Open Educational Resources: The Story of Change and Evolving Perceptions

Although the term may still not be familiar to the wider public—including college students and faculty—Open Educational Resources (OERs) have been an integral part of education worldwide for at least two decades. OERs generally refer to digital educational materials that anyone anywhere can use freely and legally, including the user’s right to copy, share, enhance and/or modify them for the purposes of sharing knowledge and enabling education. These run the gamut and stretch beyond digital textbooks—usually perceived as the most common educational resources—to include everything from course materials, university courses, e-learning platforms, software, and streaming videos to lectures and digital repositories of monographs and journals.

Regardless of how different and varied OERs may seem at first—ranging from single books to multi-functional and comprehensive platforms—what makes a resource an OER is that it is freely available to anyone, notwithstanding a person’s location and affiliation. OER users may well be college and university students, but they may also be independent learners, researchers or lay readers. Of course, ‘open’ does not mean ‘without any restriction’ or ‘without any financial support.’ It simply means ‘free access.’

Continue reading “Open Educational Resources: The Story of Change and Evolving Perceptions”

The ground-breaking subscribe-to-open pilot – Berghahn Open Anthro – will flip 13 anthropology journals to open access in 2020

Brooklyn, NY, January 23, 2020

Hailed as the largest concerted disciplinary journals flip to open access since SCOAP3, Berghahn Books will take the step of publishing thirteen core anthropology journals as open access starting with their 2020 volumes under the subscribe-to-open model (S2O).

The availability of multiple models is paramount to maintaining a diverse, dynamic, and enterprising publishing ecosystem. Based on librarian curation, existing resources, and proven processes for supporting journals, a subscribe-to-open model is now emerging that makes financing sustainable open access more attainable, especially for smaller journals in the social sciences and humanities.

Managing Director, Vivian Berghahn, said, “We have been emboldened to take this significant step, thanks not only to the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from the library community, who regard this approach as a progressive model worthy of support, but by the anthropology researcher community itself, who have mobilized as a discipline to endorse the pilot as a means for realizing a more equitable and globally inclusive solution for open access publishing.”

Participating libraries include open access pioneers who have shown their support for the pilot by subscribing to the entire collection, with other libraries affirming their backing when renewing subscriptions at the select title level. In adopting the model, many librarians are continuing to underwrite the journals their faculty has always endorsed, with other librarians drawn to a model that allows all readers and authors to benefit from open access alongside those in their own institution.

Libraria’s Alberto Corsín Jiménez, Department of Social Anthropology, Spanish National Research Council, commented:

At Libraria, we have been working hard to build open access environments that are equitable, sustainable, and inclusive. The Berghahn

 Open Anthro pilot is an audacious and innovative project that leads the way in showing what a responsible partnership between researchers, libraries, and publishers can accomplish. It marks a milestone in anthropology’s ongoing commitment to make its research available to indigenous communities and the public.”

Curtis Brundy of Iowa State University Library adds: “The Berghahn Open Anthro pilot is one of the most exciting initiatives underway at this critical moment for open access. It is exciting because it originated from anthropologists who want to see their discipline’s literature open. And it is exciting because Berghahn Books listened and responded with a cooperative model that will not only make its 13 anthropology journals open, but can serve as a model and inspiration to move all of the field’s journals to open. This pilot and collaboration will advance openness and deserves wide support.”

S2O was initiated by Annual Reviews. The BOA adaptation was conceived and implemented in partnership with Libraria.

Berghahn Books is also working closely with Knowledge Unlatched in introducing the model to libraries across the spectrum.

Full details on the Berghahn Open Anthro initiative, including the list of participating libraries, can be found here.

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About Berghahn Books

Founded in 1994, Berghahn Books is an independent publisher of scholarly books and journals in the humanities and social sciences. A peer-review, mission-driven press, Berghahn is committed to the highest academic standards and seeks to enable innovative contributions to the scholarship in its fields of specialty. www.berghahnbooks.com

Contact: Vivian Berghahn, Managing Director: vivian.berghahn@berghahnbooks.com

About Libraria

Established in 2015, Libraria is a collective of researchers based in the social sciences who, drawing on the expertise of librarians, publishers, and other stakeholders, seek to bring about a more open, diverse, community-controlled scholarly communication system. Libraria has since evolved into a consulting and advocacy network that aims to convene informed conversations and catalyze demonstration projects. www.libraria.cc

Contact:  Alberto Corsín Jiménez, Spanish National Research Council: alberto.corsin-jimenez@cchs.csic.es

About Knowledge Unlatched

KU offers every reader worldwide free access to scholarly content. The online platform enables libraries worldwide to centralize their support for Open Access models from leading publishers and new initiatives in favor of Open Access.

