Libraries in Transformation

Published on June 22, 2017

Interview with Leah McEwen: Cornell University, Ithaca, USA,
recorded at the  BEILSTEIN OPEN SCIENCE SYMPOSIUM (22 – 24 May 2017).

Leah McEwen discusses libraries in transformation with Carsten Kettner. The Physical Sciences Library at Cornell dispersed stacks in 2009, so they are operating totally electronically since nearly 10 years. The library is becoming more digital and getting closer to research process, supporting scientists with publication preparation, data management, working with publishers and repositories. The Cornell University Library system has a technical team of database developers, ontologists, and other technical specialists working with librarians who have specific domain knowledge in various disciplines. A challenge for the Physical Sciences Library today is visibility, which means going out and getting to know the scientists and students, and also describing the value-add can be more difficult now that information access is no longer via printed works.

Leah, who is the chemistry librarian at Cornell, enjoys getting beyond the formal aspects and getting to grips with the data. At the symposium Leah has described projects involving environmental health and safety – which necessitates working closely with researchers. In terms of health and safety, chemists look at chemistry on the molecular level; most issues which occur have to do with the transportation of chemicals on the macro level. Students do not generally have any lab background, so they need special consideration.

Students are required to do risk assessment exercises during the course.

Researchers are not yet required to do safety assessments in the US. Leah is hopeful that this will change.

Please have a look at our other videos with some speakers and their standpoints on Open Science:

Challenges for Scientific Databases
Frédérique Lisacek: Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Geneva, Switzerland

The Open Source Chemistry Lab
Matthew Todd: The University of Sydney, Australia

Making Open Science Sustainable for Chemistry
Ian Bruno: Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre, Cambridge, UK

Transfer of Metadata from the Bench to Databases
Henry Rzepa: Imperial College London, UK

Uncertainties in Chemistry
Jeremy G. Frey: University of Southampton, UK

Fly-by-Wire Chemistry
Lee Cronin: University of Glasgow, UK

The European Open Science Cloud
Klaus Tochtermann: Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, Kiel, Germany

Discussion: Retro- and Prospectives on Open Science
Ian Bruno, Stuart Chalk, Martin Hicks, Carsten Kettner, Leah McEwen.

Open Access, Open Data, Open Science, Data Sharing and Big Data are examples of buzz words that are used to describe the new opportunities and demands for sharing and reusing the results of scientific research. This symposium brought together research scientists, data scientists, publishers, funders and other interested parties to review critically current publication practices in chemistry and related sciences.

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