Magazine article Information Outlook

10 Questions: Susan Makar and Amy Trost: THE CO-AUTHORS OF THE BEST CONTRIBUTED PAPER AT SLA 2018 DISCUSS THEIR INTEREST IN BIBLIOMETRICS, THEIR DIFFERING PERSPECTIVES ON SOCIAL MEDIA, AND THE CHALLENGES OF WORKING WITH SCIENTISTS AND FUTURE SCIENTISTS

Magazine article Information Outlook

10 Questions: Susan Makar and Amy Trost: THE CO-AUTHORS OF THE BEST CONTRIBUTED PAPER AT SLA 2018 DISCUSS THEIR INTEREST IN BIBLIOMETRICS, THEIR DIFFERING PERSPECTIVES ON SOCIAL MEDIA, AND THE CHALLENGES OF WORKING WITH SCIENTISTS AND FUTURE SCIENTISTS

Article excerpt

Bibiliometrics are measures that are used to assess the influence or impact of an author and his/her works. How fitting, then, that a paper about bibliometrics would be judged the best--and, thus, the most authoritative --contributed paper presented at the SLA 2018 Annual Conference.

The paper was Written Jointly by Susan Maker and Amy Trost, who had worked together at NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (Amy has since left NIST and now works at the Universities at Shady Grove, part of the University of Wayland). Susan had previously presented a contributed paper, at SLA 2015; that paper, co-authored with another NIST colleague, Amanda Matanowski, was also about bibliometrics.

"One of the things that attracted me to the job at NIST was the work that Susan and Amanda had been doing in bibliometrics before I got there," Amy says, "... [B]ecause we were experimenting with so many different kinds of procedures and methods, it was something that was interesting to write about."

Information Outlook caught up with Susan and Amy to ask about the paper and also about their shared interest in science and librarianship.

Your paper, "Operationalizing Bibliometrics as a Service in a Research Library." was judged the best contributed paper presented at the SLA 2018 Annual Conference. What was the impetus for writing the paper, and what were its key findings?

Susan: Part of the impetus is that we're always encouraged to be engaged professionally, to attend conferences and present at them, so that was definitely part of it. But also, I think what we were doing was pretty interesting, and we thought it would be great to share it--something that went beyond the regular bibliometrics that we typically had done at NIST. We were exploring those things, and Amy can talk more about that. But we just wanted to share some of the exciting things we were doing.

As far as key findings, I think the importance of interacting with our customers and how the iterative process of going back and forth with customers to figure out what they wanted and what they needed was one finding. Talking to our customers and learning about their needs and what they found important was another Important finding, The collaborations they were having with writing publications, the impact their work had on their subject areas--those were some of the things that I thought were interesting.

Amy: We were exploring different ways of demonstrating research impact, and we were also exploring different ways of using large search result sets to see what kinds of trends or patterns we could find--things like key words and abstracts and titles. So we had to work closely with our colleagues, with the scientists that we were supporting at NIST. And there were quite a few failures as we went along--we would run an analysis and there would be nothing useful that would come out of it.

So, in that way, I think because we were experimenting with so many different kinds of procedures and methods, it was something that was interesting to write about because there were a variety of approaches that we took. And it was also interesting to share it with our colleagues in SLA, because I've been a member of SLA since library school, and it's a grad group to bring some of these things In and learn what other libraries are doing. So that was a lot of the reason why we those this venue to share the paper.

Susan, you also presented a contributed paper at tits SLA 2015 Annual Conference, with another NIST the worker. Amanda Malanowski. New did your experience working on that paper compare to your experience working on this one?

Susan: I sort of see the experiences being similar in the sense that both Amy and I, and Amanda and I previously, were working on projects to her, so it made sense to collaborate on a paper together. I think the first experience was new and different for both Amanda and me; with the 2018 paper, I had the first one under my belt, so it helped me understand better what the process was as far as sharing information. …

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