Contact: Philipp Hess, Publicity & Communications: philipp@knowledgeunlatched.org

Book of the Week: Perpetual Check (F. Nelson Smith)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:


Espionage, murder and the hunt for international trade secrets are the driving forces in F. Nelson Smith’s Perpetual Check.

When Dani Morden accepts her Aunt Lucy’s invitation to tour England, she anticipates a relaxing vacation visiting cathedrals, museums and the English countryside. Instead, the pair is thrust into danger when a woman met in a chance encounter later shows up near death at their hotel room door. In her final moments, she gives Lucy half a postcard imploring her to find a man in Oxford with the other half.

Reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, the author places the pair on a tour bus with a group of fellow travelers representing a range of nationalities and stations in life—each of whom stirs the protagonists’ suspicions. The focus remains on Dani and Lucy as they realize their lives are in danger and view their traveling companions with wariness…

Read full review here.

Florence Nelson Smith, otherwise known as “Flee” was born in Medicine Hat and has been writing most of her life; novels, short stories and poetry.  She has an accounting designation and a degree in Economics from the University of Alberta.

Besides writing, her hobbies include genealogical research and figure skating.  Hard work and fun was rewarded with a Skate Canada Gold test medal in dance. 

After a career working in various cities in Alberta and British Columbia, she now resides in Red Deer, Alberta.


BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Digital Rights Management and Books: A new Library Technology Report explores the impact of DRM on publishing and libraries

The American Library Association has announced the publication of a new Library Technology Report on the impact of Digital Rights Management on book publishing (trade and scholarly) and libraries (public and academic). Authored by Mirela Roncevic (the author of previous ALA reports dealing with ebooks and digital content as well as the editor of the third book in NSR book series published by ALA, The New Era for Ebooks and Digital Content), the report is available in ALA store in January 2020. Below are the report’s summary and Table of Contents.

Digital Rights Management. Anyone who has in any way dealt with digital content in the past two decades has come across this term. It is talked about and written about in the context of all content disseminated digitally—books, films, music, and video games. It is the topic at every library and digital publishing conference and the subject of countless scholarly articles dedicated to trying to understand its impact.

This issue of Library Technology Reports (vol. 56, no. 1), “Digital Rights Management and Books,” discusses digital rights management (DRM) in the context of books—popular and academic—and all who are part of the publishing ecosystem, including authors, readers, publishers, educators, researchers, librarians, and information scientists. Its aim is to provide a thorough analysis of what DRM is, what its main purpose is, what its legal implications are, who it affects, how it works, why it matters, why some believe it has done more harm than good for books and authors as well as libraries, what its challenges remain to this day, what may be possible solutions to those challenges, and what the future holds for DRM, including both those who support it (usually publishers) and those who vehemently oppose it (usually readers and librarians). Lastly, this report points to new ways in which DRM can be approached in the future and ways in which piracy and illegal online activities can be overcome more successfully.

Continue reading “Digital Rights Management and Books: A new Library Technology Report explores the impact of DRM on publishing and libraries”

This Week in Literature and Arts [December January 12–January 19]

January 13, 1941: Following surgery for a perforated ulcer, James Joyce momentarily awakens from a coma asking for his wife and son. He died 15 minutes later, roughly two weeks shy of his 59th birthday.

Joyce’s death mask!

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January 14, 1957: Eaten alive by cancer, Humphrey Bogart dies in Los Angeles at 57.

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Continue reading “This Week in Literature and Arts [December January 12–January 19]”

Book of the Week: Blossom – The Wild Ambassador of Tewksbury (Anna Carner)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:


This riveting true story describes the astonishing bond created between a beautiful, wild creature and the woman who saved her.

In her memoir, Anna Carner, a farmer in Tewksbury, New Jersey, describes her life with a rescue deer she names Blossom. Carner found the newborn fawn “straining to breathe” and close to death. Gathering the mewling creature in her arms, she took it home, where she used her knowledge of animal husbandry and skills as a former paramedic to nurse the deer back to health. Blossom became a beloved pet, showering her humans with sloppy kisses and chasing apples in the yard. Eventually, she began to move easily between Carner’s Unicorn Hollow farm and her natural habitat in the surrounding forest.

As Blossom became a celebrity, Carner found herself at odds with the deeply held ethos of the local hunting community…

Read full review here.

As one of the first paramedics in Florida in the late 70s, Anna volunteered with several Fire Rescue squads during the tumultuous Cuban Mariel boatlift exodus and Miami riots. She was awarded a special commendation by the Mayor of Miami for her “Good Samaritan” efforts.

