Open Access Week: Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge

Open Access Week will be celebrated October 22-28, 2018. This week-long international event is now in its 11th year, after its start in 2007 as a single day. The history is as follows:

  • February 15, 2007: began as a single day organized by Students for Free Culture and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access.
  • October 14, 2008: titled Open Access Day and became an international event.  
  • October 19-23, 2009: expanded to a full week.
  • October 2011: annually scheduled for the last full week in October, and titled Open Access Week.
  • October 2012: established themes for the week, with the first being “Set the default to open access.”
  • October 2013: the theme was “Redefining Impact.”
  • October 2014: “Generation Open.”
  • October 2015: “Open for Collaboration.”
  • October 2016: “‘Open in Action.”
  • October 2017: “Open In Order To.”
  • October 2018: Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge.”

 

We celebrated the first event in 2007, and have continued ever since. The last full week in October often coincides with our midterm break, but we will continue to celebrate Open Access Week even if it means we scrunch the events down to one or two days for the Macalester community.

Last year, we hosted a webinar viewing on open access monographs. You can read more about it in last year’s blog posting.  In my August 2018 blog, I talked about the slow pace of change in scholarly communication, but there are changes happening. I’d like to talk about some of the activities we have been participating in related to open access.  During the summer, we started using the OA icon to identify OA resources on our A-Z list of databases. If you go to our  List of Databases A-Z page, on the right side, you will see a short list of some of the resources we have that provide access to openly accessible materials.  This is not a comprehensive list. Our Library Guide on Open Access provides a more extensive list of pre-print servers and other resources for scholarly publications that are openly accessible. Meanwhile, Ron Joslin completed the Library Guide OER Toolkit, and Ron, Angi Faiks, and Terri Fishel contributed a book chapter to the open book:  The Evolution of Affordable Content Efforts in the Higher Education Environment: Programs, Case Studies, and Examples.  Ron has also spent the summer working on two major OER (Open Educational Resources)projects.  Ron, Britt Abel, and faculty from across the country have been preparing Grenzenlos Deutsch, an open access curriculum for beginning German. When completed, this work will contain a full-year curriculum, including a mix of materials rooted in real-world, contemporary communication scenarios, multimedia content, and online learning activities. Also in process is an education textbook, Building Trust: Education in Global Perspective, that Ron is creating in PressBooks with Sonia Mehta, Visiting Assistant Professor for Education Studies, and Beth Hillemann from the library. And last, but not least, the first open ebook in our series, Intersections, has been published. This is a new ebook monograph series highlighting faculty work that crosses multiple disciplines. Take a look at: A Material Education: the Art & Science of Stanton Sears .

Also during the summer, we prepared a Collection Development Plan to Support Sustainable Collections: A Proposal that we shared with our faculty Library Reps  on October 3, 2018. We will also share this proposal with our  Library Advisory Committee in November to get feedback on the proposal.  A PDF of this proposal is available for review.

We hope you will join us in celebrating Open Access Week this year.  Stay tuned for details on events during the week of October 15-19. We will be celebrating a week early due to Midterm Break.  Notices will appear in the MacDaily.

And as per always, I welcome your comments and feedback on this or any other library initiative.

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Fostering a community of digital learners in order to develop a digitally fluent community

Staff members of the library in partnership with staff in Information Technology Services will be rolling out a new initiative this fall.  With the support and approval of Employment Services and the Provost, we are piloting a program that focuses on helping members of the Macalester community become more comfortable and adept with technology. Our program is intended to address digital literacy/competency/fluency on our campus. We are beginning this initiative because we see it as a critical need on campus. Along with many others at institutions of higher education, we are concerned that our students may not graduate with the appropriate knowledge and skills needed to be successful in an increasingly complex digital environment.  In order for our students to graduate with these knowledges and skills, all of us need to be comfortable working in an environment of constantly changing and often challenging technological threats as well as opportunities. This issue is important enough to have been listed in the 2018 Horizon Report  [1] as a “solvable challenge” and it is an issue that affects all disciplines.  From the introduction, the report states:

“[t]he use of technology encompasses 21st century practices that are vital for success in the workplace and citizenship. Digital literacy transcends gaining discrete technological skills to generating a deeper understanding of the digital environment, enabling intuitive and discerning adaptation to new contexts and co-creation of content.  Institutions are charged with developing students’ digital citizenship, promoting the responsible and appropriate use of technology, including online communication etiquette and digital rights and responsibilities…” (p.26)

Our goal is to elevate the comfort level of all members of the campus community in order for all of us to be more adept at dealing with the constant changes in technology, whether it is a simple software change or a system change.  We also seek to develop skills that help individuals recognize trouble spots and threats and learn best practices for addressing those challenges.  Finally, this program is intended to help all of us become good digital citizens who understand their rights and responsibilities, as well as how to take precautions and manage security for applications  that are essential when working in a digital environment. Based on patterns we’ve observed in ourselves, and as members of the community, we see this as a community effort. Becoming comfortable with technology is more than just improving basic skills.  We want to focus on developing a deeper understanding of the environment in which we live and function. Our vision for this program is ambitious, but is stated as follows:

Digital competencies are essential in the 21st century for both personal and professional success.  Our program will foster a community of digital learners who are able to support and teach each other,  adapt to new and changing technologies, and become efficient at identifying and using appropriate technologies. Macalester will become a campus community in which change and transformation are the expectation and where all students, faculty, and staff will confidently adopt and use technology appropriately for increased productivity, improved collaboration, and effective communication in this rapidly evolving digital ecosystem.

