Archive for the 'Modeling new services' Category

MOOCs and Libraries: Production and Pedagogy

Monday, April 15th, 2013 by Merrilee

[OCLC and the University of Pennsylvania Libraries held a forum on MOOCs and Libraries on March 18th and 19th, 2013. This is the third in a short series on that event.]

One of the great advantages to partnering with the University of Pennsylvania on this event is that they have been through several rounds of course production, so they know the ropes. And even though this event focused on MOOCs and libraries, we did think it would be good for the audience to learn a little bit about course production. Like most of our attendees, I have no experience with MOOC production (although I have taken three MOOCs — I stop at nothing in my quest to bring you information!). Having had some experience on the student or participant side, it was great to glimpse behind the curtain.

I’ll summarize this session below, but here’s my advice for learning more if most of what you’ve done is read about MOOCs in the press. Take a class or two (while you do it, try to think about the role of the library in relationship to the learning objectives for the class). And watch this session to learn a little more about the variety of production styles, and what goes into making a MOOC.

The panel was expertly moderated by Bruce Lenthall (Director of Center for Teaching and Learning) and included participation by Christian Terwiesch (Wharton School Faculty), Jackie Candido (Online Learning & Digital Engagement, School of Arts and Sciences), Amy Bennett (Penn Open Learning), and Anna Delaney (Perelman School of Medicine).

Before the panel discussion Terwiesch spoke briefly about his experience teaching a Coursera class called “Introduction to Operations Management” that is an adaptation of a course he has been teaching for some time at the Wharton School. From his perspective, the economics of MOOCs are simple: more learning with the same resources. He wants everyone to think about process management principles, in order to make life better, and MOOCs are a great way to do that. (I have to admit having heard him speak passionately about his class, I’ve rashly signed up to take it — maybe some of you will, too?)

The panel offered advice and perspectives on production, covering some basics. The ideal timeline for production is about six months: build, promote, enroll (although it can be done in less time). MOOCs are more than just a professor in a video frame — they need instruction design. Streamlining course content is critical with MOOCs — it doesn’t work to take an existing class and plug it into a MOOC. Faculty content is the most obvious component but it’s not all. In an online environment, clear written communication is key. Having a good microphone and a way to engage with the students (forum, blog, wiki, but something that will work at scale!) are two very critical components. Be on guard against technical gotchas. Pay attention to small details; remember that once the material is out, it’s out!

There was an interesting thread around “success” — what are measurements to know when you are there? Returning to the theme for copyright, panelists suggested that “it depends!” Part of this is related to goals set by faculty for students, and therefore is a mater of personal style and preferences. Terwiesch suggested that success is changing what you do for the better. The right team (which right now is people doing work on top of their regular job, with no additional funding) is critical for success. Most good team members are described as doing the work because they are dedicated and passionate (and I would add, they probably are not intimidated by experimentation). The question of completion rates as a measure of success came up, and panelists (and others) pushed back on this: it’s not appropriate to assess completion of a MOOC with the same metrics used with traditional classrooms or even with a “traditional online course” (I love this phrase!).

The panelists also shared what they thought might be key roles for libraries. One area highlighted was organizing and making sense of information contributed by participants; in the Terwiesch course, there was a whole range of user generated content on process management. The suggestion of this type of curation on a massive scale got pushback from the audience, as did the idea of having embedded librarians (“with thousands of students, would we have enough staff?”). Other ideas seemed more attainable: providing pointers to open resources for faculty, and pointer to online communities and other resources for students (perhaps in a dedicated discussion thread). Helping to educate course TAs about resources for to students. Helping to structure discussion forums ahead of time (speaking from personal experience, these can be very wild and woolly).

In summary, all of the panelists conveyed their enthusiasm about MOOCs. Despite relatively low levels of completion, they were energized by the large numbers of highly engaged. In the end, it’s not so much about massiveness, but about human connection and excitement that can be generated, and the community that can be formed.

