Celebrating 300 Episodes of The Authority File: Staff Picks

The TAF team chooses their favorite episodes from over the years

To celebrate The Authority File reaching 300 episodes, the Choice team put together several lists highlighting key episodes and topics. For this final post, we highlight our own favorites from 2017 to the present. These staff picks include myriad topics like Indigenous studies, info lit, and making use of free time. Enjoy!


Bill Mickey, TAF host: “Picking a few favorite episodes out of 300 is nearly impossible. Kudos to our sponsors for helping spotlight such fascinating trends, technology, research, and the individuals behind them! But here are three discussions from TAF’s early days that, to me, were particularly intriguing in the sense that we mixed things up with our hosts and guests (Episode 72), we were there at the beginning of big stories (Episode 76), and we elevated library instruction that may have always existed, but took on new urgency during difficult times (Episode 122).”

Taylor & Francis logo. "Taylor & Francis Group an Informa Business" in blue text. To the left, a white lit lamp enclosed in a blue circle.

Episode 72: Discussing Empathy: What, precisely, is it?

Dr. Randolph Cornelius, professor of psychological science at Vassar College and longtime Choice reviewer, interviews Dr. Heidi Maibom, professor of philosophy at the University of Cincinnati, about empathy and her most recent edited work, The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Empathy. They begin their conversation with perhaps the most foundational question in the study of empathy: what, precisely, is it? Read more and listen here.


Episode 76: Annual Reviews: Evolving to Better Serve the Public Good

Bill talks with Richard Gallagher, the President and Editor-in-Chief of Annual Reviews, about the organization’s history and how those first reviews came together. They also discuss what goes into a review, how the process has changed over the years, and they begin to look ahead to opening up content at Annual Reviews. Read more and listen here.

Annual Reviews logo. On the left, the letters "A" and "R" blend together, with the right leg of the "A" blending into the top of the "R." Dark blue in the background. On the right, horizontal, multicolored stripes.

SAGE Publishing logo. Against a white background, "SAGE" in bolded large dark blue. "Publishing" starts at the halfway point under "SAGE" in smaller text. To the left of "SAGE" is a bolded filled-in "S" with a circle around it.

Episode 122: A New Approach to Info Lit: Taking Down the “Illusion of Credibility”

Conspiracy theories. Fake news. Flat Earthers. These buzz words have seeped into our common vernacular. But how does misinformation spread? How does the internet expand its influence? And how can academics keep the next generation of students from falling prey to falsehoods? Read more and listen here.


Ashley Roy, TAF producer: “This selection of posts highlights the importance of intentionality, whether it be through implementing lived experience advisory boards when creating a mental health journal or including the student perspective in the undergraduate workflow. The speakers in each of these episodes were engaging and passionate about their fields, drawing in listeners and sparking intrigue. Not only do these episodes cover important, timely topics like bolstering support for Indigenous Studies and uncovering lesbian history, they do so in a way that inspires action and accountability.”

Autobiography as Indigenous Intellectual Tradition book cover. Colorful drawing of a face with shades of brown, red, pink, and yellow, and black hair with a white star at the crown of the head. In the background, to the right of the face is a pink/red tree and above is a drawing of a bear.

Episode 267: Cultivating Indigenous Studies: Supporting and Growing the Field

Supporting an emerging field requires innovation, investment, and infrastructure. Leaders must focus on community-building and engagement to foster sustained interest and growth. Even further, transformation in the academy—only one part of the scholarly ecosystem—must reach beyond campus to the publishing and librarianship sectors. Read more and listen here.


Episode 285: Introducing Nature Mental Health: Putting Ideas into Practice

The forthcoming Nature Mental Health aims to build DEI principles into its editorial approach, thereby underpinning mental health as a human right. However, bringing these goals to fruition requires intentionality through inclusive initiatives and equitable publication practices—such as, global partnerships, lived experience advisory boards, and community-based recognition. Read more and listen here.

