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Getting scholarly-published, part three: Things I learned

To finish off …


How was I notified of publication? By a mass email sent out to ARLIS members!

This kinda took me off-guard. Since at my last look, my own article was covered in editing marks, I didn’t have a sense that things were in their final phase. I’m definitely more used to publishing online, where you can always withdraw or delete something if you change your mind. The permanence of print is kinda scary, especially if it’s your first scholarly work in a new field. Augh. I still haven’t read the finalized copy.


Under the U Chicago Press publication agreement I signed, I am free to distribute copies of the printed article on my own website (for free and with full credit to the journal), to any classes I teach (not yet applicable in my case), and via institutional repositories to which I belong. This last one is interesting, because I work corporate right now and am no longer affiliated with any institution. Would I ask my alma mater to be my IR? I dunno, it’s a big commitment….

If you’re like me and not represented by an institution with an IR, you can try to find one! Some IRs allow total strangers to apply for membership. Not sure if “member” of an IR makes me “affiliated” with that IR for the purposes of the Publication Agreement I signed, but, if I get sued I’ll let you know.

I asked the lazyweb what to do in this circumstance, and I had a few other suggestions sent my way: use academia.edu, use figshare.com, etc. I think for now I’ll just host it on my personal website until I decide where I want to “affiliate” (that’s a verb, right?). Your personal site has no time restrictions (“embargo period”) whereas an IR would — something to note if you are expecting to be cited in a timely manner, or using the publication as part of a portfolio or job application or what-have-you. I would steer away from anything that involves signing a Terms of Use. Another thing I’m not sure about is uploading the PDF to LinkedIn: it does have that capability, but I think that’s a grey area as far as a “portfolio” or “personal website” goes.

What’s nice about the U Chicago agreement is that I can reproduce the article in its entirety, in its final published format, which they emailed me shortly after the publication date. Some agreements only allow you to publish a pre-print version (usually with a big unsightly watermark across each page). You also can reprint your work anywhere else, at any time, with the proper credit to the U Chicago journal as first publication.

professor mayer

The U Chicago Guidelines are here. In contrast, some other journals and publishers you might be signing with have taken far more draconian measures aimed at keeping your work behind a paywall. But, we all know it’s no match for Open Access.

Print has a powerful allure, and Art Doc is a great journal. But scholarly research shouldn’t be behind a paywall, and I’d like to commit to only publishing my work in OA journals from here on out. As a first-timer, I think “anywhere that’ll accept me” is pretty fair, but make sure you read that publication agreement and make sure you have the right to offer a free copy somewhere else (and watch those embargo periods!). You’ll realize very quickly, when your mom says “Can I read that thing you wrote,” that being able to send her a link without a paywall or an embargo is pretty awesome.


Alright, here are my warnings, tips, and lessons:

  1. Edit yourself as much as you can, but do it intelligently. Reading your own work five times in a row until the words blur together and the sentences lose all meaning isn’t good. My habit is to change the format and context when you need “fresh eyes” – use Word styles to change fonts and themes, print it out and work with a pen, move the main text into Google Docs and back again (if you can manage not to mess up your footnotes that way). I can’t tell you how much it helped to look at the printer’s proof, to see words that were repeated too often, or sentences that contained pointless clauses. (I think Scrivener and LaTeX are better for this sort of thing.)
  2. Relish the peer-review experience, especially on the reviewer side. It can teach you a lot, not just in the way of improving your own writing, but perhaps also of empathy. Keep it constructive.
  3. Trust your editorial team! We’re all in this “making good content” business together. But don’t slack: put as much effort into cleaning up your own copy (and other people’s work) as you can. Don’t take your peer-review comments to heart; everyone’s trying to objectively improve scholarship, with a couple exceptions. (If you’re interested in the ideology behind peer review and scholarly rigor, we can jam on those subjects another time; my personal fave is Retraction Watch for news on that front.)
  4. If you’re publishing on technology, current affairs / trends, or any topic that can change quickly, it might be best to enquire first about the length of the publication process. Turnover time matters, and if an OA journal can take you from submission to publication in 4 months, that might help your contribution to the field matter more. From first writing to final publication was 16 months, for me; the normal submission-to-publication for peer-reviewed work in Art Doc is about eight.
  5. The initial ego-boost is great! But do consider publishing only with journals that have an Open Access policy. Ideally, have your own portfolio or website to host the copy of your article that the press sends you (my email was started with “Professor Mayer,” which I admit made me feel amazing).


