Friday, 30 October 2009

What Is the Role of the Library in an "Open" University?

A post on the freeculture blog today (Call for Participation: Join the Open University Campaign!) raises a call to arms "to increase collaboration, sharing, and openness at the level of higher education" and proposes a report card that can be used to assess the level of openness of a Higher Ed institution.

The reporting is proposed around the five tenets of the Wheeler declaration(?):
"An open university is one in which:
  1. The research produced is open access;

  2. The course materials are open educational resources;

  3. The university embraces free software and open standards;

  4. The university’s patents are readily licensed for free software, essential medicine, and the public good;

  5. The university’s network reflects the open nature of the Internet,

where “university” includes all parts of the community: students, faculty and administration."

Looking at these aims, I wonder to what extent they might relate to the role of the academic library in a digital world? So for example, is there a role for the Library as the champion of - and gateway to - openness (as described above)? Or should openness initiatives be the remit of other parts of the institution?

Just by the by, author and activist Cory Doctorow is in Cambridge next week, speaking at a free and open Arcadia Seminar on Tuesday, 3rd November in the Umney Theatre, Robinson College, Cambridge. For more details, see Arcadia Seminar (3rd Nov): "Thinking Like a Dandelion: Cory Doctorow on copyright, Creative Commons and creativity".

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