Sequence logo

A Sequence of Convenings

A Sequence of Convenings

Theme: Making the BIG Collection the “lead idea,” the center of gravity, to align resources and activities across Big Ten Academic Alliance library initiatives

A sequence of bi-monthly keynote events, conversations, and workshops.
Description: All staff from across Big Ten Academic Alliance libraries are warmly invited to this “Sequence of Convenings,” which will focus on generating broad community engagement with the vision, themes, and practical direction for the BIG Collection. The program will include large plenary sessions about the strategic CONCEPTS of the BIG Collection, which will alternate with focused conversations about how we re-imagine our WORK as a community to collectively design and build the future we want to see.

This virtual series re-imagines the traditional BTAA annual library conference into a continuous series of 75-minute sessions that will build throughout the course of the next few years. We openly invite and encourage all staff from across our libraries to attend, participate, and contribute. There is no cost for these events.

The primary content of the plenary sessions will be recorded and made available online, as will selected content from the community conversations. Further information will be added to each session as it becomes available.

Watch Now:  Building the First Mile Marker for the BIG Collection

Monday, March 13, 2023 - 10-11:30am CT / 11a-12:30p ET

Session format: Plenary (presentations and Q&A)

March's convening focused on ushering in a new phase of work as building begins of the BIG Collection!

Orienting ourselves toward the first mile marker of the BIG Collection–- ”within the Big Ten, any content, from anywhere, to anyone. . .now and in the future”—we’ll take up the example of the print collections to illustrate how we’re moving from the more abstract activity of “conceptualizing” (where we’ve been) to the tangible and practical action of “building.” 

The libraries of the Big Ten Academic Alliance collectively hold over 20% of the print titles in North America. For ten years, as an alliance, we’ve run a joint project to learn what it takes to build a shared print collection–jointly managed, validated, and trusted. Now we’re ready to amplify that learning and begin scaling to tens of millions of books–an endeavor that will necessarily require greatly strengthened systems and infrastructure services for our libraries to use. We’ll take a look at the modeling for how we’ll scale up, the tools we’ll be starting to bring online, and our first glance at potential implications for policies, practices, and workflows. 


  • Maurice York, Director of Library Initiatives
  • Karla Strieb, Visiting Program Officer for Shared Collections

Presentation Slides

Open Publishing and Open Scholarship in the Big Ten: 
A Perspective from Faculty Authors and Researchers

January 9 -12, 2023 

The Libraries of the Big Ten Academic Alliance are engaged partners in advancing the growth of more equitable open science and open scholarship by helping to shape a sustainable, scalable, trustworthy, and just open knowledge ecosystem.  During the week, Faculty from across Big Ten institutions shared their perspective on the value of open access publishing to their work, its current state, and prospects for the future. 

Recordings now available:

Plenary Sessions

  • Introduction ( recording | slides)
  • Arts & Humanities Panel (recording)
    • Claire Stewart, Dean of University Libraries, University of Nebraska (host)

    • Harmony Bench, Associate Professor, Department of Dance, The Ohio State University

    • Holly Brewer, Burke Professor of American History, University of Maryland

    • TJ Billard, Assistant Professor, School of Communication, Northwestern University

    • Josephine Lee, Professor of English and Asian American Studies, University of Minnesota

  • Sciences & Social Sciences Panel (recording)
  • Beth McNeil, Dean of Libraries, Purdue University (host)

  • Michael Dougherty, Chair, Department of Psychology, University of Maryland

  • Sylvie Brouder, Professor of Agronomy, Purdue University

  • Bryan Carstens, Chair, Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University

  • Moin Syed, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota 

Focused Conversations

  • A Culture of Open Access and Open Scholarship on Campus (recording | slides)

    Karl Broman, Professor, Department of Biostatistics & Medical Informatics, University of Wisconsin
  •  The BTAA Libraries’ Open Scholarship Strategy ( recording | slides)

    Kate McCready, VPO for Academy Owned Scholarly Publishing, and Maurice York, Director of Library Initiatives, Big Ten Academic Alliance
  • Library-Faculty Collaboration on Publishing Data Analysis ( recording | slides)

    Dan Coughlin, Head, Libraries Strategic Technologies, Penn State University

To participate in our WindTunneling project:

Go to:

Project code to join: CNV123

The project will be open from January 9 - 22. We encourage you to revisit the project often to see what others are saying, and respond to new contributions. There will be further opportunities to collaborate throughout the year on new topics and themes.

