Open Access Week

Feb 12th, 2013 | Posted by

As part of Open Access Week, “a global event, now in its 6th year, promoting Open Access as a new norm in scholarship and research,” I attended an event held by the librarians at the University at Albany and co-sponsored by the Eastern New York Chapter of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ENY/ACRL).  The mini-conference speakers explored a variety of issues surrounding open access to information, “the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as needed.”  Below, I outline the major points made by each speaker, many of which we should examine as we move toward an open access model and discuss the possible implementation of an institutional repository.

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via Creative Commons Attribution License


MLA Has Changed Its Author Agreements (But Why Do I Care?) – Lily Shafer
On June 5, 2012, the Modern Languages Association (MLA) revised its author agreements to follow the ‘green model’ of open access (OA) in which authors retain copyright and can deposit materials in open-access repositories as well as on departmental websites and the like at the time of publication in any of its journals, including its flagship publication, PMLA.  This is a major shift in policy for a humanities organization.  Whereas “requirements from federal agencies and other funders have many times forced STEM journals to permit authors to post their papers in repositories that have no paywall,” far less research in the humanities results directly from grants, a reality which has left the humanities more leeway and a resulting slowness to embrace OA (Jaschik).

Open Source and Open Access – Christopher Koftila
Open source software/programming is free in three senses of the word:

  • “Free beer!” – open source software is free of charge
  • “Free speech!” – users are free to modify and/or improve open source software
  • “Free kittens!” – open source software is free of warranty and support; adopt it at your own peril

It is not, however, free to produce.  So why do programmers do it? They feel compelled because “creation is addictive” as is the problem-solving nature of programming.

Institutional Repositories and Open Access – Tor Loney
Early examples: and CogPrints
Current examples: eScholarship, Deep Blue, MINDS@UW, and RIT Digital Media Library

Advantages of open institutional repositories:

  • Exposure
  • Cachet
  • Collaboration, cross-disciplinary work, unexpected partners as a result of exposure
  • Support and retention
  • Multiple formats
  • Cost reduction
  • Better access
  • Higher citation rates; “bound periodicals do not circulate”

Obstacles to open institutional repositories:

  • Lack of awareness
  • Fear of cost (e.g., dollars + time + maintenance)
  • Lack of models, policies
  • Authors claim “no time” to learn new process
  • Technophobia
  • Outdated tenure requirements discourage publishing in IRs
  • View of IRs as nonscholarly

Suggestions to institutions and authors:

  • Demonstrate the value of IRs
  • Address fears
  • Make distinctions between IRs and OA, between peer-reviewed OA and non-peer-reviewed OA
  • Develop policy simultaneously with repository
  • Tailor to specific community needs
  • Gain campus support (e.g., ILL, copyright, research groups like IMTL)
  • Make voluntary
  • Extend to students
  • Ongoing promotion, “tell everyone!”

Preservation and Research Data at Binghamton University Libraries – Edward Corrado
Certain data should be freely available.  Preservation of open research data at Binghamton University Libraries involved: not just the data, but the context for it; the burden of preparing the data for preservation; 3-4 days work to get data into the OA archive; and, dedicated campus data managers (librarians, subject specialists, and IT staff).

Issues identified in the preservation of open research data include:

    • funding (staff, hardware, etc)
    • multiple file formats
    • bit rot (eventual decay/failure of storage media, such as hard drive failure)
    • lack of standard procedures
    • should be standards based to simplify inevitable migration to new system
    • numerous policy decisions required
    • lack of documentation
    • metadata maintenance (matching correct metadata with correct project)
    • specialized software requirements
    • recording provenance of data
    • metadata may contain confidential and/or legally protected info:
      • would librarians/IT staff/campus data managers require human subjects/IRB approval?
      • would we need separate discovery mechanisms?
      • would we require protected servers?

Read more:

Jaschik, S. (2012, June). MLA shift on copyright. Retrieved from

Suber, P. (2012, December). Open access overview. Retrieved from

Privacy Settings in the Commons

Nov 28th, 2012 | Posted by
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Before creating a web site in the Commons, please be sure that you understand how this works.

The default setting for all sites is public.  This means that anyone with Internet access can see your site and it can be indexed by Internet search engines, such as Google.  

This is unrelated to the fact that only members of the ESC community with college logins and passwords can access the Commons by logging into the system to create a web site or blog.  This login does NOT protect the sites you create unless you specify that setting within the site’s dashboard.

Information on managing your site’s privacy settings can be found on the Commons Support Site, in the FAQs.  Refer to these items:

o        Who can see my site?
o        How private is my Commons site?
o        How do I modify my privacy settings?

