Wednesday, October 29, 2014

7th Annual Library Chili Cookoff!

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are in need of raking, and there’s a distinct chill in the air which can only mean one thing: time for CHILI!

On Thursday, Nov. 6th from 3-4 pm the library is happy to present the 7th Annual Library Chili Cookoff!

There will be categories for best vegetarian, judge's choice, and people's choice. In addition to the chili cookoff, some chefs will also compete in the Fantastic Cornbread Hootenanny.

Come join us in the front Tower Room to eat FREE chili and cornbread and vote for your favorite!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Open Educational Resources

In yesterday's post, Mike Lange discussed his experiences with open access publication. There is another set of open access information available for faculty: open educational resources.

What is an Open Educational Resource (OER)?
An open educational resource (OER for short) is a curriculum item that is freely available for use. In general, it is released with a more open Creative Commons licensing structure that allows it to be reused and remixed with varying degrees of responsibility for attribution, re-mixing, and sharing. One can even mark an item as "public domain", which means that it is available for use without attribution and can be remixed and shared without breaking copyright.

Where can I find OERs for my courses?
There are a number of great resources available for finding and sharing OERs. Here is just a small sampling:
  • Open4Us.org: Hosted by the Open Professionals Education network, this site is a resource for searching for OERs broken down by material type.
  • OER Commons: This site breaks down OERs by topic. You can also search geographically and by intellectual level. The content is shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC-BY-NC-SA) 3.0 License unless otherwise noted.
  • Open Education Consortium: This group aggregates content from a number of sources, including MIT's initiative called OpenCourseWare (OCW). 
  • College Open Textbooks: While it does not collect OER textbooks, COT points to the repositories and sites where OER textbooks are located, as well as advocating for creating more open resources for college students in particular.
SPARC has a great resource page to help you learn more about OERs and how to create your own - and how to get support for doing it.

How can I make sure the resources are worthwhile?
Many OERs are peer-reviewed and carefully vetted before they are published in the open access world. As always in the academy, one must be careful to use sound professional judgment about sources; resources from proprietary publishers can sometimes have problems!

Where can I find more?
Many universities have offices devoted to scholarly publishing and open education. While we don't have one at Champlain, we can take advantage of the work that they're doing and publishing on the web.

How might you use an OER in your course or in your classroom? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Open Access for Faculty and Researchers

Today, we're going to feature the Open Access movement from the faculty/researchers' perspective. The implications of OA for scholarly research are wide-ranging, and interest in pursuing OA initiatives crosses all disciplinary lines. How Open Access will shape the future of scholarly communication remains to be seen, but most in the academic community have a thought or two on the matter. We caught up with Mike Lange, Associate Professor in the Core, to hear what he had to say.