This pilot project is the result of work that began last spring.  A group of staff members from the library and ITS started meeting regularly to talk about how we might work together to address issues related to digital literacy on campus. We see our work as connected to the work being done in the digital liberal arts, so we invited Professor Chris Wells, Environmental Studies, to join us. Our activity is also aimed at addressing one of the college’s strategic priorities on technology: “Become a leader among liberal arts colleges in the use of technology” as well as one of the issues that was listed In last year’s SPA (Strategic Planning and Analysis Committee) report: “Are we THRIVE-ing? A reflection on the current strategic plan for Macalester and implications for creating a culture of iterative strategic planning.”  The report stated: “Students would like to see Macalester explore formal programming, workshops, or short courses that teach technical and computing skills outside the format of regular credit-bearing classes.”  [2]

Thus we see an opportunity to address both a long-term strategic priority as well as a need that students have expressed. As mentioned above, many of our peer institutions are now exploring how to address these same needs.

Shortly after we began meeting, the annual ACM (Associated Colleges of the Midwest) meeting for heads of IT and libraries was held in Chicago in April.  An outcome of that meeting was an agreement to come together for a workshop at Macalester. Thus, in July we hosted a very successful ACM workshop for a group of 30 staff members from libraries and IT to talk about digital literacy and begin to create action plans for each of our campuses.  We’ve agreed to continue to share information during the next year and reconvene at Grinnell next summer.

During this fall, we will be sharing more information and addressing questions at the Department Chairs meeting in October, as well as through the MacDaily, so that supervisors will understand our goals and the purpose behind this initiative, and promote our program for staff.  I will be sharing more details at our fall Library Advisory Meeting, and we will seek opportunities to speak with any interested individuals or groups about this program. We welcome questions from community members, so I invite you to contact or talk with any of our steering committee members: Aaron Albertson,  Brooke Bergantzel, Jacki Betsworth, Suzanne Durkacs, Angi Faiks, Terri Fishel, Katy Gabrio,  Beth HIllemann, Ron Joslin, Rachel Weaver, Chris Wells (Environmental Studies/History), and Ted Wilder.  Also joining this group is our newest library staff member, Louann Terveer. We look forward to rolling out our program this fall and hope to hear back from our community members. We want to hear what needs you have that you would like to see addressed in terms of becoming digitally fluent. Please share your thoughts with any of us.  We look forward to working with you to develop our community of digital learners.

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1  The Horizon Report is issued annually and focuses on summarizing the key trends and challenges facing technology in higher education for the next five years.

“Are we THRIVE-ing? A reflection on the current strategic plan for Macalester and implications for creating a culture of iterative strategic planning.”  The Strategic Planning and Analysis Committee, 2017-18. Note: there is no date or page numbers for this report, but copies could be provided if requested.

Change is rapid and constant, except in changing scholarly communication

In the June blog posting, I talked about how our collections have changed and will continue to change. Increasing costs is one of the constants we experience and I shared our hope that faculty will become more engaged in supporting our efforts to increase open access to scholarly publications. Increasing costs are not new.  Over twenty years ago, in “Issues in Scholarly Communication I: The Looming Crisis”, authors Professor David Bressoud, DeWitt Wallace Professor of Mathematics and Joel Clemmer, former VP for Library and Information Technology, wrote:

“…the electronic age is bringing both unprecedented opportunities and great dangers…Commercial ventures are moving rapidly into this field and shaping it to fit their needs.  As scholars and as educators, we have a responsibility to help determine the future of scholarly communication…”

This excerpt  is taken from the first in a series of three articles written in 1995 and published in the Colloquy.  

The  Colloquy was an irregular campus print publication that started in 1982 as a newsletter for the Bush Program for faculty development.  The last published issue was October 2003. During its run, the publication included essays and commentaries by faculty and (sometimes) staff. In 1995, a series of three articles were co-written by Joel Clemmer David Bressoud on scholarly communication.  The articles were: I – “The Looming Crisis”; II – “The Looming Opportunities”; III – “The Looming Responsibilities.” This series focused on the scholarly crisis that had been developing, but was then accelerating due to two factors: expansion of information as well as increasing costs. The authors outlined the following as part of their background information:

  • Increase in number of published math papers
    • 1840 – 840 math papers
    • 1960 – 7,800 math papers
    • 1990 – over 50,000 math papers
  • Increase in costs of databases in the library over 10 years
    • 1984 – $1,700
    • 1994 – $66,500

At the time of the Colloquy articles, two national digital projects had just launched:  Project Muse, with the intent to digitize 44 traditionally print journals; and JSTOR, with the intent to digitize the backfiles of journals. The concept of JSTOR was based on a proposal  by William Bowen, at the time president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

“…[T]o help university and college libraries provide adequate space for an ever-increasing amount of published scholarship. Bowen’s solution: convert printed scholarly journals into electronic form and store them in a centralized digital archive. Participating libraries and their institutions could free physical space, reduce capital and other costs associated with collection storage, and vastly improve access to scholarly research.”

