PALSave Textbook Creation Grants Awarded to Faculty Textbook Authors

PALNI’s PALSave Textbook Creation Grants Program has awarded funding to faculty members from PALNI supported institutions to create six open textbooks. These open textbooks will be freely available on the web, reducing costs to students enrolled in courses in the future. Financed with support from Lilly Endowment Inc., each author will receive up to a maximum of $5,000 with a cap of $6,500 per proposal.

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After starting a successful pilot with Butler University Professor James McGrath, the PALNI Open Educational Resource (OER) Publishing Task Force put out a call for proposals in October 2020. They received twenty proposals from institutions varying in size and scope. A review committee recommended this diverse set of projects based on proposal quality, need, and adoption potential within PALNI schools and beyond. 

PALNI will coordinate peer review, copyediting, layout, and hosting services to assist the faculty in their textbook creation.  Each project will also be supported by a local project manager to monitor progress and answer questions.  The open textbooks will be published on the PALNI Press supported Pressbooks platform alongside other faculty-contributed works like Brass Techniques and Pedagogy, by Butler University faculty member Brian Weidner, and will ultimately be submitted to the Open Textbook Library and OER repositories.

The textbooks will be tentatively available by Fall 2023.

Congratulations to the awardees: 

Author(s)InstitutionDepartmentTextbook Working Title
Nathan WillowbyAnderson UniversitySchool of Theology and Christian MinistryMorality for Professionals: Developing a Moral Conscience through Christian Virtue Ethics
Scott Kaschner & Amber RussellButler UniversityMathematics, Statistics, and Actuarial ScienceLinear Transformations on Vector Spaces
James McGrathButler UniversityPhilosophy, Religion, and ClassicsThe Bible and Music
Gabriel VanoverHanover CollegeTheatreCenter Stage
Paul Bible & Lucas MoserMarian UniversityMathematicsAn Open Guide to Data Structures and Algorithms
Yuriko Ikeda & Julia BaumgardtMarian UniversityLanguages and CulturesComunidades

PALNI Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Digitization Grant Update

PALNI’s 2020 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, Collaboratively Preserving Rare Scholarship in Religiously Affiliated Libraries: PALNI Last Copies is well underway! With the goal of digitizing 240 scarcely held circulating monographs from PALNI’s supported institutions via the Internet Archive in Fort Wayne, we’ve made great progress, despite getting a late start due to complications with the 2020 grant cycle.

Project Highlights

  • November 2020: Hired Project Assistant, Sarah Newell. Sarah’s been a great help with data analysis and general project assistance so far, and will be building a collection of scanned titles in CONTENTdm. 
  • December 2020: Started distribution of digitization nominee lists to directors. 
  • January 2021: Digitization commenced at Internet Archive.
  • February 2021: An initial set of 38 books was scanned by Internet Archive and added to the project collection on the Internet Archive site.
  • March 2021: A total of 100 books from 13 schools have been digitized so far.

Project Evaluation Activities to Date

  • We are tracking the number of books and pages digitized by reviewing the Internet Archive site (100 books, 13 collections) and invoices.  So far we’ve been invoiced for 38 books, containing 9,210 pages, and 2 foldouts.
  • We are collecting usage data via the Internet Archive’s Collection Statistics (seen here) and “all-time views” counter.  The collection has been viewed 601 times, with viewers from Indiana, California, Germany, Israel, United Kingdom, and China. Anglo-Saxons from Palestine, or, The imperial mystery of the lost tribes, from Taylor University, has been viewed the most — at 35 times since uploaded on February 8th, 2021.
  • We are evaluating discoverability of the resources by searching titles in Google.  Internet Archive records from our first round of digitization in February are appearing in the first page of results in a Google search.

Next Steps

Before the end of the project we hope to digitize an additional 140 titles.  We’ll also check and download collection files from Internet Archive, build a CONTENTdm collection, and consult about best practices for Discovery integration.  In the final phase, Project Wrap-Up, we will finish our evaluation and market the completed project.  The final grant report is due to the State Library in August, 2021. 

The project makes possible future research and other scholarly activities. Digital scholarship projects focused on the books themselves using new methods such as text analysis could be initiated, as well as research around the idea of resource scarcity and holdings in Indiana and the advantages of shared collection studies to identify rare materials in need of preservation.

Many thanks to the PALNI-supported institutions for their participation!

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Indiana State Library.