Here is a brief how-to introduction to WindTunneling, which will give you everything you need to know to jump in and start contributing. 

Watch Now:  Big Collection: Learning with Intention

Reports from the Pilot Projects

Monday, July 11,  2022 - 10am CT / 11am ET - 90 minutes

Session format: Plenary (presentations and Q&A)

May’s Convening focused on the iterative “innovation model” we are using as our method of inquiry and how this approach helps shape the learning for two of the BTAA’s major initiatives. In July we sharpen our focus and will hear from an array of pilot projects actively engaged in exploring key foundational aspects that are necessary to support the first mile marker of the BIG Collection: Anything, from anywhere, to anyone…from now into the future. We hope you join us as we hear from our peers about the goals and objectives of their projects, and their learning along the way.

Host: Maurice York, Director of Library Initiatives, Big Ten Academic Alliance

Pilot Projects:

  • ReCap SCSB Software Infrastructure Test Install

    • Lee Konrad, AUL for Digital Strategy, University of Wisconsin (Steering Committee Liaison)

    • Maurice York, Director of Library Initiatives, Big Ten Academic Alliance (Governance Team)

    • Amy Wood, Head of Metadata and Discovery Enhancement, CRL (Metadata Team)

    • Marie Waltz, Head of Access Initiatives & Collections Care Access InitiativesCRL (Fulfillment Team)

    • Bruce Barton, Director of Library Systems and Application Services, University of Wisconsin (Systems Team)

  • BTAA Fulfillment and ILL Visioning 

  • Fulfillment and ILL UBorrow System Refresh

    • Clara Fehrenbach, Document Delivery Services Librarian, University of Chicago

    • Katie Sanders, Library Systems Administrator, University of Wisconsin

    • Rachael Cohen, Discovery Systems Librarian, Indiana University (Steering Committee Member)

  • Open Ebook Collection-Building Partnership for BTAA Universities

    • Kate McCready, Visiting Program Officer for Academy Owned Scholarly Publishing, Big Ten Academic Alliance (Steering Committee Liaison)

    • Charles Watkinson, AUL for Publishing and Director of University of Michigan Press


Watch Now:  Moving Forward with Intention: Foundational Work for the Big Collection

Monday, May 9,  2022 - 10am CT / 11am ET (2nd Monday in March) - 75 minutes

Session format: Plenary (presentations and Q&A)

In this second year of the Big Convenings, we are focusing our attention on the first mile marker of the BIG Collection: Anything, from anywhere, to anyone....from now into the future. To reach this marker, we are using a pragmatic “innovation model,” an iterative method of learning that allows us to direct our resources in a sustained and scalable way toward achieving our highest priorities. This session will introduce the plan of action for the year to come and consider two major initiatives underway that provide examples for how the innovation model is working in practice.

Host: Maurice York, Director of Library Initiatives, Big Ten Academic Alliance


Lisa Carter - Vice Provost for Libraries and University Librarian, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is the Chair of the Executive Committee of the BTAA Library Directors and Deans

Claire Stewart - Dean of University Libraries, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and member of the Big Collection Steering Committee

Beth McNeil - Dean of Libraries, Esther Ellis Norton Professor of Library Science, Purdue University

Watch Now:  Shared Services: Coherence of Activity in BTAA Library Initiatives

Monday, March 14,  2022 - 10am CT / 11am ET (2nd Monday in March) - 75 minutes

Session format: Plenary (presentations and Q&A)

Host:  Kate McCready, Interim Associate University Librarian for Content & Collections, University of Minnesota Libraries

Presenters : 

Amy Drayer - User Interface Developer, University of Minnesota Libraries, Member of Accessibility Peer Group, and co-chair of the Library Accessibility Alliance Steering Committee