Getting scholarly-published, part two: Parsing peer review

Continuing on …


I got my peer-review comments back in October of 2014, with the excellent news that I had been accepted (“pending revisions”). I had one month to incorporate changes based on the peer recommendations. In fact, the email stated “please make any revisions that YOU feel are appropriate (reviewer opinions often differ)….”

All the peer reviewers for Art Doc are given a few guidelines on the type of feedback to provide. The aforementioned “Is it suitable for this journal?” is one; others include tone and style, whether things should be added or deleted, whether the references are “the most appropriate to support the paper,” whether it fills a gap or provides a fresh take.


I’m going to share with you some of my feedback verbatim here; they range from straightforward to in-depth:


Yes, this topic not only looks appropriate, but it fills in a knowledge gap. The article provides a good overview with some new material….

The author presented the topic very well.  At first I felt the topic was a bit over my head, but as I read the article I gained a greater understanding of LODs and the challenges and opportunities they represent….

Yes, the tone, style, and “voice” of the paper are appropriate, even with the few spelling and grammatical errors….


The topic is appropriate for Art Documentation; it is a readable introductory piece on linked open data for art librarians addressing examples and applications in the domain of art librarianship. References are current and appropriate….

In a couple of instances the author shifts from a neutral to a conversational tone (exemplified most often by addressing the reader as “you”), and I think these should be eliminated in favor of a more scholarly voice…..

I think the conclusions are valid, in that we in GLAM institutions need to start pushing harder for more and deeper LOD implementations….

The conclusion ends rather abruptly; some further explanation and tying-up of the concepts would help here. The author does a nice job of laying out and discussing the issues throughout the article; some more summarization would help encourage readers to want to get involved and take action….


The Abstract begins awkwardly. Definitions would have been a useful next section. It would be better for a broad readership to define terms, especially acronyms such as CORS, early on, or in a glossary outside the main narrative….

The Challenges section seems a natural follow-on to Benefits. Why not present Benefits and Challenges in two sections, and incorporate drawbacks under Challenges? …

The author seems comfortable with technical jargon—query formatting, open metadata sets—and has followed developments at private, government, and international organizations. A paper written for an expert audience could skip the definitions and instead focus on details of specific projects exemplary for their work in capturing metrics, training staff/sharing expertise, working with legacy data, developing standards, or other special qualities…

Some sections could be combined, moved, and expanded. It reads like the author is familiar with the topic, but the style is not particularly accessible. The cited references are appropriate, but there are missed opportunities….

The paper complements previous AD articles: Spring 2011 on open access publishing, Fall 2012 on online catalogues raisonnés, and Spring 2014 on open scholarly resources….

(You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t share any early drafts with you guys. Some things are better left unseen, and I am violently appreciative of the peer-reviewers that had to work through my first attempts and still said kind things about it.)


So, revision time! Obviously I had to make some decisions:

  1. Keep my terminology section, and add more basic definitions to it? Ask the layout editors for a glossary outside the main text? Skip the definitions entirely and rewrite for an “expert audience?”
  2. Was my style accessible or not? Should I eliminate conversational and move entirely to the third person? If I’m introductory in content, should I stay informal in tone?
  3. Should I make more reference to the previous Art Doc articles listed? Was I missing opportunities for better philosophical connections?

+ other things that I didn’t excerpt (one reviewer said my “case study” wasn’t really in-depth enough to be a case study; another said I should discuss more projects).

Again I debated time-sensitive updates to the text. It’s always possible to write in some assumptions about the future (e.g. the Getty’s fourth LOD vocab release was predicted to go live in April 2015, and I’d be published in May). But I chose to leave out whole LODLAM conference proceedings and much more in-depth LOD scholarship that had occurred in that time, so as not to substantially change what had been summarily approved. Same with incorporating references to Art Doc articles that complemented my own: I decided to stick with my topic, instead of tackling the breadth of open content and essentially turning it into a new article.

