Digital Commonwealth

“Digital Commonwealth is a non-profit collaborative organization that provides resources and services to support the creation, management, and dissemination of cultural heritage materials held by Massachusetts libraries, museums, historical societies, and archives. Digital Commonwealth currently has over 130 member institutions from across the state.

This site provides access to thousands of images, documents, and sound recordings that have been digitized by member institutions so that they may be available to researchers, students, and the general public.

Massachusetts cultural institutions may sign up for free digitization services from the Boston Public Library as part of the Library for the Commonwealth program….”

Wikipedia:The Wikipedia Library/About – Wikipedia

“The Wikipedia Library is an open research hub, a place for active Wikipedia editors to gain access to the vital reliable sources that they need to do their work and to be supported in using those resources to improve the encyclopedia. We aim to make access and use of sources free, easy, collaborative and efficient.

The Wikipedia Library is run by Jake Orlowitz, Nikkimaria, Sam Walton, Aaron Vasanth, and Felix Nartey, with an amazing team of Coordinators and funded by the Wikimedia Foundation. It began in 2013 as an Individual Engagement Grant. We operate on a community-organized satellite model: we administer the global project but work with local coordinators in local Wikipedia projects to help each community set up their own branch of the library. Contact us if you want a Wikipedia Library in your language or want to help out!…

Generous donations from our [library] partners have given us thousands of free accounts. More are on the way. Sign up for the ones you want and can use at the Library Card platform!…”

Chris Bourg on the Compelling Vision for an Open Digital Commons

Chris Bourg, by L. Barry Hetherington, available under a CC-BY license

MIT Libraries Director Chris Bourg is one of the most salient voices in the library community for open access, diversity and inclusion, ethics in scholarly publishing, and social justice. As a keynote speaker for this year’s CC Global Summit, she’ll be discussing the nuances of the Open movement as an advocate for the digital commons and director of a major open access initiative.

Chris’s tweets and blog are must-follows – her dog, Jiffy, is an adorable and frequent guest star. In this interview, she discusses tech optimism, storytelling, diversity, and the fallacy of neutrality. Join Chris and more than 400 open advocates at the CC Global Summit in Toronto from April 13-15.

As an open movement, it’s become difficult to live our values as the web’s content Commons have become increasingly enclosed and the halcyon days of internet utopianism seem long over. As a prominent figure in the movement and a crusader for open, how can we do better? What are tangible and intangible steps we can take as a movement to move the needle? How can libraries play a role? I think that generally speaking, I’m an optimist, but not a tech utopian. So I think we keep focusing on the ultimate goal and reasons for promoting an open digital commons. There are compelling stories to be told about the harms of information scarcity and knowledge monopolies, and there are equally compelling stories about ways in which open access to knowledge and culture helps us solve big (and small) challenges across the globe. We have to unearth and tell those stories, and bring more people and communities in to the cause. In some ways, the increasing commercialization of not just scholarship, but of our own personal, social, and behavioral data may be the wake-up call that leads to the next wave of organizing around creating a truly open, non-commercial, digital commons. I think libraries can play a role by acting as the trusted facilitators of information creation, exchange, and preservation that we have always been. A digital commons that combines the values of openness and sharing with the values of privacy and informed choice sounds an awful lot like a library to me – or at least the kind of network of libraries that many of us aspire to create and maintain.

In your position as Director of MIT Libraries, you are an outspoken advocate for open access and knowledge resources. The question of why libraries need to stand up for open access has been answered in a variety of places, but why are the MIT libraries central to this fight? A big part of what drew me to this job at MIT is the fact that MIT, and the MIT libraries in particular, combine a strong cultural commitment to openness with an equally strong commitment to building the infrastructure needed to openly share knowledge resources. MIT has led before in making the fruits of its research and teaching open to the world; with Harvard in 2008 and 2009 on passing Faculty Open Access Policies, and before by launching Open CourseWare in 2000, with the mission of sharing all of MIT’s course content online, for free. When the MIT Faculty passed the OA policy in 2009, they turned to the libraries to implement the policy. The libraries at MIT have long been seen as a key player in facilitating the dissemination of MIT research to the world, and frankly, we’ve been pretty good at it. Nearly 50% of MIT faculty journal articles written since 2009 are openly available to the world – that’s nearly 27,000 articles, downloaded nearly 9.5 million times.

