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In anticipation of the current issue of Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, we spoke with poet and novelist Ellen Galford about her writing, as well as topics in Jewish studies more broadly. Galford composed three original poems for issue 37, volume 3, a special issue titled “Narrative Spaces at the Margins of British Jewish Culture(s).”

You can access Shofar through your institutional log-in via Project Muse or JSTOR, visit the Shofar website, or follow Shofar on Twitter @ShofarJournal.



Q: You’ve written fiction and poetry on Jewish themes and topics in the past, and for this special issue of Shofar you’ve written three poems: “The Museum of Margins,” “Mixed Marriage,” and “Curator.” Do you find that one form (poetry or prose) lends itself especially well to exploring certain aspects of Jewish identity or history?

Ellen Galford: There’s an old saying that God’s real reason for creating humankind was to satisfy His/Her/Their (??) voracious appetite for stories. When an image or a theme starts jabbing me between the shoulder blades, I don’t ask it whether it would like to be a poem or a piece of prose when it grows up. Either way, it’s going to be a story that I hope will keep a reader, divine or human, entertained.

Prose has prevailed throughout most of my writing life—screeds of bespoke nonfiction texts for the day job, fiction for the sake of love and politics and taking my imagination wherever it wanted to go. But it was only after novels about lesbian bad girls in Jacobean London, folklore and feminism in the twentieth-century Outer Hebrides, and a satirical slap at the Thatcher government that I came out of the closet as a Jewish writer with novel number four. And at that point prose—with its leisurely story arcs and ample room for any number of digressions—opened the door into the surreal, heretical Jewish world inside my head.

After I stepped across that particular threshold, I came out of the closet as a writer of poetry, too. For years I’d felt uneasy about showing my poems to anyone (apart from a few very personal pieces with specific readers in mind). But maybe it’s because I’ve travelled far enough along in my own personal timeline to acquire a bit of chutzpah and just go for it. Sometimes writing poetry feels like wrestling with an angel (or a pack of noisy demons) all night long. Call it some kind of cockamamie optimism, but I don’t think there is any theme or topic, Jewish or otherwise, that a poem can’t tackle. Making it good enough is another story.


Q: You were originally born in New Jersey but spent much of your life in Scotland. Do your American origins shape your experience in Scotland? Additionally, does your Jewish identity inform the ways you understand national identity, the ways you might personally locate yourself within national or global communities or as a writer?

Galford: I’ve lived in Scotland for a very long time. When I left the US, Nixon was still president. I am what’s sometimes defined as “Scottish by formation.” Politically I view the world through a leftish, internationalist Scottish lens, appalled by Brexit and hoping that we’ll get our independence while I’m still around to see it. But any time I start up a conversation with a stranger, the first question will be “Where’s that accent from?” As soon as I open my mouth, it becomes clear that my origins lie much closer to the banks of the River Hudson than to those of the River Clyde. And although I tend to look at whatever is happening in America as “foreign news,” I know that culturally I am also very much a product of my New York/New Jersey upbringing. Middle-aged taxi-drivers are particularly impressed when I tell them that the TV mafia saga The Sopranos was based on the suburb where I grew up.

Many years ago I did a reading at a feminist bookshop in Massachusetts to mark the US publication of The Dyke and the Dybbuk. The shop manager confessed that “We can’t decide where to put you. The lesbian shelf? The historical fiction shelf? The fantasy shelf? American feminist fiction or European?” I suggested very tentatively that if she ordered a few extra copies she could put them in all the right places.

Like everybody else I know, I belong to several different tribes, some of them Jewish (you can be 98.6 percent secular and still want to learn Talmud). We’ve all made journeys, some of them generations-long, to reach the places where we feel at home, changing and maybe even reinventing ourselves in the process. This certainly informs my thinking not only about national identity but about the ways people define themselves over time in terms of religion, gender, sexuality, political perspective, and so forth. And I can’t understand how any Jew with even the vaguest sense of history can collude with the builders of walls.


