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.’

Likewise, ‘open’ does not mean ‘without financial backing.’ The mechanisms through which resources become ‘open’ and ‘free’ are complex, always evolving, and require ongoing financial support. A variety of financial models exist on the market that contributes to the sustainability of OERs (Downes, 2007), ranging from, among others, endowment models (funding is usually received from charitable foundations) and membership models (participating organizations contribute a certain amount as members) to sponsorship models (a range of commercial messages, more subtle or less subtle, may interrupt learning and reading), and institution models (various institutions assume the full responsibility for their OER initiatives and bear the financial burden).

WELL-KNOWN OERs
MIT OpenCourseWare, an online platform housing free
eductional and teaching materials from MIT courses
Open Textbook Library, a catalog of free, peer-reviewed, and
open textbooks
Open Course Library, a collection of materials, including syllabi,
course activities, readings, and assessments
Khan Academy, an online source of short lessons in the form of
videos and practice exercises and materials for educators
National Science Digital Library, a library of collections and
services supporting STEM education
OER Commons, a collection of over 50,000 university courses,
open textbooks, interactive mini-lessons, and K-12 lesson plans
Wikipedia, the world’s most used free encyclopedia
Wikimedia Commons, a repository of free digital images
and various media files  

The complexity of OERs

In the context of libraries, OERs as we know them have been around for longer than two decades. Librarians have, in many ways, contributed to the infrastructure of open education long before various types of OERs became the norm. The Internet Archive, for example, has been up and running for nearly a quarter of a century, while Project Gutenberg, the first online repository of public domain content—also a form of OER built and maintained by volunteers, including librarians—has its beginnings in the early 1970s. These initial undertakings paved the way for the advent of new, more specialized types of OERs used today. And as education began moving in the direction of open digital textbooks—scattered in disparate sources online that students and faculty had little awareness of—librarian roles in colleges and universities began to shift, requiring more active participation in the discovery of OERs.

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

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: 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]”

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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Continue reading “This Week in Literature and Arts [October 28-November 3]”

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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Continue reading “This Week in Literature and Arts [October 20-27]”

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.

This Week in Literature and Arts [October 7-12]

October 7, 1849: Edgar Allan Poe dies at 40. The exact cause of death remains a mystery (how appropriate), but a life of heavy drinking, undoubtedly, was a leading factor.

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Happy 70th birthday to geek goddess Sigourney Weaver, born Susan Alexandra Weaver, October 8, 1949 in Manhattan (she changed her name to Sigourney after the character in The Great Gatsby). Her parents were actors and producers, and her uncle was comedian Doodles Weaver!

She kicks nine kinds of xenomorph butt in the ALIEN franchise, but a favorite of mine is the mostly forgotten 1995 serial killer thriller Copycat with Holly Hunter and a remarkably effective Harry Connick Jr. Tense film.

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Continue reading “This Week in Literature and Arts [October 7-12]”

Break on Through to the Open Side: Is Open Access prioritizing the needs of science and research?

In celebration of international Open Access Week librarians, publishers and scholars worldwide are invited to join an online panel discussion. A distinguished panel of publishers and librarians will provide their views on the impact of Open Access and participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in the discussion.

The panelists will discuss the global impact of Open Access on research and consider if the promise of Open Access to equalize access for users and researchers worldwide is being achieved. Do researchers everywhere have access to freely available academic content? Do they know where to find it? Are the sources and platforms available to them delivering a quality user experience? And are scholars around the world able to take advantage of the new publishing opportunities?

Other issues include Open Access publishing models and their success in countries where Open Access is vibrant as well as in those where it is still emerging, including the Global South; the costs involved for researchers to publish their research Open Access; ways in which users in emerging markets benefit from Open Access content; and the role of academic libraries—large and small—in providing the necessary support to researchers.

Open Access affords many opportunities for all stakeholders and is very much an evolutionary process, not a disruptive one. This panel seeks to shed light on the progress the global scholarly community has made thus far in making Open Access work for everyone.

Panelists:
Peter Mitchell, IntechOpen (UK)
András Holl, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Hungary)
Vivian Rosa Storti, State University of São Paulo (Brazil)
Sven Fund, Knowledge Unlatched (Germany)

Moderator: Mirela Roncevic

When: Wednesday 23rd October 2019
4pm Central European Time
10am Eastern Time, North America
11am GMT-3, South America

The event should last for about one hour and will be recorded.

Register for the online event here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_lZyvSpPRTWi9vJdqV57r3A

De Gruyter launches the University Press Library

Complete collections, DRM-free, unlimited use

The University Press Library is the result of a five-year pilot project initiated by De Gruyter, the three prestigious presses of Harvard, Columbia and Princeton with collaboration from LYRASIS and ten participating academic libraries. The pilot project sought to address the challenges of acquiring complete DRM-free frontlist eBook collections of university press content for both the press and the academic library. The data gathered from this successful pilot inspired the University Press Library, a sustainable model that meets the financial and academic needs of both university press partners and the library in a digital environment.