MOOCs and Libraries: Copyright, Licensing, Open Access

Thursday, April 11th, 2013 by Merrilee

[OCLC and the University of Pennsylvania Libraries held a forum on MOOCs and Libraries on March 18th and 19th. This is the second post in a short series on that event.]

As I learned from my interviews from librarians who are engaging with MOOCs, one of the main points of engagement for libraries (in fact, sometimes the only point of engagement!) is around licensing and clearing copyright for materials used in courses, or giving advice to others on these topics. We were fortunate to attract three excellent speakers on this topic: Kevin Smith (Scholarly Communications Officer, Duke University), Kenny Crews (Director, Copyright Advisory Office, Columbia University), and Kyle K. Courtney (Manager of Faculty Research and Scholarship, Harvard Law School). It was great that we had representation from both Coursera and edX partner institutions. I am also grateful to Brandon Butler (Director of Public Policy Initiatives, Association of Research Libraries) for agreeing to moderate the session.

The group opted to cover the content in a Q & A format, with Butler pitching questions to the panelists. The group met once, briefly, by phone ahead of the meeting, but the smooth and easy exchange made it seem as if they has been working on their presentation for a much longer period of time. Of course the discussion was filled with copyright favorites, like “it depends,” but it was relatively light on the jargon. The panel was not only enjoyable, but following the session, I felt considerably more cheerful about issues around MOOCs and intellectual property. My somewhat out-of-order summary is below, but I commend the video to you — I’m tempted to call it “best of show,” because I had so many people tell me that they were surprised at how much they enjoyed it!

Butler started the session by highlighting that putting materials online brings issues around copyright to the forefront, making it a high stakes area for libraries. However, avoiding copyright issues altogether is also an area of risk for libraries; if MOOCs represent a cornerstone in online learning, where are the (mostly in-copyright and licensed) resources that libraries steward? The conversation flowed around several themes: permissions and licensing, fair use, linking, who owns the material created in MOOCs, open access, and continued advocacy.

Permissions and licensing:
Although it’s a very basic first step, reading and understanding licences (and what they do and not allow) is key, since use depends on what the license says. If possible future agreements should allow for the use of materials in MOOCs. Because of the importance of agreements, librarians who deal with licensing may become, according to Crews, “the most important person in the building.” If use is not covered under a licence, request permission. Don’t be shocked if you don’t get an answer. At Duke, experiences with getting permissions quite varied — most often there is no response. Sometimes you get a yes, other times an ask for a big fee. Try to appeal to the “marketing opportunity” inherent in a course with thousands if not hundreds of thousands of eyeballs. Dealing with permissions and licensing is something that edX institutions generally try to avoid, relying instead on fair use and open resources, Courtney explained,

Fair use:
Smith started with a note of caution on fair use; copyrighted materials should be used with care especially because of the large online audience, and use should be clearly tied to criticism and commentary, or is being used in a way that could be considered transformative. However, he firmly reinforced that it’s important to push on fair use because in this environment, it’s impractical not to. Panelists offered words of caution and instruction: it’s important to work with faculty and others on the production team to make sure that embedded materials are only what’s needed for the specific pedagogical purpose. As an example, if you are referring to a Monty Python film, use only the small bit that’s being commented on, and link out to an authorized version of the video on YouTube or elsewhere. Kevin Smith on MOOC fair use of Monty Python video: Linked to authorized YouTube copy, copied small bits specifically commented on. Which brings me to…

This surprised me and is both a practical and inventive copyright workaround. If you can’t get permission or make a fair use case. Provide a link to materials online elsewhere. If you can’t embed the materials, cite them and leave students to find them on their own.

Who owns the MOOC?:
This can be a complicated question, and of course some of this depends on the agreement with the platform partner. Depending on your campus environment, work may be considered “work for hire,” with copyright held by the university. In courses with complicated production you may have many creators. Best practice would be to understand the terms, bring all relevant players together, and get written, signed agreements in order to have clear lines around who owns MOOC content.

