SPARC-ACRL Denver Forum to Focus on Open Educational Resources

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For immediate release
December 1, 2008

For more information, contact:

Jennifer McLennan
(202) 631-8854

Kara Malenfant
(312) 280-2510

SPARC-ACRL Denver Forum to Focus on Open Educational Resources

Washington, DC & Chicago, IL – December 1, 2008 – SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) have announced that the SPARC-ACRL Forum at the 2009 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Colorado, will examine “The transformative potential of Open Educational Resources.”

In the academic community, there is growing interest in the concept of Open Educational Resources (OER) and their potential to transform the way scholarship is conducted. At the heart of the movement toward OER is the idea that the world’s knowledge is a public good, and that technology provides an extraordinary opportunity for everyone to share, use, and reuse knowledge. OER are fundamental components of education, as content and tools for teaching, learning, and research that reside in the public domain or have licenses that permit their free use or re-purposing by others.

OER are a logical extension of what the library community supports in the Open Access movement, and underscore the need for the larger playing field on which scholarly communication takes place to be made more equitable. OER focus not only on journals, but also on full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques that are critical in the learning environment.

This SPARC-ACRL Forum will introduce OER and the philosophy behind them to the wider library community; to highlight examples of how different constituencies are currently advancing OER on campuses; and to offer suggestions for how libraries can further engage to support OER.

The 18th biennial SPARC-ACRL Forum will be held from 4:00 – 5:30 PM on Saturday, January 24, 2009. The ACRL Scholarly Communications Committee will host an open conversation about issues that surface at the Forum from 4:00 – 5:30 PM on Sunday, January 25. Further details will be announced shortly.

The Forum will be available via SPARC podcast at a later date. For more information, visit the SPARC Web site at



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


The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), represents more than 13,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals. It is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to meet the unique needs of academic and research librarians. Its initiatives enable the higher education community to understand the role that academic libraries play in the teaching, learning and research environments.