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Student video contest promotes critical thinking and creative expression

For immediate release
August 12, 2008

For more information, contact:

Jennifer McLennan
SPARC Director of Communications
(202) 631-8854

Washington, DC – August 12, 2008 – The organizers of the Sparky Awards video contest have released several new resources to help college instructors and librarians engage students in an exploration of information sharing and copyright by encouraging their participation in the 2008 contest. The competition, which recognizes the best new short videos on the value of sharing, is well suited for use as a class assignment.  

The 2008 Sparky Awards contest theme is “MindMashup: The Value of Information Sharing.” Contestants are invited to submit videos of two minutes or less that imaginatively portray the benefits of the open, legal exchange of information on the Internet. Mashup is an expression referring to a song, video, Web site, or software application that combines content from more than one source.

The Sparky Awards are a fun and engaging way to help students take this discussion a level deeper and prepare them to navigate this new territory effectively, creatively, and legally. Educators at all types of institution – including universities and 4-year colleges, community and junior colleges, art and film schools, and others – are invited to incorporate the contest into fall curricula, whether as a formal assignment or extracurricular activity.

The contest will be especially relevant to classes in subjects including: film and video production; literature, media, and cinema studies; digital arts; communication; library and information science; computer science and information technology; education; science, technology, and society; and history of science, or for any course for which new fluencies like film-making may be an appropriate expression of class assignments and deliverables.

Educators and librarians are encouraged to take advantage of these new resources to facilitate adoption of the contest:

•    Video invitation to enter the Sparky Awards
•    Sparky Awards promotional poster
•    Educators’ Guide to Using the Sparky Awards in Your Classes
•    Librarians’ Guide to Introducing the Sparky Awards on Your Campus
•    Banner ad art to promote the Sparky Awards on Web sites

All are available for download and customization through the Sparky Awards Web site at

To be eligible for the 2008 Sparky Awards, submissions must be publicly available on the Internet and available for use under a Creative Commons License. The winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000 along with a Sparky Award statuette. Two runners up will each receive $500 plus a personalized award certificate. The winning video will be screened at the Campus MovieFest Southern Grand Finale in Spring 2009. The winner and runners up will be screened at the January 2009 American Library Association Midwinter Conference in Denver.

The 2008 Sparky Awards are organized by SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and cosponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, Campus MovieFest, Penn Libraries, Students for FreeCulture, and The Student PIRGs.

Complete details are available on the Sparky Awards Web site at

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SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), with SPARC Europe and SPARC Japan, is an international alliance of more than 800 academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication. SPARC's advocacy, educational and publisher partnership programs encourage expanded dissemination of research. SPARC is on the Web at