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.


New (Award Winning) OER report from SBCTC

If you haven’t yet read “Qualitative Investigation of Faculty Open Educational Resource Usage in the Washington Community and Technical College System: Models for Support and Implementation”, it’s well worth the read, and just received the 2015 Open Research Award for Open Education Excellence.  Good job to all involved!



Latest from GSU Fair Use case

There have been some recent developments with copyright case involving GSU libraries.  What you need to know in a nutshell:

  • Fair Use is still case by case.  No brightlines (10%, 1 chapter), No safe harbours.
  • Educational use upheld as a strong fair use factor (but not a guarantee by itself, all four factors still must be evaluated)

In other words, nothing has actually changed except maybe that licensing availability is going to become a stronger factor (lawsuit paid for in part by a licensing agency – so small victory for them).

Here’s the best summary of the most recent decision:

“The case involved three big houses (Cambridge U Press, Oxford U Press, and Sage) that sued Georgia State University over a policy that allowed copied excerpt use in class. When the case was originally decided, the judge used a somewhat novel case-by-case examination of the incidents rather than ruling on the policy as a whole. In its review, the 11th largely upheld that approach, which had led the judge to find for the defendants in all but five instances.

The Circuit did rule that the initial decision applied the Fair Use four-factor test incorrectly. The trial judge gave each of the factors equal weight (wrong) and failed to do a holistic analysis of how the factors balanced. This caused the 11th to overturn the verdict and send the case back down. In summary, it's OK for a trial judge to consider incidents individually, but when doing so, the judge still has to apply the fair use tests in the standard way to each incident.”

And some expert analysis from smart people:

  • “GSU appeal ruling — the more I read, the better it seems” Kevin Smith (Higher ed copyright lawyer)
  • “11th Circuit Rules On Georgia State Fair Use Case” Nancy Sims (another copyright librarian – and a lawyer)

New federal initiative to support OER

President Obama recently announced a new initiative to promote open education, part of a more general commitment to the Open Government Partnership (OGP) plan.

The new open education initiative includes some action items such as pilot programs that use OER to support learning, and launching a new online skills academy in an effort designed to “Promote open educational resources, to help teachers and students everywhere.”

More info:

Libraries as Open Education Leaders (LOEL) – We got the money!!

In September, the leadership team for LOEL started planning next steps in a multi-year journey that will help librarians statewide develop our skills in open education planning, development, adoption, and advocacy. The LOEL LSTA grant project, with funding provided by the WA Office of the Secretary of State and IMLS, kicks off on November 7th with a workshop on open education advocacy and planning, at Tacoma Community College.  It’ll offer us a chance to talk all things open, while taking the first steps in completing the annual grant activities. More details, and an agenda, will be available in late September.

The grant also invites twenty WA-CTC libraries to apply for mini-grants to develop open education advocacy and promotion plans.  The grant will also fund ten subject faculty-librarian partnerships to adopt open courses next spring.  We will also spend this year designing a professional development course for librarian open education advocates.

Please watch the LLC and CLAMS lists for more information about the LOEL grant. We’re looking forward to your involvement.

For more information about LOEL please contact Quill West, or Sharon Winters,

SPARC Libraries & OER Forum

The SPARC Libraries & OER Forum is a network of academic and research librarians interested in open educational resources (OER) connected through a public e-mail discussion list and monthly calls. The goals of this forum are:

  • Enable librarians (and others connected to the library community) to share ideas, resources and best practices pertaining to OER.
  • Support coordination on librarian-focused events and educational programming about OER.
  • Disseminate important updates about policy, research, projects and other news from the broader OER movement.