Librarians from across the Pacific gather for conference on open access, collaboration

Group shot
Attendees of The Pacific Rim Research Libraries Alliance annual meeting pose for a group portrait in front of Doe Library. (Photo by J. Pierre Carrillo)

This past week, more than 60 librarians from universities across the Pacific descended upon the UC Berkeley campus, converging for a two-day deep dive into the experiments and achievements of fellow librarians working toward a more open, connected world.

The Pacific Rim Research Libraries Alliance, or PRRLA, is a group of libraries that share important resources and ideas in hopes of improving the state of scholarly research around the world. The alliance meets annually to exchange stories about various technologies and programs — and the strides and bumps along the way.

The theme of this year’s conference, held in Moffitt Library and the campus’s Alumni House, was “Access in a Networked World: Challenges, Opportunities, and Solutions for PRRLA Libraries.”

Participants look at exhibit Curator shows off items
Top to bottom: Left to right: Attendees were given a tour of the East Asian Library and its exhibits on Sept. 17. (Photos by J. Pierre Carrillo for the UC Berkeley Library)

“One of the primary objectives of a research library is to provide students and researchers with access to information and knowledge resources,” wrote University Librarian Jeffrey MacKie-Mason in a memo to participants. “The rapid and accelerating transition from analog to digital resources creates both opportunities and challenges for access.”

At the conference, librarians discussed a range of programs related to open access and technological innovation — from the Tohoku University Library’s digitization of records about the devastating 2011 earthquake in Japan, to a new mobile app used by Korea University’s library to improve the experience of library users.

Attendees at meeting attendees chat
Top to bottom: Left to right: Dr. Peter Broadwell of UCLA, center, shows off his research in the UC Berkeley Alumni House on Sept. 18; UC Berkeley University Librarian Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, right, chats with University Librarian Seongcheol Kim of Korea University. (Photos by Cade Johnson for the UC Berkeley Library)

Eileen Joy, co-director of the open access publisher punctum books, spoke about Brainstorm Books — an imprint of punctum books launched by UC Santa Barbara last year. The experimental publishing lab taught a cohort of undergraduate and graduate students the nuts and bolts of open access publishing, providing humanists “a means to join the open access revolution.”

The participants hailed from 35 research universities along the Pacific Rim region — from Hawaii and Canada to Indonesia and Australia. Next year’s conference will take place at Korea University.