This is also where I managed to compound that really fantastic citation error: one reviewer pointed out that some of my in-text citations about the American Art Collaborative case study were pointing to an article that wasn’t in my reference list! Instead of investigating it properly, though, I just changed them. To something even more wrong. Go, me.


My post-review revision also neglected to change Canadian spelling to American ones. When Judy Dyki wrote back after the copyediting round she mentioned it, as well as pointing out a few citations that were missing page numbers. Chicago Style is harsh, you guys. I consider myself pretty detail-oriented, but nobody is great at editing their own work.

That was the beginning of January, and in hunting down page numbers for my citations I realized I didn’t, in fact, have a page source for something technical that I had attributed to that group of American Art Collaborative authors! Red flag. I wrote Judy a revised sentence, saying I would keep flipping through my references, but for now we should change it to something that wasn’t blatantly inaccurate.


That was the last I heard of that until February, when the U Chicago Press staff sent me a pre-print PDF for proofreading. I printed it out and took a red pen to it — there were a lot of little formatting things (like when the double-quote character appears straight half the time and curly the other half) and some sentences that just sounded weird when I read them in that layout.

In fact, I noticed one block-quote seemed to be totally illegible, as though a whole part of a sentence had been cut out. Looking back into previous versions to find the intact version of that quote is what finally fixed my disastrous citation error — I found the missing article, fixed the quote, and worked through my old drafts to find all the faulty citations.

I wrote back to Judy with my sincerest apologies, a corrected set of citations, the bibliography entry to be added, a copy of the printer’s proof PDF with highlighting and comments, and some more self-abuse. She very graciously cleaned it all up and dealt with the layout people without further interference from me (probably wise).

At that point I signed away my rights to U Chicago Press, and sat back and waited.


Part Three, with lessons learned and other tips and tricks, to follow ….

What’s it like to be scholarly-published?

As I mentioned in a previous post, I sent out a ton of student-essay-award applications, based primarily on term papers. One of those was the Gerd Muehsam Award, run by ARLIS/NA. I didn’t win (Jasmine Burns won [by submitting her MA thesis, which is another thing you can totally do]!) but the award committee very kindly wrote back to say that they had “recommended” my essay for publication in Art Documentation.

Spoiler: I totally got published, and it’s awesome.

Now that I’ve been through the process start-to-finish, I thought it would be useful to recount it all and show what it’s like for a first-timer. There are a few embarrassing moments, which I’m happy to share in the hopes that other people won’t make the same mistakes, and I’ll end with other things worth taking into account.

Important: I have a background in publishing. I worked for several years as a section editor, copyediting, doing ad sales, layout, etc. So, I’m more familiar with a lot of this stuff than your average MLIS student. Everyone should graduate with some publishing experience, at least from WordPress on up, but unfortunately LIS education does not yet seem to guarantee that. (Oh hey did I mention ArLiSNAP loves volunteers and you should totally write for us?)


The first step was, of course, waiting politely for Judy Dyki, the editor / human interface of Art Documentation, to reach out and tell me she thought my essay about Linked Open Data could be “worked into a very interesting article.” Cue the gushing. In its original version as a student paper, it had adhered to a harsh page limit (shunting off a large portion into an Appendix), used the wrong citation style, had a Terminology section I figured I would probably want to cut, and was generally in a format I wouldn’t condone for anyone’s first foray into getting their name into scholarly print.

Your mileage will certainly vary on this — if you’re using student papers it will likely be a “state of things” style essay; as a practitioner your submission will probably be a case study or a best-practice review, reporting on your own collection or exhibit; original research is the least likely, perhaps if you’re reproducing a thesis or independent study. These formats all require different skill-sets and expertise, and I can only tell you my experience in the former, which to me is not strenuous, as it’s all lit review and some wild speculation — my specialty! (I have done some copyediting on original research in my time, and I only want to say one thing: Triple-check your math, and your explanations thereof.)

