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Posts from the ‘OA Media’ Category

On Making Conference Programs and Reports Back to 1889 Freely Accessible Online

Earlier I posted about the recent news from the Open Folklore project. One piece of the larger story was the news that the American Folklore Society, in partnership with the IU Bloomington Libraries, has made a nearly complete set of AFS conference programs and conference reports available for free online. These documents provide information on the annual meetings of the AFS going back to the society’s founding.  There are still a few missing items to be found and added to the collection, but its almost all there and this is an important accomplishment. These documents are can be found via Open Folklore search and browsed in IUScholarWorks Repository.

Most importantly, these documents are a valuable resource to scholars. They are key historical documents, but they are also invaluable to those who need to know who studied what when?

Beyond their documentary value, the folklorists and ethnologists involved in the AFS should be proud of this accomplishment. Through collaborative partnerships and the deployment of some elbow grease, another worthy open access milestone has been met. Such efforts require labor and in-kind support, but they do not require a major grant, custom digital infrastructures, and outsourced service providers.



New Open Access Tools, Resources, Partnerships, and Content Announced @openfolklore

I am happy to report that real and significant progress in the Open Folklore project continues to be made. A year ago (October 13, to be exact) the American Folklore Society and the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries launched the Open Folklore project and its associated web portal. Open Folklore is about promoting open access in the field of folklore studies (/ethnology) and about fostering partnerships among those working towards the goals of open access in the field. On behalf of the OF project team, I was the author of a news release/project report on the most recent accomplishments of the project and the most recent content additions accessible via the portal site. This was published this morning and is available from the Open Folklore portal.

As readers of the news release will discover, highlights over the past six months include making programs and reports related to the annual meetings of the American Folklore Society (going back to 1889) freely accessible, the launch of the AFS Ethnographic Thesaurus, and the continued growth in the number of AFS section journals being made freely accessible in digital form. The big picture is that the community is continuing to come together to advance the goal of making folklore scholarship and resources more discoverable and accessible to community members, students, tradition bearers, and scholars worldwide. As was recognized this summer when OF was recognized with the Outstanding Collaboration Award by the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) during the American Library Association meetings, folklorists have a lot to be proud of. We are pioneering in many parts of the scholarly communications world, from the development of open access journals, books, repositories and archives to developing generalizable collaboration strategies for organizational partnership, especially between libraries, non-commercial publishers, and scholarly societies.

I encourage everyone to get caught up with what OF has been up to over the past six months and to continue to spread the word about the project while putting the tools and resources available at to use in your work.

On Hacking the Academy #hackacad

I am very pleased to note that the edited book version of Hacking the Academy appeared online today. The online version lives on a site built by the volume’s publisher Digital Culture Books, an imprint of the University of Michigan Press. The volume has been edited by Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt, both of the Center for History and New Media. It is based on contributions submitted during one week–May 21-28, 2010.

I am very pleased to have been included in this volume and I want to thank the editors, the publisher, and all those who supported the project, including the many readers and cheerleaders who offered encouragement to the effort.

My chapter in the volume is based on an essay that originally appeared on this site (where the longer, older version can still be found). In the book, it is the first chapter of the “Hacking Scholarship” section. As with the earlier version, it is titled “Getting Yourself Out of the Business in Five Easy Steps” and it offers an argument for withdrawing, where possible, from entanglements with commercial academic publishing in favor of lending energy, support, and resources to the strengthening of the existing public-sector scholarly communications system and to the building of a more democratic, ethical, sustainable, and open one for the future. It thus relates directly to my more recent post on the enclosure of scholarly journals in anthropology (and to other things that I do, including working on the Open Folklore project and editing Museum Anthropology Review.

I am so thankful to everyone who has engaged not only with the essay but with me in the larger work of understanding and reshaping the ways scholars share their work with the world. The biggest shout out of all, in this regards, goes to my colleagues at the Indiana University Libraries and the IUScholarWorks program. They have been my teachers and tremendous partners in the work. They are awesome!

The old-fashioned version of Hacking the Academy will be published next year. Find the online version here:

Dan Cohen’s reflections on the project can be found online here:

AFS Ethnographic Thesaurus Now Part of @openfolklore

An exciting development in the Open Folklore project is the inclusion of the AFS Ethnographic Thesaurus within the Open Folklore portal. This great advance was announced on the AFS website and at the Open Folklore portal. The ET is a valuable resource for folklore studies, ethnomusicology, cultural anthropology, and other ethnographic disciplines. Thanks to everyone at AFS, LoC, and IU who worked to make this next phase of both projects possible.

New Topics for the Open Folklore Screencast?

Its time to start work on one or more new informational screencasts for the Open Folklore portal site and project. The first (posted below in case you have not seen it) focused on using the search tools at the Open Folklore portal site. What topics would be most useful to the folklore studies community? To students? To interested folks in general? Your feedback is welcome in comments here or via the Open Folklore project email address openfolklore(at)gmail(dot)com.

Creative Commons Webinar for Traditional Arts Indiana

In the wake of the recent Creative Commons-focused Artisan Ancestors podcast that I did with Jon Kay, I am leading a free webinar on the Creative Commons. Traditional Arts Indiana (which Jon directs) is organizing the event. I will be introducing the CC and addressing its special relevance to those working in or with the “traditional” arts and vernacular/community culture.  The event is free and will happen online on June 14 at 12:15 p.m. (timed for the lunch hour).  Full details on how to participate can be found here, on the Traditional Arts Indiana website. We are planning to be together online for about 45 minutes and there will be opportunities for questions/discussion. If you are interested, please join in.

