to university and other scholarly publishers. Several university presses now partner with their libraries for support in the conversion to digital publishing.

Many scholarly presses are tapping into the experience with digital publications which librarians have developed since the 1990s. Libraries are increasingly able to offer services range from preservation of digital content, creation of descriptive and other metadata to ensure that publications are most easily discovered by researchers, the management of an efficient digital publication work flow and publishing scientific and other data.

A recent meeting co-sponsored by the Society for Scholarly Publishing and the Association of Research Libraries underscores this emerging connection. “Partnering to Publish: Innovative Roles for Societies, Institutions, Presses, and Libraries” was held in Washington, D.C. on November 10th and featured speakers from libraries and publishers highlighting current cooperation between libraries and presses and exploring new opportunities for cost-effective and innovative joint ventures.

The recent creation of several organizations on university campuses with names like the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship and the creation of new library staff positions such as Associate University Librarian for Publishing or Digital Scholarly Publishing Officer are evidence of this trend in new services at universities across North America. The National Institutes of Health library for example, includes “reference assistants” who help scientific authors with reference verification and management and with manuscript submission. Clark also stated that the advent of online databases, bibliographic management software and other self-service resources has contributed to a drop in requests for basic reference assistance. The inclusion of these kinds of “author services” in additional to traditional reader services in research libraries has been noted elsewhere.1

Recently the Smithsonian Institution Libraries has also become involved, not only by archiving the digital editions of the Smithsonian Scholarly Press, but also in managing the Institution’s membership in CrossRef, a registry of persistent web URLs commonly used in academic publishing today. The SIL is also overseeing the conversion of existing Scholarly Press publications to the increasingly popular ePub format which is usable on the electronic book readers such as Amazon’s Kindle.


1Christine L. Borgman. 2010. "Research Data: Who will share what, with whom, when, and why?" China-North America Library Conference, Beijing

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