CORA (Community of Open Research Assignments)

This came across the OpenWA listserv, but I think it should get some broader dissemination.  If you are looking for Information Literacy assignments that you are clearly legally free to take or modify – then check out this repository: 

Community of Online Research Assignments

an open access resource for faculty and librarians


The librarians at Loyola Marymount University are excited to announce the launch of CORA, the Community of Open Research Assignments. CORA is on online, open-access [CC BY NC SA] platform of librarian and faculty contributed assignments, lesson plans, and activities that engage with information literacy concepts and practices. The site is currently in beta and our goal is to develop CORA into an online platform that extends information literacy pedagogy beyond the one-shot and opens a space to cultivate a virtual community of practice surrounding information literacy pedagogy among librarians and faculty.

We are inviting librarians and faculty who may be interested in sharing their information literacy assignments, activities, and or lesson plans under a creative commons license to become a contributor on the CORA platform. 

Becoming a CORA contributor also gives you the ability to respectfully comment on and generate discussions with other CORA contributors surrounding individual contributions. If you are interested in becoming a contributor, you can do so here:

 The development of CORA was funded by a SCELC Project Initiatives Fund grant and is currently in beta. We are seeking useful feedback from our users to help improve the site functionality and assess its viability. We hope that whether or not you decide to become a contributor, you will fill our short feedback survey or send your thoughts to  


All the best,

Susan Gardner Archambault, Head of Reference & Instruction | Lindsey McLean, Instructional Design Librarian
William H. Hannon Library | Loyola Marymount University| 310 338 7488 |

Mark Your Calendars for OER Week 2016!

Open Education Week 2016 has now been scheduled for March 7-11, 2016

Open Education Week 2016 has now been scheduled for March 7-11, 2016.

You can learn about Open Education Week and view their archives from past years at the Open Education Week website.

If you want to help plan activities or events for CLAMS, please contact me and I will set you up on the Planning OER Week channel.  Let’s make this a great year for OER Washington!

2016 OER WEEK logo

Useful for Understanding Fair Use

I found this very useful in framing my thoughts around Fair Use this week:

“5 Essential Facts About Fair Use”

(originally blogged at by )  excerpted here:

ONE – Fair use is only recently part of the actual U.S. Copyright Act. Fair use is a doctrine created by courts in the nineteenth century. It wasn’t until the 1976 U.S. Copyright Act that fair use became codified and set out in the U.S. Copyright Act.

TWO – Many who apply fair use complain that it is ambiguous and should be more specific to fact situations. Fair use is intentionally open and flexible and its language allows you to apply the doctrine to your own specific fact situations.

THREE – Fair use may be applied by individuals or corporations, by commercial and noncommercial entities and in for profit and nonprofit situations. It all depends on the facts of your situation and how your facts fit within the four fair use factors set out in the U.S. Copyright Act.

FOUR – Fair use is never a certain thing unless a judge in a court of law makes that determination. This means that getting comfortable with fair use is important as is being able to make a judgment call as to whether fair use applies to your use of copyright-protected content. At the same time, it means understanding copyright risk management and being able to minimize your risks of unauthorized uses of copyright materials.

FIVE – The U.S. Copyright Office hosts a Fair Use Index. The goal of the Index “is to make the principles and application of fair use more accessible and understandable to the public by presenting a searchable database of court opinions.” You can search the Index by category (e.g., literary, artistic, musical work) and by your type of use (e.g., education/scholarship/research, parody, internet/digitization.) The Index tracks court decisions at various court levels and is not intended to be a comprehensive archive of all fair use decisions ever decided. It is designed for lawyers and non lawyers and is user friendly. The Index sets out the name of the case, court, jurisdiction and year of the decision as well as whether fair use was found by the court. You can click on the case name/citation for a summary of the case that includes the key facts, issue, outcome and more information about the decision. It is a very helpful database on fair use.

I’ve known about the Fair Use Index but I wonder (still) about its usefulness for college instructors (or even college copyright officers).

Communicating to faculty that I can’t answer questions that begin with “Can I use…” with any certainty has been a challenging part of the job for me.

Any thoughts on this?

On Becoming Open Education Leaders

A great webinar by Quill West that addresses the open education skills that librarians are developing in order to better serve the open education needs of their institutions.

Listen to the recording

In case you missed it, Quill recorded a presentation of her talk on “Becoming an Open Education Leader”.   The webcast will address the open education skills that librarians are developing in order to better serve the open education needs of our institutions.


