Write, Right Now
Published: December 7, 2013 by Dr. Chris Hagar
Posted on behalf of Alison Peters, SLIS, MLIS student
Like many SLIS students, I’ve seen Dr. Anthony Bernier’s writing in myriad publications and in courses throughout the SLIS program. Dr. Bernier is a SLIS Associate Professor for Libr 200, 220, 261, 267, and 285. In addition to the courses on his schedule, Dr. Bernier is a critical youth studies scholar and historian who has published research in many LIS journals, including Library Quarterly, Library & Information Science Research, Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults, Public Libraries, and Library Administration and Management. Book wise, Dr. Bernier explores his passion and doctoral focus on public spaces, particularly for young adults in libraries, with his most recent publication, Young Adult Services, published in 2013. He is the definition of “highly published,” in addition to being the SLIS faculty mentor on the Student Research Journal (SRJ), a prominent SLIS publication.
To assist the rest of us with publishing for publication, there is the LIS Publications Wiki. Developed by SLIS students, the wiki is a research resource for LIS students and professionals to consult for inspiration and information on writing for publication. You can search the database to discover publications and websites catering to your area of interest, browse through hundreds of titles to discover new communities to join, and then click on any entry to learn exactly what the specific publication is looking for, who it caters to, and how and where to submit a query.
Dr. Bernier is not only an advocate of writing and publishing LIS research and articles, but a supporter of the LIS Publications wiki for professional, personal, and instructional use. So what better brain to pick than Bernier’s regarding writing and publishing for the profession, what it can do for you from a student perspective, and particularly how it can help advance your professional LIS career.
Alison: In your opinion, what is the primary benefit of publishing for the profession?
Dr. Bernier: Among the benefits of serving in a profession is the community one enters upon gaining admission. That community takes shape in various forms—conferences, online experience, traditions and commitments, aspirations, as well as responsibilities. Among those responsibilities is the obligation to contribute back to the advance of the community. And among the best ways to do that is to publish. Of course, publishing can take on many forms: books and articles (more aligned with the scholarly side of LIS), but practitioner opinion essays, book reviews, contributions to edited collections, contributions to reference (“tertiary”) works, and blog postings are among the more obvious other options for developing and advancing our community’s work. Many times these publishing activities are not explicitly recognized or rewarded as part of one’s discrete employment. But they do nevertheless constitute an important, and often times overlooked and undervalued, aspect of our professional responsibilities.
Alison: What other benefits do you see students gain from going through the publication process?
Dr. Bernier: These experiences offer a new professional several benefits beyond just the personal…they also expose the student/author to the procedures future library and archive users engage during their own research activities. Further, it’s a great way to learn what is required of a peer reviewer and editor so that one might even qualify to join an editorial team in the future.
These are among the reasons the School began its own Student Research Journal: to deepen the research community among both our students who publish and serve on the SRJ but also to help the faculty better prepare students to encounter the criteria, experience, and benefits of publication. I’m proud to be the faculty advisor of the SRJ and that I get to work with many of our School’s elite students. We are still SJSU’s only double-blind, peer-reviewed, entirely student-governed online journal. We’re committed to maintaining high standards, too. Our acceptance rates can challenge any scholarly journal in publication today. And I’m particularly proud of how positive and constructive our student Editorial Team is as well. They’re all about making manuscripts better!
Alison: How has the wiki been of use to you-as an author and teacher?
Dr. Bernier: I constantly use the LIS Publications Wiki. It’s a valuable contributor to the building of our School’s research community. I use it routinely in my classes—particularly in my LIB 200 and 285 courses (both the youth services section as well as the historical research methods course) to help students become familiar with the range, breadth, and scope of the current literature—particularly the scholarly literature—of our field. It’s been an invaluable tool for our SRJ Editorial Team for quickly accessing comparator journal practices. I have directed students serving as Research Assistants to it so that they can develop a publication strategy for our project’s manuscripts. I have referred our own Gateway PhD students to it for their own publications. And I’m sure I’m even forgetting a few things!
Alison: Would you agree that, even if students don’t consider themselves writers, they can still use a resource like the wiki to find a publication that appeals to them, and query to share something they’ve learned through LIS, or just talk about their student experience?
Dr. Bernier: Coursework can only take a student so far. There are assigned books and articles and websites. There are those resources contained in faculty lectures. There are materials one encounters when conducting more field-based searching for papers and assignments. But no matter how thorough are one’s courses, the field is still much larger than that. The LIS Publications Wiki numbers among those precious few resources that one should become familiar with outside of class assignments because it promises both immediate and future dividends. The fact that SLIS offers this updated compilation to not only our own students, but to the entire field (as an open source offering), is something in which the School takes great pride.