Colloquium Committee Report
Adriana P. Cuervo, Chair 2007-2010
The University Library Colloquium Committee scheduled three colloquium lectures during the 2009-2010 academic year. These were:
Date: October 29, 2009
Lecturer: Kenneth Crews, Director, Copyright Office, Columbia University
Title: "Who Owns Your Scholarship: Copyright, Publication Agreements, and Good Practice"
Description: This was a CASMiller/Comm lecture sponsored by the Graduate College and the University Library Colloquium Committee with additional from GSLIS, the College of Law, the Office of Technology Management, and the Office of the Vice President for Technology and Economic Development.
Date; April 21, 2010
Lecturer: Jenn Riley, Metadata Librarian at Indiana University
Title: "How much to semanticize? Looking at the future of library data and the Semantic Web"
Description: Co-sponsored with Sarah Shreeves, Coordinator of IDEALS and the Scholarly Commons.
Date: April 26, 2010
Lecturer: Cees de Blaaij rom the Zeeuwse Bibliotheek (Library of Zeeland) in the Netherlands
Title: "Google Books Settlement and Europe: Married.....with Orphans?
Description: This colloquium was co-sponsored with the European Union Center.
*** We were also working on bringing Dan Hazen, Associate Librarian of Harvard College for Collection Development to speak about the changing role of the collection development and services in area studies libraries but there were insurmountable scheduling conflicts. He remains interested we agreed to try again for 2011.
The past three years have been an interesting experience as chair of the colloquium committee. We have invited leading figures in libraries and archives from across the US (and even Europe this past spring), and I've been honored to meet such inspiring and well-established professionals. I believe that the faculty and staff in the library benefit immensely from having outsiders come to speak about issues that we are currently facing, and these guests have been invited following a call for suggestions issued in the early fall each year. However, the attendance to the lectures leaves a lot to be desired and it is disappointing to bring a guest from out of town and only have a handful of colleagues show up for the lecture. We advertise well in advance (and also include GSLIS in our mailing list) and we also send quick reminders in the 2 days leading to the lecture but these strategies seem to miss the mark in terms of generating a good attendance record. While I realize there can't be an enforcing mechanism this is something that the committee needs to address in the future.
The experience of planning these lectures has been eye-opening in terms of the amount of administrative work that is carried out behind the scenes. There is a great amount of time spent on making the colloquium lectures happen, from finding a suitable venue (in my experience library faculty and staff members do not like to walk beyond the Library-GSLIS radius) to making travel arrangements and hosting the visitors. This is where I see a change in the committee's future role to more of an advisory and funding source/ administrative support where the interested faculty and staff members carry out the hosting part and hands-on details and the committee members are in charge of the administrative concerns (travel plans, venue, and advertising). Perhaps this would also help bring attendance numbers up.
Over the past three years I have worked with a wide range of colleagues in the committee, from the most involved and hands-on members, to those who acted mostly on an advisory role. The current distribution of one chair and four members works well if the workload is shared by all members of the committee. The intricacies of planning and carrying out events of this nature require more than a couple of people doing the work and during my tenure as chair I often times found myself filling in for tasks that were left unfinished. This is another case where enforcement is not a possibility, and deadlines had to be met in order for things to run smoothly. I see this as the biggest problem facing the committee and would suggest that the Executive Committee put mechanisms in place for committee chairs to correct this issue, and appoint committee members that understand the time commitment and workload the committee requires.