Q: Many scholars in the upcoming special issue discuss the ways historians, sociologists, and artists have in the past often limited their explorations of British Jewishness to England. Do you think Jewishness is experienced differently in Scotland than it is in England? How would you describe the relationship between Scottish identity and Jewishness?

the cover of Shofar Journal Volume 37 issue 3

Galford composed three original poems for Shofar: Issue 37, Volume 3


Galford: Scotland is a small country (5 million people) with a tiny population of Jews. The Jewish spectrum runs from traditional Orthodox through progressive Liberal to those who wouldn’t put their foot into any shul at all. Most of us live in Glasgow or Edinburgh but we also turn up in remote Highland glens, out on the islands and in tiny fishing villages along the Fife coast. We don’t all know each other.

Heaven forbid I should speak for everybody, but I think I’d be safe in saying that Jewish Scotland is in no way a smaller, rainier version of Jewish London or Jewish Manchester. In Scotland you’d have to be very determined indeed to live in what one might call a separatist Jewish environment, devoid of friends, partners, colleagues, or neighbors from outside the tribe. And Scotland, as we are forever reminding the rest of the world, isn’t England. Our educational systems, legal systems, historical perspectives, and social attitudes differ in many ways. One current sore point is that the Scottish electorate voted by a substantial majority to remain in the European Union, and there is a widespread feeling that we are being dragged out against our will by our southern neighbours.

I’m trying hard to avoid sloppy generalizations here, but I do think that the reasons for this include a much more positive attitude to immigration. This is partly because it is widely understood that Scotland needs more people—demographically and economically—to flourish. But there is also an underlying internationalism. Scots, like Jews, have experienced all manner of displacements and diasporas, forced and voluntary alike. You’d be hard-pressed to find a native-born Scot without family connections in Canada, Australia, the United States, or elsewhere. Like Jews, Scots of all breeds and creeds have long memories, and know what it feels like to look over your shoulder and see the place you came from disappearing from sight.


Q: In two of the poems you’ve written for this special issue, “The Museum of Margins” and “Curator,” you reference the museum space, a library, “draughty corridors,” and “tattered photos.” These poems revolve around the past, including not simply spaces to preserve history (museum, library) but also memories. How would you describe the relationship between place, memory, and the act of writing in your work?

Galford: The one word answer to this question would be: Inseparable. But to make a short story a wee bit longer, I’d say that I’m an inveterate time-traveller. I’m obsessed with places and the sense of place, random objects and the mysteries behind them. If they had an Olympic event in Urban Flâneuring, I’d be a good bet for a gold medal. Yet even though I try hard to stay in the here and now, I find myself drifting across timelines. Sometimes this involves leaping across space as well as time, wandering through my own memories, personal or inherited. And living in Edinburgh, with a medieval castle and a long-dead volcano at its heart, means that any ordinary morning dog walk can take me through many centuries of local history and into deep geological time.

I think these tendencies are probably hard-wired into every Jewish writer’s DNA. They definitely run in the family. My father was a history teacher and my mother a librarian. Both were inveterate sentimentalists and the curators (not always willingly) of a massive horde of family photographs, battered kitchen utensils with a tale attached to every dent and scratch, a cellar and attic crammed with files and boxes of ephemera bearing the fingerprints of at least four generations.


Q: You mentioned that you’ve recently been studying Yiddish and experimenting with Yiddish poetry. What motivated you to learn Yiddish? Is your experience significantly different when writing in Yiddish rather than English?

Galford: It’s only in the past dozen years or so that I’ve begun studying Yiddish in any formal way, but its words and cadences have provided the background music to my life since the day I was born. My maternal grandmother, who lived with us throughout my childhood, was the first American-born child of a large (and talkative) family that emigrated from Riga to New Jersey in the mid-1880s. She and her nine siblings grew up speaking English as their first language but shifted easily into the mameloshn when any passing child drifted into earshot of a juicy conversation. The next two generations followed the old familiar pattern: My mother used a few Yiddish phrases; I knew only a random collection of Yiddish words.

