Open Educational Resources: Open Access Textbooks

Open Access LogoWe continue our celebration of Open Access Week.

We’ve mentioned open access journals and ebooks which are great for researchers.  But what about the regular student?  The high cost of textbooks can be a financial burden on a student.  The university—and the library in particular—can help.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes.  (Wikipedia)

Open educational resources include open access textbooks.  Academic libraries can work with university administration and faculty to develop a policy of creating a repository for open access resources including textbooks.

One notable OER initiative is PDX Open from Portland State University Library.  With support from their university, the library is facilitating the publishing of open access textbooks using their Digital Commons platform from bepress.

The Open Textbook Library provides access to around 200 open textbooks from the Open Library Network of participating academic libraries such as Purdue, University of Arizona, and Virginia Tech.  You can search or browse their collection of complete textbooks.

Here are some great resources to learn about OER:

Follow the conversations on Twitter at #liboer, #oer, and #opentextbooks.

A Selection of Open Access Journals for Librarians

Open Access LogoWe continue our celebration of Open Access Week.

Libraries provide access.  As such, the librarians who work in them should advocate for access that is as unencumbered as possible, including open access.  While some publishers of traditional professional librarian journals are reluctant to open up access to their journals, several have done so.  Thus, some librarians have taken it upon themselves to create new open access journals to assist the librarian community.  We can expect to see more journals from both sources become open access in the future.

Here’s a selection of open access e-journals.

Open Access Week 2015

Open Access Week

International Open Access Week starts today and runs from October 19 – 25, 2015.  For all of the details, visit www.openaccessweek.org.

Ways to Participate

Many organizations which embrace and promote open access are sponsoring events to encourage participation in open access resources.  Here are just a few of them.

TwitterFollow on Social Media

 

Follow and use the Twitter hashtag #OAWeek.

Open Access Week Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

WikipediaSPARC is partnering with Wikipedia to organize an Open Access Week Edit-a-thon with the purpose to improve open access-related content on Wikipedia.  “Specifically, we hope to improve already existing Open Access-related pages, to create new content where it needs to be added, and to translate Open Access-related pages into languages where they don’t yet exist.” Sign up to participate at The Wikimedia Library.

Learn about Paperity

PaperityPaperity is a “multidisciplinary aggregator of Open Access Journals and Papers” containing more than 2,200 journals and 400,000 articles.  It contains full-text articles from peer-reviewed scholarly sources.  Visit Paperity at paperity.org.

Subscribe to the C&RL RSS Feeds

College & Research Libraries is now an open access journal.  There is still a subscription fee for the print issues, but you can access the online versions for free.  Access the C&RL RSS Feeds page at crl.acrl.org/rss.

Get an ORCID iD

ORCID Open Access Week iD RegisterDo you have an ORCID iD?  ORCID stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID and is a unique 16-digit number which distinguishes you from other researchers in online resources.  Register for an ORCID iD at orcid.org/register.

Bake Some Cookies

Think open access only applies to online resources?  You can bake your very own cookies in the shape of the open access logo with a cookie cutter printed from your 3D printer using some open access cookie cutter printer files.  The scalable files are in .stl and .dae format and were created by Chip Wolfe from Hunt Library at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Download the open access cookie cutter files.

Open Access Cookie Cutter

Electronic Resources on Social Media

Social Media Icons

Follow or friend your favorite electronic resource websites on three major social networking sites: Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.  The database vendors often use these outlets to give updates, offer free access trials, and announce downtime.

Facebook

Google+

Twitter

If we are missing one of your favorites, please let us know in the comment section.

Consolidation of the Library Vendors

ProQuest EBSCO OCLC

With two recent announcements of mergers of well-known library vendors—ProQuest acquired Ex Libris and Bibliotheca bought 3M Library Systems—the number of independent library vendors is shrinking.

ProQuest is now a provider of research databases (ProQuest Central and others), ebooks (ebrary, EBL, and MyiLibrary), discovery tools (Summon and now Primo), link resolvers (Serials Solutions and now SFX), library management system (Alma and Intota), and print books (with the recent purchase of Coutts).

EBSCO is the next largest vendor in this shrinking field.  EBSCO offers research databases (EBSCOhost), ebooks (EBSCO eBooks and Audiobooks), a discovery tool (EBSCO Discovery Service), a link resolver (LinkSource), and print books (YBP Library Services).  EBSCO does not offer an ILS or LMS and one has to wonder if the company will go looking to acquire one.

OCLC is the third major competitor in the library services arena. OCLC does not provide content like ProQuest and EBSCO.  However, they offer a discovery tool (WorldCat) and a modern library management system (WorldShare Management Services).  OCLC also offers popular services such as a proxy service (EZproxy), interlibrary loan service (ILLiad), digital collection management tool (CONTENTdm), and a virtual reference system (QuestionPoint).

If your library is looking for a comprehensive library management / discovery service / link resolver solution, you now have three vendors.

Further Reading

American LibrariesProQuest to Acquire Ex Libris

Globes: ProQuest to buy Israeli co Ex Libris for $500m

Ithaka S+R: What Are the Larger Implications of ProQuest’s Acquisition of Ex Libris?