Melissa Eighmy Brown, Manager, Interlibrary Loan & Digital Delivery; Co-interim Director, Content Services, was selected as the 2021 winner of the Sharing and Transforming Resources Section’s (STARS) Virginia Boucher Distinguished ILL (Interlibrary Loan) Librarian Award, sponsored by OCLC for her leadership in the Big Ten Academic Alliance, her commitment and service with the ReShare endeavor, her advocacy for accessibility, and her scholarship within IFLA to help international audiences access theses and dissertations. The award consists of $2,000 and a citation, which recognizes an individual for outstanding professional achievement, leadership, and contributions to interlibrary loan and document delivery through recent publication of significant professional literature, participation in professional associations, and/or innovative approaches to practice in individual libraries.
Melissa Eighmy Brown was nominated by five of her peers at the University of Minnesota and from the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) for her work to advance accessibility and the enhance the user experience in interlibrary loan.
Melissa has advocated for improving accessibility and user experience through the delivery of searchable PDFs and done extensive research on sharing dissertations and theses. She co-presented on the former topic at both the OCLC Resource Sharing Conference and the BTAA Library Conference in 2019, which led to conversations with vendors about incorporating optical character recognition (OCR) into standard workflows for resource sharing systems. Recently, OCLC announced that applying OCR to a batch of documents using Article Exchange was released for pilot libraries in January 2021, which is an important step forward in terms of supporting accessibility and user experience more programmatically across the resource sharing community.
In 2019, Melissa also co-wrote and co-presented on sharing theses and dissertations at the IFLA Interlending & Document Supply Conference, “Beyond the Paywall: Resource Sharing in a Disruptive Ecosystem”, in Prague. This research, which was very important in terms of identifying barriers blocking access to unique resources and solutions to overcome them, was well received by the international audience.
Ms. Eighmy Brown was also instrumental in setting a roadmap for resource sharing. She and her colleagues in the Big Ten Academic Alliance wrote two reports on the “next generation” of resource delivery. These reports outlined user needs, technology infrastructure requirements, and general requirements for advances in resource sharing systems. The reports, and the vision behind them, have had a great impact on the field as demonstrated by requests made by vendors in the field to have Ms. Eighmy Brown serve as an industry leader and subject matter expert to consult on their future directions and system functionality.
Ms. Eighmy Brown’s professional activities and contributions include: • 2018 – 2019, Chair, Big Ten Academic Alliance ILL Coordinators Group • 2016 – 2017, Member, BTAA Discovery to Delivery Action Committee, • 2019 – Present, Member, BTAA Collective Collections (BIG Collection) Applications committee • 2019 – present, Member, OCLC Resource Sharing Industry Leaders Group • February 2019 – present, Member, Project ReShare Subject Matter Expert (SME) Team. • July 2020 – June 2021, Chair, ALA RUSA STARS Interlibrary Loan Committee • Co-author, Core Skills and Knowledge for ILL Practitioners, presentation at 2019 ALA Annual Conference • Brown, Melissa Eighmy, Hilary H. Thompson. When there’s only one: resource sharing and the predicament of the dissertation request. Conference: 16th IFLA ILDS Conference 2019: Beyond the Paywall, National Library of Technology Praha (CZ), October 2019 • Brown, Melissa Eighmy, Kate McCready. Document Delivery in Discovery: Making it Easier for our Users. OCLC Resource Sharing Conference, Jacksonville, FL. March • 2018. Smart Fulfillment: A Vision from the Cornfields. Munson, Kurt, Melissa Eighmy Brown. OCLC Resource Shari ng Conference 2017, Virginia Beach VA, March 2017
The selection committee was Chaired by Karen Janke.