C&RL Spotlight

Scott Walter

Last month, the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) launched Usable Knowledge, a website designed to take research conducted by Harvard faculty and students and demonstrate how its results might be used by teachers, administrators, and policymakers to improve the practice of P–12 education and higher education. As HGSE Dean James E. Ryan writes in his introduction to the site: “[No] research finding—no matter how profound —will make much difference in the lives of students if it is simply left to dwell in the Ivory Tower.”1

While a quick search of the opening-day collection available through Usable Knowledge shows little attention to libraries, per se (although a study of the impact of summer reading programs on literacy education suggests some areas of overlapping interest), the model highlights a question that has always been central to College & Research Libraries and to the ACRL research program, in general: How effective are we in translating research projects into information that can be employed by practitioners to improve their own work and to enhance their impact on teaching, learning, and scholarship at the local level?2

As we approach the conclusion of our first year as an all-digital publication, the members of the C&RL editorial board are reviewing our initial forays into expanding the reach of journal content through social media and considering how the journal might serve to provide “usable knowledge” for the ACRL membership. Might we expand the scope of the scholarly studies we promote as appropriate for publication in C&RL, for example, or might we pursue opportunities to make more substantive connections among themes explored in sibling publications like C&RL News, RBM, or Publications in Librarianship? Might we take an approach similar to Usable Knowledge on our website and offer readers thematic views of the literature?3

C&RL is not only a leading open-access publication in the field of Library and Information Science, but a key component of the broader research enterprise of ACRL. The launch of Usable Knowledge and the upcoming celebration of ACRL’s 75th anniversary provide an ideal context for our membership to ask how the research we support and the research results that we publish help us to be better librarians, educators, and administrators.

Planning for Portland

Regular readers of this column know that C&RL will be publishing a special issue in March 2015 celebrating the 75th anniversary of ACRL and the journal. We are also making plans for a forum to be held at the ACRL 2015 Conference in Portland, Oregon, that will consider the essays included in that special issue, as well as the broader trends found in the research published in the journal. This forum will also provide an opportunity to discuss some of the questions outlined above regarding the association’s role in promoting and publishing “usable knowledge” for academic and research librarians.

Time and place for the forum will be announced along with other ACRL 2015 programs, but make a note now to look for “Putting the ‘Research’ in the Association of College & Research Libraries: 75 Years of College & Research Libraries and Other ACRL Research Programs.”

Book review editor

Mark Shelton (Harvard University) has joined the C&RL editorial board as book review editor and is currently working to re-establish our regular program of scholarly book reviews. Anyone with an interest in becoming a book reviewer for C&RL should contact Shelton at E-mail: .

C&RL added to BrowZine

During focus groups conducted in 2013, one of the most common requests was for C&RL to be available in a “newsstand” format that would allow for easier reading on tablets and other mobile devices. With the journal’s adoption of digital object identifiers (DOIs) in the July 2014 issue, C&RL is now available through the BrowZine service (http://thirdiron.com/browzine/).

According to the vendor, BrowZine “[organizes] articles found in Open Access and subscription databases, uniting them into complete journals, then arranging these journals on a common newsstand.” BrowZine also offers integration with popular citation management applications, including Zotero and Mendeley (another feature identified as critical by focus group participants).4

With DOIs for current content in place, and plans in progress to add DOIs to backfile content, C&RL looks forward to additional opportunities to collaborate with discovery systems, citation management systems, and others to ensure the broadest dissemination of its open access content.

1 Ryan, JE.. , “Welcome to Usable Knowledge,”. Usable Knowledge, August.27. , 2014 , accessed September 10, 2014, www.gse.harvard.edu/uk/blog/welcome-usable-knowledge.
2 Ferede, M. , “Summer Reading and Summer Not: Fighting the Summer Reading Slump,”. Usable KnowledgeJuly.22. , 2014 , accessed September 10, 2014, www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/14/07/summer-reading-and-summer-not-fighting-summer-reading-slump.
3 For an example of a scholarly journal that provides both thematic views of its content, as well as the traditional organization by volume and issue, see the New England Journal of Medicine (www.nejm.org/).
4 “Meet BrowZineTM,” Third Iron: Advanced Library Technologies, accessed September 10, 2014, http://thirdiron.com/owzine/.
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