Another life change led to several years of living in the Bahamas, on a sailboat, Spindrift, with her husband and young son, Glen. Home-schooling, scuba diving and exploring were interspersed with true medical emergencies—where her training proved crucial to people living in the remote outer islands.

Anna, her husband Pino moved to the community of nature-loving enthusiasts in Tewksbury, New Jersey, in ‘98 where she raises alpacas and runs a leather care products company.


BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

This Week in Literature and Arts [December January 6–January 11]

January 6, 1976: A&M Records releases Frampton Comes Alive.

Saw Frampton at the Garden last October, and he was fabulous! Great show! Peter’s suffered health problems and often played instrumentals to rest his voice (roughly 40 percent of the show had no vocals), and the man truly is a virtuoso on the guitar (including the black, triple-pickup Les Paul on the album cover). He also talked between each song, telling fun stories of rockers he’s worked with and the inspirations for the music, etc.

Decades later, Frampton still has the goods, but those curls that drove the girls wild in ’76 are long gone! Sorry, ladies.

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January 6, 1854: Sherlock Holmes is born. This date was determined by scholar Christopher Morley. I’m not sure how he calculated it, but I’ll go on faith.

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January 6, 1878: Future three-time Pulitzer winner, dean of American poetry, journalist, and biographer Carl Sandburg is born in Galesburg, Illinois

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January 7, 1891: Zora Neale Hurston is born in Notasulga, AL. When Zora was a toddler, her family moved to the all-black town of Eatonville, FL, which became the primary setting of her fiction. If you’ve never read Hurston, don’t wait another day!

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Happy 85th birthday to Elvis, the Tupelo Mississippi Flash, born January 8, 1935! Hard to imagine him as an old man.

Hail to The King, baby!

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January 8, 1926: Soupy Sales is born Milton Supman in Franklinton, NC. Funny guy.

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Happy birthday to the mighty Jimmy Page, born January 9, 1944 in west London’s Heston suburb.

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A cool spy needs a cool car—January 9, 1965: United Artists releases Goldfinger in the US (Brits got the film in September ’64) introducing one of Bond’s top adversaries (Goldfinger/Oddjob combo), and, more importantly, 007’s new ride, the Aston Martin DB5!

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January 10, 1961: Decades of chain smoking kills Dashiell Hammett at 66. He’d served his country in both world wars warranting burial at Arlington.

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Happy 75th birthday to Rod Stewart, born January 10, 1945 in Highgate, London.

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January 12, 1952: MWA Grand Master Walter Mosley is born in Los Angeles. I’ve lost count of how many of Walter’s books I’ve read. Nice guy, too.

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January 12, 1876: Jack London is born in San Francisco. One of the 20th century’s early literary superstars as well as a solid photographer. Alas, Jack burned out fast, was dead at 40.

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Lastly, a Shakespeare Sunday salute to what geeks now call Batman 66, debuting January 12, 1966 on ABC with the episode “Hi Diddle Riddle.” The series lasted three seasons, wrapping March 14, 1968. If you were a kid back then, this show was the coolest thing in the world!

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Michael Rogers (mermsr@optimum.net) is a Jesse H. Neal Gold Award-winning freelance writer, editor, reviewer, and photographer. He is also former Media Editor and audiobook reviewer at Library Journal.

This Week in Literature and Arts [December 30–January 5]

December 30: 1865: Joseph Rudyard Kipling is born in Bombay, India. Equally adept at poetry, journalism, and fiction, he was the first English-language author to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Alas, his criticisms of the crown’s colonial policies scuttled the knighthood he deserved.

One of my all-time, all-time, all-time favorites.

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December 30, 1816: Percy Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin marry at St. Mildred’s Church in London.

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December 30, 1946: Author and punk pioneer Patti Smith is born in Chicago (her family moved around; she grew up in Philly and Jersey). Developing a deep love for books at a young age, Patti patterned herself after Little Women’s Jo March. Like Jo, Patti desired not only to be a writer, but to have her creations performed.

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January 1, 1919: Jerome David Salinger is born in New York City.

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January 1, 1953: Hank Williams, the Hillbilly Shakespeare, dies at 29 from alcohol and drug abuse. Terrible waste.

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January 2, 1920: Isaac Asimov is born in Petrovichi, Russia. His family emigrated to Brooklyn when he was three. He already had the sideburns.

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January 3, 1892: John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is born in South Africa. His family emigrated to England when he was a lad of three.

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January 3, 1926: Sir George Martin is born in London. A handful have tried to claim the title of the “Fifth Beatle,” but it only applies to him.