Now, JSTOR provides access to over twelve million academic journal articles and Project Muse has expanded to over 600 journals and more than 50,000 books. Note that our current costs for databases is considerably more than $66,500 per year and in fact, one database now currently costs us $47,000 annually.  There is no question that JSTOR has expanded access to journal articles, but it has also come at a cost. At the time these articles were written, the authors optimistically stated in the conclusion of their first article: “This is our opportunity to shape the future.”

The reality is that 23 years later, we are still trying to shape the future and commercial interests are still trying to shape the scholarly publishing landscape.  As a result, we continue to see an exponential increase in the number of publications, and costs continue to rise at an annual rate of 7-11% for journal subscriptions. Every year we have requests from faculty to increase our journal subscriptions. And every year we have to explain that to add one, they need to drop one or two of equal value in order for our subscriptions to remain steady state.  Meanwhile, as mentioned in my last post, faculty submit articles for publication without being paid, yet academic libraries have to pay in order to provide access to these articles given away for free. Unfortunately, these costs are increasing beyond the ability of our budget to keep up, and most academic libraries are in the same position. There are, however, options for scholars to access a version of a published article that may be behind a paywall. And I’m not talking about using Sci-Hub. The options I am referring to include placing articles on dedicated preprint servers, or depositing post-print versions in institutional repositories. Many more publishers are allowing these options for authors.

These changes have been partially a result of an increased demand for providing open access options, along with an increasing number of institutions that have open access mandates–policies that require faculty to provide a copy of accepted, peer-review articles to be made openly available to all through their institutional repository. Internationally, there are more than 700 institutions with such a mandate including some of our peers–Amherst, Grinnell, Middlebury, Smith, and Trinity University, among others. Simultaneously, we have seen an increase in the number of subject specific preprint and postprint servers for posting a version of articles accepted for publication.

Faculty in the sciences, especially physics, have long had the preprint server arXiv.org. Launched in 1991, it now provides: “Open access to 1,411,323 e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance, Statistics, Electrical Engineering and Systems Science, and Economics.”  Preprint servers exist for the purpose of sharing manuscripts that have been peer-reviewed, but are waiting to be published.  As the lag time from when an article is accepted to the actual publication date can be quite lengthy, many scholars turn to preprint servers to find relevant and timely articles. One of the largest organizations for preprint serves is the Open Science Framework.  The following is a list of preprint servers, with those in italics hosted on OSF at https://osf.io/preprints/:

 

As a result of these activities, we are now seeing a number of commercial publishers who are allowing faculty to archive preprints, postprints, and sometimes the final printed version of articles on personal websites and in institutional repositories.  Sherpa Romeo is a website that allows faculty to check for policies on what is possible with articles that have been accepted for publication.  As an example, here is a screenshot showing the possibilities for one journal title:

screen shot of Sherpa/Romeo page
Sherpa/Romeo

 

In conclusion, faculty have options when it comes to publishing and sharing their research, scholarship, and creative works. While the promotion and tenure process often limits where you may publish, publishers themselves have started to allow more options for providing access to a version of your scholarship.  For twenty-three plus years, we have advocated for author rights and tried to move faculty into a more open publishing environment. We are hoping to engage with faculty to encourage them to join in the effort to move even more scholarship into completely open access publications. This is just one means of addressing the effects of increasing costs on a limited budget. We can only provide access to a fraction of the resources that are behind paywalls. But thanks in part to an ever-quickening pace for conducting research and publishing results, more faculty are taking advantage of open access options to distribute and disseminate their research, and thus expanding the reach of their research. This is the goal of OA2020, “a global alliance committed to accelerating the transition to open access.”  We’ve been in crisis mode long enough. It is time to make a commitment to change and to supporting the OA2020 initiative.

 

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Library Collections: how they are changing and will continue to change, and why we need your help

In the spring we held two conversations with faculty who were concerned about changes in our physical collections.  We have shared many news items and blog postings over the past several years to outline changes in academic libraries. The graph below captures changes in libraries over the past several years, and some future possibilities:

chart of how libraries are changing

 

(You will need to select the image to see the full version.) Image from: The Future of Academic Libraries, an interview with Steven Bell, March 26, 2012.https://www2.educationfutures.com/blog/2012/03/the-future-of-academic-libraries-an-interview-with-steven-j-bell/

This article is six years old, but the progression on the chart for Collections from “just-in-case” to “On demand, anytime” best represents our current model for collections at Macalester.  The majority of our acquisitions budget is spent on services and access to electronic information.  Our model is access over ownership, to the benefit of our users. We own less now, but we have access to much more content than we’ve had before.  Because we no longer “own” the content, we are careful to review licenses to make sure we are able to provide access to materials with as few restrictions as possible.  However, access to information is changing, and not necessarily in a good way. Information has always been big business. Many faculty members in the sciences have heard me talk over the years about escalating subscription costs and consolidation of publishers.  We continue to see subscription costs rise 7 – 11% every year. The one pressing–and increasing –concern we have is:  how much access we can provide with the funding we have available?

