Author Archives: Chris Sweet

Ames Library Open Access Week Events

Open Access Week (Oct. 25-31) is an opportunity for academic and research communities to continue to learn about the benefits of Open Access and Open Educational Resources. The Ames Library faculty are offering multiple educational opportunities during Open Access Week. These events are targeted towards faculty and staff, but interested students are also welcome! If you want to learn more about Open Access and Open Educational Resources in general, please visit the Ames Library’s Scholarly Communication Guide.

Exploring Open Educational Resources Faculty Panel
Following a brief introduction to OER, faculty members from Educational Studies, Psychology, Political Science, and Theatre Arts will briefly describe their experiences with exploring OER options to replace traditional course materials. Panelists will then take questions from the audience. This work was funded by small OER grants from the Ames Library.

Monday Oct. 25, 4:15-5:15PM
In-person in the Beckman Auditorium, Ames Library
or Zoom livestream:

Copyright Basics/Q&A
Stephanie Davis-Kahl, University Librarian & Copyright Officer, will review our Copyright guide with a focus on teaching and learning.  

Tuesday, October 26, 4:30–5PM
Zoom only:

Extending the Reach of Scholarly and Creative Works
DigitalCommons@IWU is one component of IWU’s own contribution to Open Access. In this session, Meg Miner will provide an overview of the ways DC@IWU and its companion platform Selected Works help expand the audiences for student and faculty work.

Wednesday Oct. 27, 12:10-12:40PM
Zoom only:

Beyond the Book: OER Learning Objects
While textbooks may be the first open educational application that springs to mind, much of the OER movement has focused on open educational objects: discrete pieces of information that can be used in various contexts and combinations. This presentation will introduce you to several library-produced objects centering around fake news and plagiarism and allow you to have a voice in what other objects would best serve the IWU community. Presented by Abby Mann, Online Learning Librarian

Thursday, Oct 28, 4-430PM
Zoom only:

For any questions about these events or OA / OER, please contact Chris Sweet, Scholarly Communications Librarian at

The Ames Library Announces Open Educational Resources (OER) Exploratory Grants

The Ames Library OER Exploration Grants

The Ames Library will fund five, two-hundred dollar grants for faculty to explore Open Educational resources (OER) for their class(es). OER are defined as learning resources, teaching practices, and  education policies that use the flexibility of OER to provide learners with high quality educational experiences. OER are either in the public domain or licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities – retaining, remixing, revising, reusing and redistributing the resources. There is increasing OER interest for higher education because they help to reduce educational inequality by removing (or reducing) student costs to access course materials. Large scale studies of OER show lower course drop rates, improved student grades, and better retention. For this grant, materials that are not strictly OER, but are “free” to students, such as library-owned articles, videos, digital archives, and open access materials are also acceptable.

OER can include any of the following:

  • Open textbooks
  • Public domain materials
  • Videos
  • Tutorials / modules / simulations
  • Quizzes / ancillary materials

Our goal with the OER grant is for faculty to explore OER resources, selecting and critically assessing specific materials for inclusion in their courses, and ultimately, to encourage faculty to adopt OERs. We also hope faculty will be able to use the results of these exploration grants to later propose CD grants focused on revising courses or assignments to incorporate OERs.


Faculty will be asked to select and review several OERs and/or materials that are free to students that have the potential for integration into a current or future course. OER repositories and search engines can be found on the Ames Library OER LibGuide and the CARLI Open Illinois Initiative site. Your liaison librarian is happy to assist as well. 

At the conclusion of the project, grant recipients agree to participate in a campus panel discussion about materials you discovered and how you plan to incorporate them into an assignment/course. In addition, the faculty member will submit a 2-3 page (single spaced) written report which will include the following:

  • Summary and evaluation of specific OER or free-to-students resources that you discovered 
  • How these materials support your pedagogical goals
  • The class or classes these materials could be incorporated into
  • Reflection on the evolving role of OER in higher education and/or your discipline

Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served, basis and the grant disbursements will occur after the receipt of your written report. Reports are due within five months from initial approval.