Open access:
Working with faculty around these complex issues can help to reinforce the central importance of convincing faculty to retain their copyright, and to take charge in being “good stewards” of their own intellectual property. And of course if it’s an open, you can ask faculty who teach MOOCs to make their materials open access. (I will add a personal observation that I don’t believe that MOOCs are likely to be the turning point with faculty in regards to copyright or open access issues — I think that is more likely to happen due to pressure in their individual disciplines, but that’s just a hunch.)

Remember that libraries are involved in both “risk mitigation and education maximization.” Crews said, if you rely on fair use, you will sometimes need to say “no” to faculty, but we can also help find suitable replacement content. Librarians can play an important role in not only giving fair use guidance and seek permissions, but also recommend public domain or openly licensed resources that could be freely used. And of course, sharing information with one another is a form of advocacy.

Some useful, additional tidbits:

  • If you are called out on copyright, the first thing to happen is not a lawsuit, it’s a takedown.
  • Steer clear of using in-copyright humorous images just for the “LOL factor.”
  • Fair use is a muscle — use it.
  • Some additional resources:
    The ARL Code of Best Practices in Fair Use is an excellent resource. So is the Issue Brief on MOOCs (October 2012). Smith and Crews both have blogs that are worth following if you are interested in tracking IP/library issues. Courtny also has launched a blog recently, so tune in there as well.

    MOOCs and Libraries: Introduction

    Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 by Merrilee

    OCLC and the University of Pennsylvania Libraries held a forum on MOOCs and Libraries on March 18th and 19th. This is the first post in a short series on that event. You can also check out the event page for links to videos, presenters’ slides, and more!

    It’s been a few weeks, but it still feels like I’m catching my breath following our well attended (and I think successful!) forum, MOOCs and Libraries: Massive Opportunity or Overwhelming Challenge? This event was an attempt to get beyond the plethora of what I’d call “MOOC 101″ and instead focus on the issues facing libraries that are engaging or may soon be engaging with MOOCs. I was fortunate to be tasked with such an engaging topic, and doubly fortunate to team up with Martha Brogan at the University of Pennsylvania and her colleagues (Anuradha Vedantham, Shawn Martin, and Marjorie Hassen) — the University of Pennsylvania Libraries were perfect partners because they haven’t just been thinking about MOOCs, they have been actively engaged with all aspects of MOOCs from planning, to production, to assessment. U. Penn was an early implementer on the Coursera platform, and have now been through several course cycles. I was also fortunate to work with my colleague Chrystie Hill, who lead the charge in bringing public library voices into the event. I was also fortunate, in event planning, to be able to draw upon the expertise resident in the OCLC Research Library Partnership — in November of 2012, I knew little more about MOOCs than what was covered in the popular press. I was educated by colleagues who are working in the field, who spoke from a basis of knowledge and experience, and who were willing to share with me via phone conversations and emails during December and January (my findings are summarized in an earlier post, MOOCs and Libraries: a look at the landscape).

    We had a sell out crowd of 125 people attend in person and record breaking online attendance of over 400 (hardly MOOC like, but for sustained attention from afar, it’s very good). We were also fortunate to have a very strong Twitter stream, with contributions from both in person and remote attendees, which helped to “amplify” the event. And we have a record of the meeting in the recorded video (which you may enjoy watching!). Still, I think it’s important to have a summary of the meeting and some notable outcomes. I hope that some of you who attended (or who are able to watch the videos) will join in the conversation. And keep the conversation going by using the hash #mooclib when blogging or Tweeting on this topic.

    Carton Rogers, Vice Provost & Director of Penn Libraries, and Ed Rock, Provost and Director of Open Course Initiatives, helped to set the scene for the group. Rogers underscored the confluence of support that the Penn Libraries provide to support learning — library resources, repository services, and courseware support. Deep engagement with Penn’s MOOC efforts was a natural next step for the library, and led to Penn’s hosting this first-of-a-kind meeting. Rock expanded on this, addressing, “Why MOOCs, why Penn, why now?”

