This article analyzes the discourse of library publishing, examining how the needs of library users have (or haven't) been framed as core concerns in key collaborative documents from the 2007 Ithaka Report to the 2014 Library Publishing Directory. Access issues, including not only open access but format options, usability, accessibility, and general user experience, have most often been absent or sidelined in this discourse. Even open access has been less central than one might expect. Moreover, even in later documents where it is more commonly trumpeted as a value of libraries, open access is often not presented as a service to readers but to authors. For these reasons, I argue the promotion of library publishing has missed a key opportunity to promote such services as offering a holistic approach that incorporates the needs of both authors and readers by drawing on the history of user studies in libraries. The absence of the user as information seeker, and especially reader, in this discourse should concern libraries lest library publishing services replicate existing access problems with commercial publishers beyond the question of openness. The opportunity exists for organizations such as the Library Publishing Coalition to foster discussion of reader needs for digital formats and, where feasible, promote a set of best practices.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Information Systems