Artisan Ancestors Podcast Appearance Focuses on Creative Commons

I recently did an interview with Jon Kay for his fine Artisan Ancestors podcast. The audio podcast series bridges the interests of folklore/folklife/cultural history scholars and those of avocational researchers and craftspeople interested in art and everyday life, past and present.  The particular topic for our conversation was the Creative Commons–what it is and what it is for, with some special consideration of its relevance to the concerns of the folklore-minded Artisan Ancestors audience. Jon is a great interviewer and his show is quickly gaining a following.  I am very thankful to have participated in it and hope that our discussion proves useful to someone.

The show (Episode 22) can be found on the Artisan Ancestors website here and on iTunes, where one can both download individual shows and subscribe to the podcast in an ongoing way.  Its free!

The interview is a prelude to a webinar that we will do next week. Details on that will come in a followup post.

Learn more about the Creative Commons on its website.

Outstanding Collaboration Citation for Open Folklore

The Open Folklore project, a collaborative effort between the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries and the American Folklore Society, is the recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Collaboration Citation. The honor comes from the Association of Library Collections and Technical Services within the American Library Association.

The award recognizes and encourages collaborative problem-solving efforts in the areas of acquisition, access, management, preservation or archiving of library materials, as well as a demonstrated benefit from actions, services or products that improve and assist with the management of library collections.
Open Folklore debuted in October 2010 to provide open online access to many useful — but heretofore difficult to access — research materials in the field of folklore studies, including books, journals, “gray literature” (unpublished) and web sites.

“Open Folklore is extraordinary in its vision and its promise. A true example of the spectacular things that can be achieved together but which are entirely impossible alone,” said Julie Bobay, Associate Dean of IU Bloomington Libraries.

“Ultimately, Open Folklore will become a multifaceted resource, combining digitization and digital preservation of data, publications, educational materials and scholarship in folklore; promoting open access to these materials and providing an online search tool to enhance discoverability of relevant, reliable resources for folklore studies,” said Kurt Dewhurst, president of the American Folklore Society.

“As it grows, Open Folklore will provide a vehicle — guided by scholars — for libraries to re-envision our traditional library services centered on collections — selection, acquisition, describing, curating and providing access to a wide range of materials, published or not,” said Brenda Johnson, Dean of IU Bloomington Libraries. “The progress of this experiment will, in a very real way, illuminate the path academic libraries must take in supporting collection development in the digital age.”

Primarily, Open Folklore was developed so quickly and productively because of the close match between the collection development and scholarly communications priorities of the IU Libraries and the American Folklore Society, Dewhurst said.

Barbara Fister of Inside Higher Ed blog Library Babel Fish, said the project is drawing “a terrific map for societies unsure of how to proceed” with open access.

“Partnering with Indiana University Libraries, the American Folklore Society is identifying where their literature is and how much of it is accessible, bringing attention to existing and potential open access journals, asking rights holders if material can be set free, digitizing gray literature so it will be preserved . . . these folks are sharp,” Fister said. “And they’re doing what scholarly societies should do: promoting the field and sharing its collective knowledge for the greater good.”

“As a librarian deeply involved in building digital collections of the future, I view Open Folklore as a stunning example of the value of, and opportunities presented by, new developments in scholarly communication,” said John Wilkin, executive director of HathiTrust Digital Library.

The award will be presented at the Association of Library Collections and Technical Services Awards Ceremony at the Annual Conference in June 2011.

(From an IU Bloomington press release.)

Mukurtu: An Indigenous Archive and Content Management Tool | New Website Announcement

From a December 20, 2010 Mukurtu Project Press Release:

Mukurtu: An Indigenous Archive and Content Management Tool
New Website Announcement

Project Director: Dr. Kimberly Christen; Director of Development: Dr. Michael Ashley; Lead Drupal Developer: Nicholas Tripcevich

In March 2010 the Mukurtu project was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Humanities Start‐Up grant to produce a beta‐version of an open‐source, standards‐based community digital archive and content management platform. As the third phase of an ongoing software production project, the Mukurtu team is aware that indigenous and tribal libraries, archives and museums are underserved by both off‐the‐shelf content management systems (CMS) and open source CMS and digital archive/web production tools. Over the last decade as web technologies have diversified to include user‐generated content and more sophisticated digital archive and content management tools the specific needs of indigenous collecting institutions have been left out of mainstream productions.  Based on long‐term research and collaboration with indigenous communities and collecting institutions, Mukurtu’s development and production has focused on producing a digital archive and content management tool suite that meets the expressed needs of indigenous communities globally. Specifically, Mukurtu:

  1. Allows for granular access levels based on indigenous cultural protocols for the access and distribution of multiple types of content;
  2. Provides for diverse and multiple intellectual property systems through flexible and adaptable licensing templates;
  3. Accounts for histories of exclusion from content preservation and metadata generation sources and strategies by incorporating dynamic and user‐friendly administration tools;
  4. Provides flexible and adaptable metadata fields for traditional knowledge relating to collections and item level descriptions; and
  5. Facilitates the exchange and enhancement of metadata between national collecting institutions and related indigenous communities through robust import/export capabilities.

The Mukurtu software tool suite is under development now with a system demonstration site planned for Spring 2011. Our informational website, development blog, and wiki are now live. These sites allow us to chronicle our development progress, provide updates and engage with users as we move forward to a full launch in August 2011.

Please visit the new site at: and follow the links to learn more about the Mukurtu project goals, development, and collaborations.


Open access folks in anthropology, folklore, and museums/archives who do not follow paleobotany should still check out the start of


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