Philadelphia — A lot of the discussion about massive open online courses has revolved around students and professors. What role can academic librarians play in the phenomenon, and what extra responsibilities do MOOCs create for them?
At a conference held here at the University of Pennsylvania last week, librarians talked about the chances and challenges that open online courses throw their way. The conference, “MOOCs and Libraries: Massive Opportunity or Overwhelming Challenge?,” was organized by OCLC, a library cooperative that runs the WorldCat online catalog and provides other services and library-related research.
Lynne O’Brien, director of academic technology and instructional services at Duke University, said the “rapid uptake” of MOOCs had taken many people by surprise. As she put it, “These courses don’t seem to fit anything of the model that we have for how to do…
The American Anthropological Association publishes more than 20 journals. None is open access. The public currently has to wait 35 years after publication to have free access to articles, according to a spokeswoman for the group.
That will change early next year, when the journal Cultural Anthropology switches over to a fully open-access model. The Society for Cultural Anthropology, a section of the association, runs the journal.
“Starting with the first issue of 2014, CA will provide worldwide, instant, free (to the user), and permanent access to all of our content (as well as 10 years of our back catalog),” Brad Weiss, the society’s president, said in a statement posted on the group’s Web site. He said that “Cultural Anthropology will be the first major, established, high-impact journal in anthropology to offer open access to all of its research” and that the society hopes the …
Mr. Cohen comes to the project from George Mason University, where he directs the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. In the announcement, John Palfrey, president of the DPLA’s Board of Directors, praised Mr. Cohen’s contributions to libraries and digital scholarship.
“He has led major open-source development projects, helped to digitize important works of culture,…
Washington — Scholarly publishers that want to flourish in the 21st century can’t just keep producing content and selling it to customers. They have to understand how those “end users” work and come up with solutions to help them do their work better.
That advice dominated the annual meeting of the Association of American Publishers’ Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division, which concluded here on Friday. The meeting brings together commercial academic publishers, including Elsevier and John Wiley & Sons, some of the larger university presses, and scholarly associations with significant publishing programs, like the American Chemical Society and the American Psychological Association.
“If we’re going to sustain ourselves, we can’t just continue to take what our authors deliver to us and provide publishing services,” Steve Smith, Wiley’s president and chief executive…
Members of the Modern Language Association don’t have to wait for their annual meeting to share scholarship and compare notes on the state of their profession. Now they can meet and greet virtually via a new social-media platform, MLA Commons.
The service, open to anyone who belongs to the association, made its official debut early this month. The site uses the open-source Commons in a Box WordPress plugin/toolkit, created at the City University of New York.
Users can upload information and links about themselves and their work, add fellow members to their list of contacts, create blog entries, and trade public or private messages. They can join or create groups devoted to different topics, including the digital humanities, so-called alternative-academic (or alt-ac) careers, “interdisciplinary approaches to culture and society,” media and literature, and community-focused “service …
Disaster plans used to seem like “kind of a bother” to Lance D. Query, Tulane University’s director of libraries. Then, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, flooding Tulane’s Howard-Tilton Memorial Library with more than eight feet of water. “I look at them much more carefully now,” says Mr. Query.
In late October, New York University’s Langone Medical Center and its Ehrman Medical Library suffered major damage from Hurricane Sandy, and a number of other institutions in the New York-New Jersey area also took a major blow. Mr. Query has some hard-won advice and words of encouragement for libraries trying to recover from Sandy or other disasters, and for those reviewing their disaster-response plans.
Turn a crisis into an opportunity. If affected libraries “play their cards right” and use insurance and FEMA resources effectively, they may emerge stronger than before, he says. …
Sometimes free costs too much. As of January 1, 2013, Flat World Knowledge, which used to describe itself as the world’s largest publisher of free and open textbooks online, will no longer offer content at no charge.
Cost partly motivated the decision, according to Jeff Shelstad, the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “We’ve got to be smart with the limited capital that we have” if the company is to survive 10 years from now, he said.
There’s also “an element of fairness” behind the move, Mr. Shelstad said. Some institutional partners have been paying as much as $20 to $25 per student for access to Flat World content, while other partners pay far less. The goal is to even things out while remaining affordable, according to Mr. Shelstad. “We have anchored ourselves around affordability, and we are still there with this move,” he said.
Australia has two main agencies that hand out government research money: the National Health and Medical Research Council, or NHMRC, and the Australian Research Council, or ARC. Aidan Byrne, a nuclear physicist, became the ARC’s chief executive in July. Although he’s still “finding his feet” in the job, he says, Mr. Byrne has made it an early priority to broaden access to government-supported research in Australia. The Chronicle spoke with him by phone about how that effort is shaping up.
Q. In July you told the Australian newspaper that you have a “particular interest” in open access. Why is that?
A. I’ve been working in academic life for nearly 30 years, and I’m a firm believer in disseminating information in the most effective way. I think open access has shown that it can do that very, very effectively. … Earlier this year, the National Heath and Medical Research…
Editor’s Note: Jennifer Howard spent a week in early July at the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School, taking a course on “Born-Digital Materials: Theory & Practice.” This is the last in a series of posts on the experience. See Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 for more.
When you move around online or work on a computer, you cast what Naomi Nelson calls a “digital shadow”—a record of your activity. Many of us aren’t aware just how long a shadow we cast. For an archivist like Ms. Nelson, head of special collections at Duke University, an ever-bigger part of the job is figuring out how to collect that abundant but hard-to-see information—and persuading donors that it’s useful and safe to hand over records of their digital lives at all.
She rattled off some of the anxieties she hears from people who are debating whether to hand over their computer files: “My whole life…
The publisher plaintiffs who accused Georgia State University of copyright infringement in a lawsuit over course e-reserves aren’t happy with the outcome of that case. On Monday they said they would appeal a federal judge’s decision, handed down in May, that was largely a win for the defendants.
In a statement, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press USA, and SAGE Publications said that the decision, by Judge Orinda D. Evans of the U.S. District Court in Atlanta, had left them “no alternative but to appeal, to protect our authors’ copyrights and advocate for a balanced and workable solution” to the challenge of accommodating both copyright and fair use.
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