    The internet, Rock asserted, is now a place of learning so naturally one expects to find the university there. However, there is no one cookie cutter model for how universities engage with MOOCs — each institution needs to think out the role of MOOCs in their own framework. It’s already clear, from the Penn experience, that engaging with MOOCs has altered how people think about teaching — and this is a good thing. They’ve also seen that MOOCs can be used as an intervention in public discourse (a good example of this is the Penn course on vaccines). Rock also emphasized the democratic nature of MOOCs, with participants from residents in assisted living facilities, to autistic children, these courses are open to all ages and stages. He also speculated a bit about the role of the MOOC in a residential college setting — successful completion of a course that is eligible may be treated like an AP course — there is already a system for this in place. Or, a MOOC may be useful in helping students prepare for and test out of gateway classes.

    Jim Michalko, Vice President OCLC Research (and a self confessed MOOC virgin), shared some context about MOOCs and online learning; we’ve been here before — or have we? What we have definitely seen before is the media frenzy around online learning or even distance learning — he referenced correspondence courses, Fathom, and Khan Academy, all of which are part of the heritage of what he called “the big three”: Udacity, EdX and Coursera which only launched a year ago. However, this time may well be different — Michalko cited Bill Bowen’s The ‚ÄėCost Disease‚Äô
    in Higher Education: Is Technology the Answer?
    as evidence of a “broken business model,” leaving institutions ripe for disruption (√† la Clayton Christensen).

    In closing he asked some pointed questions: “what business are we in?” “where is the venue for elite education online?” “are institutions engaging in a prestige arms race?” Finally, he predicted a platform war with MOOCs: “not everyone’s going to win.”

    My presentation picked up where Jim left off: in all of this, where is the library? I presented findings from my research (which I have summarized previously): libraries are engaging in issues around copyright and IP, and are actively looking to see how to appropriately embed library services and research skills into these new and evoloving environments. Encouragingly, some libraries are part of the core teams being formed on campus which are planning and executing on MOOCs — these partnerships are vital, especially if MOOCs are seen as important to the campus. To be blunt, if it’s politically important, libraries need to be there. I also touched on the exciting ways that public libraries are thinking about MOOCs — not necessarily from the production side, but from the perspective of how these educational tools may fill a need for the diverse audiences they serve.

    MOOCs (and online education) is a space in which things are evolving quite rapidly. I think it‚Äôs too soon for best practices, or declarations of success or failure. I think it‚Äôs a great time for experimentation, for trying things (and strategic abandonment!). This is also a perfect time to share the results of experiments. We are excited that this meeting was a step in that direction, and an important opportunity to share information with one another. But we’re not done yet — we’re at the beginning, not the end.

    Next up, I’ll be summarizing the session on copyright, licensing and open access, so stay tuned!

    Irreconcilable differences? Name authority control & humanities scholarship

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 by Karen

    This post is co authored by David Michelson, Vanderbilt University

    Over the past year OCLC Research has been working with a group of Syriac studies scholars with the goal of tapping their expertise to enrich the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF), by adding Syriac script to existing names and adding new ones. Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic, developed in the kingdom of Mesopotamia in the first century A.D. It flourished in the Persian and Roman Empires, and Syriac texts comprise the third largest surviving corpus of literature from the fourth through seventh centuries, after Greek and Latin. We anticipated that the issues we addressed could then be applied to scholars in other disciplines. We started with the assumption that the scholars could use the Library of Congress’ Metadata Authority Description Schema, or MADS.

