Students

Boston Library Consortium signs letter to President Obama about Open Educational Resources

In June, the White House called for suggestions from the public for its third Open Government National Action Plan, to be released later this year. The purpose of this plan is to increase transparency in government as well as support open research and learning tools, which were identified as areas for development in the first two National Action Plans. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), an international group of academic research libraries, has responded to this call with a letter advocating for increased support for the development of open educational resources. The Boston Library Consortium, of which Northeastern University is a member, has added its name as a signatory of this letter. We are proud to voice our support for open educational resources! Open educational resources (OERs) are freely accessible learning objects that support teaching and learning at all levels - from kindergarten through higher education. Because they are openly licensed, educators can customize OERs or create mashups of different resources to provide their students with the material that best meets their teaching objectives. OERs include textbooks, audio and video materials, tests, software, interactive modules, and much more. Many are peer-reviewed either before or after being publicly released, so teachers can be assured of their quality. OERs benefit students as well as educators—they serve as free alternatives to costly traditional textbooks. A recent NBC News story about the astronomical increase in textbook prices (more than triple the cost of inflation since 1977) quotes an incoming Northeastern first-year student on the struggle to afford college textbooks. OERs would help him and thousands of others get a high-quality education at a more affordable price. The Open Education Group, which conducts an ongoing review of empirical research on the use of OERs, reports that studies show students and educators using OERs are satisfied with the quality of these resources and that learning outcomes are equivalent to or better than those in classrooms using traditional resources. Instructors and students, are you interested in learning more about open educational resources? Check out my guide to OERs and textbook alternatives, and please feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

February 23-27 Is Fair Use Week!

        What is fair use? It's a right granted to us that allows us to use copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright holder, under certain circumstances. The central purpose of the doctrine of fair use is to encourage creative expression and innovation through the transformative use of intellectual property. Fair use is not unusual—quite the contrary: it's applied every day, in a variety of circumstances. Have you quoted an author in a paper for class? That's fair use! Have you watched "The Daily Show," or "South Park"? You've enjoyed the humor of parody that fair use allows! Have you DVRed those shows to watch later (or do you remember the dark ages of recording TV shows on your VCR)? Even though you're technically making a copy, that kind of copying is also fair use. But fair use is sometimes mischaracterized as being too difficult to determine and thus advised against out of fear of infringement. So, the organizers of Fair Use Week hope to increase awareness and understanding of fair use, and emphasize its importance to the creation of new knowledge. There are several online events taking place as part of Fair Use Week:
  • On Tuesday, February 24, from 2:00-3:00, Kevin Smith of Duke University will be presenting a webcast on fair use.
  • On Wednesday, February 25, from 3:00-4:00, Brandon Butler of American University will be hosting a "tweetchat" on Twitter about fair use and audiovisual materials, at the hashtag #videofairuse.
  • Several videos about fair use are scheduled to be released next week.
You can read more about Fair Use Week—why it's important and what it all means—at this link: http://fairuseweek.org/. I also recommend checking out the Fair Use Week Tumblr, organized by Kyle Courtney at Harvard University. He and his colleagues are posting interesting stories and snippets about Fair Use Week. You can follow @FairUseWeek on Twitter.  (And, if you haven't seen it, we have a page about fair use on our library website.) Finally, check out this great infographic that has been created about fair use! (click for full image)  

Faculty: We’ve Updated Our Guide to Creating Article Links for Blackboard!

It's that time of year again... you're thinking about your syllabus for the spring semester! Linking to articles and e-book chapters on Blackboard is a great way to help your students save money on classpacks. It's also a good way to stay in compliance with copyright law. Check out our guide to help you find and create permalinks to articles and e-books in library databases - links that will persist over time and are best for including in an online reading list. We've recently updated our guide because creating permalinks is now so much easier - you can do it right within Scholar OneSearch!

Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive – WBUR Oral History Project Announces Lesson Plans

In the wake of the events that occurred on April 15, 2013 at the 117th Boston Marathon and on April 19, 2013 in Watertown, Northeastern University English Professor Elizabeth Maddock Dillon and Assistant Professor Ryan Cordell recognized the obvious need for a space where people could tell and share their stories with each other.  They believed that sharing stories from survivors, families, witnesses, visitors to the city, and everyone around the world touched by the event will speed the healing process, and wanted to create that space as a gift to the community. Together, they established the Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive, a crowd-sourced, digital archive of pictures, videos, stories, and social media related to the Boston Marathon bombing.  Thus far, they have acquired an archive of almost 10,000 items, 3 interactive exhibits, and 3 major collections.

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[April 21, 2013, from the Public Submissions collection]

This summer, I contributed to this remarkable endeavor as a Simmons School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) graduate summer intern sponsored by the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Department and supported by the Project Co-Director James McGrath. In addition to exhibit building and social media, the main task of my internship was to create lesson plans for schoolroom use. Because children were affected by this crisis as well, the team at Our Marathon thought it would help the healing process for children to use the Our Marathon archives—to remember and share stories in the safety of their own classrooms.  Additionally, it can be difficult for teachers to navigate the complex questions young students ask and a resource like the digital archive can work as a great tool to facilitate age appropriate discussion. To that end, I helped create a Teaching Resources page for Our Marathon. This page showcases five lesson plans for Kindergarten through Grade 12 that utilize Letters to the City of Boston and The Copley Square Memorial collections,  and the WBUR Oral History Project as the basis for a teaching unit. These lesson plans are designed to demonstrate mastery of grade and subject appropriate Common Core Standards. Hopefully, these assignments will generate more student submissions to the archive as well as create a platform for an important dialogue amongst students and teachers. I look forward to reading about their experiences in the Our Marathon archives.

Celebrate Open Access Week With Us! Oct. 20-26, 2014

Open Access Week Are you: ...a scientist hoping to maximize the audience for your research? ...a student who's tried to access a journal article through Google and hit a paywall? ...an early career researcher concerned about establishing your scholarly reputation? ...a taxpayer who wants to be able to access government-funded health research? If so, then Open Access is relevant to you! This week, Snell Library is celebrating International Open Access Week, which highlights the importance of expanding access to research on a global scale. Open Access Week is an international event now in its eighth year – its purpose is to raise awareness about inequities in access to information and promote change in the publishing industry. Traditionally, researchers access information they need through a personal subscription, buying a book, or accessing information through a library. But what if your library doesn’t have a subscription? Or, what happens when you graduate? Or, what about researchers in developing countries where the costs of access are out of reach? (Journal subscriptions can cost thousands of dollars.) These are some of the reasons why opening access to research is important. The theme of International Open Access Week this year is "Generation Open" – highlighting the importance of students and early career researchers as advocates for change. Snell Library has several events planned to celebrate OA Week; given the theme this year, I'm very pleased that for the first time, one of our events features a Northeastern student's work! And be sure to stop by our table in the lobby of Snell every day this week (11:30-1:30) to learn more and pick up a totebag, laser-cut bookmark, or pen! Schedule of Events Monday, October 20 3:00 pm-4:30 pm 90 SL Webcast: "Generation Open" Panel Discussion Speakers will discuss the importance of students and early career researchers in the transition to Open Access and explore how changes in scholarly publishing affect scholars and researchers at different stages of their careers. Refreshments will be served. Wednesday, October 22 3:30 pm-8:30 pm Digital Scholarship Commons (211 SL) Wikipedia Edit-a-thon Join us to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of under-represented groups in Massachusetts and U.S. history. This hack-a-thon style session will focus on editing and updating Wikipedia pages in a group setting. Participants do not need any prior experience with Wikipedia, just bring a laptop and a power supply. Refreshments will be served. Thursday, October 23 12:00 pm-1:00 pm DMC 3D Printing Studio 3D Printing Presentation: Andreas Aghamianz Northeastern student Andreas Aghamianz (COE '18) will discuss the process of fabricating and assembling his open-sourced inMoov robotic hand. Thursday, October 23 2:00 pm-3:00 pm 90 SL Webcast: The Right Metrics for Generation Open Stacy Konkiel of Impactstory presents a guide to getting credit for practicing open science. Refreshments will be served.