I joined a Yiddish class to reclaim that inheritance and learn the language properly but it’s the literature that keeps me going. I had no particular intention to write poetry in Yiddish (doing it in English seems challenging enough) but sometimes Yiddish words and phrases slip on to the page. The finished poems are, of necessity, short and simple. I’m not the whizz-bang linguist I was in my youth. Despite the best efforts of our wonderful teacher, my grasp of grammar and retention of vocabulary still have a long way to go. It’s probably an act of sheer hubris/chutzpah to try writing Yiddish poetry at all.


Q: Your novel The Dyke and the Dybbuk was the winner of a Lambda Award for Gay and Lesbian Literature, and you’ve written about and been involved with LGBTQ communities in the past. What would you say are the key intersections between LGBTQ identity and Jewish identity? (For you personally or for the communities more broadly).

Galford: I grew up in the pre-Stonewall era of Compulsory Heterosexuality—a time of toxic stereotypes, parents cutting ties with their “deviant” offspring or sending them to shrinks for a “cure.” It took many of us, me included, a longer time than it might now, and quite a few wrong turnings, before we found our ways into who we are. Today’s Jewish and queer communities would have been beyond our wildest imaginings: out and proud gay and lesbian rabbis (indeed, any female rabbis at all), discreet support groups for those in flight from fundamentalist communities (Jewish or otherwise), the etiquette around preferred pronouns.

For all the positive developments, we’ve not quite reached the Promised Land. We can’t even agree what that Promised Land should be or who should have the right to be there. A long history of vicious persecutions, whether at the hands of anti-Semites or homophobes or fascist dictatorships, doesn’t automatically make us all lovely souls. In the particular communities I inhabit—the LGBTQ and the Jewish worlds as well as that turbulent political sphere called “the Left”—there are still those with more appetite for widening schisms than for finding common ground. Case in point: It can sometimes feel more problematical to come out as Jewish than it once felt to come out as a lesbian. This gives me an uncomfortable and very personal sense of déjà vu. But nobody reading this needs me to tell them that we’re living in dangerous times.

Parrish Library’s Featured Database will give you a very brief introduction to the basic features of one of our specialized subscription databases. This time we’re featuring Small Business Reference Center, brought to you by EBSCO Industries, Inc.

Link: The List of Business Databases is the alphabetical list of the databases specially selected for those in a business program of study. Access the databases off-campus with your Purdue login and password.

Focus: Offers exclusive full text for many top consumer business reference books, as well as the necessary tools and instruction to address a wide-range of small business topics.

Tutorial: Click Getting Started with Small Business Reference Center to see the basics of using Small Business Reference Center.

Start with this hint: Use the Advanced search options to combine keywords for a more precise search.

Why you should know this database: Small Business Reference Center provides business videos, a help and advice section, and information on how to create business plans.

Related Resources

Some other resources you might want to explore, are:

  • Regional Business News, full text coverage for regional business publications, incorporating 75 business news magazines, newswires, and newspapers.
  • Small Business Resource Center, a portal for entrepreneurs containing business plans, entrepreneurial articles, small business forms, and related information.

This Featured Database comes to you from the Roland G. Parrish Library of Management & Economics. If you would like more information about this database, or if you would like a demonstration of it for a class, contact parrlib@purdue.edu. Also let us know if you know of a colleague who would benefit from this, or future Featured Databases.

Since usage statistics are an important barometer when databases are up for renewal, tell us your favorite database, and we will gladly promote it. Send an email to parrlib@purdue.edu.

Specialized scholarly books have long been the backbone of academia, but too often don’t get the attention they deserve. In this series, we ask our authors which monographs have had a lasting influence on them. Follow this link to see the rest of the series.

This post is written by Nancy Wingfield, a series editor for our Central European Studies series.

