Indigenous knowledge transfer – First Voices First podcast

In this episode, Iram speaks with Erika Valenti, Deborah Lee and Suzy Bear about the new partnership between Emerald Publishing and The Council of Prairie and Pacific Libraries (COPPUL) which has launched a pilot project to open up access to research to a selection of Indigenous post-secondary institutions and communities.

The First Voices First project is in partnership with The Council of Prairie and Pacific Libraries (COPPUL) and runs from the 21st September 2021 until the end of 2022.

Through the project, more relevant information and research content will be made available to those that need it beyond the walls of academia. Through partner libraries and colleges, communities, students and faculty will be able to freely access relevant research to improve information and literacy in post-secondary education as well as in community-based economic development projects.

Vicky Williams, CEO at Emerald Publishing, said: "As a publisher with a strong commitment to provision of quality information and education for all, we’re excited to be supporting this pilot study with COPPUL."

Speaker profiles

Erika Valenti is Executive Vice President, North America for Emerald Publishing where she directs all aspects of the company’s development in the region, including sales, product introduction, brand presence, and corporate strategy. Prior to Emerald, Erika was Global Sales Director for Publishers Communication Group working with clients including BioOne, American Society for Microbiology, the Royal Society, Geological Society of London, and Canadian Science Publishing; and she previously spent ten years in international sales and marketing roles at the MIT Press. She has considerable experience with sales management for books, journals and databases, emerging market entry strategies, library negotiations, and consortia relationships in the US, Europe, Brazil, India, China, and Southeast Asia.  In her current position, she endeavors to focus and balance Emerald's product, author, librarian, and user needs within the US and Canadian market.

Deborah Lee is the Indigenous Studies Collections and Initiatives librarian at the University of Saskatchewan. Deborah brings with her an impressive depth and breadth of experience and knowledge in both the technical and public aspects of academic libraries. Amongst her many accomplishments, Deborah served as team lead for the Indigenous Studies Portal (iPortal) project at the University of Saskatchewan where, among other responsibilities, she led the development of the iPortal and collaborated on the development of metadata standards and decolonising metadata. She has extensive experience collaborating with Indigenous communities to advance Indigenous engagement across the USask campus and across global jurisdictions, including through ARL and CRKN. She led the University of Saskatchewan team on an Ithaka S+R qualitative research project that looked at how academic libraries can improve research supports for Indigenous faculty. 

Suzy Bear was the Librarian for the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region (PAPHR), which later became the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), from 2012 to 2019, with the significant accomplishment of automating the library utilizing Springshare's software in collaboration with the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region. Prior to this position, Suzy was employed by the Wapiti Regional Library as their First Nations Library Consultant. Prior to these two positions, Suzy was Librarian for the First Nations University of Canada, Northern Campus, where she built the library and its collection from the ‘ground up’, from 1997 to 2009. Now retired, Suzy saw many challenges and changes in the field of librarianship and truly enjoyed her career as a librarian. 

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In this episode

  • How did the collaboration between COPPUL and Emerald emerge?
  • Looking at the status quo within academia and indigenous communities, what are the barriers and challenges to engaging students and what needs to change?
  • What will the impact of this pilot be?
  • What more can be done from publishers to engage and cater for indigenous communities?


Read transcript

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