I have intentionally steered Book of Trogool away from open access. I still believe in it; I still work for it. Toward the waning days of Caveat Lector, however, it became clear that I was shedding more heat than light on the subject, so I made a conscious decision not to repeat that mistake here.
This is, however, Open Access Week. I would feel rather churlish about ignoring that, especially since I was speaking yesterday for the occasion. What I’ll do, then, is try to set a radical example I wish others in the open-access movement would follow: I’m going to celebrate a librarian.
Her name is Sarah Shreeves, and she works for the University of Illinois, where she runs the IDEALS institutional repository and has just accepted the post of Scholarly Commons coordinator.
Sarah has built IDEALS the hard but honest way. No gimmicks, no big behind-the-scenes uploads, no lofty unmanageable promises, not even ETDs until just recently. Sarah forges relationships. Sarah puts her energy behind useful software development. Sarah gives good service. That’s what Sarah does. IDEALS isn’t the largest IR out there, but in all honesty, when I pull something to read for myself out of an IR, more often than not IDEALS is its source. That says something about the quality of the material therein.
In fun, I often call myself Sarah’s evil twin, as our thoughts about open access and institutional repositories often dovetail. Sarah’s genius is that quietly but inexorably, she makes those thoughts not only known, but the coin of the realm, changing minds so deftly that they hardly know they’ve been changed.
I have seen Sarah present, and been privileged to sit on a conference panel with her. Her style is unassuming, unthreatening?but don’t let that fool you: what she says will challenge you, and she never accepts received wisdom at face value.
Sarah takes bold steps to establish open access and related issues firmly in the canons of librarianship. She co-edited the institutional-repository issue of Library Trends that came out earlier this year, and she was the one to request an article from me, the article that turned out to be “Innkeeper at the Roach Motel.” She is also ultimately behind Illinois’s support of BibApp.
This is a poor tribute at best; when the history of open access is written as it should be written, Sarah will occupy many pages therein. For this Open Access Week, I salute Sarah and her many accomplishments.