Category Archives: Features

The SCOOP: We are ALL Scholarly Communications Librarians

Submitted by Christine Fruin, ATLA Scholarly Communication/Open Access Publishing Manager

The SCOOP, Scholarly COmmunication and Open Publishing, is a monthly column published to inform ATLA members of recent developments, new resources, or interesting stories from the realm of scholarly communication and open access publishing.

The Organizational Ends of ATLA state that ATLA exists so that “…information professionals have the tools they need for robust scholarly communication in the fields of theology and religion.” This declaration recognizes not only the increasing need of librarians to be versed in scholarly communication issues but also ATLA’s commitment to supporting librarians in achieving competency in this area.

Responding to Modern Times: Khenpo Sodargyé’s View of Buddhism

Submitted by Antonio Terrone, PhD, ATLA East Asia Metadata Analyst

When addressing the figure of Milarepa, a maverick eleventh-century Tibetan Buddhist saint renowned for his spiritual achievements despite a murderous childhood, Khenpo Sodargyé soon adds that he, just like the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, was first of all a normal human being. “Realization in the Buddhist path has nothing to do with magical powers or miracles; it is achieved through assiduous practice and personal experience. Dedicated attention to our own mind and thoughts and a continuous analysis of our emotions is the only way to change negative habits and harmful behavior for our own wellbeing as well as that of others.’”

The SCOOP: ResearchGate and the Coalition for Responsible Sharing

Submitted by Christine Fruin, ATLA Scholarly Communication/Open Access Publishing Manager

The SCOOP, Scholarly COmmunication and Open Publishing, is a monthly column published to inform ATLA members of recent developments, new resources, or interesting stories from the realm of scholarly communication and open access publishing.

Academic social networks such as ResearchGate and are increasingly used by scholars and researchers as a means of not only sharing their own scholarly output but also to identify peers in their field and read the publications that they have authored. Because the historic predominant publishing model has been a transfer of copyright ownership in articles from the author to the publisher, the sharing of the published version of these articles often violates the agreement between authors and publishers. Concerned by the increasing usage of these sites for article sharing, the International Association of Scientific Technical and Medical Publishers sent a letter to ResearchGate in September 2017 requesting that it take measures to curb illegal sharing by its users and that it adhere to the Association’s “Voluntary Principles on Article Sharing.” Concurrently, a group of publishers, including Elsevier, Brill, and Wiley, formed the “Coalition for Responsible Sharing.” This new organization proceeded to issue takedown notices to ResearchGate while Elsevier and the American Chemical Society simultaneously filed suit against the company in Germany for copyright infringement.

Notes from the Road: Booher Library at the Seminary of the Southwest

Booher Library
Submitted by Roger Morales, ATLA Member Librarian

I had the honor of being invited to give a talk about trends in theological librarianship at the SWATLA (Southwest Area Theological Library Association) regional group meeting on October 20, 2017, hosted at the Austin Presbyterian Seminary. During my time in Austin, I had the privilege of meeting with Alison Poage, Library Director at the Booher Library at the Seminary of the Southwest.

The Booher Library staff includes three full-time librarians and fifteen student workers. The seminary has about 120 students, approximately 80 of which are full-time enrolled students. At the moment, the seminary does not have an online component to the MDiv degree but when the time comes Alison is gearing up the library to be able to support distance learners. One way she is doing this is by completing a collection analysis to assess in which way to better collect and shape the collection. By doing so, she tells me, she can then bolster the electronic resources collection and create some much-needed group work study areas within the physical library building.

Luther Seminary Faculty Adopt Open Access Policy

Open Access Luther
Submitted by Andrew Keck, Director of Library Services and Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Luther Seminary

One of ATLA’s Core Values is the “widest possible access to relevant information and ideas,” and in keeping with this value, I am pleased to share that in October, Luther Seminary Faculty voted to adopt an Open Access Policy to promote the widest possible dissemination of faculty research and scholarship. Luther Seminary is one of the first stand-alone seminaries to adopt such a policy.