If you would like to secure one of these grants, or have any questions, please contact Chris Sweet in the Ames Library (, x3984).

Open Access Week: Understanding the Connections Between Open Access, Equity, and Inclusion

October 19-25 is designated as International Open Access Week. Open access is defined as the free, immediate, online availability of research articles combined with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. The open access movement began in the 1990’s and has grown and matured along with the internet. The theme of this year’s Open Access Week is: “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion.”

Those unfamiliar with open access, might wonder if tying improving open access to making any sort of real dent in the deep and systemic problems related to equity and inclusion isn’t just an attempt to co-opt an important nationwide movement.  In 2008, Aaron Swartz, a young programmer and open access visionary wrote a Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto which includes the following: “Those with access to these resources – students, librarians, scientists – you have been given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world is locked out. But you need not – indeed, morally, you cannot – keep this privilege for yourselves.”  As Swartz makes clear, information is power, but if this power (in the form of access to information) is not the same for everyone, then inequity is the result. Knowledge builds upon knowledge, so the only equitable way forward is to reduce discrepancies in who has access to information.

Open access is one component of a broader “open” movement that also includes open source software, open educational materials (OER), and open data. Together these initiatives are beginning to re-shape who has access to information and who doesn’t, pointing the way to a more equitable and inclusive future.

Stop by and see the Open Access display in the Ames library and check out The Ames Library’s guide related to Open Access and Open Educational Resources.

Engaging with the ACRL Framework Workshop

Illinois Wesleyan University, Illinois State University, and the Consortium of Illinois Academic and Research Libraries (CARLI) are partnering to bring the Engaging with the ACRL Framework Workshop to Normal on May 14. This one-day workshop focuses on engaging more deeply with the Framework and exploring ways that it may help to enrich individual teaching practices, as well as their local instruction programs and institutions. Throughout this workshop participants will explore concepts and pedagogical approaches outlined in the Framework and their significance to their own instructional work. Attendees will apply their learning and reflection to creating instruction plans for their local contexts and considering possibilities for growing teaching partnerships. The workshop will be led by Jenny Dale (University of North Carolina at Greensboro) and Kate L. Ganski (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee).

Cohorts from the same institution are encouraged to attend and work together on their information literacy curriculum.

For more details on the workshop and presenters bios see:

When? May 14, 8-5PM
Where? ISU Alumni Center (1101 North Main, Normal, Illinois 61761)
Cost? $50 for CARLI member librarians (Cost subsidized by CARLI, Limit 45 attendees)
What’s included? Light breakfast, lunch, and printed workshop materials


Information Literacy Tops The Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2017 Top Trends

Every year The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes a report that identifies top trends facing academic institutions for the year. This year, information literacy made the top of the list. The Association of College and Research Libraries provides the following definition of information literacy: “Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.” In choosing information literacy as a top trend, The Chronicle noted the significant role fake news played in the 2016 presidential election. Teaching information literacy skills is one of the best ways to counter the fake news epidemic. Fake news cannot survive the scrutiny of independent research, skepticism, and reason. Moreover, information literacy is an essential component for developing students’ critical thinking abilities which lies at the heart of a liberal education.

The Ames Library maintains a strong Information Literacy Program and information literacy became part of Illinois Wesleyan’s 2014 Strategic Plan. All library faculty partner with departments and programs to offer information literacy instruction. Library faculty also maintain on-call and office hours for students to either drop in, or make an apportionment, to discuss any research or information literacy concerns.

Ames Library MegaSearch!

MegaSearch allows you to search both our physical library collection and most of our electronic databases at one time, all from a single search box. MegaSearch will be useful for student, faculty and staff research. The basic MegaSearch box is featured on the library homepage.  Users are still able to access the traditional Ames Library catalog and I-Share catalog from the homepage as well.

If you are interested in learning more about MegaSearch, please contact your library liaison. 

If you want to explore MegaSearch on your own, a basic guide is located here:


The Ames Library Faculty