You can also view a short support video (or a print transcript)
explaining how to change your site’s privacy settings.  Please remember, that the Commons is a platform meant for experimentation, collaboration, and self-expression. It is not intended for official college content or sensitive, private information.  

If you have questions, send an email to

Exporting and Importing Commons Sites

Oct 10th, 2012 | Posted by

The purpose of this document is to visually demonstrate the basics of exporting and importing Commons sites for ESC studies. This is a simple and useful way to repurpose content developed in the Commons.

Exporting an Existing Site

The first step involves selecting the relevant site to export. In order to do this, login to and then go to the top left of the screen, where it says “ My Sites.” Select a site to export from the dropdown list.

After selecting a site to export, go to Tools (located middle-left of the screen) and click on the export function within Tools.

There are three export options in the Commons: The first option, all content, includes posts, pages, comments, custom fields, terms, navigation menus. The second option, posts, allows exporting only posts. The last option, pages, supports exporting only pages. Select the option that best meets your needs.  After choosing what to export, click on Download Export File.

The name of the export file will be the site name followed by WordPress and the date. For instance, mysite.wordpress.2012-08-09.xml. Make sure to save this xml file at a location that is easy to find.


 Importing a Commons Site

To import a Commons site, go to Tools (located middle-left of the screen) and click on the import function within Tools.

The import process has four basic steps. The first step, as demonstrated in Figure 6, asks the location of the import file. Since the Commons is based on WordPress, select the WordPress option on this screen.

The second step for importing a Commons site requests the file (e.g., mysite.wordpress.2012-08-09.xml), which was initially exported as an input. After selecting the relevant file from your machine, click on Upload file and import.

The third step involves importing authors from the original to the new Commons site, which makes it easier to edit and save the imported content.

The last step involves checking potential errors. The import and export functions may transfer images and external links from one site to another, but they may not transfer documents (pdf files, Word documents) and internal links as shown below.

Thus, internal links and documents may require manual set-up. For assistance on internal links, documents, and reusing previous content from an older Commons site, contact your faculty instructional technologist.

Supporting the Needs of 21st Century Learners: Faculty Development with Tools of Engagement

Oct 3rd, 2012 | Posted by
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Thanks to a generous grant from the SUNY Provost’s office, the FITs are now in the process of creating a faculty development program to be rolled out to ESC’s seven regional centers in the Spring of 2013. The project is titled “Supporting the Needs of 21st Century Learners: Faculty Development with Tools of Engagement.” The program will consist of four module-based training units which will be designed to introduce ESC faculty and staff members to several types of technology tools that have been shown to increase student learning and engagement in blended studies

Working collaboratively, the FITs will develop four modules in which they seek to assist faculty in learning new skills that can be utilized in their teaching and further used to increase student engagement across disciplines. Topics include such areas as using social media, web-based collaboration, working with web-based media and creating online presentations. If successful, the FITs hope to propose a second phase of the project in conjunction with other SUNY campuses and share the project throughout SUNY.

Faculty and staff members who complete all four modules will receive a certificate of completion and, as an added bonus, as participants complete each module, they will be entered into a drawing to win one of several technology prizes.


Using the Library with Mobile Devices

Sep 25th, 2012 | Posted by
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The Empire State College Online Library has a new addition to their website, Using the Library with Mobile Devices. This page was created in response to a steady increase in questions regarding mobile device compatibility with the Online Library. Library resources were evaluated to check for compatibility with mobile devices and to look for any mobile features available. Library resources were then tested on an iPad, Kindle and Kindle Fire to verify functionality and ease of use.

This site contains an alphabetical list of all library article and newspaper databases as well as e-book collections. For each resource, there is information about mobile device compatibility, whether there is a mobile site or app available, what formats you can view these items in, and whether you are able to download PDF files to transfer to your mobile device for reading. We have also included tips for mobile device use with the library and links to common mobile device tech support links.

You can find this new page at

For example, if you use JSTOR for research, you can visit this site to find out what you can do with JSTOR on your iPad. JSTOR has a mobile site in beta mode which allows for article discovery but not for downloading articles. You can, however, view HTML articles in the browser on your iPad, or download PDF articles to your computer and then transfer them to your iPad for reading at your convenience.

On the other hand, if you use EBSCOhost, you will find that you can not only view HTML articles on your device browser but you can also download articles and transfer them to your device, or download the free EBSCOhost app to a compatible device. Once you validate your account with the college on EBSCOhost, you will have access to saved articles in your EBSCOhost folders as well as the ability to search within their collections.

Due to the wide variety (and versions) of mobile devices out there, you will also need to consult technical support documentation provided by your specific device’s maker for further information.