24:3 (2009:09) President’s Corner

September 18, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Posted in President's Corner | Leave a comment

PRESIDENT’S CORNER
Rick Anderson, NASIG President

THIS IS THE COOLEST OF TIMES

In many ways, 2009 is a scary time to be a serialst – but at the same time, I have to say that this is a really, really exciting time to be a member of NASIG.

We’re coming into the home stretch of our 25th year as an organization.  It’s kind of mind-boggling to think about how much our corner of the scholarly information world has changed since NASIG was organized in 1985.  Card catalogs, sending libraries massive printed renewal lists, Kardex files, doing all of our business by phone or by letter, looking up publishers’ addresses in Ulrich’s (in print, of course) – in a way all of those things sound like ancient history, but at the same time they seem to describe the way we lived just yesterday.  As crazy as it is to think about how much our work has changed in the past 25 years, what’s even crazier is to think about how much it will change over the next 25.  If only we could see forward as clearly as we can see backward!

Since we can’t, all of us who work in the serials information chain are trying to prepare for multiple contingencies – multiple formats, multiple pricing and sales models, multiple budget scenarios, and a constantly shifting and expanding array of patron and customer expectations.

One of the many things that makes NASIG great is the way it brings together people with so many different perspectives on these issues and so many different ideas for dealing with them.  That blend of viewpoints and perspectives led directly to what I feel was one of the strongest programs we’ve had in years at the annual NASIG conference in Asheville in June.  And I was by no means the only one who felt that way – a number of people took me aside and said the same thing, and I heard more positive comments at third hand as well.  Big thanks are due to our excellent Program Planning and Conference Planning Committees for their diligent work, and especially to the speakers and panelists who brought such thoughtful and insightful presentations.

In fact, the Asheville meeting was a success by just about any standard I can think of – which is doubly impressive considering the budget constraints under which so many of us are suddenly operating, and the general mood of gloom and fiscal pessimism that has gripped so many of us (often for good reason).   NASIG even came out slightly ahead financially, which we were not necessarily expecting.  The institution of a new sponsorships program, energetically and skillfully administered by a group of fantastic volunteers, made all the difference there and will hopefully help us keep out of the red in future years as well.

This is perhaps as good a moment as any to send out to the membership a gentle plea for contributions.  Asking for money is never comfortable, especially when many of us are dealing not only with shrinking institutional budgets but also with personal financial difficulty.  To those of you who have donated to the organization in the past, I want to extend my personal thanks – not just in my capacity as NASIG President, but more importantly on behalf of the up-and-coming serialists whose conference attendance has been made possible by the NASIG Conference Student Grant, the Fritz Schwartz Serials Education Scholarship and the Horizon Award; the staff serialists who have benefitted from the Serials Specialist Award; the outstanding Mexican students whom we’ve had the pleasure to host at our conferences thanks to the Mexican Student Grant; the professionals from more meagerly-funded institutions who have been able to attend thanks to the recently-instituted Rose Robischon Scholarship; and the remarkable individuals whose contributions to the profession have been supported by the prestigious Marcia Tuttle International Award.  Even with the promise of additional funding from sponsorship activities, the viability of these award and scholarship programs will continue to depend on a healthy flow of support from the NASIG membership.  Donating is easy – just go to “About NASIG” on the NASIG website and click on “Make a Donation” (http://www.nasig.org/make_a_donation.cfm).

As I look forward eagerly to celebrating our 25th anniversary in Palm Springs, it seems to me that this is a humbling time to be president – a time for looking back at the amazing things done by my predecessors and by the NASIG membership in general, and for looking ahead at both the myriad opportunities and serious challenges that we face.  I can hardly imagine a more exciting time to be involved with NASIG.  Thanks to all of you for making this such a great organization.

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