ATLA Member Publications Moving to Open Access

The American Theological Library Association (ATLA) is moving the Theology Cataloging Bulletin (TCB) and the ATLA Summary of Proceedings, two valued and frequently consulted resources of the ATLA membership and others, to open access. ​

For more than 25 years, TCB has provided readers with information about new and changed Library of Congress subject headings and classification numbers as well as announcements of upcoming training opportunities, a bibliography of recently published articles, and other stories of interest to religion/theology catalogers. The Proceedings is the historical record of ATLA’s annual conference. It includes summaries of pre-conference professional development workshops; reports of business meetings, interest group meetings, denominational sessions, and conversation groups; and the full text or abstracts of plenary sessions, papers, posters, and workshops presented during the conference. Readers of the Proceedings learn about the rich and varied interests of ATLA members and of the work being done in the field of theological librarianship.

Over the past year, organizationally TCB and the Proceedings were brought together with other member-driven ATLA publications, including the Theological Librarianship journal and the open access monographs press under the ATLA Publishing Program. This program was launched to bring together ATLA’s various publishing efforts under one structure to take advantage of technological infrastructure, collaborate marketing efforts, and to grow the publishing program and better represent ATLA members’ scholarly output for the benefit of our members and others.

TCB and Proceedings Move to Open Access

Since launching this program, we evaluated the publishing platform and policies of TCB and the Proceedings. After careful consideration, including consultation with the ATLA Press Coordinating Council and with the full support and guidance of the current editors in chief of TCB and the Proceedings, we have decided to make these publications open access.

ATLA Executive Director Brenda Bailey-Hainer believes that “making these publications open access demonstrates the Association’s core value of ‘widest possible access to relevant information and ideas.’  It allows our members to freely share their knowledge and expertise with fellow theological and religious studies librarians around the world as we strive to achieve the Board’s vision of ATLA as a facilitator of open access publishing in the field.”

TCB and the Proceedings will be published on the Open Journal Systems (OJS) platform on which ATLA’s open access journal Theological Librarianship is also published.

Miranda Bennett, editor in chief of the Proceedings, believes “open access will make the wonderful work of our conference presenters freely available around the world, enabling them to share and promote it through social media and engage without barriers in scholarly and professional conversations. As a longtime ATLA member, I couldn’t be happier to be part of an organization actively supporting OA publication, and I’m proud that my membership dues help make ATLA’s important work open to everyone.

Leslie Engelson, editor in chief of TCB is “excited about moving the Theology Cataloging Bulletin to open access as this will make it easier for members and others to access this information that is so important for the work they do. It will also open up the Testimony column to a wider audience and attract authors who want to publish content that is of interest to technical services practitioners.”

Changes to Member Benefits

Historically, access to TCB and the Proceedings has been a member benefit, meaning to read the content, you had to be a member of ATLA. With the move to open access, these publications enjoy increased readership and the priorities and professional work of our membership will be more discoverable. Members will continue to have exclusive opportunity to serve in editorial positions with TCB and the Proceedings and are encouraged to participate as authors.

“By nurturing an environment of openly sharing scholarship in the theological librarianship community, we are helping our members develop and thrive in their professional lives and providing them opportunities to contribute to the larger world of librarianship and scholarly communications in religion and theology,” Director of Member Programs Gillian Harrison Cain explained.

With the shift to open access and to OJS, the publication schedule of TCB will adjust to more closely align with the Library of Congress notifications. We will also be changing the options available for members to receive a print copy of the Proceedings. Details on these changes will be forthcoming and described in detail in the ATLA Newsletter, on the ATLA website, and included with your membership renewal information.​

Read the full press release.

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