We are in a great position in the MIT libraries to be able to partner with leading scholars across the Institute, in Engineering, Sciences, Business, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Architecture and Planning, to strategize on what’s next for open access. Through the work of the recently launched Ad hoc Task force on Open Access to MIT’s Research, which I am co-chairing with Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Professor and founding director of Creative Commons, Hal Abelson, we are basically asking what’s next? How can we push the needle further, and how can MIT continue to lead? Creating a more open scholarly record will require changes at the technological, legal/regulatory, political, and social levels; so our task force has experts from all those perspectives represented. We are also reaching out to experts across the globe to inform our recommendations.

We talk a lot in libraryland about whether the open access movement and/or institutional repositories have been successful, but/and I think what MIT has been able to do in getting nearly 50% of the journal articles of our faculty in our open repository is a compelling success story. And that success story is an MIT Libraries story, so I feel some obligation to build on that success and to leverage it for the broader community of libraries and other organizations who share the goal of opening up our cultural and scholarly heritage to a global audience.

In his ALA talk this year, Junot Diaz pulled no punches when it came to the issues of diversity in libraries. “I wish that libraries would finally have a reckoning and know that [staffs that are] 88% white means 5000% percent agony for people of color, no matter how liberal and enlightened you think you are,” he said. You cited this quote in a recent talk as well. In your opinion, how can we do better as a movement for free and open knowledge? As librarians, researchers, scientists, and artists? How can we, in his words, “decolonize libraries,” or in the parlance of this conference, “decolonize open?” I think we always have to ask who and what is missing, and continue to work to not just be more inclusive, but also to decenter white, western knowledge; and center the knowledge of marginalized communities.

But/and, instead of doing it ourselves we need to look to the people who are doing this work in and with those communities. Two examples I love are the work being done by Anasuya Sengupta and her colleagues at whoseknowledge.org, and P. Sanaith’s work creating and maintaining the People’s Archive of Rural India.

Decolonizing scholarship and decolonizing the web will require radical collaboration across many social, geographical, and political divides; and will have to be based on mutual exchanges of knowledge and skills. All of that requires trust, which is something that takes time to build and is based on relationships and authentic human connection. So if we want to decolonize open, then maybe we need to decolonize our social networks first.

One of the longest running and most frustrating conversations within libraries is whether they are “neutral.” (As you write, you are strongly on the “hell no” side.) Can you speak to the politics of neutrality within the open movement, and particularly as it regards seemingly “neutral” actors like CC licenses and libraries? How does the conversation about “neutrality” relate to issues of diversity and inclusion within the free knowledge movement? I don’t think of CC licenses or libraries as neutral. They are both predicated on the idea that people ought to have the ability to freely create, share, and access knowledge and cultural materials. That’s actually a pretty radical idea. Even if CC licenses and libraries can be and are used to provide access to a huge range of ideas and viewpoints, that doesn’t make them neutral. One of the arguments I make is that you can’t be neutral if one side argues that certain ideas should not be available in libraries (whether those ideas are contained in books representing LGBTQ families, or in gatherings of neo-Nazis) and another side argues that you have to include all ideas and viewpoints. You can’t satisfy both sides – you can’t keep the LGBTQ book and not keep the LGBTQ book at the same time. I may start calling this the Schrodinger’s Library argument against neutrality.

The fact that libraryland continues to have these debates about neutrality is really frustrating, and is very much related to issues of diversity and inclusion. So many of the library debates about neutrality are theoretical and academic and detached, and I think that reflects the stark lack of diversity in our profession. Too often the argument that it is a moral imperative for libraries to represent all sides of an issue, and to serve all patrons regardless of beliefs, come from a position of privilege and relative safety. For marginalized folks, it can feel like these debates about neutrality are really debates about whether we have to honor and engage with people who deny our very humanity and seek our destruction. Many of us would argue that allowing those who deny the humanity and basic dignity of others to coopt the legitimacy of our libraries and our profession to spread their hatred and intimidation is not in any way a neutral choice.

What is the need for Creative Commons today and why are you coming to keynote the Summit? What I love about Creative Commons and the CC community is that it is driven by a compelling vision of an open digital commons, and that it provides the tools for people across the globe to choose how they want to participate in that commons. That combination of an abiding belief that openly accessible culture and knowledge are good for society, with a commitment to honoring individual choice is powerful; and it resonates with what I think is needed to advance the perpetual project of decolonizing and opening up the internet.

The post Chris Bourg on the Compelling Vision for an Open Digital Commons appeared first on Creative Commons.