One means of combating escalating costs is to decrease paywalls and increase our support for open access initiatives.  Consequently, we have put a significant amount of time and effort into promoting open access. As pointed out in a variety of publications and presentations, colleges and universities often pay three times for research:

  • Institutions pay authors to conduct research and draft papers, which are then transferred gratis to publishers
  • Institutions pay faculty who volunteer their time to peer-review and edit journal submissions, and serve as editors for journals
  • Institutions pay publishers for access to the final, published articles, written and edited by our faculty

And I would add a fourth time we pay when we pay article processing charges (APCs) to make an article openly accessible in a commercial journal.  We have seen an increase in faculty requests that we pay the APC. While our fund has grown, it is proving to be unsustainable in light of the rising costs of APCs.  As a result we will be making changes in our policies and procedures for next year.

Another issue in the increasing costs for information is the fact that we are now also seeing a commercialization of information in a completely different manner.  Access to information is changing and the commercialization of information is growing. For example, Monsanto is now the largest producer of agricultural information, not the US government.  This concerns me as we know that Monsanto will have proprietary control over crop information, and this will affect access to information scholars may want to look at regarding crop changes and climate changes.   More information on this new disturbing trend will be found in our June Collections Newsletter in our article on the Center for Research Library annual meeting. However disturbing this new trend is, it is still rising costs that affect our being able to provide “access on demand.”

Increasing costs and flat budgets are putting even greater pressure on our library budget.  In the fall we will be sharing more information about a new initiative we’d like to see faculty supporting.  OA2020 is an international initiative to accelerate the move to open access for scholarly journals.  We’ll be sharing information with our faculty Library Representatives at our fall meeting, and with our Library Advisory group in the fall as well.  Open Access Week this year is October 22 – 28 and the theme is Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge. We’d like to see our entire community get behind the initiative to break out of traditional dysfunctional patterns of faculty giving their work away for free and libraries having to buy it back at costs that were already spiraling out of control 25 years ago and now have only accelerated.  I look forward to meeting with faculty and discussing how Macalester can support this global initiative and contribute to making scholarship open and accessible for our current and future scholars. I’d welcome comments and feedback from you regarding your thoughts on how we can gather campus support for this pressing challenge. I’ll look forward to hearing from you. And you can always drop by my office anytime to share your thoughts.

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Digital Literacies – skills for the 21st Century

The continual changes in technologies affect our lives in so many ways.  It is a constant struggle to stay abreast of those changes, make informed decisions, and choose when to migrate to the latest, greatest, newest hi-tech product or software update.  In higher education we know that technology impacts us in many ways, ranging from integrating technology into our teaching, to the impact of changes in G Suite on our daily work lives, to how digital tools can be introduced to students for assignments in the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities in meaningful ways.  One of the aims of our Mellon Grant for the Digital Liberal Arts is “to create a community of digital learners: faculty who have used digital techniques in both their research and the classroom those who are interested in doing so, and experts from our library and IT departments.” [1] It is this aspect of creating a “community of digital learners” that I’d like to address.

In their article, “From Written to Digital: The New Literacy”, Phil Ventimiglia and George Pullman begin by pointing out that Walter Isaacson in his book,  The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution  “contends that the major innovations of the digital revolution—from the first general-purpose computer to the transistor to the iPhone—were all created by individuals who understood how to synthesize the humanities with technology.”[2] On a similar theme, this spring there is a CST sponsored reading group that is reading the Fuzzy and the Techy: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the World.  The promotion for the reading group, read

In response to some of the discussions at the FAIR and faculty meetings this fall, our group will read venture capitalist Scott Hartley’s The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World. “Scott Hartley artfully explains why it is time for us to get over the false division between the human and the technical,” one reviewer writes. “If received and acted upon with the seriousness it deserves, we can anticipate real benefits for business and society.” “Great book for all,” writes another. “Blows up the false dichotomy in education between tech and liberal arts. This book shows that not only can both coexist; it is dangerous if they don’t both exist side by side in an integrated manner. They make each other more effective.”[3]

Both of these references point out the benefits of integrating technology into the liberal arts. This can occur on many different levels and integrating technology into the curriculum is already underway in many courses.  However,  as Ventimiglia and Pullman further point out, although teaching with technology is a focus in higher education, a more important issue is what are we teaching our students about living in a digital age.  They state, “[s]tudents can be more successful after graduation if they are digitally literate.”  So, I would like to suggest that we consider that it isn’t enough to just integrate technology into teaching.  In terms of creating a community of digital learners, how are we introducing students to what it means to be  “digitally literate?”  I think we need to start considering what is needed to ensure our students graduate with the skills they need to survive in the 21st century and we also need to consider how to convey to the students why this important for their future success. Just slightly more than thirty years ago members of the library staff embarked on the process of developing a program for integrating information literacy into the curriculum and it has developed into a very successful program.   Now we need to consider what it means to be a digitally literate person and why this is critical for the 21st century.

So what exactly is “digital literacy”?  Bryn Mawr has developed a Mellon-funded, ambitious program,  as outlined in their paper discussing the Bryn Mawr Digital Competencies Framework. [4] Built on the model of the Association for College and Research Libraries’ Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education . Bryn Mawr identifies 5 skill areas:

  1. Digital Survival Skills – learning network and file management, troubleshooting, and managing one’s digital identity and security, and developing critical understanding of databases.
  2. Digital Communication – learning use of collaborative tools, digital writing and publishing, and producing audiovisual materials.
  3. Data Management and Preservation – learning how to develop online surveys, protecting one’s data, and organizing, managing and preserving the data.
  4. Data Analysis and Presentation – learning how to use Excel along with software tools to manipulate data, and to develop skills in data visualization.
  5. Critical Making, Design and Development – learning how to interpret and edit computing code, developing competencies in design thinking, project management, and digital tools for disciplinary research.