Spring 2015 CLAMS Conference Overview

by Andrea Gillaspy-Steinhilper, Lower Columbia College.

Congratulations all 82 of you people who made it to the Spring 2015 CLAMS conference in Elegant Everett Washington. The weather cooperated, the college cooperated, and our presenters cooperated to make it a wonderful session.

We began with a  pre-conference from ExLibris, featuring Tony Gibbons, our new Program manager for the migration from whatever existing ILS we have to Alma/Primo.  Tony’s goal is to make sure we feel comfortable with the product we are offering our students and our campus.  As a librarian in a previous existence, has worked with ILS migration from both the vendor and the librarian perspective, and will do his best to help us.

The “official” conference began with a presentation from Joe Tennis (University of Washington)  on how our use of words and descriptors changes the way we think and learn about the information we get.  The conference ended with a presentation from Bridget Nowlin (Cornish College) on how we learn and understand what we see from images.  Between them, we understand that both words AND images are essential to our understanding, and to how our students will understand and internalize what they learn.

Brenda Peterson spoke with us about memoirs, sea animals, and how we live in the world with them, and led us on an exploration of our beginnings as librarians.  More information on her presentation is in our article by Esther Sunde.

Friday offered us two presentations on the nuts and bolts of library presentations. In the first one,  Librarian Heather Uhl and Instructor Deborah Murphey demonstrated how they teach information literacy in an English 102 course, including flipping the classroom so only two sessions with Heather led to thorough research experience for the students.  An essential component for both Heather and Deborah was that the student pick something of interest to them, rather than from a canned list – and find the level of information that would address their questions.  (This image is from their slide presentation).

The second “nuts and bolts” presentation was from Kevin Seeber of Colorado State University.  He discussed his – and our – less fruitful workshops – and his route to a more meaningful workshop which actually led students to think.  He has students consider how much editing, time, reviewing, how many words, and other categories go into everything from tweets to scholarly articles.  Given that consideration, students need to decide what is the most useful kind of material for any given need.  He offered us links to his presentation.

This excellent conference gave us all great ideas to bring home to our colleges.

2015 Membership Meeting Update

A few unofficial notes from the Business meeting:

We did create a new position of Communications Officer – this is the person responsible for the newsletter and for promoting CLAMS events and activities.

Elections were held for new officers, and the 2015-2016 Executive Board includes:

  • Quill West, President
  • Heath Davis, President-elect.
  • Amy Herman, Communications Officer.
  • Traci Taylor, Secretary.
  • Leslie Potter-Henderson, Treasurer.
  • Teresa Jones, Past President.
  • Rowena McKernan, Web Developer

A Fall CLAMS business meeting will be held at the ACRL-WA Fall meeting in Pack Forest.

Next Spring we expect to have a CLAMS meeting in Bellevue – but the date may be different.  New President Quill will send out a survey to determine the best month for the membership.

meeting picture
“Meeting Outside” by Office Now is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Libraries as Natural Ecosystem and Portal to Other Worlds

By Esther Sunde

West Seattle author, Brenda Peterson, is a nature writer, memoirist, novelist, and writing teacher. She feels that it’s fitting to think of libraries as ecosystems made up of diverse interactive communities where the books are living organisms and we work to ensure that the future is nurtured and sustainable. Books and stories are alive and we are changing ourselves and the community as we read.

Peterson talked to CLAMS members about how her childhood experiences with a librarian shaped her life. Peterson grew up Southern Baptist, yet her grandmother in Missouri sent her to the library every summer and the librarian got her hooked on reading. Peterson credits the book A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, with sparking her imagination and inspiring her to tell stories. The librarian assured Peterson that it was okay to be different from others and encouraged Peterson to be her own person. Peterson was also influenced by growing up in Colorado, where her father worked for the National Park Service, and having many opportunities to interact with nature. She shared with the group about her passion for the marine environment and marine mammals. Peterson is the founder of Seal Sitters,

Peterson has written a number of books including Build Me an Ark: A Life with Animals, I Want to Be Left Behind: Finding Rapture Here on Earth, Animal Heart and Leopard and Silkie: One Boy’s Quest to Save the Seal Pups. In 2012 Peterson self-published the young adult science-fiction novel, Drowning World, a book which ties together her love of nature and storytelling. The highly original plot contains shape-shifters and dolphins, a love story between a human boy and a mermaid, and a concern for the environment. Peter believes that kids today feel a lot of despair, and wrote this book to give them hope for the future.

