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Liber Quarterly
Utrecht University Library Open Access Journals
Peer reviewed
Open access
Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University

It will be useful for you to know the history of LIBER Quarterly to avoid confusion with past versions of the journal. Between 1971 and 1990, LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche / Association of European Research Libraries) published its Bulletin (ISSN: 0304-0224). That journal was replaced in 1991 by a new publication, European Research Libraries Cooperation: ERLC; the LIBER Quarterly (ISSN: 1018-0826). Starting with the 8th volume in 1998 the journal name became just LIBER Quarterly (p-ISSN: 1435-5205). It became an online journal in 2003, and went to Open Access in 2008. It is now electronic only. The website notes that, “The publication of this Open Access journal without 'article processing charges' for the authors is made possible through the generous sponsoring by the following organizations: Beslist, EBSCO, Ex Libris, LIBER.” As of volume 27 (2017), the journal switched from being a quarterly to a “continuous publication model,” with papers being published online in PDF with consecutive page numbers and in HTML as soon as they become available; one issue is therefore published a year.

The stated focus of the current LIBER Quarterly is “to cover all aspects of modern research librarianship and information delivery… [to] form a bridge between the scholars of the Library and Information Sciences (LIS) and the practitioners in our university and research libraries. It will achieve this by publishing not only theoretical contributions, but also descriptions of examples of good practices.” The editorial team is international in makeup; I was interested to see only two women listed among the seventeen members of the editorial board – curious for a journal serving a profession made up largely of women.

The latest issue (volume 27, issue 1, 2017) is fairly representative of the journal. It offers three case studies, “Fostering effective data management practices at Leiden University,” “Strengthening institutional data management and promoting data sharing in the social and economic sciences,” and “Data Management: New Tools, New Organization, and New Skills in a French Research Institute.” It also offers the articles, “Research Data Services in European Academic Research Libraries” and “Web Interface Security Vulnerabilities of European Academic Repositories,” along with a book review of the Data Librarian’s Handbook (I must admit I loved this review, which began with the warning: “This is a book correctly defined by the publisher as “an insider’s guide to data librarianship”. Better then to warn the reader before we start: the following is an outsider’s book review. As such it may cause some cognitive discomfort”).  I should note there are a great many typographical errors in material here, rather as if they haven’t been carefully proofread (a sign of the all electronic times).

For an academic librarian working in an American research library, I didn’t find much in LIBER Quarterly that applied to my worklife, but then… I’m not a data librarian.  After looking over past issues I found a bit of material that I could use (for example, “Academic Social Networks and Open Access: French Researchers at the Crossroads,” but much of the content seems aimed at library directors who are also IT directors at their institutions. I also noted that a good deal of the content is actually selected papers from LIBER annual conferences. If this is supposed to be a bridge between library science scholars and library practitioners, I fear the gap it tries to cross is too far.
03 May 2017
Interested in contributing to an upcoming Magazines for Libraries™ Update? Contact Cheryl LaGuardia.

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