First off, tell us a little about yourself and your background? 
I’m an anthropologist who studies folklore. I have an MA in cultural anthro, an MA in Scandinavian lit and language, and a PhD in folklore, all from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I’ve been doing ethnographic research for over 15 years. I am currently the co-editor of Digest with Diane Tye, a folklorist at Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada. 
What is Digest? 
Digest is the academic journal of the Foodways Section of the American Folklore Society. 
What were the factors that went into opting to make Digest an Open Access journal?
Digest has been around since at least the 1970s, but for quite a while, the journal had been defunct. Some of the biggest hurdles to maintaining its publication included costs, time, and institutional support. By shifting the publication process from exclusively print to exclusively digital, we were able to remove a lot of the costs of publishing and distribution, as well as lowering some of the needs for institutional support. 
Who are the authors you are publishing? Are they generally favorable to this model? 
Our authors are primarily folklorists and other cultural researchers who do work on food and foodways (the study of food as an aspect of human culture). 
You have probably seen many changes to how scholarship is accessed and circulated during your career. How do Open Access resources fit in (ex.: authors posting drafts of their works, Open Access data sets, libraries and museums opening up their archives/collections and making content freely available online)? Have they had a big impact on your research? 
Changes in the formats of research dissemination have had relatively little impact on my own research. I am not that much of a user of electronic communications technologies, so I don’t take part in the examples you note here. 
Do you see it as a positive development in your field(s) or for academia in general? 
Personally, I am indifferent to the shift toward Open Access as a norm for academic publishing. What is more important to me is that the concepts of expertise and peer review remain, and that can be done with Open Access forms of dissemination. 
There are important conversations happening around Open Access in all disciplines. And not everyone agrees. While many scientific fields fully embrace the model, others, such as the the American Historical Association, are more skeptical of what AHA President William Cronon referred to as “open-access absolutism.” Do you have a sense of how your colleagues in the fields of anthropology and folklore studies feel about Open Access?  
The two fields of anthropology and folklore have taken fairly different stances toward Open Access.  Anthropology has been more circumspect, while folklore has generally embraced the concept of Open Access. The reasons for the difference are many and varied, but one of the roots is the difference in attitudes historically in the two fields’ understandings of their role. Folklore has for a long time thought of its role as including more advocacy, and the collection and dissemination of the folk culture of (often) marginal or disenfranchised groups. That history makes a concept like Open Access a more natural extension of the attitudes of many folklorists. Anthro, on the other hand, does not have advocacy as thoroughly in its bones, and it is less focused historically collecting aspects of culture. So, the open dissemination part of Open Access does not resonate as loudly on anthro. 
Do you have a sense of what some of your colleagues at Champlain think about Open Access? 
Since I’m not much of an electronic communications tech user, I don’t really have my finger on that pulse among my colleagues. 
This year’s theme for Open Access Week is “Generation Open,” and it is addressing students' and young researchers' role in and involvement with Open Access. What are some of the benefits of Open Access that you see for students and young researchers, both at Champlain and in the wider academic community? 
To be honest, I think the benefits often espoused for Open Access formats are overblown. There is real benefit to a greater number of people doing real knowledge-making work having their work disseminated to an audience, but the “democratization of information” that is often put forward as part of Open Access is not that important, in my view. The openness of Open Access is more valuable on the production side than it is on the consumption side. Increased access to publishing opportunities for researchers is hugely important in the grand scheme of knowledge making (which is a major role for academia). More people being able to cast their eyes on an article matters less than more people being able to get their articles into the conversation. The idea that it is valuable for more people to read an article ignores that simply having access to read research does not equate to the research having a greater impact. A critical, thinking reader makes a difference, but just having more eyes does not because there is a difference between information and knowledge. In North America, the value of Open Access for students is pretty minimal because most students have access to non-open sources of research through subscriptions at their schools. For young scholars, the increased opportunity to disseminate their work afforded by Open Access venues is very valuable. Too often, the conversations about Open Access are framed only in terms of increased access for people to read the work. The real value is increasing access to publishing opportunities for real research. 
As a librarian, I often think of Open Access as a potential teaching tool, not just a means of connecting students to scholarly sources. It’s a helpful way to get students to think about the scholarship they depend on for their coursework, to understand how it is produced, and how it fits into the ecosystem of higher education. In some ways, it touches on both information literacy and financial literacy. 
Conversations about Open Access can definitely be used as a teaching moment. The role that knowledge production plays in the making of their college experience is something Champlain talks too little about, and which ought to be incorporated more. 

*          *          *

As Joanna pointed out yesterday, there are groups and tools to help students gain greater access to research materials they may be otherwise blocked from. Traditionally, such measures have not been as necessary for members of the research community, as they can appeal to their colleagues for access to materials that reside behind paywalls (or other barriers) in a way that most students cannot. The scholarly community has always been one predicated on a commitment to sharing ideas and resources; and yet, this network is never large enough or truly connected enough to overcome the barriers that currently exist.

The thrust of the OA movement is to help overcome these barriers imposed by a traditional publishing model, give authors greater rights to share their work freely, and to create a system that more easily welcomes researchers from all corners of the research community. Last year, we looked at some of the tools and resources available to individual authors who want to learn more about what OA can do for them. And as was pointed out on Monday, there are coalitions out there that are helping to formalize the process of adopting OA policies at the institutional level.

It's all good food for thought. The landscapes of publishing, research, and higher education are transforming in response to new platforms for communication and growing financial pressures; Open Access inevitably will be a part of that transformation. It already is, in fact. How large a role it will play remains to be seen, but for now, we hope the progress for OA and the lively debates continue.

And we hope that you will contribute to the debate, as well! If you would like to join the conversation or share your thoughts about Open Access, please do so in the comments section.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Open Access - What can I do now?

Open Access Button
Yesterday, Sean wrote about some of the basic ideas surrounding OA and also introduced some of the groups working toward greater access to research.

The Right to Research Coalition (R2RC) is one of these, and it is entirely student-driven! Focused on their statement as a call for action, the R2RC works to enhance student awareness, understanding, and support of the OA movement in scholarship and research. The basic principle is this: If you don't know the research is there, how can you build upon it to make progress in your work, or to be fully informed on an issue as you are assembling your arguments?

 To that end, another group of students in the UK developed the concept for the Open Access Button. This is a bookmarklet that allows you to track articles that you were not able to retrieve in the course of your research. It is designed to be compatible with any browser and uses HTTPS to provide privacy and security for you. The team behind the OA Button will email the author of a journal article or thesis on your behalf to ask for an open copy of the article that you wish to retrieve. This method is preferable to seeking access from others in another part of your academic community in a way that could violate terms of service or publishing agreements for the item, and thus unwittingly land you and your colleague in legal hot water.

And now for a little history....