“A Woman without a Husband Is Like a Fish without a Bicycle”


When Justin Race, the director at Purdue University Press, asked if I would like to blog about a monograph that has had an impact on me, I agreed with alacrity, before I’d thought through quite what kind of impact I might address. It didn’t take long, however, for me settle on Elizabeth D. Heineman’s What Difference Does a Husband Make?: Women and Marital Status in Nazi and Postwar Germany (University of California Press, 1999). The first part of the title always makes me snicker, while the subtitle precisely explains the topic.

Nancy Wingfield holding "What Difference Does a Husband Make?"

What Difference Does a Husband Make? is the providential combination of a book that impressed me greatly and that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It taught me to think broadly about gender. I’ve regularly cited it in my own work, recommended it to other scholars, and assigned it to students in a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses. Indeed, I pride myself that my letter to the University of California Press about this book’s popularity among my students, many of whom couldn’t afford to buy it in hardback, helped get it published in paper. This pathbreaking book has a clear thesis, a well-written narrative, useful arguments, and interesting examples based on a wide variety of primary and secondary sources. The chapter titles, like “Marriage Rubble: The Crisis in the Family, Public and Private,” are enticing. Evocative images, often of Heineman’s female subjects, are incorporated into the text. In my opinion, it’s the very model of a monograph, from the elegant dustjacket (monochromatic; no red and no swastikas) to the comprehensive index. I even like the typeface. Every monograph should be as attractive to the eye and to the intellect as this one.

For those of you who don’t know Heineman’s book, it is a gender and social history of a long neglected, but crucial, element of the Third Reich: women. In her impressive work, Heineman doesn’t employ the standard political-historical divisions, but, rather like a social-history superwoman, she leaps over chronological barriers in a single bound. The wide sweep of her narrative arc includes analysis of women—unwed, married, divorced, and/or widowed—at work and at home across three German political regimes. The categories of women Heineman analyzes are not hard and fast, and women standing alone, from those the Nazis refused to permit to marry to those who looked at imploding families in the postwar era, and chose not to, populate the narrative. In her exploration of the construction of marital status, Heineman traces transitions in the relationships between women and the state from the prewar National Socialism of the 1930s through World War II and to the postwar consolidation of liberal democracy—and the reconstruction of the family—in West Germany and of communism in East Germany. As Heinemann writes, she attempts to untangle a web of comparative and interlocking histories: those of three German states and a period of statelessness.

I found Heineman’s book and the rest of her work, which I have voraciously consumed, useful in my own research, an excellent source for lecture material (above all the variety of behaviors the Nazis considered asocial), a popular reading assignment with undergraduates, and an enthusiastically dissected book in graduate seminars. It seems to me that a monograph can’t really be expected to do more.

This post is written by Purdue University Press Director Justin Race. It is part of the blog tour hosted by the Association of University Presses in celebration of University Press week. To see the rest of the posts in the tour, click here

The theme of University Press Week this year is “Read. Think. Act.”. It was chosen to emphasize the role that scholarly publishers can play in moving national and international conversations forward on critical and complex issues. The theme of today’s blog tour is “How to Be a Better (Global) Citizen”.


Looking Back and Looking Forward; Thinking Local and Thinking Global


The cover of the book Eva and OttoA week shy of my one-year anniversary with Purdue University Press, it’s a natural time to reflect on where we’ve been and where we hope to go in the future. Every Press comes with its unique legacy. In our case, several premier series that have been leaders in their fields for years, such as New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond and Central European Studies. We have a rich history of publishing Holocaust memoirs—horrific in circumstance, but uplifting that these individuals survived, triumphed, and were able to tell their stories. Books like Eva and Otto are all the more important given so many people did not survive and were effectively silenced.

