Behind the Open Access Button is a team of international student volunteers. Get to know them on Team Button Tuesdays! This week meet two librarians: Heidi, one of our grant writers, and Lydia, one of our communications officers.
Heidi Dowding, Grant Writer
Hi there, I’m Heidi — a new addition to the Fundraising team, working as a grant writer. Originally from Detroit, I hold a BA in Art History from Michigan State University and a MLIS from Wayne State. I currently work as a researcher at the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) Huygens ING institute.
My interest in open access started when I became a librarian. During my graduate studies at Wayne State University, I was lucky enough to have access to great research and didn’t need OA resources; as soon as I left and went to work in a university in Kazakhstan, however, I had no way to get LIS literature. Now I am researching long-term preservation and dissemination of digital scholarly editions, so again open access is playing a huge role in my work. The question of how to publish OA in the humanities still remains to be answered, so I am working to find sustainable solutions.
Lydia Zvyagintseva, Communications Officer
Hello world, my name is Lydia. Like my other Open Access Button team-mates here, I am a new addition to the crew, helping support the project as a Communications Officer.
I am a humanist by training, having spent 6 years pursuing two French degrees at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. After a year break from scholarly pursuits and focusing only on work, learning to sew, reading books, and renovating the house, I enrolled in a double-masters program in Humanities Computing and Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta. I am currently writing my thesis on data curation in the digital humanities, with a particular interest on the growing field of community-engaged scholarship. I’m a data enthusiast who enjoys the challenge of solving information problems with evolving technologies, and I am always looking for a new club to start or a new project to lead. (This photo of me attempts to capture that keen spirit.)
I first learned about the Open Access Button from my supervisor at the University of Alberta Libraries, and I thought it was a commendable effort that put a lot of talk about open access into action. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to contribute to this cause. While working to support the Institutional Repository Services at the Digital Initiatives Unit of the University of Alberta Libraries in the past year, I learned a lot about copyright, scholarly communications, academic publishers, licensing agreements, national policies and many other issues. I was heartened to find a world-wide and diverse community of advocates who support this cause.
Since I spent most of my working life in libraries in a wealthy province of a democratic nation, I suppose I take the issue of access for granted. I try to remind myself how lucky I am to be in this situation and realize that for many people around the world, this is not the case at all. In many ways, my take on Open Access is ultimately an economic and a philosophical one: the public often already paid for the published research, and it should have access to it without having to pay for it two or three times in various forms of fees and subscriptions. I believe that knowledge doesn’t exist for its own sake, but for people. Therefore, it should not be locked away but used, reused and transformed into new knowledge. With this in mind, I look forward to working with the Button team in the coming months!