In preparation for this responsibility, I have been catching up on various trends relating to scholarship and what is going on at tenure granting academic libraries. There is a great wiki site on the topic that appears to be managed by Chris Lewis, Media Librarian at American University.
Specifically, I have been curious about the criteria used to define and evaluate scholarship in tenure and promotion cases. This post is one of many I expect to write on the topic over the next year.
I have a healthy respect for the need and desire to keep the traditions of the academy. Still, I seem to be wondering aloud alot more lately about the increasing gap between how scholarship in academic librarianship is defined and the practices of the profession. As a profession we talk about the need to be more innovative and make use of emerging technologies. However, how can we ever expect faculty to push the innovation and emerging technology envelopes if the criteria we use to define and evaluate scholarship remains rooted in the dark ages of academia and librarianship?
I applaud a number of libraries in redefine how they define and evaluate scholarship. Here are just a few I uncovered:
From the Florida Atlantic University Libraries Promotion Guidelines:
- The research and development of courses or classes in librarianship or a scholarly topic on which the individual has expertise
- Obtaining grants and other funding, such as fellowships, internships or study leaves, which benefit the FAU Libraries or librarianship
- Developing original computer software or successful adaptations of software for the FAU Libraries or professional uses
- Developing original uses of other technologies to enhance FAU Libraries’ operations.
The University at Buffalo included many of the traditional contributions but included "Significant web based publications that can be peer reviewed." In evaluating such works, the document states:
Peer review is characterized by the disinterested, critical review of the candidate’s research or creative activity by respected members of that community.What caught my attention is how they they do not define peer review. The document does not indicate peer-review as being a prerequisite to publication. One therefore could assume that peer-review includes feedback obtained after publication. What I like here is that one could define blogging as a 'significant web based publication' and comments and track backs becoming evidence of peer review.
Oregon State University also has an interesting way of defining scholarship:
In some fields, refereed journals and monographs are the traditional media for communication and peer validation; in others, exhibitions and performances. In still other fields, emerging technologies are creating, and will continue to create, entirely new media and methods.
This definition seems to allow the library system maximum flexibility in accepting a wide variety of activities as scholarship, including the development of software, application of technology to enhance library services, and yes, even blogging. Sphere: Related Content