The cover of the book Ever TrueOur Founders Series has been chronicling the history of Purdue for decades, ensuring that with each graduating class and retiring faculty and staff member, a record persists of what Purdue meant at given points in its 150-year history. We were honored to release two titles this past year celebrating Purdue’s sesquicentennial: Ever True: 150 Years of Giant Leaps at Purdue University and Purdue at 150: A Visual History of Student Life. And finally, our Aeronautics and Astronautics Series, which just released Dear Neil: Letters to the First Man from All Mankind—a book that is both local and global. Armstrong went to Purdue before he went to the moon. He walked across campus before he leapt on behalf of all people.

Book cover of A History of YugoslaviaThat’s both a lot to stand on and a lot to live up to—more than 700 books published over 59 years. Next year we turn 60, and we’ll be adding 30 more titles to that total. A university press is your next-door neighbor and your pen pal on the other side of the globe. To browse our website is to see a history of Purdue next to a history of Yugoslavia. Though speaking to different audiences, what unites our titles is the time, energy, and rigor that go into all our books, which are meant to make an impact today and remain relevant for years to come.

Cover of Dear Neil ArmstrongBooks do many things, but for university presses in particular they inform. They educate. They shed light on a sliver of history or a place you’ve never visited or a person you’ve never met. They introduce ideas you may have never considered or challenge you to reexamine your thinking on a topic you believed you knew well. Ideally study leads to reflection, which leads to understanding. And from understanding it’s a small leap to empathy. The world is a smaller, more interconnected place than it’s ever been. We have no choice but to speak to one another. Books ensure we listen and truly hear one another instead of talking past or yelling at one another. That’s the value of a university press. To be a part of that is what I’m celebrating as my first year comes to a close. To grow and add to it is what I’m looking forward to as my second year begins.



Other posts on today’s University Press Week blog tour:

University of Florida Press: Carl Lindskoog, author of Detain and Punish: Haitian Refugees and the Rise of the World’s Largest Immigration Detention System, provides a list of actions individuals can take if they are concerned about the detention crisis at the US border.

University of Virginia Press: Excerpt from Amitai Etzioni’s latest book, Reclaiming Democracy, in which he explains how recent global threats to democracy demand the response of a social movement on the scale of the civil rights or environmental movements. Etzioni lays out the requirements and opportunities to achieve such a movement.

Georgetown University Press: A post highlighting ways to be a better global citizen in the context of the global refugee crisis according to David Hollenbach’s Humanity in Crisis: Ethical and Religious Response to Refugees.

University of Wisconsin Press: Focuses on book and journal readings that highlight scholars who are engaging with concepts of global citizenship and influencing public policy to improve global situations.

University of Minnesota Press: Ian G. R. Shaw previews his manifesto for building a future beyond late-stage capitalism, drawing up alternate ways to “make a living” beyond what we’re conditioned for.

University of Nebraska Press: Guest post from Robin Hemley, author of Borderline Citizen, on what it means to be a transnational citizen.

University of Toronto Press: An exclusive excerpt from one of the first two books in our New Jewish Press imprint: The Conflict over the Conflict: The Israel/Palestine Campus Debate by Kenneth S. Stern. As the director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate, Stern offers some brilliant advice on how we can all think rationally and compassionately in order to be better global citizens.

Vanderbilt University Press: A post looking at ways to practice active citizenship, with an excerpt from Awakening Democracy through Public Work by Harry C. Boyte.

University of North Carolina Press: Alex Dika Seggerman, author of Modernism on the Nile, on how art historians can use a global perspective to rethink the underlying narratives of modernism.

Purdue University Press is offering 50% off all books in our Central European Studies series through the end of the year. Recent and forthcoming titles in the series includes A History of Yugoslavia by Marie-Janine Calic, Making Peace in an Age of War: Emperor Ferdinand III (1608–1657) by Mark Hengerer, and Jan Hus: The Life and Death of a Preacher by Pavel Soukup.

A History of Yugoslavia provides a concise, accessible, comprehensive synthesis of the political, cultural, social, and economic life of Yugoslavia—from its nineteenth-century South Slavic origins to the bloody demise of the multinational state of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Recently appeared in Choice Reviews (Nov. 2019): “Highly recommended. General readers through faculty.”