You can go to Bryn Mawr’s Digital Competencies website and read in more detail about their initiative.  Their program focuses on helping students from the start of their education at Bryn Mawr to launching their careers.

Bryn Mawr’s program is inspiring and worth reviewing for consideration in developing a similar initiative at Macalester.   In today’s technology driven world, where change is rapid and constant, all fields leading to careers incorporate new technologies that require robust digital literacy skills.  In order to be nimble, our students need skills to survive in a technological environment that is pervasive at work, home, and recreation.  The role of the library staff in helping to develop digital literacy skills is partially based on the Framework for Information Literacy frame that focuses on Information Creation as a Process:

“Information in any format is produced to convey a message and is shared via a selected delivery method. The iterative processes of researching, creating, revising, and disseminating information vary, and the resulting product reflects these differences.” [5]

However, all of the digital skill areas identified by Bryn Mawr are based on the information literacy framework.  The library staff and ITS staff are involved in conversations about digital literacy because we see some specific needs we could address.  In addition, developing a program that focuses on digital literacy is something that would also specifically address one of the objectives in Macalester’s Strategic Plan.  It is stated that we want to  “[b]ecome a leader among liberal arts colleges in the use of technology to improve and broaden the reach of teaching and learning.”  I think if we want to become a leader, this involves the necessary task of improving the digital literacy skills in our students.

When we began our program to integrate information literacy into the curriculum, we started by focusing on the first year courses.  Today, every first year course includes a library component and we have expanded to include more library sessions in upper division and research oriented courses.  So, if we were to use a similar model, we need to find a starting point.  Conversations are underway between staff in the library and members of ITS about how best to move forward in developing a program focused on digital literacy competencies at Macalester for all members of our community.  As part of the Mellon grant is focused on creating a community of digital learners, what about a community focused on creating digitally literate individuals?  Would you be interested in joining the conversation?  If so, please send me a note and let me know and we will coordinate further conversations to help us develop a path forward.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. “Macalester Receives $800,00 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for Digital Liberal Arts and Writing,” https://www.macalester.edu/news/2015/02/macalester-receives-800000-grant-from-the-andrew-w-mellon-foundation-for-digital-liberal-arts-and-writing/

2. Phil Ventimiglia and George Pullman. “From Written to Digital: The New Literacy.” EDUCAUSE REVIEW, March/April 2016.  https://er.educause.edu/articles/2016/3/from-written-to-digital-the-new-literacy

3.  CST News, Jan. 4, 2018

4.  Bryn Mawr College, “Bryn Mawr Digital Competencies Framework” (2016). Blending Learning Research and Open Educational Resources. 3.  https://repository.brynmawr.edu/oer/3

5.  Association of College and Research Libraries, “Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. 2015. http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework

 

Additional Readings

Alexander, B., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M. & Hall Giesinger, C. (2017). Digital Literacy in Higher Education, Part II: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. (Volume 3.4, August 2017).  https://www.nmc.org/publication/digital-literacy-part-ii-an-nmc-horizon-project-strategic-brief/

2017 Digital Literacy Impact Study; an NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief, vo. 3.5, November 2017 https://www.nmc.org/publication/2017-digital-literacy-impact-study-an-nmc-horizon-project-strategic-brief/

Digital Learning and Inquiry (DLINQ) – Middlebury College – http://dlinq.middcreate.net/

 

Open Access Week – October 23-29

During Open Access Week we will be focusing our promotion on Lever Press and open access monograph publishing.  More people are familiar with open access journal publishing, so we’re going to focus on the initiatives we support that produce monographs.  As part of the week activities, we will be hosting a joint viewing of a live webinar featuring a panel of representatives from various initiatives talking about open access monographs.  The webinar will take place from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., and we will continue after the webinar for another 30 minutes to answer questions and share more information on Lever Press.  Participants will be able to submit questions during the broadcast, but we are also collecting questions ahead of the session.  (See form link at end of this post.)  We hope faculty and staff will join us to learn more about how scholarly publishing is changing.

Information on the event:

Open Access Monographs – Current initiatives and progress on sustainable models for making monographs openly accessible.  Webinar for Open Access Week, Tuesday, October 24, 3 p.m- 4:30 p.m. Harmon Room. – For Faculty & Staff.  Refreshments will be served.

The open access monograph is now definitely an important component of the scholarly communications landscape.  However, with a growing number of initiatives, publishers, and economic models, the question is sustainability.  There are a number of different models, including Open Book Publishers, Open Humanities Press, and numerous university and commercial publishers who have open monograph publications, thus more initiatives than we could include for this one-hour webinar.  A  selected number of representatives from various open monograph publishing initiatives will participate in a panel discussion about their current economic models and future of open access monographs.  Each panelist will give a brief statement about their initiative, their editorial review process, their funding model, and their perspectives on the future of open access monographs.  Following their brief statements, we will have a question and answer period moderated by Kevin Smith, the Dean of Libraries at  the University of Kansas.