A central figure in activism around issues of Open Access is Aaron Swartz. He is a figure important to the early Internet, having co-developed RSS, worked on the tenets of Creative Commons open licensing, and co-founded Reddit, all before the age of 19. Swartz moved from programming to political activism, notably campaigning against the passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

In 2011, he was arrested for downloading several million articles from JSTOR, the online humanities journal database, by connecting through MIT’s network and running a script to gather material continuously. In all, he retrieved 80% of their total content. In January 2013, at the age of 26, he committed suicide while facing trial on multiple felony counts associated with his actions. Though he returned the files to JSTOR, which then opposed the public prosecution, federal investigators continued to pursue the case against him. It is not known whether he took his life out of fear and exhaustion, or whether there were other circumstances surrounding his death. In any case, academics and activists alike continue to discuss his work, what it means to the Open Access movement, and celebrate his contributions to the cause.

Brian Knappenberger crowdsourced funding for a documentary about Swartz. It is available through Archive.org as a download. The Electronic Frontier Foundation also has information about how to organize a screening of the film, along with study guides and discussion questions here.

Diego Gomez is another individual who is in a similar position to Swartz, although his case involves the posting of a single article to Scribd for download by other researchers in his field who have difficulty accessing academic materials. The OA Button's availability makes a great difference to scholars in foreign countries that may not have the kind of ubiquitous access that we do in most academic communities in the US.

When looking for research materials to which we may not have access directly at Champlain, the Open Access Button and your library's interlibrary loan (ILL) departments are your best bets to avoid finding yourself on the wrong side of the law. That being said, there is a great push in the academic community, particularly among the sciences, to post articles to open access journals and databases, rather than in subscription-only services. Mike Lange will share his thoughts and experiences with OA scholarship tomorrow.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Welcome to Open Access Week at the MIC!



Welcome to Open Access Week! This week, the MIC will be celebrating Open Access (OA) and broadcasting the role OA plays in today’s research as well as the impact it can have for students and faculty.Throughout the week, we will be exploring the many issues surrounding this new paradigm for distributing and accessing scholarly research.

Research that is Open Access is made available for free and without (most) copyright and licensing restrictions. Peter Suber, Head of the Harvard Open Access Project and author Open Access (MIT Press, 2012), offers a clear and comprehensive overview. Open Access initiatives have been gaining a great deal of momentum in recent years, helped along by an array of stakeholders. Many major research institutions have implemented OA policies for their faculties, student groups have called for less costly access to scholarship, and a number of advocacy groups have cropped up to help further this movement's goals.

In the coming days, we are going to look in more depth at how students stand to gain from OA, how OA affects scholarly communication and faculty research, and what are the many resources currently available. We'd like to use today's post to highlight the groups fighting to make Open Access happen, the advocates who are helping to further the mission, and the many libraries, universities, and groups that are celebrating:


SPARC : SPARC is coalition of research and academic libraries whose aim is “to create a more open system of scholarly communication.” Consisting of many initiatives, SPARC is one of the most important advocate organizations for Open Access. SPARC’s “How Open Is It?” guide outlines the core components of Open Access.

R2RC: The Right to Research Coalition is a worldwide collection of student organization (numbering seven million members!) who believe that "no student should be denied access to the articles they need because their institution cannot afford the often high cost of access."

EFF: The Electronic Frontier Foundation champions users' rights and freedoms as technologies develop and gradually play a bigger role in daily life. Open Access is one of the many initiatives supported by the long-standing and well-respected group. This year, the EFF is using OA Week to promote the plight of Diego Gomez, a Colombian graduate student who faces jail time for posted research articles online.

OASIS: The Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook gives comprehensive coverage of of Open Access and "the concept, principlies, advantages, approaches, and means to achieving it." A great resource for librarians, educators, and a students.

COAPI: The Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions is committed to helping shape Open Access policies at a number of North American universities.

Open Access Movement: The story of Open Access... told through dance!

OA Meme Competition: Get involved and generate a meme!

Friday, October 17, 2014

VISIONARY LEADERS Exhibition On Display Through October 27


What do a calligrapher, typewriter salesman, co-owner of a family business, peace corps volunteer, and college professor have in common? They all went on to become president of Champlain College. Remarkably, only eight men have held the position in the 136 years of the College's existence. A new exhibit in the Tower Room of Miller Information Commons, Visionary Leaders: Champlain's Past Presidents, profiles the seven leaders who paved the way for Champlain's new President, Donald Laackman. Part of the festivities on campus celebrating President Laackman's Inauguration, the exhibit will be on display through October 27.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

DISPLAY: National Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month!

 

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month we have set up a display of books at the Miller Information Commons. If you have a chance come on over and check it out! Please check out the links below to find out more about Hispanic Heritage.

 

 

 Library of Congress

 Hispanic Heritage

Smithsonian Education