Making Peace in an Age of War provides answers to the question: Why did it take the emperor more than ten years to end a devastating war, the traumatizing effects of which on central Europe lasted into the twentieth century, particularly since there was no hope of victory against his foreign adversaries from the very moment he came into power?

Jan Hus is the biography of was a late medieval Czech university master and popular preacher who was condemned at the Council of Constance and burned at the stake as a heretic in 1415. Thanks to his contemporary influence and his posthumous fame in the Hussite movement and beyond, Hus has become one of the best known figures of the Czech past and one of the most prominent reformers of medieval Europe as a whole.

For more than four decades the Purdue University Press Central European Studies series has enriched knowledge of the region by producing scholarly monographs, advanced surveys, and select collections of the highest quality. Since its founding, this has been the only English-language series devoted primarily to the lands and peoples of the Habsburg Empire, its successor states, and those areas lying along its immediate periphery.

To get the discount, use code CES50 when ordering on the Purdue University Press website. This code is valid until the end of the year on all print books.


Select titles from our Central European Studies series:

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Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies (PULSIS) will offer four new digital scholarship-related information and library science (ILS) courses in Spring 2020. According to Matt Hannah, assistant professor of Digital Humanities, PULSIS, the courses are designed to provide students with important skills related to Digital Humanities, data science, archival science, and data management.
ILS 695, “Introduction to Computational Text Analysis” (3 credit hours); noon-1:15 p.m. Tuesdays/Thursdays; Instructors: Matthew Hannah and Trevor Burrows, postdoctoral researcher

Graduate Courses

  • ILS 695, “Introduction to Computational Text Analysis” (3 credit hours); noon-1:15 p.m. Tuesdays/Thursdays; Instructors: Matthew Hannah and Trevor Burrows, postdoctoral researcher
    This course will offer an introduction to text analysis using the scripting language R. Aimed at an audience of newcomers, especially from the humanities and social sciences, with no experience in programming. Students will learn a set of tools and methods, but will also think theoretically about the nature of text and textuality, signification, authorship and authority, the history of the book, and more.
  • ILS 695, “Digital and Analog Archives” (3 credit hours); 1:30-4:20 p.m. Wednesday; Instructor: Sammie Morris, professor and head, Purdue Archives and Special Collections
    In this course, students will engage both the theory and practice of archival work. Taught by University Archivist Sammie Morris, with support from a range of expert archivists, students will gain valuable experience regarding the practice of archiving and will contribute to an original digital archive of materials related to Purdue’s history.
  • ILS 595, “Data Management and Curation for Qualitative Research” (3 credit hours), 4:30-7:20 p.m. Tuesdays; Instructor: Kendall Roark, assistant professor, PULSIS
    This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to data management and curation for qualitative research, with a focus on the use, value, and organization of data, materials, infrastructure, tools and scholarly communication.

Undergraduate Course

  • ILS 230, “Data Science and Society: Ethical, Legal, Social Issues” (3 credit hours), 1:30-2:45 Tuesdays/Thursdays; Instructor: Kendall Roark, assistant professor, PULSIS
    This course provides an introduction to ethical, legal, social issues (ELSI) in data science. Students will be introduced to interdisciplinary theoretical and practical frameworks that can aid in exploring the impact and role of data science in society.

For a complete list of Spring 2020 ILS courses offered through the Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies, visit www.lib.purdue.edu/initiatives/spring-2020-courses.

by Beth McNeil, Dean of Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies and Esther Ellis Norton Professor of Library Science

Dean of Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies and Esther Ellis Norton Professor of Library Science Beth McNeil

Beth McNeil, Dean of Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies and Esther Ellis Norton Professor of Library Science

During International Open Access week each year, those who work in libraries around the world lead conversations on our campuses, sparking discussion on the changing nature of scholarly communication and the benefits of open access. We often offer OA-related programming and sometimes celebrate our successes during the past year. This year’s theme, “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge,” is timely, as conversations have expanded beyond the benefits of open to the challenges of building new systems for sharing that offer full access for all.

