This guest post originally appeared as “CUNY Academic Works: Get your work out there!” in the Fall 2015 Newsletter of the Lloyd Sealy Library at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
In 2014 I published “Bombing for Justice: Urban Terrorism in New York City from the 1960s through the 1980s” in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Annual: Global Perspectives, a volume edited by Chief Librarian Larry Sullivan. How can you find this article? The answer is: you cannot. It exists only as a chapter in that book and is not indexed in any databases. Only a half dozen libraries have it on their shelves. Unless it is there you won’t know to search for it. How frustrating! All that research, inaccessible.
Enter CUNY Academic Works. I created an account and uploaded the piece. Now, entering the search terms terrorism, New York, and FALN in Google brings up the article. What had been locked away is now findable and citable, and the work can now join the scholarly discussion already in progress. Furthermore, everything entered into Academic Works can be accessed through OneSearch, the Library’s new search tool.
We assume that all our publications are captured by digital searches, but that is not the case. For American history, the primary database is America History and Life. If an article is not indexed there, it may as well not exist. My 2011 article in the Long Island History Journal, “Brooklyn’s Thirst, Long Island’s Water: Consolidation, Local Control, and the Aquifer,” is not in that database. Uploading it to Academic Works will greatly enhance the likelihood that researchers will find it. In addition, I uploaded a PowerPoint presentation to Academic Works on the same topic.
To reach a wider audience, faculty should submit their book chapters, research in progress, and presentations to this institutional repository. After all, publishing is pointless unless it finds readers.