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

Posted by: Hillary Corbett


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


Meet Snell’s New Co-ops

Posted by: Tom Petrini


Erin Borst: Graphic Design Co-op

Hello! My name is Erin Borst and I am the new Graphic Design Co-op at the Communications Office in Snell. While I was born and raised in New Jersey, I am now a proud resident of Boston and am going into my third, or “middler,” year here at Northeastern. I am pursuing a BFA in Design with a concentration in Graphic and Information Design. When I’m not designing, you can find me listening to music, reading a fashion magazine, or feeding my coffee addiction. I’m looking forward to becoming a member of the library community!





Pete Leger: Digital Media Commons Studios Co-op

Hello! My name is Pete Leger, and I have just started my Co-op here at the Snell DMC Studios. I am going into my final year at NU, and my major is the Music Industry. I have been interested in music production for many years now, and I am super excited to finally get involved with a team of professionals. I was in a unique program at my high school- the FAA, or, Franklin Arts Academy- that blended arts, media, and design into our class curriculum and projects. I feel that this was a great experience to prepare me to enter this type of field. More recently here at NU, I have been working on Recording and Business Administration minors. I can’t wait to get to know some of you during my Co-op!



Zach Smith: 3D Printing Studio Co-op

My name is Zachary Smith, and I am the new 3D Printing Studio Co-op. I am a business student with a marketing concentration here at Northeastern. I know 3D printing does not seem closely related to marketing but I have always been interested in engineering. Unfortunately, I am not “engineering level” strong at math so business will have to do. I am excited to learn more about the printers and technologies associated with 3D printing and see what designs my peers think up throughout the semester. Outside of school and work I will usually be tinkering with cars and boats or rock-climbing. Come by the studio sometime, I would love to show you around and tell you more about the 3D printing process.



Tom Petrini: Marketing and Events Co-op

My name is Tom Petrini, and I am the new Marketing and Events Co-op here at Snell. That’s ironic because for my first two years here I spent as little time in the library as possible, but I’m now discovering everything it has to offer. I’m very excited to help plan our Meet the Author events, Neighborhood Matters series, and the library’s 25th birthday Snellebration. Outside of work you can find me at a concert, a sporting event, or Taco Bell. I would be an NFL quarterback if I were taller than 5’10¾” and/or athletic. My favorite poets are Tauheed Epps and Horst Simco. I’m currently living my dream of being paid to tweet.




Posted in: Jobs


Lawsuit Against the MBTA for Unlawful Censorship of Condom Campaign Ads

Posted by: Claudia Willett


Did you know that in 1994, the AIDS Action Committee sued the MBTA for unlawful censorship of a subway campaign featuring the use of condoms?  Seems hard to believe, but you can read all about it in our Archives and Special Collections, which has received a donation of new material from former AIDS Action Committee Director Thomas McNaught (1991-1996).

This donation adds to the existing AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts Records in the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections.

While processing the new materials I noticed the photo of Captain B. Careful on the Boston Common. It stood out  for a few reasons. His sheer ingenuity for costume design. The huge smile on his face even though it was noticeably cold outside.

Captain B. Careful, Condom Campaign. AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, Inc. (M61, Box 42, Folder 14.)

Less tangibly his image stood out to me because he symbolizes a continuity in Boston’s legacy of advocating for the power of knowledge and striving toward equal rights and opportunity for all. 

In 1992,  AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts (AAC)  introduced New England’s first public service television AIDS prevention campaign directed at gay men.

They also launched the United States’ first statewide transit campaign for AIDS awareness by placing condom posters on 437 buses throughout Massachusetts ultimately leading to a legal battle with the MBTA.

Highlights of the collection include:

  • photographs and press
  • outreach material regarding the condom campaign
  • materials on the AAC’s education and prevention campaigns
  • documentation regarding the AAC’s lawsuit against the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) for unlawful censorship of a subway campaign featuring the use of condoms in 1994

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Information and Society, Staff Interests


Meet the Inaugural DRS Pilot Projects

Posted by: Amanda Rust



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


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

Posted by: Sarah Sweeney


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