Written by on October 21, 2013

Seeing (and thinking) orange: A LibRAT living in an open access world

As you stay awake till the library’s closing hours, cramming for your midterms and finishing your essays this week, you may have seen bright orange banners and logos. Don’t worry. Your over-caffeinated mind isn’t playing tricks on you.

All the orange in Kennedy Library this week shows our belief in open.

Much of what the Open Access Week movement supports align with the library’s belief in affordable learning for students. During Open Access Week, Kennedy Library’s special guests, staff, and students (like me!) want to discuss this open idea with the Cal Poly community.

Wait a minute, what does “open” mean?

This summer, Brett Bodemer, College of Liberal Arts librarian and coordinator of the LibRAT program, asked me to give a presentation about the student’s role in the open movement. I dove straight into brainstorming examples of how the open idea applies to all students. However, I ended up coming out of my brainstorming with more questions than answers.

Luckily, I was able to receive guidance and answers from Marisa Ramirez, digital scholarship services librarian, who pointed out that there are many different flavors to openness.

After tasting each flavor, this is my definition:

Open access content is…

  1. Open and free of cost for all
  2. Open to contributions and participation
  3. Open to use and reuse with few or no restrictions

After months of exploring the open access world, I’m seeing (and thinking) orange all the time, even without the coffee. Although I’ve gained heaps of knowledge about open access, I’m still discovering new aspects and examples of open content constantly and in the most surprising places.

Your role in open access

I was able to find my role in open access not only as a LibRAT but as a student, and so can you. In fact, you are already shaping your role. Let me show you in a quick game of Have You Ever…?

  1. Have you ever read an online scholarly article for free?
  2. Have you ever used an Open Access Textbook (OATs)?
  3. Have you ever read or submitted a senior project on DigitalCommons?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you have been more involved in the open movement than you think. As the idea of openness continues to evolve, the conversation must progress with it. Being open and aware in the discussions of Open Access Week is your first step in the open movement.

Come to my presentation Because we are livin’ in an open world: a student’s role in the open movement and similar open access events this week at Kennedy Library to learn more! For a complete schedule of speakers, check out our calendar.

If you can’t make it to the events and would like more information, you can view my Prezi on open access.

Read more on digitalcommons, lauren young, librats, OATS, open access, open data, and open week.

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