Rebecca Cooney headshot. Rebecca has light brown hair that goes a couple inches past her shoulders. She's wearing a black shirt and the background is plain white.

Four headshots of the podcast speakers. In the top left, Samantha Sharman wears a white t-shirt with hair several inches past her shoulders and trees in the background. To the right of Samantha, Jamie Wood has a blue background, has short brown hair, and wears a blue/green striped sweater. Directly below Jamie is Ian Snowley. Ian has short silver hair and wears a blue suit, collared shirt, and tie. To the left is Ian is Matt Hayes. Matt wears a long-sleeved black shirt with short brown hair. His background is beige.

Episode 280: Understanding the Undergraduate Workflow: Bringing It All Together

Our guests dig into how faculty and student perspectives allow librarians to remain flexible and adjust services to better suit undergraduate needs. They chat about lowering barriers to entry for student engagement—reducing the number of content platforms, fixing broken resource links—and teaching faculty’s general awareness of these issues. Read more and listen here.


Episode 295: The Impact of Primary Sources on Lesbian Literature and History: The Evolution and Significance of Queer Archives

Rachel Friars, a PhD student in the Department of English Language and Literature at Queen’s University, digs into her approach and the evolution of her work with primary sources. Rachel explains how the diaries of Anne Lister—a 19th-century lesbian diarist, traveler, and landowner—became archived and widely digitized, narrowly escaping becoming lost in history. Read more and listen here.

Rachel Friars headshot. Bright yellow background. Woman with short hair, glasses, and maroon turtleneck.

Sabrina Cofer, TAF editor: “These three episodes spotlight the more reflective moments of the podcast. In ‘The Humanness of the Job,’ speakers share the communal loss felt between staff while working from home during the fall of 2020. In ‘A Search for My Own History,’ University of Toronto Scarborough‘s Karina Vernon reflects on the pull of the archives and ‘[researching] my way into an identity.’ ‘Making Good Use of Free Time’ pieces together how we can create fulfilling and enriching moments of betterment in our free time, including the guest’s own struggle with the theory. All three include human, intimate stories that blend the informative and the personal, making them my standout picks.”

Episode 167: The COVID-19 Fall Semester: The Humanness of the Job

The guests dive into the everyday of the fall semester, and the quick decisions that were necessary to keep workflows efficient and patrons safe. They also reflect on the transformation of work culture, and what’s been lost in the process. The stress of the pandemic and the lack of interacting face-to-face with your coworkers take its toll. Read more and listen here.


 Episode 127: Constructing the Black Prairie Archives: “A Search for My Own History”

‘Scholarly’ does not equate to detached, apathetic, or impartial. In some cases, a researcher’s emotional ties to a subject can even give the topic more weight or urgency. Karina Vernon, Associate Professor of English at the University of Toronto Scarborough, indeed felt a great pull to her subject, Black life and literature in the Canadian prairies. Read more and listen here.

The Black Prairie Archives book cover. The top two-thirds has a white background with "The Black Prairie Archives" in black text, and directly below it, "An Anthology" written in dark green. In the bottom third, a photograph of a green field with a person holding a dark green poster that obstructs their body from view, except for their hands. Editor name written in the bottom over the grass in white text.

The Fullness of Free Time book cover. Colorful drawing of a park. The sky is blue, with a skyline, trees, and people walking, riding bikes, playing in a field. Book title written in blue and green text over the sky at the top.

Episode 161: Purposeful or Indulgent? Making Good Use of Free Time

Conor Kelly of Marquette University illustrates the ways he thinks through using his own free time, and how his moral convictions inform his personal decisions. In an interesting case study, Kelly explains the moral considerations he brings to watching football, and how the difference between the compensation of professional versus student athletes complicates the question of whether he should or shouldn’t watch them compete. Read more and listen here.


Keep up with the rest of the Celebrating 300 Episodes of The Authority File posts on Choice’s blog, Open Stacks.

You can find more Authority File episodes on our websiteSpotifyStitcherApple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.

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