Earlier this week here at Purdue, four faculty members from across campus described what “open” means to them during an engaging panel program moderated by Justin Race, director of Purdue University Press. Kris Bross, associate dean for research and creative endeavors, Honors College, and professor of English; Gaurav Chopra, assistant professor of chemistry; Wayne Wright, Barbara I. Cook Chair of Literacy and Language and associate dean for research, graduate programs, and faculty development, College of Education; and Michael Witt, associate professor and interim associate dean for research, Libraries and School of Information Studies, each offered examples of how open scholarship/open science influenced their individual academic work and teaching. Their personal experience, plus comments and questions from the audience, made for a very engaging program.

When I think about what open means to me, I know that I, as a librarian, care deeply about making information available to all who need it. In university research libraries we work hard and, sometimes very creatively, to find ways to meet the information needs of our faculty, students, and campus community. Finding the balance between a scholarly communication ecosystem that I know needs deep and sustained change and meeting day-to-day local research information needs can be challenging and complicated.

Oct. 21-27, 2019, is International Open Access Week. This is part of a series — written by Purdue faculty and staff — that demonstrates the benefits of open access scholarly publishing. For the entire series, visit http://blogs.lib.purdue.edu/news/category/oaweek19/.

Each year personnel in libraries, including here at Purdue, are forced to make tough decisions regarding which journal subscriptions to renew. Subscription cost increases of 5-7 percent each year are not sustainable, and when major for-profit publishers report profit margins in the 30–40 percent range each year, higher than Apple, Google, and Amazon — it just seems wrong.

I believe the scholarship and data produced by our researchers, scholars, and faculty can change the world, but to do so, it needs to be open and freely available for all. Contracts and licenses with publishers and content providers should be transparent across institutions and equitable for all parties, and the costs of scholarship should be financially sustainable for libraries. Open. Transparent. Sustainable. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Learn more about Purdue’s Open Access resources, including Purdue e-Pubs, Purdue’s open access digital repository, at www.lib.purdue.edu/openaccess.

Oct. 21-27, 2019, is International Open Access Week. This is part of a series — written by Purdue faculty and staff — that demonstrates the benefits of open access scholarly publishing. For the entire series, visit http://blogs.lib.purdue.edu/news/category/oaweek19/.

Sandi Caldrone, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Sandi Caldrone

by Sandi Caldrone, Data Repository Outreach Specialist

Publishing open access data requires imagination. When I review datasets submitted for publication in the Purdue University Research Repository (PURR), I try to put myself in the shoes of a scholar hoping to reuse this dataset, and I try to imagine every question the scholar might have. When you share your data with the world, you open it up to new possibilities—possibilities that are hard to anticipate.

On November 10, 1981, French philosopher Gilles Deleuze gave a lecture on cinema in a Paris university. When he prepared his notes for class that day, he could have had no way of knowing that a student’s audio recording of that lecture, along with dozens of his other lectures, would eventually find their way to the French National Library, and from there to PURR, where anyone can download it to hear his words or text mine the transcriptions.

When Deleuze gave this lecture a little less than 40 years ago, that tape recorder was the most advanced technology in the room. Now, digital humanities students can plug his words into online tools that spin out word clouds, bubble charts, and network graphs. That’s why data curators are always pushing for richer descriptions of data. We want to give future researchers everything they might need to conduct analyses we can’t even imagine yet.

The cycle of imaginative reuse doesn’t have to take forty years. In PURR, we’re already starting to see second-generation open access data—open access data that has been combined, transformed, and republished as a new open access dataset.

As it was in Deleuze’s classroom, it is students who are in the vanguard.

