Who Owns Our Work? Introduction

A rather astounding succession of low-probability events surrounded this particular talk, given for the 2010 UK Serials Group conference. The most dire one was the first: I went to the emergency room with what turned out to be a kidney stone about two weeks before my travel date. I had to grovel a bit before the doctors would let me travel at all.

Since one doesn’t get to Scotland every day, my spouse came with me, and we took a tour up to the Isle of Skye, despite an Edinburgh ATM deciding to destroy my ATM card. On the second day of our tour, word came down about the Eyjafjallaj√∂kull volcano eruption. On the third and last day, it became clear we’d be stranded in Edinburgh.

I called British Airways; we were rebooked for a flight six days out. UKSG kindly got in touch to ask if they could help. By the weirdest and loveliest concatenation of librarianship, friendship, and social media ever, I was able to answer that we were all right.

As one does, I had put out word of our plight on social media. A librarian friend of mine from Wisconsin happened to have a law-librarian social-media friend in Edinburgh, who happened to have a friend in educational technology who was in the middle of moving apartments. This friend, after meeting my spouse and me, offered us use of her soon-to-be-former apartment the entire time we were stranded, refusing to accept payment.

If there’s a better argument for social media, or for the excellence of librarianship, than that, I don’t know what it could possibly be.