Sadly, for those of us in the UK at least, the summer seems to be over and all we have is the prospect of long winter evenings to look forward to. Fear not! Insights is back and is bigger and better than ever! So, make a hot drink, snuggle up, and get ready to exercise your little grey cells.
We’re delighted to be able to bring you this bumper issue, with (possibly) more content than any previous issue! It is also heartening to have a real focus on the humanities this time around, including Jane Harvell and Joanna Ball’s article looking at how the University of Sussex is working with academic colleagues to foster and support digital humanities through the Sussex Humanities Lab. We also have two great articles which explore the fascinating topic of archives. John Cox, University Librarian at the National University of Ireland Galway, takes us on a journey through the challenges and rewards of digitizing the archives of the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s national theatre, while Linda Anderson and Ian Johnson set about exploring the Bloodaxe Archive. Moving away from specific archival projects, Paola Marchionni and Peter Findlay of Jisc take a look at the challenges and opportunities around sustainable models for the funding, creation and dissemination of new open digital collections.
In putting together this issue, we were also keen to ensure that there is plenty of actionable content, so we have a selection of articles which could be said to focus on ‘workflows’. Chris Awre of the University of Hull and Richard Green give us an overview of the Hydra (now Samvera) Project, an open source repository solution, and Alice Meadows tackles the thorny issue of persistent identifiers (PIDs), looking forward to the PIDapalooza events organized for 2018. If your taste is for ‘thinking outside the box’, then Kirsty Kift’s exploration of what a Disruptive Media Lab could do for you is just what you are looking for! In it, she explores how using space more creatively and engaging with your audience in innovative and unusual ways can yield real benefits. (Look out for mention of the Coventry University’s ‘wooden hill’ and ‘grassy amphitheatre’!) It is also great to be able to read about a really constructive partnership between a library and a publisher in Helen Adey and Andrea Eastman-Mullins’ article exploring the work that Nottingham Trent University and Alexander Street have been doing with user engagement analytics to help measure and drive usage of library-purchased e-resources.
But, that isn’t the end of our adventures in the library or publishing world. Bernie Folan summarizes the key messages that libraries want publishers to know, and Zelda Chatten takes a fascinating look at how libraries can better engage with their customer base by making their social media presence more effective through giving the library a ‘personality’. Simon Bains’ article looks at the role of the library in scholarly publishing, taking the University of Manchester experience as a case study, while Caroline Kimbell of the University of London shows how libraries engage with their more radical collections in her article ‘Shouting in the library’.
In case you were thinking that we are not venturing outside the UK in this issue, we are delighted that we do have that international perspective, presented firstly by Lisa Lovén and Elin Palm of Stockholm University Library, who look at the challenges and opportunities associated with managing without a subscription agent. We are also absolutely delighted to be able to publish Caroline Myrberg’s follow-up to her incredibly popular article, ‘Screen vs. paper: what is the difference for reading and learning?’ (http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.236), on e-book usage. This time she asks the provocative question, ‘Why doesn’t everyone love reading e-books?’
Hopefully, you will find all the above articles fascinating, but we are ever conscious that we operate in a world that has an external influence on our work. Mandates, policies and legislation all have an impact on what we do, so it would be remiss of us not to reflect on some of those issues. Maxine Melling and Margaret Weaver consider higher education’s response to the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which aims to assess the quality of teaching in UK universities, while Martin Paul Eve and his colleagues look to estimate the cost of an open access (OA) mandate for monographs in the UK’s third Research Excellence Framework (REF). Looking more widely, Kai Geschuhn and Graham Stone present their thoughts on a European offsetting agreement workflow, whilst Kevin Smith examines publication practices, with a view to moving beyond the idea of ‘predatory’ OA publishing.
Finally, continuing on the theme of European OA, we were excited when Colleen Campbell agreed to be interviewed by Insights about her new role at the Max Planck Digital Library, in which she brings her characteristic energy and enthusiasm to Open Access 2020.
As always, it is fantastic to be able to bring you such a varied and exciting array of content and it is gratifying to see that Insights is becoming the place to publish for so many in the scholarly communications environment. We are committed to supporting UKSG’s mission to provide a forum for open communication between the many and varied stakeholders within the community, so do please keep your submissions coming in. Insights is for you and by you!
Steve and Lorraine