In 2019, PURR has started to see examples of student-faculty collaborations in which students collect data from various open access datasets and put in the labor required to prepare those data for analysis. By publishing their transformed data, they give other researchers the opportunity to pick up where they left off and push scholarship forward, instead of reinventing the wheel. See two excellent examples:

It’s hard to imagine what students might do with data 40 years from now, but I’m really looking forward to finding out.

Explore the Purdue University Research Repository at https://purr.purdue.edu/.

Learn more about Purdue’s Open Access resources, including Purdue e-Pubs, Purdue’s open access digital repository, at www.lib.purdue.edu/openaccess.

The HSSE Featured Database for October is ERIC (EBSCO Interface). This database is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and stands for “Educational Resources Information Center,” which has been providing education research since 1964. It also explores research in other disciplines that have implications on educational theory and practice.

Open Access for Alumni

October 23rd, 2019

Oct. 21-27, 2019, is International Open Access Week. This is part of a series — written by Purdue faculty — that demonstrates the benefits of open access scholarly publishing. For the entire series, visit http://blogs.lib.purdue.edu/news/category/oaweek19/.

by Erla P. Heyns, Head, Humanities, Social Sciences, Education, and Business Division
Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Purdue Libraries Head of the Humanities, Social Sciences, Education, and Business Division and Associate Professor Erla Heyns

Erla Heyns, Head of the Humanities, Social Sciences, Education, and Business Division;  Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies

An issue very dear to my heart is providing access to published research for alumni. The professionals who graduate from our universities and enter such fields as veterinary medicine, psychotherapy, social work, and many more have been carefully trained to find and evaluate research literature while they are students. Once they graduate, they are cut off from this access, and they have to depend on employers who might or might not subscribe to certain needed journals. If not, they have to pay, if they are able, for access.

The consequences of deficient access are far-reaching for our society. How can it be acceptable for a veterinarian, for example, not to be able to stay current with the research literature? How can it be acceptable that a psychotherapist has to depend on learning about the latest research only haphazardly, at annual conference presentations, instead of being able to focus on current research in a particular area at the time of need? These critical fields, in which professionals make a significant difference in the lives of their clients, in our lives, typically do not have adequate access to important new research.

The urgency of having a holistic approach to provide access to research for all professionals cannot be overstated. Universities, not just libraries, should tackle the issue with renewed vigor, since we are not only infringing on the lifelong learning opportunities of our alumni, but we are also hurting ourselves and the entire population as consumers of professional care.

There is very little written about this subject in the library research literature, but what is published relates to two different approaches to the problem.

One is to think about alumni as an extension of the university they graduated from and to suggest ways to give them access, perhaps through subscribing on their behalf or providing a service through which they can request an article for a fee or the university will pay the copyright fee.

Another discussion that has been happening at some institutions is to try to convince publishers to create favorable funding models so that alumni can subscribe to journals in their fields of study. This has not been successful, except in very limited instances. Another issue with the solution of individual subscription access is, in most fields, research literature is not just published in a few journals. The problem, of course, is also bigger than just access to the journal literature; journals are indexed in databases that alumni also cannot access. Google Scholar provides valuable access to be able to identify research, but it is by no means comprehensive or complete.

The second context in which this problem is being discussed in the literature is in the context of open access. The benefit of open access is apparent since everyone will be able to access current research. Bruce Symphony, in “Open Access for Scholars Left Behind” (2018), emphasizes the importance of teaching students how to find and cite legitimate open access publications so that they are aware of these resources and are more likely to use them in their professional lives.

Providing access to alumni requires a university community working toward a comprehensive solution, and a main feature of the solution is awareness of and ability to use high-quality, open access material.

Information about other 2019 Open Access Week activities at Purdue is available at http://blogs.lib.purdue.edu/news/2019/09/26/oa-week19/.

Learn more about Purdue’s Open Access resources, including Purdue e-Pubs, Purdue’s open access digital repository, at www.lib.purdue.edu/openaccess.