Q & Access with Lindsay Cronk

Q & Access with Lindsay Cronk

Behind every article, every book, every…well, every library resource, there are people who helped make it available. Lindsay is one them.
October 31, 2019

While University Libraries’ commitment to acquiring and stewarding robust, diverse collections has never changed, the way work is done has. Today, the majority of students, faculty, and researchers are looking to inform their work with resources found online. 

As the Internet continues to offer more and more gateways to information, Lindsay Cronk, head of collection strategies for the River Campus Libraries, is looking at ways to keep pace and get ahead of the curve. But she’s most concerned with access—to all kinds of resources, in any format.

Lindsay—Right now, there is likely a student searching for an article they need for a class or research they’re doing. And it’s likely, they will find it. Yet, it’s unlikely they’ll think about why they found it. Being part of the “why,” what do you want people to know about how the libraries provide access to knowledge?

Not all information is free or openly available.

Making articles, videos, books, datasets, and many other types of materials accessible is expensive and time-consuming. Our collection is representative of a massive institutional investment in scholarship—one I take very seriously.

A lot of what I do involves reviewing contracts and pricing to ensure access is as cost-effective as it is convenient. I also spend a lot of time thinking about the long-term future of our collection, which is highly collaborative. I receive a lot of help from our acquisitions and metadata departments. We participate in online group negotiations with other Tier 1 research institutions, like Harvard, MIT, and Yale through our consortia, NERL, to ensure high-impact journal content and databases are available. 

I also take part in the coordination of preservation initiatives like the Eastern Academic Scholars Trust and HathiTrust that help ensure our print collections are secured for future generations of researchers. 

And now you’re going to be sharing your expertise and understanding of the scholarly communication system in a column for The Serials Librarian. How did this come about?

The journal’s editor-in-chief Sharon Dyas-Correia, head of collections at the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford, asked me to join the editorial board. While that interested me, I asked for more direct involvement in the journal’s content. I wanted to push and shape professional discourse on topics of collections and sustainability. Sharon offered me the opportunity to edit a column. 

My column, “Resourcefully,” will be focused on emerging issues of sustainability and how libraries can extend and preserve access to collections. It’s an amazing opportunity to elevate the dialogue around cost, content, and access. 

Will you be doing and writing or will you be guiding the conversation from behind the scenes?

I intend to write at least one every year myself, but it will primarily serve as a platform for other librarians. My first column will focus on the origins and causes of what we call “the serials crisis”—it’s a big, juicy topic and I have a lot to say about it.

Lindsay’s first column will be on The Serials Librarian website in early 2020. For questions on collections at the University of Rochester or in general, contact Lindsay at lcronk@library.rochester.edu.

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