Libraries as Publishers; Publishers as Libraries – Where Do We Go From Here?

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Publication Date


Publication Title

Against the Grain






Libraries, Publishers, Scholarly Communication, Values, Risks


One of the most marked characteristics of our times is the convergence of roles in the scholarly communications landscape. The rapid evolution of new digital technologies has led to the opening of new doors for various players. The roles of librarian, publisher, vendor are being radically recast in ways that could not have been imagined a decade ago when the Web was becoming a dominant force in our society and our work environments. In particular the “participation culture” of Web 2.0 has encouraged everyone to engage in our culture in a seamless and holistic manner, as creator, consumer, and participant. By turns it is a dizzying, bewildering, or fascinating time, depending on the day and the issue at hand. The advent of librarians as publishers, and publishers as librarians, is an important phenomenon that bears witness to the reinvention of roles. This article will explore some of the issues involved in this transformation, from the perspective of values and how they influence our actions and expectations. NB – The role of the vendor is a separate and complex matter that will not be addressed in this article.