    We have learned a lot in the process of building a bridge between scholarly interest in names as a subject of historical research and VIAF’s interest in persistent identifiers for each name in authority files. We found that we shared values for name authorities:

    • Scholars and librarians share a mutual appreciation for each others‚Äô work on identifying names appearing in historical research.
    • Many scholarly projects in the digital humanities are already relying on VIAF for authority control and to anchor Linked Open Data. The Syriac scholars pointed us to digital humanities projects‚ÄĒ such as the Fihrist, a union catalog of Islamic manuscripts hosted in the UK, and those listed in the Digital Classicist Wiki under ‚ÄúVery Clean URIs‚ÄĚ‚ÄĒthat have adopted VIAF URIs as the best method for authority control and to link to other data sets.
    • VIAF can provide part of the cyberinfrastructure for digital humanities, a standard way for linking and querying data, a need identified by The American Council of Learned Societies‚Äô national Commission on Cyberinfrastructure.

    We discovered two key issues important to scholars that just don’t mesh well with the library practices represented in name authority files, which VIAF aggregates, due to differences in intended audiences, disciplinary norms, and metadata needs:

    • Scholars eschew a ‚Äúpreferred name‚ÄĚ. Libraries need to bring together all the variant forms of a name under one form, choosing a ‚Äúpredominant form‚ÄĚ if a person writes in more one language. This approach meets the discovery needs for a specific national or linguistic community. Scholarship is international, and the ‚Äúpreferred name‚ÄĚ in one locale will differ from another. Further, the context is crucial for classifying names. For scholars, a ‚Äúpreferred name‚ÄĚ needs to also include by whom and for what purpose it is preferred. For example, a Syriac name in use in 600 may be classified as ‚Äúclassical Syriac‚ÄĚ; but the same name in use one thousand years later may be classified as a neo-Aramaic dialect. The same Syriac author might have multiple ‚Äúpreferred forms‚ÄĚ in multiple languages (Syriac, Arabic, Greek), each used by different or competing cultural communities. This applies to other languages as well. Scholars resist declaring a ‚Äúpreferred form‚ÄĚ because it could exclude some historical or cultural perspective. Each form may be ‚Äúauthoritative‚ÄĚ depending on the time and place it appears.
    • Scholars need to know the provenance of each form of name. When a name has multiple forms, scholars‚ÄĒespecially historians‚ÄĒ need to know the provenance of each name, following the citation practices commonly used in their field. Historical and textual scholarship is built on conventions of evidence and values the process of contesting intellectual claims. MADS does not provide the structure for citing these sources or providing the required contextual information. Although library practices require ‚Äúliterary warrant‚ÄĚ to justify why one form of name was chosen as the authorized heading or access point, they do not document the context for any of the variant forms. There is not even a field to indicate the language of a name‚Äôs form. We can deduce the language of the preferred form only by the source of the authority file. Scholars find little value in name information without provenance data, an equivalent of footnotes.

    The good news is that our collaboration has pointed the way for future interaction between VIAF, the VIAF Council, and the scholarly community:

    • Syriac studies colleagues are building their own database where they can describe each personal name with the granularity that meets their scholarly requirements. We will work together to create a crosswalk so that OCLC Research can extract the information that fits into a MADS structure, and can still enrich existing VIAF clusters with Syriac and other script forms or add new names. VIAF and will follow existing protocols for using the namespace in minting URIs for new names not yet in VIAF.
    • For those who need the additional details, people could click a link to the name in the database, much as those who want to read a biography of a VIAF name can click on a Wikipedia link, if present. Thus VIAF can still integrate scholars‚Äô expertise and serve scholarly users without needing to overcome the fundamental differences between library and scholarly practices.
    • will work with OCLC and the VIAF Council to establish a path for other scholarly research organizations to contribute to VIAF.

    The screen captures of the current VIAF cluster and a Syriac Reference Portal Demo record for Ephrem below help us imagine how VIAF could be enhanced.