Participants for the panel include:

  • AAUP Open Access Monograph Publishing InitiativeWendy Pradt Lougee, University Librarian and McKnight Presidential Professor, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.  The Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and Association of American University Presses (AAUP) are implementing a new initiative with 13 universities and 60 university presses participating.  Universities will provide subventions for open digital monographs, to be published by university presses.
  • Lever Press and Knowledge UnlatchedCharles Watkinson, Associate University Librarian for Publishing, University of Michigan Library, and Director, University of Michigan Press. University of Michigan Press and Amherst Press are partners in the Lever Press which is supported by pledging institutions. University of Michigan Press has also been an active participant in Knowledge Unlatched,  which uses a crowd -source funding model to make previously published works openly available. Charles is also a Board Member of Knowledge Unlatched Research and will compare Lever Press with KU.
  • LuminosErich van Rijn, Assistant Director, Director of Publishing Operations at University of California Press.  The financial model is shared costs between author, institution, publisher, and libraries.
  • University of Ottawa Press Lara Mainville, Director of University of Ottawa Press. OA publications are funded by the University of Ottawa libraries.
  • Moderator:  Kevin Smith, Dean of Libraries at the University of Kansas.  Prior to joining the University of Kansas, Kevin served as Director of Copyright and Scholarly Communications at the Duke University Libraries.

This webinar is being sponsored by Lever Press.  Please RSVP to join us in the Harmon Room with this form.

If you have a question for the panelists, questions are also being collected ahead of the presentation with this form.

I hope you’ll plan on joining us.

Summer isn’t always a time to slow down…

There is a common misperception that those of us in the library have a long break during the summer.  Many of us do get to take vacations, but the summer is usually quite busy and very productive for us.  This summer, in particular, was full of activity.  So, let me share a little information on some of our activities while many of you were away.

New spaces – Most folks are aware that there was construction on level 2 of the library.  We’re very excited to show off our new space and hope you will join us on September 18, from 3:30-5:00 p.m., when we will hold an open house for the campus community. In addition to seeing level 2, you’ll be able to check out our newly refurbished reading room on the main level that includes a new fireplace.  We’ve also created more study space on the lower level.  In addition to all the construction, we survived the replacement of our elevator, which created a few challenges for retrieving and shelving books.  And it is the second year of a three-year-project to replace carpet throughout the library, so we have newly installed carpet on level 3.  We are fairly proud of the fact that despite the construction, we were able to keep the library open for the entire summer, including time for visiting scholars here for the NEH-funded “World Religions and World Religions Discourse: Challenges of Teaching the Religions of the World” hosted by Jim Laine, Philosophy.  You can see images of the progress this summer on our Flickr Account with later images on our Instagram account.

Information LIteracy Program Learning Goals and Outcomes – The Reference and Instruction Librarians were very busy during the summer creating a new action plan for our instruction program.  One of the key documents that was developed was  a new detailed description of learning goals for various levels of students.  The librarians also worked on preparing for a pilot program in one of the first year courses.  Working with Professor Chris Wells, the librarians are looking at how to develop a program that goes beyond a one-shot classroom session.  In addition to these two projects, the librarians developed a three-year plan for strategic directions they want to take with our instruction program.  We will be sharing the details of these projects on our website after the start of the semester.

NEH Grant for an Open Textbook Project – We were so thrilled when we received word that a grant submitted by Britt Abel and Ron Joslin was approved to help fund development of Britt’s open textbook for German language instruction.  Britt and Ron have shared information on this project at CST lunch discussions and during a SPAW session last May.  We will provide more updates once we are able to share more details about this ongoing project.

Annual Report – We completed our annual summary of events in the library for 2016-17.  It was another year full of events and activities.  You can read our Annual Report online.

Staff Changes –  We welcomed a new staff member, Trisha Burr, as Electronic Resources Librarian and said farewell to Nate Nins, one of our Evening/Weekend Supervisors.  We wish Nate all the best as he starts a new position working with 3M’s service, biblioteca.  We look forward to welcoming a new Evening/Weekend Supervisor sometime during September.

Loss of a dear friend of the library – It was with deep sadness that we learned of the passing in July of Professor Emeritus Ellis Dye, German.  As one of the tenants on the fourth level with other retired faculty, I enjoyed many conversations with Ellis and he always had a warm, genuine smile.  He was always so appreciative of the interlibrary loan service.  We miss his presence in the building.

Possibly the biggest shock for us this summer – On August 2, it was announced via social media that bepress, our vendor who provides Digital Commons and our Selected Works pages, was acquired by Elsevier.  For those of us who have participated in efforts to expand open access to scholarship this was a sincere blow. The library community has many concerns about this acquisition. One of the best pieces that I have read was written about the need for non-profits to control scholarly communication.  Posted by the London School of Economics, you can read more on the blog posting entitled “Scholarly communications shouldn’t just be open, but non-profit too.”   Many conversations are taking place in terms of possible options and whether there are new opportunities to explore if we were to migrate away from the bepres platform.