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Lastly, a Shakespeare Sunday birthday salute to George Reeves, born George Keefer Brewer in Woolstock, Iowa, January 5, 1914. For many of us of a certain age—ahem—George was our first superhero and always will be the face of Superman.

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Michael Rogers (mermsr@optimum.net) is a Jesse H. Neal Gold Award-winning freelance writer, editor, reviewer, and photographer. He is also former Media Editor and audiobook reviewer at Library Journal.

This Week in Literature and Arts [December 23–29]

December 23, 1902: Norman Maclean is born in Clarinda, Iowa. His parents originated in Nova Scotia, then moved to Missoula, Montana, when Norman was 7.

His lone novel, A River Runs Through It, is beautiful. Read it.

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December 24, 1888: Michael Curtiz is born Mihaly Kertesz in Budapest, Hungary. After directing numerous films in his native country, Curtiz emigrated to California in the mid 1930s.

Certainly not a household name like Hitchcock or Ford, but Curtiz directed many of Hollywood’s greatest films at Warner Brothers. The Adventures of Robin Hood, Angels with Dirty Faces, and Casablanca are among my favorites.

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Happy 95th birthday to Rod Serling, born December 25, 1924 in Syracuse, NY. One of the gods.

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December 25, 1995: The lights on the Las Vegas strip are dimmed when word comes that Dean Martin has died at 78. Visited Dino’s grave a few years back at Westwood Village Memorial Park in L.A.

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December 28, 1935: Warner Brothers releases Michael Curtiz’s swashbuckler Captain Blood introducing audiences to newcomer Errol Flynn. Curtiz and Flynn would make several now legendary films together, although, reportedly, they didn’t get along.

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Happy 65th birthday to the inimitable Denzel Washington, born December 28, 1954 in Mount Vernon, NY (hey, me too!). Rock solid in so many films, but, for me, he’s at his finest as corrupt cop Alonzo Harris in 2001’s Training Day. “King Kong aint got nothin’ on me!” You got that right!

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December 29, 1916: New York publisher B.W. Huebsch releases 34-year-old James Joyce’s debut novel, “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.”

Stephen Dedalus abides.

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Lastly, a Shakespeare Sunday birthday salute to Stanley Martin Lieber born December 28, 1922 in New York City. Desiring to be a novelist, he became very frustrated with his stalled writing career working in comics. His wife suggested that instead of quitting, he infuse his comics with a novelist’s touches. And the universe rewarded him—and us!

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Michael Rogers (mermsr@optimum.net) is a Jesse H. Neal Gold Award-winning freelance writer, editor, reviewer, and photographer. He is also former Media Editor and audiobook reviewer at Library Journal.

This Week in Literature and Arts [December 15–21]

Happy 70th birthday to Don Johnson, born December 15, 1949 in Flat Creek, Missouri. Just saw Don in the truly fun Knives Out, and he’s still got the goods (and the great hair!).

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“Hans will go, too.” Happy 60th anniversary to Journey to the Center of the Earth, released by 20th Century Fox, December 16, 1959. Loved this film as a kid, and it holds up well for me—fun popcorn flick! Even Pat Boone crooning a few numbers and spending half the film with his shirt off to thrill the young ladies in ’59 and some truly bad FX (the altar stone rising to the surface on a bed of lava—yikes!) don’t spoil it (Boone’s acting isn’t half bad).

Watching Journey recently, I guessed that Lawrence Kasdan (or Lucas/Spielberg) also must be a fan, as there are bits recycled from it in Raiders of the Lost Ark. (a beam of light marking a secret entrance/heroes chased down a narrow passage by a rolling boulder). Re-watching the film spurred me to read Jules Verne’s novel, which, alas, bored the hell out of me. I’ve enjoyed several of Verne’s other books, but this one wasn’t the old boy’s best outing for me (written very early in his career). Eye of the beholder.

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Continue reading “This Week in Literature and Arts [December 15–21]”

This Week in Literature and Arts [December 9–15]

Happy birthday to Margaret Hamilton, born December 9, 1902 in Columbus, Ohio. I’ll bet the Wicked Witch of the West and the flying monkeys inspired more nightmares than any other movie baddy. So good!

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December 9, 1962: Columbia Pictures releases David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia. It doesn’t get any better.

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Continue reading “This Week in Literature and Arts [December 9–15]”

Book of the Week: Waterdown (Anastasia Slobucho)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:


Anastasia Slabucho’s Waterdown is a dystopian, cyberpunk novel—a cautionary tale about genetic engineering that skillfully explores themes of choice, redemption and absolution.

