Flatworld Knowledge is hacking the CS textbook in honor of Open Education Week. They aim to flash create an OER, adaptable textbook for computer science in one day, March 8th. It seems like an effective plan for a subject that doesn’t always gel with traditional publishing models. They’ll gather a group of experts in Boston, eke out a table of contents collaboratively and break out to color in the content. The result should be a fresh to death testament to web-inspired content creation models, but even if it flops it sounds like a party. Sign up here!
Elegant and magical, Clik lets you control any browser with your phone by simply scanning a QR code on their website. As of today, only the proof of concept YouTube app is functional, but the Clik platform is open for development and cooler things are most certainly on the way.
It’s foolproof. Available for Android and iPhone, it’s as simple as downloading an app and going to a website. Multiple users can share the same QR code, a feature which is sure to revolutionize group YouTubing. The most exciting part of the app is its potential to streamline group presentations and make all the squitchy clickers and cables obsolete. The app will most certainly soon expand to Google Docs— how nice would it be to know you could have your presentation at hand as long as you have an Internet connection?
Digital publishing is something of a changing neighborhood, but recently the level of hostility has escalated noticeably. Last week Penguin terminated its contract with mega library content provider Overdrive over clashes with Overdrive’s Kindle lending agreement. The Penguin e-books were licensed to lend through the Overdrive platform, but Kindle lending requires books to route through Amazon first. Not cool, Overdrive. Abandoned by all but Random House of the big six publishers, Overdrive’s singular hold over library lending seems tenuous.
In a similar shenanigan, Kno is taking legal action against Cengage Learning over their e-book extras. Kno’s platform featured a “journal” feature which allowed students to export passages of text into a virtual notebook for later use. Cengage claims this amounts to the creation of a derivative work and violates copyright. Cengage terminated their licensing agreement with Kno and Kno has filed a suit to keep the content. Kno relies on Cengage for a sizable chunk of their sales and holdings but as Mashable’s Sarah Kessler reports, there’s currently a glut of platform options for textbook publishers.
Libraries have long been concerned with preservation, but the budget crises of recent years have called for sacrifice. This article examines the creation of a sustainable academic library in the context of the University of Washington’s 2Y2D (Two Years to Two Decades) program. The goal of the program is to use long-term goals to inform short-term strategies and create sustainable practices that should guide the university through the changes of the coming decades.
The library’s goals centered around collaboration in the form of consortia, shared digital repositories as collection expanding tools, and flexible spaces aimed at digital resources and group work. The Research Commons emerged as UW’s vision of library sustainability. Offering services and resources on demand and modular furniture to encourage ad hoc collaboration, the space has been embraced by the student community. There is also an online version of the space which streamlines resource gathering and equipment availability.
When Apple announced its iBooks Author program, Megha asked on the blog “what does it mean for the other textbook makers such as Inkling?” Apparently for Inkling, it was a call to evolve. In a notably unsplashy announcement today, the interactive e-book publisher debuted their own authoring tool called Inkling Habitat. Habitat will roll out slowly, their plans include a small group of early adopter publishing partners, a growing base of content creators through the spring, and public access within the year.
One of the benefits of Habitat may be that its style and function is based on software production rather than publishing.
Commentto is a browser extension for Firefox and Chrome which allows users to save and comment on web content. Commentto has one primary feature that separates it from Instapaper and its ilk, the ability to read and write “time-coded” comments with others. No longer bound to comment neatly at the bottom of an article, Commentto users can slap their tag on anything, anywhere on the web.
Commentto is very elegant, a must in a sector with so many similar competitors. The creator of the site, Kandarp Dave, has clearly though very carefully about what users want and do not want in a clip & save add on. The social policies are spot on, Dave is careful to note his intentions behind the subscriber/subscription model. An additional perk of the system is the blog-like profile page, users can unlock a vanity url with their username after they’ve made at least 30 excerpts over a 10-day period.
Eysenbach, G. (2011). Can Tweets Predict Citations? Metrics of Social Impact Based on Twitter and Correlation with Traditional Metrics of Scientific Impact. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 13(4).
This article sought to correlate Twitter mentions of journal articles (tweetations) with traditional published citations. The author explores the idea of altmetrics and issues with a traditional citation method that is slow, private, and often opaque. In charting the life cycles of JMIR articles on Twitter he found that mentions followed a 60-day life cycle, with many tweetations in the first week and a gradual decline. Older articles were unlikely to be featured in tweetations but much likelier to be traditionally cited.
The citation network has long been held as a metric for measuring the impact of scholarly literature, but with readers today far likelier to tweet than cite, new practices have developed to track clout on the web. These methods, called altmetrics, measure the network of references from Twitter and blogs to Mendeley and Zotero. These methods are still developing. Total-Impact, one technology that has developed around the ideas of altmetrics, warns that it shouldn’t be used “as indication of comprehensive impact...take it all with a grain of salt.”
Because Total-Impact means to track not only traditional scholarly articles, but also other types of files, code, and ideas, structuring the criteria has been difficult.
Why not make your own? Codeacademy, e-learning niche oft covered in EdLab and marketing genius behind Codeyear, recently debuted a DIY feature that allows for peer-to-peer code schooling. Users can supplement Codeacademy’s scanty offerings with tutorials of their own. Codeacademy seems to be accepting applications and presenting approvals based on information supplied by hopeful creators:
No word yet on how the completed courses will be evaluated, though creators must submit their lessons for review before they are unleashed on the public. The easiest route may be to accept all or most applications and let the crowd evaluate. Crowd is something Codeacademy has in scads. Nearly 400,000 people have signed up for Codeyear so far (It’s yet unknown how many of these folks are letting the weekly emails sit around their inboxes collecting guilt.) In a good example of leveraging crowd power, Codeacademy also recently debuted a Q&A feature that connects confused wannabe coders with a community of fellow students.
Librarians talk the talk of innovation, but do we really walk the walk? The author of this study found it has more to do with institutional policies than external pressures. All the librarians surveyed agreed that innovation was important in an environment quickly shifting away from traditional services and strategies. The author found that creation of a dual-core strategy was paramount for innovation. Dual-core refers to resources devoted to research and idea initiation in addition to efforts already in place to deliver service and content.