Making an Impact: UT Libraries Spotlight Viera and Radom

Through teaching, research, and service, our faculty are making an impact on student lives, on our community, and on the world. Here’s a look at two UT Libraries faculty members who are helping faculty and students do better research and share it with the world.

Rachel Radom

RadomAs an undergrad at Indiana University, Rachel Radom didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do for a career, but she knew it would involve sharing information.

Beginning with an interest in journalism and eventually graduating with a degree in art history, Radom began working in museums and special collection libraries. She enjoyed her work and liked the stories the paintings, pictures, and sculptures told—but she felt something was lacking.

“I missed access to the public. There is a level of separation between an everyday person and these specialized collections,” Radom said.

After she had returned to school for dual master’s degrees in information science and library science, Radom’s passion for interacting with the public led her to UT, where she’s now an instructional services librarian for undergraduate programs.

Radom spends much of her time teaching students how to do library research—a key skill for students completing their first college research assignments.

“A lot of students come to campus and think information is only in books or on Google,” Radom said. “Many don’t understand the differences between journalists and academic researchers, so they don’t really grasp the differences between newspaper articles and scholarly articles. Even more have no idea why they would need to visit the library website in order to access peer-reviewed sources.”

Radom wants student to develop research skills that carry them through their college days—and beyond.

“The kinds of things we teach, including the processes of information creation and dissemination, not only make for better students but also better citizens,” she said.

In addition to assisting students with their beginning research endeavors, Radom also researches in two areas of librarianship: how library instruction affects students’ evaluation and use of information sources and how scholarly publishing trends and new publication formats are changing scholarship and research.

“Rachel is dedicated to teaching students the skills they need to be successful members of the university community as well as informed citizens,” Smith said. “Her work and research are critical to the success of the libraries’ instructional programs and a great asset to the university in its quest to educate and retain undergraduates.”

Ann Viera

VieraAnn Viera may be stationed in the Pendergrass Library on the agriculture campus, but the impact of her work on open access and authors’ rights spans the campus and beyond.

As research services librarian for veterinary medicine, she assists students, faculty, and staff in the College of Veterinary Medicine and veterinarians across Tennessee. She also devotes time to educating faculty about how to retain copyright assets once they are ready to publish research results.

To publish their research, authors are presented with copyright transfer statements that mostly benefit the publishers. If the author agrees to the publisher’s terms, he or she may lose crucial rights to share the final version of his or her work. In addition to losing rights, the research goes behind a paywall, limiting its access to the public, including practicing veterinarians and animal owners who need and expect barrier-free access to research.

“Researchers can sometimes have this narrow view and forget that people everywhere—not just other researchers—can benefit from the findings,” Viera said.

Steve Smith, dean of UT Libraries, said Viera’s work benefits veterinarians everywhere.

“Ann is very involved in outreach to the veterinarians in the state of Tennessee and is an opinion leader for the health library profession, especially for issues in scholarly publishing, open access, and copyright,” Smith said.

Viera encourages faculty to participate in scholarly publishing alternatives such as PeerJ, an open access publisher of scholarly articles. She also suggests SelectedWorks, part of the UT Libraries digital archive service TRACE, which allows faculty to manage their online reputations, share their work, and be notified when the work is downloaded.

Viera encourages authors to look at the Author’s Rights Retention Kit, which is a compilation of what researchers need to know about negotiating copyright.

By using publishing alternatives and becoming educated on authors’ rights, Viera believes the research being done by UT’s agriculture and veterinary faculty can have a bigger impact in the field.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, ablakely@utk.edu)

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