Ouachita Baptist University Makes IR Planning Committee a Key Player

We’ve all heard stories of committees that move at a snail’s pace. Remarkably, the IR Planning Committee at Ouachita Baptist University has become a powerful resource for moving the IR forward, including helping with outreach, advocating for the IR, and even recruiting content. Lacy Wolfe, Assistant Professor and Circulation/Reference Librarian, who runs their repository Scholarly Commons @ Ouachita, and the Library Director, Ray Granade, decided to form a committee to help promote their new IR. They set out to create a team that would get key stakeholders involved early on—and they succeeded! How did they do it?

  • Being a small university, they were able to handpick faculty from each school who were interested in open access initiatives and invite them to participate in launching the IR.
  • They also invited personnel from IT and from the Office of Communication, making sure that the design of the repository would match the existing University website.
  • Lacy points to the importance of having diverse people involved in the repository initiative, describing the rewards of networking and creating advocates for the IR. Having such a broad base for the committee also helped to publicize it across campus.
  • With these advocates in place, Lacy can now call on them as needed, as various IR projects arise. This is especially important as she is the only admin working on the IR, part-time, with a student assistant. She describes the committee as “low-key” so as not to take too much faculty and staff time; rather, it is a resource to be tapped only when a need arises.
  • In a practical vein, the faculty on the committee also became recruiters of content, starting with their own work and that of their students.
  • Students are also seen as advocates for the IR. Honors Theses were a natural fit with the IR, and Senior Seminar Classes soon followed. Lacy reports that students love having their work in the IR and talk about showing it to different readers, including their families. On “Scholar’s Day” students get to present their theses which are published in the IR. Tiger Tunes is another popular student event, this time with the whole campus participating in a singing and dancing competition—all captured in the IR, which students use to prepare for next year’s competition.