    VIAF Cluster

    VIAF Cluster

    Extract from the Syriac Reference Portal Demo

    Extract from the Syriac Reference Portal Demo

    David Michelson is the assistant professor of early Christianity at Vanderbilt University and director of The Syriac Reference Portal, a joint project among Vanderbilt University, Princeton University, St. Michael’s College Vermont, Texas A&M University, Beth Mardutho the Syriac Institute and other affiliate institutions, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

    “Cataloging Unchained”

    Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 by Roy

    Lorcan Dempsey (VP of Research at OCLC) has long said that we need to “make our data work harder.” And for years that is exactly what OCLC Research has been doing. So when I was asked to speak on data mining at the OCLC European, Middle East, and African Regional Council Meeting in Strasbourg, France, I knew I would have a lot to talk about. Too much, in fact.

    Instead of trying to cover everything we’ve been doing in a whirlwind of slides that no one would remember, I decided to use WorldCat Identities as a “poster child” for the kinds of data mining activities we have been doing recently here at OCLC Research. Then, I described another, related project ‚ÄĒ the Virtual International Authority File. To bring it all home I mentioned how we’re considering how we might be able to marry these two resources into one “super” identities service.

    Consider what it would mean to take an aggregation of library-curated authority records and enhance it with algorithmically-derived data from WorldCat as well as links to other resources about creators such as Wikipedia. This would provide a rich resource of information about creators, all sitting behind authoritative and maintained identifiers that could be used in emerging new bibliographic structures such as is being created by the Library of Congress’ Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative. The mind reels with the possibilities.

    But before I could jump into all this I needed a way to quickly explain why we are doing things like this ‚ÄĒ and how we are doing them. I decided I needed to make a video. So last week that is exactly what I did, with help from colleagues in Dublin. The result was less than three-and-a-half minutes long, and yet it amply set the stage for what was to come after. Plus, it can have a life of its own.

    Take a look yourself, at “Cataloging Unchained”, and let me know what you think in the comments.

    MOOCs and Libraries: a look at the landscape

    Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 by Merrilee

    Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that MOOCs have been causing a bit of a stir in the academic sector. In the last year, MOOCs have exploded, from a handful of early innovators, to dozens of elite institutions becoming partners with organizations like Coursera, edX, and in the UK, the Open University lead FutureLearn venture. The reasons for this are many, well-documented, and also highly debated. Instead of reviewing what you can read elsewhere, I’d like to focus on the relationship between MOOCs and libraries. Here’s what I was curious about: What is the connection between MOOCs and libraries? What‚Äôs happening now and where are the opportunities?

    To answer my question, I reached out to members of the OCLC Research Library Partnership. This group comprises 20 of 32 Coursera institutions; 3 of 6 edX institutions; and 4 of 12 FutureLearn institutions. I was fortunate to have either an email exchange or (even better) a phone call with nearly everyone I contacted. This information from those in the trenches has been invaluable. In these exchanges, I asked my basic questions: what are you doing now? what do you think the next steps are? As expected, a number of themes have emerged, along with a wide variety of attitudes (from white knuckle fear to excitement, and everything in between :-)). Below is a summary of what I’ve learned so far.

    FutureLearn has not quite fully launched yet, but the libraries at those institutions are planning to work with one another (good news). Within edX, the librarians have also formed an informal network (more good news). Within the larger Coursera network of institutions, there is no similar alliance of librarians.

    Here are some some of the themes that have emerged:

  • On the content side, most institutions are engaging with some sort of copyright or licensing negotiations, or are ensuring that materials used in courses are cleared for use in that context (this does not necessarily add up to making materials open access). At some institutions, this is a time consuming (and obviously not scalable) activity. With many institutions, this is really the only point of contact with MOOCs.
  • In that vein, I spoke to a few people who are cautiously optimistic about MOOC implementation being a great opportunity to have an impactful conversation about open access publications or learning objects with faculty.
  • Most of those I spoke with acknowledged that MOOCs could be a great opportunity for their campus to rethink teaching on campus — MOOCs provide a sandbox for experimentation, a place to test what works, what doesn’t, and an environment where findings can be driven back into the next iteration. This can be done, in part, through the collection and analysis of data. This fits with the current emphasis in libraries (and elsewhere) on data collection, and assessment.
  • Along with this, there‚Äôs an opportunity for libraries to think anew about library instruction and the role that library research plays in a MOOC or “flipped” environment.
  • There are also opportunities for partnerships. Some libraries may use the MOOC experiment as an opportunity to work with other units on campus, and to draw attention to what the library brings to the campus ‚Äúteam.‚ÄĚ. This is also an opportunity to work with faculty and instructors in new ways (or for a new reason). At a time when academic libraries are casting about for recasting the research services they offer, it may also be a good time to reframe teaching support.
  • I did these interviews as background for an event we’ve been planning together with the University of Pennsylvania Libraries (and which I’m pleased to announce!) “MOOCs and Libraries: Massive Opportunity or Overwhelming Challenge?” March 18-19. We’re still shaping the program and confirming speakers, but if you check out the event page, you will see the various themes we’ll be covering.