Everyone attending the CLAMS conference received a copy of Peterson’s book on memoir-writing, Your Life is a Book. She had participants complete a short writing prompt that she uses with her students in which people worked together in small groups and shared either their first contact with a library or one scene that describes their whole life as a librarian. Many beautiful and interesting stories were told, and a number of them were shared with the entire group.

Becoming a Librarian

2 stories:

  • Muggs Mills “How I Became a Librarian”; and
  • Barbara Oldham “My First Library”.

How I Became a Librarian, by Muggs Mills, Skagit

When I was in 6th grade a local politician came to speak to my class.  I asked him a question about something I read in the paper.  Turns out, it was kind of a controversial subject. (Also turns out most 6th graders don’t read the newspaper like I did.) The politician laughed a bit nervously and said that I should be a reporter.  I snapped back that I was going to be a reporter.  And that was my goal for the next several years.  I was both a reporter and editor of my junior and  high school papers.  (By the way, the politician was arrested years later for shoplifting. I knew he was sneaky.)

When I was a junior in college, I suddenly had a revelation that I DID NOT WANT TO BE A REPORTER.  How could this be?  It had been my plan for seemingly my entire life.  So, I did the only thing I could think of.  With dramatic flair, I took to my bed for a weekend.   My roommates came into the room and tried to get me to get up.  My boyfriend came in and tried to coax me out.  In a very Marlena Dietrich fashion, I told them “I just want to be alone!”

Finally, my roommate and best friend, Jan said, “You are always reading; why don’t you become a librarian?”  I looked up at her.  I pondered.  I thought, “What does a librarian do?”  Hmm, this is something to think about.  So, I got up and dressed (and bathed) and went to the library where I found a print copy of Occupational Outlook Handbook in the reference collection.  I looked up librarian. Oh my gosh, I think I did a happy dance right there in the reference collection at McIntyre Library at UW- Eau Claire!  I thought, this is it, I AM A LIBRARIAN.  Some of my favorite reporting activities were listed right there.  I was going to get to do research and select new books – heaven.  Luckily, my university had a minor in library science.  I graduated with my journalism degree, minor in library science and headed off to UW- Madison for my MLIS.  I have been able to use my journalism background in every library I have ever worked in and I have been thankful to my roommate for her off the cuff remark ever since.

My First Library,   by Barbara Oldham, Wenatchee Valley

When I was a kid we moved to a different city every 4-5 years.  Still, one of the first things my mom would do is take us all to the library and get us a library card. When I was 10 we moved (again) this time, to a house with a large garage.   There was a space in the garage up above the garage door that you could climb up to – a private place.  I decided to turn it into a library for the kids in the neighborhood. We’d collect books – they could borrow them and bring them back “when they were done with them.”  That was my first foray into librarianship.

Better Films on Demand in Canvas

by Lily Kun, South Puget Sound Community College.

South Puget Sound just implemented an  LTI app for Films on Demand into Canvas. Basically, this will allow faculty to search for and embed FOD videos into the Canvas classroom without leaving Canvas. Best of all, once the videos are embedded in Canvas, students can watch it in Canvas without needing to login to FOD to access it. Works great!

Here’s a video tutorial we made to show faculty how to use it:

College Library Meet Up Group

Join Us for the New WA College Library Meet Up Group

by Caroline Conley, Shoreline Community College and Deb Moore, Highline College.
What: WA College Library Meet Up. We’re aiming to meet once a quarter at someone’s college and talk about a topic of interest to us. The topic we talked about at our first meeting was the new ACRL IL framework, but we could work on any topic that’s proposed.

When: We’re starting with 3 meet ups a year, one per quarter. The first one will be at my college (Shoreline) in the fall, probably in late October or early November.

How: Deb became my outside-institution mentor my first year of tenure at Shoreline. Our colleague set us up so we could get heavy, deep, and real regarding Information Literacy.  We’ve been trying to get together once a quarter since then to talk about whatever had meaning for our work. It’s been inspiring and revealing to get a slightly different perspective on the work I do from someone who works at another school. There are many similarities and differences in our work that make it beneficial and effortless to make great connections in my thinking. Now we want to widen and strengthen those connections with WA College Library Meet Up!

Caroline Conley, Shoreline Community College

Why: A