My initial rework shifted things around, added a few minor sections, and updated the entire piece with recent scholarship: it had been written for the Fall 2013 term, so by the time I turned in a revised version it was August 2014, nine months out of date. This doesn’t sound like much, but I was writing about an emerging technology and how it might be used in the field of art librarianship, so nine months was forever. As an example of a minor edit, the Getty had released another of its name authorities into Linked Open Data in that time period.

Then there were general formatting changes. Art Doc uses Chicago Style, which almost nobody uses in school, and is a substantial change not just to the look of an essay but to the sentence structures that contain citations.

Here’s where my first warning occurs: beware the formatting changes, especially when it comes to citation. I introduced an error into my manuscript at this stage that didn’t get caught until the proofing step — my last chance before publication. For the “case study” in my essay, I had cited several progress reports and presentations done by the American Art Collaborative throughout their LOD implementation process. At some point during the reformatting into Chicago Style, I managed to lose an entire paper citation from my reference list. More on this later.


After turning in my article for the September 2014 deadline, I was sent an article for peer review. The deal is this: if you get published, you should pay it forward (i.e. if two reviewers worked on your article, you should be a reviewer for two articles in return). It turns out I really like peer reviewing, because of my editorial background, and greatly enjoy providing constructive criticism with suggestions on how to improve.

I think looking at the process from both angles (as a submitter and a reviewer) helps improve each task — for example, part of deciding whether an article suits a journal is seeing whether that journal has published similar articles in the past, and whether this new addition refers to and builds on those, or pushes the field in a new direction. One of the articles I reviewed clearly did not refer to earlier pieces on the same subject in Art Doc, and basically rehashed existing discussion — meaning regular readers would find it redundant.

I had of course done lots of research for my own essay, but hadn’t really scoured the past issues of Art Doc in particular to see if there was any mention of my topic. Once I performed that search, it helped me think about whether to keep my terminology section, because I was introducing phrases and concepts that had never before graced the pages of the journal. Of course, my article was already being peer-reviewed at that point.

PR instructions

I wrote a lot of words about this, so there will be a Part Two ….

Job Posting: Collection Development Librarian, Harvard Fine Arts Library, Cambridge, MA


 Basic Qualifications

Master’s degree in library and/or information science or equivalent experience.
A minimum of 5 years of experience in collection development/acquisitions required.
Extensive in-depth knowledge of the field of Art and Architectural History
Working knowledge of Western European languages.
Hands-on experience with library systems acquisitions, budgeting, and reporting applications.
Expert level experience with arts and humanities databases and other digital research tools.
Experience working with book publishing and the book trade.
Technical proficiency in data management and social media applications.

Additional Qualifications

Advanced degree in Art History, or equivalent, preferred.
Excellent verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills.


arlisnapThe new issue of the ArLiSNAP Newsletter is here once again to catch you up on all the news and posts from the last week.

Receive our newsletter in your inbox every Monday by subscribing via the link below. Nominate yourself or an associate to be highlighted; keep up with ARLIS news and exhibits from around the world; jot down important events and upcoming deadlines; say your piece in one of the ArLiSNAP discussions; or view and apply for jobs you might have missed. Thanks for reading!

Newsletter 045: May 11-17, 2015

Subscribe here!

Job Opportunities: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland, OH

Digital Asset Systems Manager – Job No. 1504

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is currently considering applicants for the position of Digital Asset Systems Manager. The Digital Asset Systems Manager reports to the VP of Technology. This position holds a critical role at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and will be a key player in the new Technology division as we architect the digital ecosystem that will support exhibits, web, mobile, and educational content for years to come. The Digital Asset Systems Manager evaluates, recommends, and implements methodologies, standards, and software for the centralized
storage, management, preservation, and distribution of institutional digital assets. The Digital Asset Systems Manager also deploys, supports, and maintains technology resources in the Library and Archives, including specialized library applications and hardware. The ideal candidate will have experience with Digital Asset Management (DAM), Content Management, and library and archives management systems, with specific experience integrating these systems and creating public-facing portals to allow exploration and interaction with content. The ideal candidate will also bring a
knowledge of, and passion for, the history of rock and roll and related music genres.



Project Archivist

The Project Archivist reports to the Head Archivist and is responsible for processing the Jane Scott Papers, and performing preservation digitization of her reporter’s notebooks. This is a temporary, full-time, 3-month Ohio History grant-funded position that requires specialized archival work.