    Do you have other ideas? Want to be part of the conversation? Leave a comment here, send me an email, or Tweet under the hash #mooclib. I look forward to hearing from you!

    The Flipped Library

    Monday, November 5th, 2012 by Jim

    My colleague, Lorcan Dempsey, did a very nice synthesis of “MOOCs, Libraries, OCLC” for the OCLC Board of Trustees this morning. Given the massive attention and the surge of interest in MOOCs (witness that the article – Year of the MOOC – in the New York Times has stayed on the most emailed since it was published on 2 November 2012) he was asked to provide an overview and some foundational information so the trustees could have a preliminary discussion about the implications for libraries. Perhaps he will turn this into a piece for more general publication.

    One of things he drew out was the ways in which MOOCs are forcing an exploration of the scale, shape and costs of pedagogy, prompting new thinking about assessment, and creating environments that can facilitate and take advantage of predictive and adaptive analytics. In talking about the shape of pedagogy he pointed out the ways in which they were consciously capitalizing on social technologies, gamification techniques, virtual laboratories and peer learning. MOOCs might become the vehicle that institutionalized the ‘flipped classroom’ as the norm.

    I wasn’t very familiar with the ‘flipped classroom’ concept. I’d only come across it in reading about the Khan Academy. Teachers were assigning the Khan modular lectures as homework and then using the classroom time for personal tutoring, independent problem solving, inquiry-based activities, project-based learning and peer interaction. I now understand that the flipped classroom concept and approach is a much more broadly-established approach and that the Khan Academy example is just a specific manifestation of the concept. I found these three brief blog posts from leading proponents of the approach in secondary education to be very helpful.

    As the trustee discussion proceeded Betsy Wilson, Dean of Libraries at the University of Washington seized on the flipped classroom observation saying that this is what libraries had been doing over the last ten years.

    Everybody was already operating a flipped library.

    I thought it was a spot-on analogy and very descriptive of where academic libraries have been heading. Consider that the current academic library no longer requires students and faculty to come to the libraries for their information seeking and consumption. It delivers materials online to the users preferred environment when they need the information in ways that support time-shifting consumption and repeated encounters. The library building is being re-imagined around support for independent study, collaborative work, group interactions and library services are being re-invented around support for the processes of learning and research rather than collections.

    The phrase ‘flipped library’ is a very nice way to capture what’s going on. I’m going to start using it. I don’t know if it will gain traction. The phrase ‘flipped classroom’ seems to have gained widespread use because it had an accompanying catch phrase – “Moving from sage on the stage to guide on the side.” What’s the equivalent catch phrase for the flipped library? If you’ve got a candidate please share.

    The flipped library in the photo is the Wyoming Branch of the Free Library at 231 East Wyoming Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19120 It was opened October 30, 1930 and was the last library funded by Carnegie.

    Registering researchers in authority files

    Monday, October 29th, 2012 by Karen

    Last month we launched a new task group of OCLC Research Library Partner staff and others who are involved in uniquely identifying authors and researchers that can be shared in a linked data environment.

