Merriman Winner Interview: Melissa Cantrell
Interview with Melissa Cantrell, the 2017 NASIG Merriman Award Winner
Please start by describing your current position and how you've been involved with serials? My current position is as the Scholarly Communication Librarian at the University of Colorado - Boulder. However, when I received this award I was still working as the Collections Analyst at the University of Colorado - Denver. My main role then was to provide assessment for our collections, including serials. My main role now is much more focused on promoting open access and open education.
What prompted you to apply for the Merriman award?
How did you react when you found out that you were
I can’t say that prospect of going to England wasn’t
alluring, but I also applied because I thought it would be
a great opportunity to get a sense of the big picture
conversations going on in serials and scholarly
communication. I think it is really important as an early
career professional to try to reach into some of those
broader conversations happening in the field, so in that
way I thought attending UKSG would be a great learning
1 NASIG Newsletter
attend this year’s conference. I am very much hoping to
be able to attend next year’s conference, though!
What was your favorite USKG session and why was it
It’s hard to pick just one! A plenary session by Barend
Mons on open and interoperable data exploded my
mind in a good way, and the closing session by
Charlotte Roueché as well as a breakout session on
values-based leadership by Jo Alcock and Sarah Durrant
were both eye-opening and inspiring. As useful as
practical guide sessions are sometimes, I prefer sessions
that force me to think about issues in new ways and
then I can take those ideas back and apply them in my
own context. All of these sessions checked that box in a
What are the differences between the two
organizations, USKG and NASIG?
It seems to me that the open access movement is more
strongly emphasized at UKSG, but I think this is
becoming increasingly important to NASIG as well. I also
think they are different just because of the nature of
publishing, policy, and education in Europe versus in the
United States. There are definitely important overlaps in
trends, challenges, and conversations that are being
had, but the approaches are perhaps a bit different.
For those who might be interested in going to UKSG
and perhaps applying for the Merriman award, what
advice would you give them?
First of all, just go for it. As an early career librarian, I
didn’t think I had any chance of actually receiving the
award, but I worked hard on my essay and tried to bring
some originality to it so that it would stand out. I would
also say to try to think about how you might use the
experience of attending UKSG when you return to your
home institution, and how it can benefit you and your
colleagues in the future, then try to articulate that in
the application as well.