LibGuides – Other projects included preparing a guide for the faculty retreat this fall on the topic of the Liberal Arts in the 21st Century, with links to both the RPC report and related background readings.  We also have prepared a guide for the International Roundtable in October:  Empathy and Its Discontents.  Faculty may be interested in some of the non-discipline specific guides the Research and Instruction Librarians have prepared on academic integrity and data management.  You’ll find these guides under the “All Guides” tab.

New Electronic Signage – We’re in the process of installing a new electronic sign that will appear on the main level and advertise events in the building.  We hope to have this in place by the second week of classes.

Those are just the highlights.  We have a lot to celebrate at the start of the new year. In addition to the open house on September 18th, we hope you will mark your calendars for the first Faculty Staff Happy Hour on September 27 from 3:30-5:30 in the Harmon Room.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Welcome back, and best wishes for a great start to the new academic year!  If you want to stop by and see our new spaces before the 18th, President Brian Rosbenberg is graciously covering coffee and pastries for the first couple of weeks for the first hours of the day.  We hope you’ll enjoy the changes we have made.

Sincerely,

 

Lever Press; supporting new models in scholarly publishing and exploring new techniques with peer review

The DeWitt Wallace Library is just one of the more than 45 pledging institutions who are supporting the new publishing initiative, Lever Press.  Lever Press grew out of several years of study and investigation and you can read more about the background and history of these efforts on a website entitled, Lever Initiative.  Utilizing a new model that is based on libraries pledging financial support, Lever Press is committed to publishing monographs at no cost to the author or author’s institution.  Another distinguishing factor is that all monographs will be open access.  This collaborative project is built on three commitments (excerpts from the website): 

  • Alignment with the mission and ethos of liberal arts colleges. Like the colleges supporting our mission, we welcome works exploring intellectual connections across academic disciplines and divisions…Inspired by the close collaborations between faculty and undergraduate students at liberal arts colleges, we seek path-breaking ideas communicated with clarity and creativity—publications that “teach what they know.”
  • Platinum OA. Lever Press is a fully open access press: all works will be freely available to readers on the web immediately upon publication. Uniquely, Lever Press is committed to what we’re calling “Platinum OA,” in which all the costs of acquiring, editing, developing, and producing the work are borne collectively by our supporting institutions—not by individual authors or their sponsoring departments or institutions. …Platinum OA means one thing  more: that the work we produce is of the highest quality, and has been selected exactly because it is worth investing in.
  • Digitally native. While Lever Press titles will appear in print form wherever possible, we approach publishing as a digital-first endeavor. Unconstrained by legacy publishing processes and leveraging the opportunities for reuse facilitated by an open-access business model, Lever Press will welcome projects of digital scholarship not well served by scholarly conventions limited to print-only outcomes.   

As a new model, another interesting development of this press is related to the peer review process.  The peer review process is a key factor in scholarly publications, but it is managed in a variety of ways depending on the publisher.  Mark Edington, Editor of Lever Press, has developed a proposed system of identification for peer review of monographs based on the Creative Commons icons.  We recently hosted a webinar in which Mark Edington, Editor of Lever Press and Jason Mittell,  Professor of Film and Media Studies and American Studies at Middlebury College and member of the Editorial Board talk about the peer review process at Lever Press.  The webinar is hosted by Becky Welzenbach, Program Manager for Lever Press.  I would welcome your comments after you review the webinar.

Realizing a Vision

Last month I wrote about “Our Community as Creators.”  Continuing on that theme, I want to address some comments that have been made regarding our summer project for Level 2 of the library.  This project will result in realizing many aspects of a vision we shared four years ago.  Vision 2020 was written when we were celebrating the 25th anniversary of the DeWitt Wallace Library.  Now, four years later, it is especially helpful in connecting current students, faculty, and staff to our aspirations for the library spaces.

“Our vision for the Dewitt Wallace Library of 2020 is to expand and build up our current  vibrant and active space for engaging scholars.  We want a library that contributes to the transformative experience for all students as well as a space that will attract faculty to utilize our space, resources, and expertise…[a] primary emphasis for the library of 2020 will continue to be on the services we provide to support the scholarship of faculty and students.” [Vision 2020, p. 1]

Our vision for the DeWitt Wallace Library of 2020 has always been about scholarship, teaching, and learning.  However, we also envisioned a change as a result of providing access to more electronic content and fewer print, hard-copy materials.  In our vision, we outlined a plan for managing our print collection in order to allow us to do more with the spaces we have.  In that document, we focused on what we would like to see in our spaces with seven potential developments:

  • Content Creation Labs
  • More Comfortable Quiet Reading Spaces
  • More Comfortable Collaborative Working Spaces
  • Classroom 2020 Learning Lab
  • Special Collections – Expanding access and space
  • Media Collections Consolidated
  • Expanded Hours Study Space

Many recent comments I have received have focused on our “gutting the library” or turning the entire second floor into space for Entrepreneurship.  Neither is true, but the partnership with Kate Ryan Reiling, Entrepreneur in Residence, is one that we actively sought because we saw that many aspects of our vision for spaces meshed well with goals that Kate has.  It is especially the “Content Creation Labs” that have a close affinity to the work being done with Entrepreneurship and that is why we believe it is a good fit for the programs the library staff hope to provide in new spaces.  The entire first five items listed in our vision will be addressed in some manner in our project for the second level.  That alone is one reason why those of us in the library who had a shared vision for our spaces by 2020 are delighted to have this opportunity.