Ellen Mueller, Director of Technical Services at the University of Michigan Library, and Chair of the BTAA Cooperative Cataloging Program

Dee Magnoni, Associate University Librarian at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, and co-chair of the BTAA Public Services Peer Group

David Ward, Director of Library Teaching and Learning, and Head of Undergraduate Library, University of Illinois, and co-lead of the BTAA Public Services Peer Group Strategic Planning process

Session description: To think through how the BIG Collection is changing our shared work, this session will encourage us to imagine the BIG Collection milestone of "Any content from anywhere to anyone.” What would it look like to achieve this reality, free of barriers to access that affect specific populations of our users? And what would we need to do to get there? T he session will highlight a few examples that illustrate the past, present, and future of BTAA shared services. Speakers will showcase work happening in the Accessibility Peer Group, the Cooperative Cataloging Project (CCP), and the Public Services Peer Group, and the plans and initiatives these groups are undertaking that are actively building the BIG Collection.

Watch Now:  Equity & Inclusion: the Light and Air of the Knowledge Commons

Monday, January  10, 2022 - 10am CT / 11am ET (2nd Monday in January) - 75 minutes

Session format: Plenary (keynote presentation, panel discussion, Q&A)

Keynote Speaker:  Ricky Punzalan, Associate Professor of Information, University of Michigan

Host:  Adriene Lim , Dean of Libraries, University of Maryland

Panelists: Consuella Askew , Interim Vice President of Libraries and University Librarian, Rutgers University  and Carmelita Pickett, Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Resources & Content Strategy, University of Virginia

Session description: Equity and inclusion form the very air of the knowledge commons, allowing light and life to enter into it. Important fundamental questions must infuse our thinking and guide our action if we are to create a truly inclusive commons: What gets saved? Who sees what? Who decides and why? And on what terms? The people and cultures of our respective universities will always remain at the center of the BIG Collection initiative, which will be guided by the highest values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The BIG Collection will be inclusive of voices and respectful of all perspectives. It is intentionally diverse with respect to the institutions, perspectives, and backgrounds of its universities and the hundreds of thousands of staff, students, faculty, health providers, and many more who make up our extended community. This session will delve into the ways in which diversity, equity, and inclusion will guide our every step and intention as we move toward the ideal of the BIG collection. 

Watch Now: Envisioning the BIG Collection: Building a Knowledge Commons for the Big Ten

Recorded Monday March 8, 2021 - 10am CT / 11am ET (2nd Monday in March) - 90 minutes

Session format: Plenary (Keynote presentation, panel discussion, Q&A)

Keynote speaker: Maurice York, Director of Library Initiatives, Big Ten Academic Alliance

Host: Damon Jaggars, Vice Provost and Dean University Libraries, OSU

Panelists: Members of the BIG Collection Steering Committee

Session description: In an unprecedented collaborative gesture, the fifteen research libraries of the Big Ten Academic Alliance have committed to intentionally managing their core collections of books and digital assets as one collection to meet the growing needs of faculty and students on each campus. The BIG Collection is the overarching initiative to advance this commitment. The objective of the BIG Collection is to create a coherent knowledge commons for our faculty and students, with content universally available to all without regard to what institution produced or purchased it, supported by interoperable services and systems that rest on a foundation of shared infrastructure. We are beginning by building the infrastructure for the knowledge commons. This presentation will introduce the theme for the year of Convenings by describing the vision, direction, and priorities for the BIG Collection.

Watch Now: Collective Action and the Common Good: The Cornerstone of the Knowledge Commons

Recorded Monday April 19, 2021 - 10am CT / 11am ET

Session format: Plenary (Keynote presentation, panel discussion, Q&A)

Keynote speaker: Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Digital Humanities, Professor of English, Michigan State University

Host: Maurice York, Director of Library Initiatives, Big Ten Academic Alliance

Panelists: Cathleen (Cathy) A. Curley, Chief Information Officer for the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA) at the University of Michigan; Greg Eow, President of the Center for Research Libraries

Session description: Commitment to collective action from all fifteen libraries of the Big Ten stands as the first foundational concept of the BIG Collection. By joining our strengths, we create something more than the sum of our parts. By articulating the needs of the whole, we can coordinate holistic action to elevate the collective interest and the greater good. This is the power of collaboration and the power of the BIG Collection. Kathleen Fitzpatrick will introduce the theme of Collective Action and illustrate the very important link between the future of the library and the future of the university. 