Fusion is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) that runs the planet Earth—an AI that has decided to become a god and has learned to lie, even to its creator, Georgia (Geo) Spears. It now treats her as “reduced… to nothing more than an eternal child, human and flawed, who needed mothering by her own AI.”

Geo’s creation has saved mankind from itself. Poverty, pollution, crime and war have been eliminated, but at a price: Normal people, called “Temporals,” have had their minds whitewashed with neural implants, “watered down” by the inclusion of 3D: Deliberate, Deceleration Devices. They are now simplistic, obedient automatons, living what appears to be superficial, “happy” lives doing the bidding of Fusion…

Read full review here.

Anastasia Slabucho is a high-school student, sci-fi writer, artist and all-out creative based in Prague, Czech Republic.

She believes that Gen-Z is going to change the world for the better and for her personally, that translates to offering the world what she can through writing and activism.

She currently gives all she can to her Room to Read fundraiser, including the proceeds from her novel and works to  raise awareness concerning global (il)literacy.

Four funky facts about her:

  1. She speaks four languages and has a wishlist of two more she would like to learn.
  2. She has a notebook with the titles of all the books she has read since 2011.
  3. She collects Starbucks City Mugs.
  4. Her biggest adventure was visiting the US during the 2019 polar vortex. She brought back some wool socks and, needless to say, a local Starbucks’ Mug.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

This Week in Literature and Arts [December 1–8]

Happy 70th birthday to actor, singer-songwriter-musician, and photographer Jeffrey Leon Bridges, born December 4, 1949 in Los Angeles. On screen he’s done it all, playing every character type—both good guys and some very bad ones—with panache. I like his dad and brother, too!

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Happy 87th birthday to “Little” Richard Penniman, born December 5, 1932 in Macon, Georgia’s Pleasant Hill section. One of a handful of artists who invented rock’n’roll, and certainly its most flamboyant founder. Immeasurable energy in those early recordings that would influence everyone from The Beatles to Patti Smith.

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Continue reading “This Week in Literature and Arts [December 1–8]”

Key takeaway from a panel on the impact of Open Access: It is up to librarians to make it happen

A couple of weeks ago I moderated a global panel on Open Access. We (playfully) called it ‘Break on Through to the Open Side.” The subtitle, on the other hand, offered more context and set the tone for a serious, in-depth, discussion centered around this question: “Is Open Access prioritizing the needs of science and research?” As the person entrusted with the task of moderating this panel (the recording may be accessed here), I am using this opportunity to offer more context and to share some key takeaways.

In the past few years, the book and library industry has witnessed many lively discussions about the present and the future of the Open Access (OA) movement and its sustainability for both academic publishers on the one end (i.e., those who need sustainable business models to produce quality content that can be shared openly for years to come) and libraries and academic institutions on the other (i.e., those who need to support it financially in order for it to keep going, because, without their investment, OA fails publishers, authors and the scholarly community at large. Most such discussions focus on what OA can and cannot do for librarians and publishers. Less often, however, they involve those two sides discussing how their actions (and inactions) affect those who are supposed to benefit from the idea of open access and open science: scholars and researchers. More specifically: scholars and researchers in countries where access to science and scientific knowledge remains sparse and uneven and where libraries do not have the means of supporting their academics and scientists the way libraries in the more developed parts of the world do.

Continue reading “Key takeaway from a panel on the impact of Open Access: It is up to librarians to make it happen”

Book of the Week: Miya’s Dream (Cathy Ringler)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:


In Cathy Ringler’s wonderful middle-grade book, a 14-year-old girl struggles with her weight, school bullies, and a stubborn horse.

Equestrian Miya Skippingbird dreams of buying the perfect horse so she might win a barrel race and be respected by her peers. But Miya’s ranch family is poor, so her father buys her the affordable “Dream,” a stubborn, bucking, overweight horse. Despite Miya’s frustration, her childhood friend and long-time crush, handsome bull-rider Jake Runningdeer, encourages Miya to persevere and train her.

Meanwhile, Miya struggles with her longtime friendship with Lily…

Read full review here.

Cathy Ringler is a storyteller, cowgirl, and retired teacher. She lives at the foot of the beautiful Beartooth Mountains and rides in them as often as her busy schedule will allow.

She earned a dual degree in Elementary and Special Education at Michigan State University. Throughout her college years she held a number of part-time jobs to help with expenses. But in the restless summer of her sophomore year, she decided to do something other than waitressing or working in the deli. She applied to work on a dude ranch in Wyoming. It was there she fell in love with the mountains and a horse named Gypsi. Later, she fell in love with the cowboy who owned her.  They got married, and together with their daughters, started having all kinds of adventures on horseback.


BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

This Week in Literature and Arts [November 24-30]

November 24, 1942: Viking Press releases John Steinbeck’s The Pearl.

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November 24, 1859: Charles Darwin, 50, publishes his eminent paper, On the Origin of Species. Apparently, he ate a sample of every critter he discovered on his travels—YUCK!

The original title, I don’t Know What That Thing Is, But I’m Eating It, was rejected by publishers.

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Continue reading “This Week in Literature and Arts [November 24-30]”

This Week in Literature and Arts [November 17-23]

“Hail, hail, Freedonia!” November 17, 1933: Paramount releases Duck Soup. The Brothers at their finest (it was Zeppo’s last outing), and a contender for the funniest film ever made.

Kong heads, wish a happy birthday to Robert Armstrong, born in Saginaw, Michigan, November 20, 1890. Armstrong enjoyed a prolific career, appearing in more than 120 film and TV titles. If you like Armstrong in Kong, try him in G Men with Cagney sometime. Good stuff. He can be hammy, but still a fun guy to watch.

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Continue reading “This Week in Literature and Arts [November 17-23]”

BookLife by Publishers Weekly Launches Paid Review Service for Self-Published Authors

Remember when Kirkus introduced paid reviews over a decade or more ago? And how badly the book industry took it? We’ve come a long way since then. Below a press release from PW on its own paid review service for self-published authors.

NEW YORK—November 12, 2019— BookLife, Publishers Weekly‘s website and monthly supplement dedicated to self-publishing, is pleased to announce the launch of BookLife Reviews, a new reviews service open exclusively to self-published authors. BookLife Reviews provides authors with skillful, detailed reviews that include a variety of marketing insights and critical assessments, crafted by professional Publishers Weekly reviewers with genre-specific expertise.

Designed to help authors reach the right readers through credible and reliable assessments, BookLife Reviews aids self-published authors with the most challenging part of self-publishing: marketing the finished book.

Continue reading “BookLife by Publishers Weekly Launches Paid Review Service for Self-Published Authors”

This Week in Literature and Arts [November 4-10]

November 7, 1980: “King of Cool” Steve McQueen dies at 50. Horribly, doctors now believe that the asbestos-laden fire-proof suits he wore pursuing his passion for racing were the catalyst for the mesothelioma that killed him.

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November 8, 1847: Author, personal assistant, and theater manager Bram Stoker is born in Dublin.

Just this week finished rereading Dracula for the third time in roughly 40 years. Holds up well. For me, the opener unfurling Jonathan Harker as a guest and then a captive in Castle Dracula is the novel’s strongest section. It’s a textbook on creating tension and dropping crumbs of suspicion that all is not as it seems. Some possible holes, but a fun read and well worth trying if you never have. Also, the book features a very strong female character, Mina Harker, who I believe is the novel’s hero.

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Continue reading “This Week in Literature and Arts [November 4-10]”

Book of the Week: Divorce, Simply Stated, 2nd Edition (Larry Sarezky)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:


With the second edition of Divorce, Simply Stated, Larry Sarezky, a practicing attorney with 35 years of experience, skillfully maps the geography of divorce, providing readers with the knowledge to navigate that often-treacherous territory.

The information Sarezky offers is compendious, covering everything from how to evaluate a business for property distribution, to a list of parenting behaviors to avoid during a divorce. In other words, for those who want to get down to the nitty-gritty of divorce, all the steps are here.

For instance, he tells readers how to select an attorney based on a balance of expertise and cost. He gives suggestions for minimizing attorney fees…

Read full review here.

Larry Sarezky is a one-of-a-kind; an accomplished divorce lawyer who uses award-winning creative skills to improve the lot of divorcing spouses and their children.

A practicing attorney for 35 years, Larry has represented clients from the ranks of Fortune 500 CEOs, Major League Baseball Hall of Famers, and Oscar, Grammy, and Emmy Award winners. During that time, Larry developed an approach to divorce designed to maximize results while minimizing financial and emotional costs. Larry has now made that approach available to the public in his book, Divorce, Simply Stated.

Larry’s articles on divorce have appeared in The Huffington Post, divorcedmoms.com, ezinearticles.com, and numerous other online venues as well as in professional and consumer publications. Larry has spoken on divorce issues to judges, lawyers, mental health professionals and consumers throughout the U.S.


BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

This Week in Literature and Arts [October 28-November 3]

October 28, 1956: Elvis makes music history as the first artist to earn two consecutive number one songs on Billboard‘s charts as “Love Me Tender” dethrones “Hound Dog” for the top slot. Later that day, he made his second Ed Sullivan Show appearance.

Hail to The King, baby!