    We were spurred by institutions’ need to uniquely identify all their researchers to measure their scholarly output, a factor in reputation and ranking. Yet national authority files cover researchers only partially. They do not include authors that write only journal articles, or researchers who don’t publish but create or contribute to data sets and other research activities.

    We see a number of activities in this ‚Äúname space‚ÄĚ with potential overlap, including: the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI), the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF), Open Researchers & Contributor ID (ORCID), the Dutch Digital Author Identifier system (DAI), The Names Project in the UK, the Program for Cooperative Cataloging‚Äôs NACO program, researcher profile systems such as VIVO, and Current Research Information Systems (CRIS).

    The Registering Researchers in Authority Files Task Group will document the benefits of researcher identification; significant challenges; trade-offs among the current approaches; and mechanisms for linking approaches and data. We are starting with use case scenarios, for example:

    • Researchers who want to identify others in their field
    • Institutions that need to collate the intellectual output of their researchers
    • Funders who want to track the outputs for awarded grants
    • Services providing persistent identifiers for researchers that need to disambiguate names.and ensure correct attributions.

    We are hoping that our report will help address all of the above needs, and suggest approaches for linking data from different sources in a coherent way. Details on this activity and the task group roster ‚ÄĒincluding experts from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States‚ÄĒare on our new Registering Researchers in Authority Files activity page on the OCLC Research website.

    If there are systems or ‚Äúname authority hubs‚ÄĚ you want to make sure we look at, please let us know with a comment below.


    Enjoying the Scots

    Friday, August 31st, 2012 by Jim

    I had a very enjoyable conversation today with Martyn Wade, National Librarian and Chief Executive, of the National Library of Scotland. He made me aware of the relatively new legislation that updates the purpose and functions of the National Library. The library had been operating under legislation that dated from 1925. The new legislation positions the Library to fulfill the kind of role that the citizenry and other national and higher education institutions expect in the digital age. The legislation is brief, to the point, seems actionable and aims to be ‘future-proof’. It’s worth a quick look at 20 very generously-spaced pages. I was particularly taken with a subheading under NLS Functions:

    NLS is to exercise its functions with a view to‚ÄĒ
    (a)encouraging education and research,
    (b)promoting understanding and enjoyment of the collections,
    (c)promoting the diversity of persons accessing the collections, and
    (d)contributing to understanding of Scotland’s national culture.

    I’m not aware of other library mission statements that explicitly call out the need to ensure that their collections are enjoyed. I like that very much.

    In passing Martyn mentioned the library exhibit called Going to the pictures: Scotland at the cinema. In connection with this exhibit on the library’s Facebook page there was an opportunity to “Scot-ify” famous lines from the movies – Scotland at the Cinema Strikes Back. It’s ongoing and has been very successful. It’s charming and funny. Worth a look. Postcards made from some of the submissions will, of course, be available for sale in the library shop.

    Libraries Rebound – A Personal Partial Recap

    Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 by Jim

    In the three earlier posts Merrilee did a great job of summarizing the content of the three different themes ‚Äď directly supporting researchers, special collections and institutional mission and space as a distinctive asset. The important things to take away were captured in those posts which reflect the attendees highlights as captured in the twitter stream (which has increasingly become the record of conference events).

    For those who want a short list of action items from the conference here are mine:

    Examine the full research life cycle for one or more disciplines at your institution to identify gaps and pain points where the library could be a continuing source of support. (See the DeBelder slides .pptx

    Consider assessing special collections via a task force composed of individuals external to the department to look for alignment with university strategy. (See the Pyatt slides .pptx)

    Create a long-term library space plan even if you don’t have current funding or immediate renovation opportunity. (See the Pritchard .pptx and Group4 .pptx slides)

    For me the best frame for the event was provided by something taken from a presentation by Wendy Lougee (discussed in an earlier post) in which she characterized future library services as built around local priorities (cf. research support), local infrastructure (space and buildings) and unique institutional assets (special collections). Mixed together thoughtfully these three would result in a portfolio of distinctive services. Read the rest of this entry »