Our vision for Special Collections was written before Media Services moved into the lower level of the library, so that portion of the vision has changed.  However, we did envision more space for teaching and working with students with rare books and archival materials.  That is another aspect of the plans that I am thrilled to see will be realized by the end of the summer, connected to existing Rare Books and Archives spaces.  We’re already talking about the various programs we will be able to offer in that space in addition to working with classes in the fine arts, humanities, and social sciences.

The planning team for this project includes two student representatives, a faculty representative, and campus leadership.  The full planning team:

  • David Wheaton, VP Administration and Finance
  • Karine Moe, Provost
  • Kate Reiling, Entrepreneur in Residence
  • Angi Faiks, Associate Library Director
  • Jody Emmings, Entrepreneurship Coordinator
  • Terri Fishel, Library Director
  • Nathan Lief, Director of Facilities
  • Matthew Meyer, Associate Director of Facilities
  • Donna Lee, VP Student Affairs
  • Ted Wilder, Associate Director of ITS
  • Chris Wells (faculty rep)
  • Remy Eisendrath (student rep)
  • Sam Greenstein (student rep, library student employee)

There have been stories  in the MacWeekly, a number of listening sessions in the library, and three of the four sessions to discuss the future of the library, with one more session remaining.  In addition, we are holding a session during National Library Week to discuss the draft floor plans.

One aspect of working in academic libraries that I continue to enjoy is the opportunity to work with a younger population who are learning and often embracing new ideas.  As I shared with a colleague recently, the aspect of work that I enjoy most is contributing to the process of opening minds to new ideas and seeing possibilities rather than barriers.  Currently, I continue to respond to messages from individuals who are seeing more barriers than possibilities in our summer project.  However, I am very excited to see our long-held vision become reality during the summer and I want to share more details with the entire community.  As we stressed, and will continue to emphasize, books are at the heart of what we do and will always be so.  Books are never going away.  What is changing is the opportunity to provide spaces that enable creation in all forms, allowing our community members to create with their hands as well as their minds, contributing to new scholarship, new ideas, new solutions, new experiences, and new creations.  We are excited by the possibilities and I invite anyone who wants to know more to join David Wheaton, Angi Faiks, and me on Thursday, April 13th at noon in the Harmon Room.  We will share the current draft of the floor plan and will provide a general overview of the spaces and areas that are being developed.  It is my hope that more minds will be opened to the possibilities that we are creating and that more people will share our excitement about this fabulous opportunity.  I hope you will join us in conversation next week.  And lest I forget, food will be provided.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Attached is a draft of the remodel plan that we will be discussing next Thursday.  20170405_Macalester Library In Progress Plan_

Our Community as Creators

Last month I reported on the first discussion we had regarding planning the future of the library.  We’ve now had two conversations, including a great discussion about spaces in the library.  Last week, a new report came out that is particularly relevant to these discussions. The New Media Center Horizon Report 2017 Library Edition was released during the ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries)  2017 biennial meeting in Baltimore that ended Saturday, March 25th.  The Horizon Report provides a guide to what is on the horizon for the next five years for academic and research libraries, broken down into “six key trends, six significant challenges, and six developments in technology.”  One of the key trends is “Patrons as Creators” and is seen as a driving force for the next three to five years.  This is a trend our librarians have actively been involved in for some time as we have emphasized our role in helping our community members create content rather than just consume.  This has informed our work with open access, information literacy, our institutional repository that allows us to showcase works and journals produced by our students, and our more recent efforts to create more welcoming spaces in the library that would allow students to do more with their hands as well as with their minds.

 

The Horizon Report mentions a recent survey of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL)  “revealed that 64% of responding libraries in North America are engaged in providing, planning, or piloting makerspace services.” [p.14] The increase in makerspaces in academic libraries, mirrors the growth in public libraries as well.  This growth is partially a response to what is seen as a social movement, but it also integrates with the services all types of libraries offer.  For us, a makerspace meshes well with our academic programs that increasingly emphasize the interdisciplinary connections between various disciplines.   It also is timely in terms of the growing interest in the Digital Liberal Arts on our campus.  The Horizon Report helps articulate some of the concepts we have been focused on as we prepare for creating new spaces on the second level of the library.  We have been exploring makerspaces in the library for several years, but it was just this year in January that an opportunity presented itself to help us develop such spaces for innovation and creation.  As with many of the things we do, this is very much a collaborative effort.
This new initiative involves many different pieces, including space for innovation in teaching, more group work spaces, spaces for crafts as well as coding, and also an opportunity to collaborate with entrepreneurship on campus. We see this as an opportunity to help us expand services for students and also create new spaces to foster creativity and innovation.  At the same time, the book remains central to what we are as a library.  The Children’s collection and the Rare Books Room will remain on level 2, while the books currently on level 2 stacks will move upstairs one level, or downstairs to the lower level depending on size and content.  If you want to know more or participate in conversations, we have more sessions scheduled in the coming weeks.  You can read more about our plan and open discussions on our library web page as well as on our LibGuide Planning the Future of the Library.  You may contribute your thoughts on a feedback form, but I think most of our community members will benefit by coming and discussing in person how this new initiative will provide them with new spaces to become creators, not just consumers.