Meet the Advisory Board #2: Q&A on Libraries and Academic Publishing with Dominic Broadhurst

Like many mission-driven organizations, Lived Places Publishing has a board of advisors – a group of people who can lend the benefit of their experience, wisdom, and unique expertise to help the Lived Places team. The board of advisors is invaluable in helping Lived Places find its place in the crowded publishing landscape and in holding the Lived Places team accountable for working in a way that is consistent with the company’s vision, mission, and ethics.

The second instalment in our Meet the Board mini-series, this post features Dominic Broadhurst, one of the resident library experts on Lived Places Publishing’s Board of Advisors.

1) Please tell us a little about yourself and your role, and why you agreed to join the Lived Places Publishing Advisory Board.

" I am Head of Content & Discovery at the University of Salford, where I lead both the library content and digital teams. I was previously employed at the University of Manchester Library, most recently as Academic Engagement Manager, where I led several projects including a Digital Collections Engagement. I have published widely, including a peer reviewed article on library use of e-textbooks and a special edition of the Against the Grain journal in June 2019, for which I was guest editor. I have spoken at industry conferences, including the Charleston conference, the ALPSP conference and at the UKSG conference. I am a current elected trustee of UKSG and sit on various publisher advisory boards, including Lived Places Publishing, which I agreed to join for two main reasons.

Firstly, I joined because of the content that was planned. There is a great need for the wider more diverse range of material that will be published by LPP, both as alternatives to existing texts, library collections and course specific reading lists, but also to augment options for students to read as part of their general education. There is a real appetite and need from libraries to broaden the range of diverse authors and works they hold in their collections, and I am really excited by the chance to be involved – even in a small way – with working towards that goal.

Secondly, I really believe in the way that LPP wants to cut through the over-complex and expensive ways that libraries have to acquire e-books these days. LPP have a mission to develop alternative models, providing affordability and transparency along with wider access, including options for digital lending, open access models and proper recompense for authors. All of this resonates strongly with me and my values, and from knowing David Parker (LPP co-founder) I know they are principles and values that he believes in too.

2) In your experience, what is the role of the library and the librarian in supporting course design and content selection?

"There are a number of aspects to this, but in short: the library is central to supporting course design and content selection.

On a practical level, this means the way that libraries acquire high-quality content, which is then discovered by lecturers and students. Often, this content is embedded into courses via various digital tools and systems.

On more pedagogical levels, this means that libraries – when at their best – will develop a partnership with their faculty. This is often at the course design stage; libraries can provide critical advice and guidance in the selection of resources. The advice and support then progresses to looking at how faculty might fully maximise the resources they have selected in order to support critical understanding in their students, and in their assessment of their students’ knowledge and understanding.

It’s something that most libraries will take really seriously. There’s an ongoing debate in the field, whereby libraries work to regularly review and improve both their resource provision and their allied study skill provision to meet future requirements.

3) What are your faculty asking for from the library?

" On a practical level, there is a real and growing desire –I would even say a requirement – to access resources that will make a real difference to decolonising the curriculum. In essence, our faculties are asking libraries to provide material from a broader, more diverse range of authors and subject areas for their pedagogy and their students’ learning. Of course, this relates closely to the ethos and publication stream from LPP!

On a more general level, faculties require content that impacts upon students’ outcomes, and that makes teaching engaging and impactful. New content forms, especially digital ones, are favoured – but what they are really asking of us is our expertise on the most suitable content they can use in their teaching. They also need our expertise in teaching skills with these resources, as well as how to use resources for developing critical appraisal and writing skills.

4) What are your students asking for from the library?

" In one sense, students tend to be quite ambivalent: they just want the resources which will help them with their assignments, coursework, and other assessments, and they want to access them quickly and easily. That said, there is a growing preference for digital forms of access because of their convenience and features, although some still prefer print. So, libraries need a range of format types that facilitate and enhance all learning styles: we need to not just cater to a one-size-fits-all solution.

At Salford, we have also found that students are keen for resources and learning material to reflect their own group make-up in representative terms. In effect, this means a wide provision of material that reflects our student body, which is an essential element of the “decolonising” agenda in content and collections. For us as a library, student-created content is something we are really keen to encourage, both in terms of the resources themselves, but also student-curated reading lists on a variety of topics, as these can add to the curriculum and student life more widely.

Interestingly, students are increasingly keen to not just curate content, but to actually produce their own content too, which the library can support and facilitate. Examples of this include student-published in-house journals and the production of zines as part of our zine collection. Writing for student-led publication like this can enhance a student’s employability and wider skill set.

5) What, in your opinion, should be a publisher’s top priority? (Not counting profit or financial viability.)

" Providing content that meets the research and teaching needs of our staff and students; ideally content that is closely matched to the curriculum at an institutional level, with regular reviews. Innovation in format types is something we are keen to see, too; for example, publishers should definitely be moving away from just producing books and journals!

To go even further, the content provided should be easily integrated with library discovery systems, and should be offered via transparent, affordable models. Digital ownership is also important in ensuring that content cannot be withdrawn in the future, and that we have material retained for future research purposes. Libraries have always needed to build relevant high-quality collections – that has not changed – but in a digital world, we need different solutions. These solutions must be ones that libraries and publishers have to work in partnership to achieve, for the benefit of future generations of students and researchers.

Dominic Broadhurst is Head of Content & Discovery at the University of Salford, where he both leads the library content and digital teams. He is passionate about delivering high quality affordable content to students and faculty, embracing both open principles and increasing the diversity and range of library material offered.

You can find him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

To submit a proposal and pitch to become a Lived Places author, please see our Call for Authors.

To stay connected with Lived Places Publishing, you can subscribe to our email list, to our channel on Medium, or to our Substack list.


Written by: David

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