“The collaboration and cooperation of presses, libraries, consortium and partners over these many years has been remarkable. We were committed to identifying a sustainable and predictable solution for all parties and the University Press Library is the outcome of these efforts. Coupled with our recently announced expansion in the US, we will not only better serve our partner presses but have the capacity to work with more institutions,” said Steve Fallon, Vice President Americas and Strategic Partnerships.

De Gruyter is an independent international academic publisher with a focus on scholars and their research. Since launching its Partner Program in 2012, De Gruyter has shared the mission and values of its university press partners by bringing ideas to the world stage through their academic scholarship, advancing scholarly knowledge and promoting human conversation.

This Week in Literature and Arts [September 29-October 5]

Happy 80th birthday to Larry Linville, born September 29, 1939 in Ojai, CA. M*A*S*H, of course, is his legacy, but Larry was a prolific TV actor before and after. He initially planned on working as an aeronautical engineer after attending college in Colorado, but snagged a scholarship to London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

For me, his interpretation of Frank Burns was the key ingredient in what made M*A*S*H work so well. He was the perfect foil for the others. Once he left, the show wasn’t as good. The snooty Boston rich-guy replacement was weak in comparison. Animal House‘s Doug Neidermeyer is a rehash of Burns, and I found that The Big Bang Theory‘s Sheldon character had a lot of Frank Burns in him as well.

Linville, unfortunately, developed terrible lung cancer and passed when only 60.

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Happy birthday to Angie Dickinson, born Angeline Brown in Kulm, ND, September 30, 1931. Angie as “Feathers” discussing a scene with director Howard Hawks in his sterling Rio Bravo. Considering she’s acting opposite Duke Wayne at the height of his fame, she handles herself well.

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Happy birthday to George McFarland, born October 2, 1928 in Dallas, TX. Honk if you grew up watching The Little Rascals.

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October 2, 1890: Above a butcher shop on Manhattan’s E 78th St. between Lex and 3rd, Simon and Miene Marx (aka Frenchie and Minnie) welcome the birth of their third son who will be named Julius but will be known forever as the one, the only, Groucho.

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Happy birthday to Charlton Heston, born John Charles Carter in Evanston, IL, October 4, 1923. He can be “big” and over the top, but I always find him fun to watch. In his later years, he appeared in several small, cameo roles in Tombstone, and other films, but my favorite is his brief turn in James Cameron’s fun spy outing, True Lies. The character’s name was Spencer Trilby, but when he revolves around in the chair with the crew cut and the eye patch, we know really who he is. How many comics geeks’ jaws dropped at that one!

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Big 50th anniversary wishes to Monty Python’s Flying Circus, premiering on the BBC October 5, 1969. Bravo Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, John Cleese, and Eric Idle. Still my favorite twits. Well done, lads.

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Happy birthday to Larry Fine, born Louis Feinberg in Philly October 5, 1902. He trained as a violinist and planned for a career as a musician, but in early 1928 while performing in a vaudeville show in Chicago, Larry met Shemp Howard. Our good fortune.

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October 6, 1969: After seven years of recording, George Harrison at last scores the A side of a Beatles’ single with the release of Something/Come Together on 45 rpm. You can understand why he wanted out.

Lastly, a Shakespeare Sunday salute to the 60th anniversary to Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, premiering on CBS October 2, 1959 with the episode, “Where is Everybody?”  

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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.

Book of the Week: The Baby Decision (Merle Bombardieri)

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:


Since the 1984 debut of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, considered the go-to “bible” on pregnancy, there’s been a need for an equally authoritative guide on whether or not to have children. The Baby Decision: How to Make the Most Important Choice of Your Life is that book.

After publishing her first edition nearly 40 years ago, author, clinical social worker and psychotherapist Merle Bombardieri has delivered a fresh, nuanced look at the subject with a comprehensive, five-step process—defining the problem, overcoming obstacles, considering happiness, making the decision and acting on your decision—guiding readers each step of the way…

Read full review here.

Merle Bombardieri, MSW, LICSW, has been a private practice clinical social worker and psychotherapist for over 30 years. She specializes in parenthood decision-making, infertility, adoption, and making the most of a childfree life.

Although she enjoyed raising her daughters, Bombardieri has also been an advocate for childfree people since 1979. Another advocacy project was founding the support group Boston Single Mothers by Choice in the early 1980s.

Bombardieri’s writing has appeared in BridesGlamourSelf, the Boston Globe MagazineBoston Magazine, and Our Bodies, Ourselves.  She has lectured at Harvard Medical School, M.I.T., Wellesley College, and the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. She has appeared on national radio and television news shows, talk shows and documentaries; and was quoted in TimeNewsweekThe New York TimesThe Boston Globe, and Huffington Post.