Major German Universities Cancel Elsevier Contracts | The Scientist Magazine®

“In Germany, the fight for open access and favorable pricing for journals is getting heated. At the end of last month (June 30), four major academic institutions in Berlin announced that they would not renew their subscriptions with the Dutch publishing giant Elsevier once they end this December. Then on July 7, nine universities in Baden-Württemberg, another large German state, also declared their intention to cancel their contracts with the publisher at the end of 2017.

These institutions join around 60 others across the country that allowed their contracts to expire last year….”

The Quiet Revolution | University of Delaware Research | Trevor A. Dawes, the May Morris Librarian and vice provost for libraries and museums at the University of Delaware

“Trevor A. Dawes learned how libraries can change people’s lives when he was a college student. Now, he’s leading the charge to make the UD Library, Museums and Press an even greater force for good.  

Q. What led you to a career at the library? A. I never considered librarianship as a profession until I got a job working in the library as a work-study student at Columbia University. I had great mentors there who recognized my passion. James Neal, president of the American Library Association, is one of those mentors I still have today. David Roselle, president emeritus of UD and a former member of the OCLC board, also has been a great friend and supporter….”

Universities must present a united front against rising journal costs, research librarians say | University Affairs | Canada

“The Canadian Association of Research Libraries proposes that institutions renegotiate unsustainable deals with journal publishers and transition toward open access.

For years, academic libraries have struggled to keep up with the rising costs of journal subscriptions set by a few large, international publishers. The situation “is now getting to a point of crisis,” according to the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, which recently published a briefing paper, with input from the Canadian Research Knowledge Network, to inform university administrators of the challenges and to propose solutions.

The paper notes that scholarly journal prices have risen by five to seven percent per year since 2011. This is part of a larger trend of “excessive price increases” that has been happening over the past three decades, exacerbated by the weakening of the Canadian dollar and tightening university budgets, according to CARL.

Donna Bourne-Tyson, president of CARL and university librarian at Dalhousie University, says information sharing among universities and consortia is crucial to renegotiating deals with journal publishers. “We have a pretty good sense of how each country is faring with large publishers, although we are still working against the constraints of a non-disclosure agreement in some cases,” she said. “Part of the problem is, if we aren’t able to compare apples to apples, we don’t even know what a fair price is.”…”

OA policy from US Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) (April 2014)

“Wide dissemination of the results of IMLS-funded projects advances the body of knowledge and professional practice in museum, library, and information services. For this reason, IMLS encourages creators of works resulting from IMLS funding to share their work whenever possible through forums such as institutional or disciplinary repositories, open-access journals, or other media. All work products resulting from IMLS funding should be distributed for free or at cost unless IMLS has given you written approval for another arrangement. IMLS expects you to ensure that final peer-reviewed manuscripts resulting from research conducted under an award are made available in a manner that permits the public to access, read, download, and analyze the work without charge…. If you collect and analyze data as part of an IMLS funded project, IMLS expects you to deposit data resulting from IMLS-funded research in a broadly accessible repository that allows the public to use the data without charge no later than the date upon which you submit your final 13 report to IMLS. You should deposit the data in a machine-readable, non-proprietary digital format to maximize search, retrieval, and analysis….”

Scholarly Communication: University of California Libraries | Pathways to OA

“Scholarly communication has become expensive, restrictive, and increasingly falls short of realizing its full potential to make scholarly information broadly accessible. The University of California Libraries are committed to working collaboratively with a variety of partners and stakeholders to provide leadership in transforming scholarly communication into a system that is economically sustainable and ensures the widest possible access to the scholarly record. Part of this commitment to transforming scholarly publishing at a large scale necessitates transitioning away from subscription-based publishing models, and repurposing our investments into sustainable open access (OA) funding models.

In order to make informed and data-driven decisions about which endeavors to pursue at scale, the UC Libraries prepared an analysis of the various approaches to or models for achieving open access, and the actionable strategies that exist to implement each approach. This analysis, compiled in the Pathways to OA documents linked below, was endorsed by the UC Council of University Librarians (CoUL) on 27 February 2018. The Pathways to OA is intended to assist campus libraries and the California Digital Library with individual, and where appropriate, collective decision-making about which OA strategies, possible next steps, or experiments to pursue in order to achieve large-scale transition to OA.

  • Pathways to OA: Executive Summary [PDF]
  • Pathways to OA: Full Report [PDF]
  • Pathways to OA: Chart Summarizing Approaches, Strategies, & Next Steps [PDF]”