Faculty at Luther Seminary are active scholars, with just thirty faculty producing over 1500 articles, reviews, essays, and books. According to the Faculty Handbook, “members of the faculty are expected to be active participants in the scholarly discourse of their respective disciplines. Research, publication, and contributions to academic societies are essential elements of the faculty’s commitment to pedagogical excellence, service to the church, and influencing the future of theological scholarship.”

Open in Order To: Open Access Week 2017

Open Access Week
Submitted by Christine Fruin, ATLA Scholarly Communication/Open Access Publishing Manager

The theme of this year’s International Open Access Week is “Open in Order To…” and it acknowledges the many benefits, motivations, and goals that drive researchers, scholars, students, librarians, publishers, and others who are working toward a more open scholarly communication system. Open access does not benefit any single group or discipline nor does it work toward a singular goal. Rather, this inquiry can be completed in numerous ways: Open in order to increase the impact of my scholarship. Open in order to enable more equitable participation in research. Open in order to facilitate collaboration across disciplines. Open in order to increase the visibility of my scholarly field. These are just a few examples of how one might complete the phrase “open in order to…”. In my role as ATLA’s new Scholarly Communication/Open Access Publishing Manager, I look forward to engaging in conversations with our members to learn more about how they and the communities they serve would answer “Open in Order To…”.

ATLA Staff Visits BETH in Zagreb, Croatia

Submitted by Andy Carter, ATLA Digital Projects Manager

The 46th General Assembly of BETH took place in at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Institute in Zagreb, Croatia, from September 9-13. BETH brings together national theological library associations and some individual theological libraries from across Europe.

The Institute sits adjacent to the Zagreb Cathedral and was home for four days of discussions about European digital initiatives, tours of Zagreb and the Croatian National Library, and shared meals with new found friends. I was honored to attend BETH and give a presentation about the development of the ATLA Digital Library contextualized within the recent history of the United States’ digital initiatives.

Building an Inclusive Library Through Universal Design

Universal Design
Submitted by Andrew Keck, Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, MN

Building an Inclusive Library Through Universal Design, a recent workshop hosted by Minnesota Theological Library Association (MTLA), included a diverse set of twenty-three guests from area theological, college, university, and public libraries. Carli Spina, Head Librarian for Assessment and Outreach at Boston College, led participants through principles of Universal Design and Universal Design for Learning and how these principles can be applied to library design and programming projects. The workshop consisted of a mix of lecture, discussion, and hands-on activities that asked participants to critically consider the existing spaces and practices at their library.

Testimony: The Joys of Cartographic Cataloging

This article was previously featured in Vol. 25, No. 4 of Theology Cataloging Bulletin (TCB), an ATLA member publication. Testimony is a feature in TCB that gives a place for members of the technical services community to share their stories. We felt this testimony was applicable to the wider community and have since published it below for you.

Submitted by Ann Heinrichs, Metadata/Cataloging Librarian, Paul Bechtold Library, Catholic Theological Union

A Growing Love for Maps

It’s hard to say when my passion for maps began. It seems to have gone hand-in-hand with my passion for seafaring. As a teenager, I was obsessed with tales of great sea voyages. Summer afternoons would find me in the hammock, riveted to my cherished copy of Peter Freuchen’s Book of the Seven Seas, and it was full of nautical charts. I longed to go to sea, and I knew that a sea map would get me where I was going.

A Syriac Source of a Madrasa’s Curriculum in Pre-Ottoman South East Anatolia

Submitted by Dr. Iskandar Bcheiry, ATLA Metadata Analyst 

The purpose of this article is to study the relations between Muslims and Christians in Anatolia during the pre-Ottoman period by observing not only the history of social and religious tensions but also the history of intellectual exchanges. One such exchange is found in the curriculum of a madrasa in Anatolia in the pre-Ottoman period. This list is found in a Syriac historical biography of a Christian Syriac Patriarch named John son of Šay Allah (d. 1496) who attended a Muslim educational religious madrasa in his home town of Mardin in southeast Anatolia.

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