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.

The MIT Press receives a generous grant to develop and pilot a sustainable framework for open access monographs

The MIT Press has received a three-year $850,000 grant from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, to perform a broad-based monograph publishing cost analysis and to develop and openly disseminate a durable financial framework and business plan for open access (OA) monographs. The Press, a leader in OA publishing for almost 25 years, will also undertake a pilot program to implement the resulting framework for scholarly front and backlist titles.

Amy Brand, director of the MIT Press and principal investigator for the grant, sees it as an opportunity to explore alternatives to the traditional market-based business model for professional and scholarly monographs. “Until the mid-1990s, most U.S. university presses could count on sales of 1,300–1,700 units, but today monograph sales are typically in the range of 300–500 units,” says Brand “Many presses make up this difference with internal subsidies or subventions from institutional or philanthropic sources, but this is not sustainable and often unpredictable. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, this generous award from Arcadia will allow us to develop and test a flexible OA sustainability model that can then be adapted to the needs of our peers.”

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Indie Author Project (IAP) Expands Library eBook Distribution

Indie Author Project (IAP) Expands Library eBook Distribution; initial collection to include a public library exclusive on 2019 Indie Author of the Year Ran Walker’s upcoming eBook release

Portable Black Magic: Tales of the Afro Strange will be available as an eBook exclusively in public libraries for the first three months after its release and will be included as part of the initial Indie Author Project (IAP) Select eBook collection. The collection will be available to public libraries in early October.

IAP Select will feature several hundred top indie-published books across multiple genres. The books are curated by Library Journal and library editorial boards in 14 regions across North America and were chosen by editors and librarians from over 12,000 submissions. IAP Select features NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors, numerous award winners, as well as 2019 Indie Author of the Year Ran Walker’s award-winning Daykeeper in both eBook and audiobook. All eBooks and audiobooks are circulated sustainably in an unlimited, simultaneous use model to library patrons.

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This Week in Literature and Arts

Bruce Springsteen: singer, songwriter, musician, Broadway sensation, and…geezer! Happy 70th to the Boss, born September 23, 1949 in Long Branch, NJ.

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September 24, 1896: Edward and Mary Fitzgerald welcome the birth of their first son, Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald.

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Proudly presenting NSR’s new book: The New Era for E-Books and Digital Content

NSR is pleased to announce the publication of a new book in a series of books which NSR publishes in partnership with ALA: No Shelf Required 3: The New Era for E-Books and Digital Content. Thank you to the folks at ALA Editions for publishing this book and for their continued support.—MR


Many claim that the presence and importance of e-books have reached a saturation point, but the truth is that experimentation with new models, as well as refinement of existing ones, continues apace. Delving into the latest developments among the varied players in the e-book marketplace, including publishers, libraries, and vendors, the latest volume in the best-selling No Shelf Required series is written from a strong international perspective. Positive, uplifting, instructive, and goal-oriented, this volume’s coverage includes the DPLA national e-book platform; ReadersFirst, a movement to improve e-book access from libraries; the AudiobookSYNC project, a free summer audiobook program for teens; using e-books to teach poetry and publishing processes; the Multnomah County Library Library Writers project; e-books and the Internet Archive; NSR’s One Country, One Library initiative; Worldreader. and other international charitable projects promoting global literacy

Continue reading “Proudly presenting NSR’s new book: The New Era for E-Books and Digital Content”

This Week in Literature and Arts

September 17, 1820: John Keats leaves for Italy never to return. He’s buried in Rome. Drop in and see him next time you’re there.

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Happy 85th birthday to Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein, born September 19, 1934 in Liverpool. He knew a good thing when he heard it. For that we must thank him.

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Book of the Week: Success Skills for High School, College, and Career (Cary J. Green, PhD)

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:


Cary Green provides the ultimate crash course in college and career preparedness for high school and college students with this Christian-oriented self-help book.

The author advocates for leadership skills training for young people seeking to excel in college and careers. He encourages readers to improve their “soft skills,” such as critical thinking, problem solving, written and oral communication, teamwork, time management, ethics and resiliency—skills that “employers report…as lacking in new hires.”

To that end, the book provides resources, templates, exercises and tools to equip readers for success in any field by helping them become more self-aware…

Read full review here.

Dr. Cary Green equips students with skills for academic success and employability. Prior to founding CaryJGreen.com, Dr. Green spent twenty years teaching and advising university students. He has served as director of a college-level recruiting and career center, department chair, and associate dean for academic programs. Green recently received a Parent and Teacher Choice Award from HowToLearn.com. Parenting 2.0 recognized Green as a Global Presence Ambassador for his commitment to developing success skills in young people.


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.