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Happy birthday to Richard Dreyfuss, born October 29, 1947 in Brooklyn, NY. JAWS, CE3K, The Goodbye Girl, American Graffiti, Moon Over Parador, Mr. Holland, etc., etc., etc., never a bad moment on screen.

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De Gruyter partners with a German library consortium to support the publishing of Open Access scholarly books

This announcement by De Gruyter confirms that libraries continue to support the This announcement by De Gruyter confirms that libraries worldwide continue to support the publishing of Open Access monographs, particularly in the humanities and social sciences. And German libraries are clearly among the leaders on this front.

Full press release below:

Göttingen and De Gruyter in open access book transformation project for the Humanities

Berlin, 30 October 2019 — De Gruyter and a consortium led by the Göttingen State and University Library (SUB Göttingen) have launched a project to transform Humanities titles into open access books by providing consortial financing for selected De Gruyter frontlist titles.

Instead of acquiring print copies or licensing access to eBooks, the libraries participating in the project finance open access monographs and book series. If the minimum number of partners is reached, the project will lead to more than 50 new open access titles in 2020.

The modular offer includes titles in Literary Studies, Philosophy, Classics & Ancient Studies and Jewish Studies, the latter being supported by the FID Jüdische Studien (the Specialized Information Service for Jewish Studies). The selection of transformation titles is managed by the Specialized Information Service units, which are financed by the DFG, the German Research Foundation.

Continue reading “De Gruyter partners with a German library consortium to support the publishing of Open Access scholarly books”

This Week in Literature and Arts [October 20-27]

October 20, 1882: Bela Lugosi is born Belá Ferenc Dezso Blaskó in Lugos, Austria-Hungary. Eternally Dracula and one of the unholy trinity of horror stars.

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October 21, 1940: Scribner releases Hemingway’s true masterpiece “For Whom the Bell Tolls” to critical and financial success. Creatively, however, the author was spent.

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Book of the Week: Finn and Botts: Double Trouble at the Museum (Stew Knight)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:


In Stew Knight’s delightful middle-grade book, best friends Finn and Botts solve a mystery during their school field trip to a museum.

Finn and Botts (depicted as pigs in the illustrations, although the text never refers to this) are invited, along with school classmates, to spend the night at the city museum. Before the trip, they learn that some dinosaur bones have gone missing from the institution, and from the moment they arrive, strange things begin happening. For example, the museum director notices that a crate containing dinosaur bones has been mysteriously moved from an exhibit to the museums’ back doors. When she asks Finn and Botts to help a museum staff member return the crate to the dinosaur gallery, the two notice occasional trails of dirt and rocks—some that sparkle—on the floor…

Read full review here.

Despite being one of the most avid readers and attentive students in his second-grade class, Stew Knight would still find it funny to yell at random moments to disrupt his teacher if she was being too boring—a stunt that his teacher didn’t let slide without discipline. But the discipline worked, because Knight’s imagination developed to the point where nothing was ever boring again. He thanks his second-grade teacher for helping his imagination grow enough to become an author.

Knight lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and very anxious poodle. He enjoys the outdoors and can be found on the ski slopes in the winter, hiking the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains in the spring and summer, and hanging out with the pigs at the annual state fair in the fall.


BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Gale announces the launch of Gale in Context: For Educators

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – October 22, 2019 – Gale, a Cengage company, today announced the launch of Gale In Context: For Educatorsa new product that gives educators a more effective approach to curriculum development and classroom instruction. Fueled by content from the Gale In Context suite of student databases, For Educators provides standards-aligned lesson plans and instructional materials. A specialized toolkit helps educators collect, personalize and share resources quickly and easily with colleagues and students across their district. Read Gale’s blog about the development of For Educators.

Studies show that teachers spend seven hours per week searching for instructional resources[i]. For Educators removes this complexity by streamlining access to curated and authoritative educational resources within their subscribed Gale In Context databases, empowering teachers with a single point of access to the technology, tools and resources they need, saving them time and effort while enhancing their classroom curriculum.

“I’m really excited for [Gale] In Context: For Educators,” said Monica Padgett, a teacher at Central York High School in York, Pennsylvania. “I saw a way that I could collaborate with my colleagues more efficiently and get resources to students and make it more effective and personalized for their learning.”

Continue reading “Gale announces the launch of Gale in Context: For Educators”

In celebration of International Open Access Week, Knowledge Unlatched releases book usage statistics

In time for this week’s worldwide celebration of International Open Acces Week, Knowledge Unlatched (KU) is rolling out a series of infographics giving insight into how Open Access (OA) books are used around the globe. Each day of this week, a new graphic will be released on KU’s Twitter and LinkedIn pages, giving details about the types of OA books and subjects used the most in various parts of the world.

