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New PALNI Scholarly Communications initiatives take off after new Scholarly Communications Director hire, Amanda Hurford

Pictured is Scholarly Communications Director Amanda Hurford
PALNI Scholarly Communications Director Amanda Hurford

Since the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana, Inc (PALNI) hired a Scholarly Communications Director, a number of scholarly communication initiatives have launched consortia-wide. Those in affordable education, open access publishing, and institutional repository (IR) development topping the list. The new Scholarly Communications Director, Amanda Hurford, brings focused expertise to the supported PALNI schools and looks forward to sharing her knowledge while forming partnerships in and outside of the consortia.

"PALNI has made it possible to launch scholarly communication initiatives at our very small theological school," Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary Library Director Karl Stutzman testifies to the added value. "There is broad excitement from our faculty and administrators for open access resources because they are so clearly connected to our educational mission; having a PALNI staff expert is helping us leverage PALNI’s significant technological resources to support open access journals, launch an institutional repository, and more.”

Scholarly Communications jobs have grown in significance since the Association of College Research and Libraries (ACRL) identified the crisis in their 2003 white paper, Principles and Strategies for the Reform of Scholarly Communication. A 2012 Association of Research Libraries survey showed a 70% increase in the number of scholarly communications positions with 24% creating new areas to handle scholarly communication support. However, most PALNI libraries lacked the budget to create a position focused on this area on their own.

In late 2016, the PALNI Board of Directors unanimously voted to add the shared, full-time staff position continuing PALNI's deep collaboration initiatives. The position, the first of its kind nationally, supports a consortial effort to advance scholarly communications, institutional repository support, and affordable education initiatives at all 22 supported institutions. Previously in the PALNI consortia, only Butler University Libraries had access to a full-time Scholarly Communications Librarian despite the growing need in all schools. 

To achieve this year's goals, Ms. Hurford leads the Scholarly Communications Advisory Group, which works to provide PALNI librarians with the knowledge, tools, and services needed to engage in these types of projects at the local level. Projects include creating a faculty OER adoption toolkit, implementation of the cutting edge Hyku institutional repository software, and building a robust support system around open access publishing using Open Journal Systems.

Ms. Hurford brings over a decade of experience in digital librarianship working for Ball State University and IUPUI. Former colleague and IUPUI Associate Dean of Digital Scholarship Kristi Palmer spoke highly of Ms. Hurford's experience, "Ms. Hurford has been an integral part in the success of Indiana's Service Hub with the Digital Public Library of America, participating since the Indiana Memory DPLA was formed in 2015. As the organization's current chair she led our 2nd Annual DPLA Fest and has worked diligently to ensure the organization thrives in its mission."

"Having recently finalized our action plan for 2018, I'm truly excited to move our ambitious goals into sustainable programs within PALNI," Ms. Hurford states enthusiastically. "Especially interesting will be the development of our consortial institutional repository, and all the opportunities for growth and collaboration it invites in and outside of PALNI."