Job Opportunity: Film/Cinematic Arts Librarian, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA

Provide leadership within the Library, working collaboratively across campus, with the local community, and with national and international partners to create and support traditional and cutting edge services designed to meet the current and emergent needs of students, faculty, and staff. Work with all faculty and students, the Film/Cinematic Arts Librarian will foster successful adoption and application of research, teaching, and learning through film and media. Serve as liaison to the University’s Film Studies Program. Collaborate with all faculty to select, manage and develop film collections to support this area and other areas as assigned. The Film/Cinematic Arts Librarian will be a change agent, partner, and resource person for all library staff involved in facilitating faculty and student projects related to and incorporating film and the cinematic arts and will be expected to conduct regular scans of the campus environment to identify emerging areas of interest. Manage the University Libraries film collections, both digital and analog, and recommend strategic priorities for the physical and digital development of the film collection. Ongoing contributions to the program’s longstanding tradition of bringing film and video artists as well as scholars of film and media to campus is integral to the position, as will be programming screenings and organizing special events.

Professional librarians hold faculty status. Faculty status allows both voice and vote in University faculty meetings, eligibility to serve on faculty committees, to serve as a student advisor, and to participate in the Program for Enhancing Teaching Effectiveness (PETE); and it acknowledges that those individuals play an active role in the intellectual activities of the University. Faculty status does not carry with it eligibility for tenure or sabbatical, nor does it automatically carry with it faculty rank (Professor, Associate, Assistant Professor, or Instructor), since faculty rank is in a specific academic department, nor does it carry eligibility for other benefits normally assigned to full-time teaching faculty.

***Review of Applications will begin June 15th and continue until filled.


  • Create instructional resources and tutorials, provide instruction, and offer research and consultation appointments to students in liaison areas and to other members of the campus and community as required, using pedagogical best practices and current instructional technologies.
  • Coordinate the selecting, ordering, promoting, and presentation of programs in the International Film Series, ChinaFest and African Film Weekend. Provide public introductions for selected films.
  • Collaborate with liaisons and appropriate divisions within the library to create, coordinate and manage best practices for film, audio and image collection maintenance, growth and preservation.
  • Create and maintain research guides and web content that demonstrates knowledge and understanding of critical information literacy practices for students and faculty in liaison areas.
  • Maintain knowledge of the legal landscape and licensing for digital media especially in the area of streaming and performance rights. Participate in university wide development and implementation of policies related to digital rights management, copyright and intellectual property standards.
  • Conduct environmental scans of all campus departments in order to identify current and emerging scholarly projects, areas of inquiry, and pedagogical trends related to film and media studies. Align resources as appropriate to support these departments.
  • Supervise and evaluate Media Scheduling Manager/Student Assistant Supervisor.


  • Specialized knowledge of film history and digital media.
  • Experience representing a library to external stakeholders and engaging in consortia and community projects or programs.
  • Strong leadership skills, including keen analytical and conceptual abilities and demonstrated ability to lead organizational change, inspire innovation, and delegate responsibility appropriately.
  • Strong interpersonal and public communication skills including ability to serve as an advocate and spokesperson for the University of Richmond libraries.
  • Demonstrated engagement in reference and instructional services, user experience, and assessment of services.
  • Evidence of implementation of emerging trends in higher education in the areas of reference, instruction, access, assessment, user experience or with the use of instructional technology.
  • Evidence of working creatively, collaboratively, and effectively in a leadership role in promoting teamwork, diversity, equality, and inclusiveness.



  • MLS, MIS, or MLIS from a program accredited by the American Library Association.
  • 2-4 years’ current experience working with film collections in an academic library or educational setting.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the research processes used in a range of disciplines, especially in the humanities, with particular focus on the history and theory of film and media.
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with faculty, librarians, archivists and others in order to advance digital arts and humanities research.


  • Bachelors in a related subject area.
  • A second advanced degree (M.A/M.S.) in a related subject area is preferred.


  • Full-time, exempt position.
  • The position requires evening and weekend instruction/research coverage and attendance at film showings and related programming as needed throughout the school year.



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