Scholarly Communications

4
Aug15

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

Posted by: Hillary Corbett

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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.

Posted in: Information and Society, Research Online, Scholarly Communications

15
Jul15

Meet the Inaugural DRS Pilot Projects

Posted by: Amanda Rust

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The Library’s Digital Scholarship Group is excited to announce projects chosen for the 2015 DRS Project Toolkit Pilot program. In this Pilot program, we work with selected digital projects at Northeastern to develop new tools for online scholarship. Projects will store and preserve their digital content in Northeastern’s next generation Digital Repository Service (learn more about the DRS here). Projects can then use platforms like WordPress and Omeka to curate and display this work in an engaging and accessible manner on the web. The Digital Scholarship Group received impressive proposals from a wide range of Northeastern’s colleges and departments, and are looking forward to working with the following three proposals for 2015-2016:

  • Debra Mandel (Libraries) will showcase the exciting work Northeastern students have created in Snell Library’s Digital Media Commons and Studios. A collaborative facility with state-of-the-art audio and video technology and support, the Digital Media Commons has helped students at Northeastern record music, create animated films, and produce a range of high-quality creative projects. The Digital Scholarship Group will help Digital Media Commons staff celebrate and preserve this work.
  • Giordana Mecagni (Archives and Special Collections) will create digital exhibits about the Boston Public Schools Desegregation, a process which began in the fall of 1974. The Digital Scholarship Group will help Northeastern’s Archives and Special Collections make digital records of this important event in the history of Boston more widely accessible and visible. In addition to Archives and Special Collections, an interdisciplinary coalition of students, faculty members, and archivists from the Northeastern community will participate in this project.
  • Jenny Sartori (Jewish Studies) and the University’s Holocaust Awareness Committee will create a publicly-accessible archive of Northeastern’s Holocaust Awareness Week programming. For more than thirty years, these events have reflected Northeastern’s commitment to Holocaust awareness and genocide prevention. This will be an important educational resource that highlights the digital records of survivor testimonies, distinguished lectures, and roundtable discussions, as well as the history of the Holocaust Awareness Committee itself.

These projects join three other new DSG initiatives from earlier in Spring 2015:

  • a web presence for content from the Library’s Arader Galleries collection (and the creation of new signage that directs viewers of the physical prints to this online collection)
  • the addition of Stephen Sadow’s collection of interviews with Latin American artists and writers to the DRS
  • the migration of the Catskill Institute materials from their current home at Brown University to the DRS (and a new website at Northeastern)

The Digital Scholarship Group also continues to support the ongoing work of the Women Writers Project; Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive; The Early Caribbean Digital Archive; Viral Texts; Digital Humanities Quarterly; and TAPAS. For more information on projects supported by the Digital Scholarship Group, please visit our Projects page.

If you’d like to contact the Digital Scholarship Group, please email us: dsg@neu.edu. We are also on Twitter: @NU_DSG.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Data Curation, Library News and Events, Scholarly Communications

2
Jul15

Digital Repository Service (DRS) replaces IRis for storage and sharing of NU-created materials

Posted by: Sarah Sweeney

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After several months of preparation, the library has now successfully transitioned from IRis, our previous repository platform, to the newly redesigned Digital Repository Service (DRS).

IRis was publicly launched in 2006, and attained a milestone of 1 million downloads in 2013. The DRS builds upon the success of IRis by offering expanded functionality and customization specific to community needs.

Like IRis, the DRS is a storage and preservation tool designed to allow the Northeastern University community to store materials that are produced at the University or are important to the university’s mission. Faculty are welcome to upload their research materials, publications, datasets, and presentations; staff can store important administrative materials, like departmental photographs and documents. As in IRis, the library deposits all master’s theses and doctoral dissertations completed at the University into the DRS. Exemplary undergraduate student projects and publications are also included in the DRS.

DRS features include:

Self deposit: Faculty members may deposit their own material.

Simple discovery: The locally developed interface offers user-friendly searching and browsing.

Saving and downloading: Materials can be saved to Sets or downloaded for future use.

Easy account creation: Users may sign in to the DRS with their myNEU username and password.

As of today the DRS has over 70,000 files stored, and more than half of those files are available to the public:

  • 1,677 master’s theses and doctoral dissertations completed at Northeastern University since 2008

  • 1,217 publications authored by Northeastern University faculty and staff

  • 16 archival collections from University Archives and Special Collections, including photographs from the Boys and Girls Club and Freedom House collections

  • 25,000 photographs from Northeastern University’s Office of Marketing and Communications (faculty and staff access only)

  • And growing…

We encourage everyone to visit the DRS to view the impressive collection of material produced by Northeastern University faculty, staff, and students. Faculty and staff are invited to start uploading their materials right away. For more information about the DRS, or for help getting started uploading your files, please visit our DRS resource page: http://dsg.neu.edu/resources/drs.

Posted in: Scholarly Communications, Tech Alerts

23
Feb15

February 23-27 Is Fair Use Week!

Posted by: Hillary Corbett

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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)

 

Posted in: Library News and Events, Scholarly Communications

21
Oct14

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

Posted by: Hillary Corbett

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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.

Posted in: Library News and Events, Scholarly Communications