WATCH NOW:  The Path to Community Action: How the BIG Collection will work and how to get involved

Recorded Monday, May 10, 2021 - 10AM CT/ 11AM ET

Session format: Conversation, break out rooms

Session description: In the feedback and questions over the first two Convenings, we’ve heard clearly an emergent topic on people’s minds of “How will this work? How do I get involved and contribute? And how will it impact my work?” An important goal for the BIG Collection is to build a system that is responsive to our needs rather than reactive. For the May session, we will pause to consider this most important question through format and content oriented toward exploring the concept of how things will work. The session will center on small group conversations for listening, sharing ideas, and providing input; we will be using Zoom break-out rooms

WATCH NOW:  Interdependence: The Pillars of the Knowledge Commons

Recorded Monday June 14, 2021 -  10am CT / 11am ET

Session format: Plenary (keynote presentation, panel discussion, Q&A)

Keynote speaker: Greg Eow, President, Center for Research Libraries (CRL)

Session description: In our global and networked society, everything around us is embedded in complex systems, from the ceiling light that comes on at the flick of a switch, to the food that arrives on our tables, to the quality of the air we breathe. Our libraries succeed because they are composed of layer upon layer of interdependent, complex systems. The essence of interdependence is in the inextricable bonds that link our path together towards a common future and join us together in common cause. These are the agreements we make with each other and the commitments that stand behind them--what others can count on us for, and what we can be counted on to do. Greg Eow will lead off this discussion of interdependence as a fundamental concept of the path toward the BIG Collection.

WATCH NOW:  Open Knowledge: the Dome of the Knowledge Commons

Recorded Monday, September 13,2021 - 10am CT / 11am ET (2nd Monday in September) - 90 minutes

Session format: Plenary (keynote presentation, panel discussion, Q&A)

Keynote speaker: Evviva Weinraub Lajoie, Vice Provost for University Libraries, University at Buffalo

Session description: A key purpose of the knowledge commons is advancing open knowledge through open scholarship. Independent public knowledge depends on the sustainable creation and preservation of scholarly and scientific knowledge in the public interest. This includes access to the sources of knowledge from the past; the creation of knowledge in the present; and the durable preservation of knowledge into the future. Our libraries are the guardians and stewards of independent public knowledge. Evviva Weinraub will introduce this exploration of open knowledge as a vital component of the BIG Collection.

WATCH NOW: Community Action in Practice: Networks of Trust in BTAA Library Initiatives

Recorded Monday, November 8, 2021 - 10am CT / 11am ET (2nd Monday in November) - 60 minutes

Session format: Plenary (presentations and Q&A)

Cody Hanson, Director of Information Technology, University of Minnesota
Ryan Mattke, Map & Geospatial Information Librarian, University of Minnesota
Joshua Sadvari, Geospatial Information Librarian, Ohio State University
Emily Campbell, Director of Document Delivery, University of Michigan 
Kurt Munson, Head of Access Services, Northwestern University
Clara Fehrenbach, Document Delivery Services Librarian, University of Chicago
Maurice York, Library Initiatives Director, Big Ten Academic Alliance

Presentation Slides

Session description: Big Ten libraries have more than sixty years of meaningful and successful collaboration across collections, services, and technologies. This long record of collaboration has built deep networks of trust between our libraries, which are indispensable for the tremendous work that stretches out in front of us. The BIG Collection stands on the shoulders of everything we have built together over decades of partnership and alliance. This session will focus on how community action appears in the daily work of our libraries, the many years of collaboration that have brought us to where we stand today, and the outlook for our future work. Speakers will highlight developments over the past few months and showcase work happening in Geospatial and Fulfillment initiatives that are actively building the BIG Collection.