As this first general infographic reveals, usage of OA books worldwide is uneven, with most researchers engaging OA book content in North America (1.5 million interactions) and Europe (1.3 million interactions ), followed by Asia (650K interactions).

See https://bit.ly/33QUc1f for more information.

KU develops usage reports by following the impact of HSS and STEM monographs which have been ‘unlatched’ through KU’s various OA initiatives (approximately 1500 to date) and which have been funded by nearly 600 libraries worldwide since 2014. More information on how to interpret KU’s usage reports is available on KU’s web site.

Other forthcoming infographics this week will zoom in on each continent (including information on top institutions, books, and subjects), in the following order:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 22 — Europe
  • Wednesday, Oct. 23 — North America and South America
  • Thursday, Oct. 24 — Asia and Oceania
  • Friday, Oct. 25 — Africa

Online panel on OA usage

Book usage data and the availability and discoverability of OA content to researchers worldwide, particularly beyond the most affluent library markets, is also the subject of a global online panel taking place on Wednesday, October 22 at 4 p.m. CET: Break on Through to the Open Side: Is Open Access prioritizing the needs of science and research? Hosted by KU, the panel will feature an international panel of distinguished publishers and librarians who will provide their views on the global impact of Open Access on research and science.

Princeton University Press and RBmedia Announce Exclusive Audiobook Publishing Partnership

Princeton University Press and RBmedia today announced an exclusive licensing agreement to publish over 120 audiobooks in the next three years. The collaboration brings together Princeton University Press’ world-class content and RBmedia’s position as a market leader in scholarly, trade, and reference audiobook publishing.

Delivering popular Princeton University Press titles as audiobooks is an important step in meeting rising consumer demand for this format. According to the Audio Publishers Association, audiobook sales have demonstrated a seven-year trend of double-digit growth. The Association of American Publishers reports that digital audiobooks grew by 36 percent between the first halves of 2017 and 2018. Moreover, according to Edison Research and Triton Digital, in 2019 50% of Americans age 12 and up listened to an audiobook.

“As the world’s largest independent publisher of audiobooks and leader in the educational audio market, RBmedia is building on our established relationship with Princeton University Press to publish new titles in audiobook format, making the content accessible to more people,” said Troy Juliar, Chief Content Officer for RBmedia. “We are exploring additional opportunities with Princeton University Press, with a goal of publishing audio versions of their textbooks in the future.”

Under the agreement, RBmedia will publish select frontlist titles across an array of subject categories, including history, arts, business, economics, and science, as well as a number of backlist titles that have not previously been released in audio format. RBmedia will publish Princeton University Press titles across its family of imprints, including Recorded Books, HighBridge, and Tantor.

Notable recent and upcoming audiobook releases include:

• Becoming George Orwell: Life and Letters, Legend and Legacy by John Rodden
• This Land is Our Land: The Struggle for a New Commonwealth by Jedediah Purdy
• Chaucer: A European Life by Marion Turner
• Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake
• Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought by Andrew W. Lo
• Honeybee Democracy by Tomas Seeley

“We have a mission to animate conversations and learning the world over with our publications,” said Princeton University Press Director Christie Henry. “This evolving partnership with RBmedia excites us for the chance it offers for more Princeton University Press titles to be heard.”

Titles published under the agreement will be available on Audible, iTunes, Google Play, Audiobooks.com, public libraries via RBdigital, and many other sites that provide digital audio.

Book of the Week: Goodbye Homeboy (Steve Mariotti)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:


Steve Mariotti’s Goodbye Homeboy is the first-person account of a former financial whiz kid who chose to work for decades in the trenches of New York City’s roughest schools. What he learned there dramatically changed his life and those of his students.

After a gang of New York City teens robbed Mariotti in 1981, he was plagued by debilitating nightmares and flashbacks. Determined to understand what drove the kids who jumped him, he took his therapist’s advice to “face his fears” literally, closing his import-export business and volunteering to work in notoriously rough high schools in impoverished neighborhoods. His students were remedial learners, special ed kids and those with discipline problems…

Read full review here.

In 1982, Mariotti left a successful business career to become a public high-school teacher in tough New York City neighborhoods like East New York, Bed-Study, and Fort Apache in the South Bronx. Frustrated at first by his rowdy classrooms, Mariotti discovered he could motivate even his most challenging students by teaching them how to run a small business. This experience inspired him to create NFTE in 1987 to bring entrepreneurship education to low-income youth, and empower them to create pathways out of poverty. Today, NFTE is widely considered the leading provider of entrepreneurship education to low-income youth worldwide.


BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.