Faculty Profile: Steven W. Holloway

Office of the Provost

A quick glance through Dr. Holloway’s record of publication reveals his enduring interest in finding modern solutions to ancient problems. His scholarly interests are catholic, though not strictly religious, with output ranging from Assyriology to Orientalist critique, with a dose of digital humanities. Library science is a second career.  "Wrangling library metadata is a species of Wittgensteinian language game with serious real-world consequences." It should come as no surprise then that Steven, the Head of Metadata Strategies for Libraries & Educational Technologies, is passionate about the adoption of ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) to address the age-old problem of authorial attribution and disambiguation. With two master’s degrees and a doctorate from the University of Chicago, Steven knows what he’s talking about when he says “Seal impressions in clay worked in High Antiquity, but today's identity problem is global in scale and digital in nature.”

The ORCID identifier system is based on a CV-like online profile that academics create for themselves and use to enhance access to their scholarly output. It allows researchers to exercise a gratifying degree of control over their online identity in comparison with error-prone automated systems like Google Scholar. At the same time, the ORCID profile is open to robot "crawling" and thus guides the search engines to richer and smarter results in the digital haystack. The ORCID profile "works" section is flexible enough to include websites, grants, research tools, patents, datasets, artistic performances and "other" in addition to traditional scholarly artifacts like book chapters and journal articles. Bibliographies in tools like RefWorks and EndNote can be imported into an ORCID profile, and cooperative citation aggregators like Scopus and CrossRef can be set up to "push" new publications automatically into a profile.  Increasing numbers of academic publishers and funding agencies now require ORCID iDs.  Currently there are nearly 3 million ORCID profiles, 145 of which were created by JMU students, staff and faculty. Some of these include recent doctoral and graduate students. With Steven’s help, graduates with ORCID iDs now have a persistent identifier linking their thesis or dissertation with their profile identity and, notably, with JMU. As promising as ORCID is for increasing individual scholars’ agency over their own digital identities, it holds equal promise to promote the visibility of JMU and the sundry works that faculty and students alike generate. "You can materially contribute to JMU as an alumnus/a not only with your pocketbook, but by maintaining an ORCID profile that charts your entire professional career, beginning with your JMU degree."

Putting ORCID to work for you and JMU requires three steps: sign up for one at orcid.org/register (it's free!), fill in the profile information, and then use it "early and often, like Chicago voting."  Maintaining an up-to-date ORCID profile and making assiduous use of it in scholarly communication is a particularly smart thing to do if you are a young professional or tenure-track academic – accurate attribution of your publications will likely boost your impact factors, however calculated, and can be consulted by JMU departments for year-end reportage. "The European Union recommended in 2016 that all EU researchers have ORCID iDs – what if we stole a march by adding such a recommendation to the JMU Promotion and Tenure Guidelines?"

For more information about Steven, click here to view his ORCID profile.  For help with ORCID, check out the JMU Libraries' LibGuide or contact your departmental liaison.

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Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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