Launching B Sides: an Open Access Journal

B Sides

December and January have been all about launching B Sides, our lovely new open access electronic journal for the University of Iowa School of Library and Information Science! We hope the site will be ready to go live at the beginning of spring semester on January 19th, when we will begin soliciting submissions from current SLIS students and alumni.

As the founding editors, my colleague and I have been busy rounding up faculty sponsors, setting up the peer review process, customizing the content management software, working with a graphic designer, and meeting with both the University’s ITS department and Digital Library Services. Whew! In the meantime, here’s a little snippet from our homepage to give you an idea what B Sides will be all about:

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“Collective Advocacy” & Open Access; ILA Annual Conference 2009

Jennifer McLennan, Director of Communications at SPARC, and Faye Chadwell, Associate University Librarian at Oregon State University, came to the Iowa Library Association 2009 Annual Conference to talk about libraries and Open Access in their talk, “Collective Advocacy: Engaging Librarians in the Open Access Movement.”

As McLennan explained, SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition) is “an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system.”  Basically, SPARC takes advantage of the amazing opportunities created by the Internet to advance the conduct of research and scholarship!

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MIT’s Open Course Ware Is Amazing But Tricky

It’s an absolutely free gift from MIT to the global community—or at least those who have access to the Internet:  MIT’s visionary Open Course Ware (OCW) website offers free content from over 1900 MIT courses for the edification and education of humankind, including course descriptions, syllabi, calendars, reading lists, assignments, answer keys, study materials, exams, lecture notes, video lectures and “related resources” that the instructor hopes will supplement the course material.  It’s a truly visionary resource that embraces the philosophy of open access.  However, the content itself hasn’t been adapted for use outside the classroom, so it can be difficult for the casual online student to understand how best to interact with the materials.

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