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December 21, 2011 / playforth

Goodbye 2011, hello 2012

I only have three working hours left of 2011, so it must be time for a quick review of the past year and a look forward to the coming one!


Probably the biggest challenge – and achievement – of 2011 has been setting up our Digital Library and the Robert Chambers Archive, from a starting point of zero repository experience. The latter project especially was  a baptism of fire as far as copyright clearance work was concerned. I’m not sure which was worse – trying to track down the rights holders of papers published in the 1970s by organisations who have since disappeared, changed their name or merged with others, or trying to get commercial publishers to agree permissions for book chapters without imposing ridiculous and impossible conditions. But the process also gave me a real appreciation of the work of a pioneer in the development field over four decades, and it was incredibly satisfying to bring this to a wider audience and make Robert’s commitment to open access a concrete reality. It was also very rewarding to set up our Digital Library of Creative Commons development research from our partners in India, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe, and I’m looking forward to seeing that grow and develop.

Speaking of which, I’m excited to report that in the first half of 2012 I’ll be doing the repository work in a more formal capacity, since staff changes in our team have led to the creation of a temporary role of Repository Coordinator. Hurrah! (Will I ever have a job title that means anything to anyone in the ‘normal’ world…?) I’ll still be doing cataloguing and acquisitions work as well, with new challenges there too since we are moving to our new Koha LMS in January (hurrah again!) and that involves a few changes to workflows and cataloguing practice (in other words I’ll have to relearn proper MARC21 after three years of using in-house cataloguing forms – yikes.)

In terms of my writing work, I’m hoping to hear the results of the pamphlet competition I entered last month, and if not successful there I’ll make real efforts to get a collection published somewhere, somehow! (As a friend – and publisher – pointed out, I can’t just wait for people to come to me, much as it would suit my bizarre combination of vanity and self-doubt to think that they might…)

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas/Hanukkah/solstice/Festivus etc and a peaceful, fruitful 2012!


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