Paper on Water Costs Rated Best at Annual Conference

The nearly 50 education sessions at SLA’s 2022 Annual Conference addressed a wide variety of topics, ranging from using non-traditional information sources to cleaning catalog data to addressing misinformation to managing copyright. But if you were looking for one session that hinted at the broad scope of special librarianship, the best place to be was at the contributed papers presentation on the conference’s opening day.

The four papers resulted from abstracts that were submitted to a group of SLA member judges earlier this year. The judges reviewed the abstracts and offered suggestions for improvement where needed. The authors then developed the abstracts into papers and submitted them to the judges again, this time for a determination of the “best paper” in the group.

At the paper session in Charlotte, authors took turns presenting their papers and answering questions from the audience. One paper was presented by a student, another by a 20-year member and former president of SLA. What all four papers had in common was quality—the judges rated each paper highly, making it difficult to select the best. In the end, a paper about creating a wiki to show the cost of water was judged the best of the group.

The premise of each paper was as follows:

The Cost of Water: Information Access for Public Empowerment
“The commoditization of water, increasing use of water for industries such as mining, and continued lack of access to water for everyday people have made the economic valuation of water a key issue in responding to the climate crisis. However, information about the cost of water in various sectors is relatively inaccessible to the public. Information science can respond to this issue by applying knowledge organization principles to water cost data, making information about the economic value of water more accessible to a broader audience.”
—Isabel Carlin, Sally Innis, Benjamin Cox, Nadja Kunz, and John Steen

Assessing Predatory Journal Publishing Within Health Sciences Authors
“Over the 2020 fiscal year, our institution ranked in the top 20 for U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, receiving over $500 million. With these funds comes the NIH Public Access Policy, which provides that all publications produced under this support be available within the PubMed Central (PMC) database. Using this convenience sample, we hypothesize institutional publications available in PMC but not MEDLINE are either out of scope despite their NIH funding, or appear in journals not meeting the rigorous inclusion criteria, including potentially predatory publishers.”
—Katie Sparks and Kimberly Powell

Lessons Learned: Creating a Systematic Review Service Model that Expands the Librarian’s Role
“As a federal biomedical research library, our clientele is comprised of students, post-baccalaureate/post-doctoral, scientific, and public health investigators engaged in research and publishing. The past ten years we experienced a rapidly growing interest in conducting systematic reviews. Initially the library provided informal support for systematic reviews, and over the last five years, we developed and implemented a systematic review service model, resulting in an expanded role for librarians, including co-author opportunities.”
—Gisela Butera, Alicia Livinski, Nancy Terry, and Diane Cooper

The First but Not the Only: Vivian Davidson Hewitt’s Legacy in Special Librarianship
“Vivian Davidson Hewitt titled her autobiography The One and Only, reflecting the many times she found herself as the only woman of color in her professional life. Hewitt had a long and distinguished career in specialized libraries and was the first Black person to serve as president of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) in 1978–1979. She was drawn to mentor other librarians and she promoted Black culture and accomplishments. Hewitt, by her own admission, had many advantages and was part of a social and cultural elite. However, she also faced very real discrimination and challenges in her career.”
—Tara Murray Grove

The papers from the presentations are posted on the SLA website. Additional information about the contributed papers is available here.

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