Butler Faculty Member Launches Innovative Fiction Writing Journal for Academics

Butler University faculty James McGrath is the founding editor of AcademFic, a new open access periodical dedicated to publishing fiction by academics outside areas that include writing in their academic and professional activity. Using the PALNI’s Open Journal Systems (OJS) and team support, and with assistance from Butler University Libraries, McGrath was able to launch the journal on an open-access platform eliminating the financial barrier to creating and accessing new issues and articles.

McGrath shares the inspiration behind AcademFic saying, “When I first had the idea to create a place that would publish works by academics outside of the field of creative writing […] I soon discovered that it was of great interest to many. There is a burgeoning area of publishing novels that seek to explore subjects like biblical studies through the writing of historical fiction, including quite a few penned by academics in the field. In addition to everything else, writing fiction can be a way to convey historical information to a wider audience. It can also be a way to test our [professional academics’] historical reconstructions and hypotheses.”

The first volume exemplifies McGrath’s vision and includes stories ranging widely in length, genre, and professional fields. The journal was made possible through the PALNI Press, which hosts a suite of publishing platforms.  All faculty, staff, and students affiliated with a PALNI supported institution may propose an open access publication for the PALNI Press that supports the teaching and learning objectives of their institution. See press.palni.org for more information.

To view AcademFic,  please visit: https://press.palni.org/ojs/index.php/academfic/index

Quilt Exhibit Goes Digital with Open-Access Platform

Mennonite Historical Library and Goshen College Librarian Tillie Yoder opens up digital access to a unique collection of quilts by the College Mennonite Church using the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana’s (PALNI) Omeka platform service. Using this open-access software to digitize the physical collection exhibit, the public can view the special collection online, for free.

“I am grateful that PALNI provides access to Omeka hosting and enjoyed tinkering with the many options the platform provides,” shares Yoder. “Using Omeka enabled us to create a professional online exhibit at a time when access to our in-person exhibit is restricted. We anticipate digitizing past exhibits as well and look forward to seeing how our partner libraries use the platform in their own ways.”

The online exhibit was co-sponsored by the Mennonite Historical Library and Goshen College Good Library. The public can view photos of the various quilts and the corresponding physical display, a list of the exhibit leaders, and a video showcasing the physical exhibit alongside interviews and statements from several quilters.

PALNI’s Omeka service is made possible through the efforts of the Publishing Services Administration Team (PSAT), which administers the PALNI Press.  The PALNI Press openly publishes the scholarly and creative content of PALNI-supported institutions.

To view the “Quilts from College Mennonite Church” collection exhibit, please see: https://press.palni.org/omeka/exhibits/show/quilts2020

PALSave Textbook Creation Grants Program: Call for Proposals

The PALSave Admin team is thrilled to announce the launch of the PALSave Textbook Creation Grants Program, which will fund the creation of five open textbooks!

Faculty members are invited to submit textbook creation proposals for courses they teach. Textbooks may cover any discipline at the undergraduate or postgraduate level. We seek proposals for complete textbooks geared toward a specific field of study, which meet the inclusion criteria for the Open Textbook Library.

Grant funding of up to $6,500 is available per accepted proposal, with an individual author maximum of $5,000. While joint authorship proposals are welcome, the lead author must be a faculty member employed at a PALNI-supported institution. PALNI will coordinate peer review, copyediting, layout, and hosting services.

Before applying, please review the full Call for Proposal document, which includes the proposal requirements, application form, grantee obligations, and review criteria. This document, and more information about the program, can be found on the PALSave Website.

To apply, send proposal requirements listed in the Call for Proposal document to palsave@palni.edu by January 15, 2021. Notifications on proposal acceptance will be sent March 1, 2021.

Butler Faculty Member Publishes an Open Textbook with PALSave Program

Butler University faculty Brian Weidner reduces the student textbook cost burden by creating an open access book for his course, “Brass Techniques 1,” after receiving a PALSave Course Redesign Grant.  Using an open-access textbook, each student in this course will save $50 with a total savings of $550 for Fall 2020.

Brass Techniques and Pedagogy Book Cover (Author Brian Weidner)

PALSave combats rising textbook costs at the twenty-four PALNI supported institutions using free materials like open educational resources (OER) instead of expensive commercial textbooks. Along with receiving a Course Redesign Grant, Weidner was the first in the consortium to use Pressbooks, an open-source, open-access publishing platform provided by PALNI, to create his textbook. Pressbooks allows editing and remixing of existing material, providing faculty with the ability to customize their course materials to meet their students’ needs.

About the course redesign process, Weidner states, “Redesigning this course around a custom-made OER has allowed me to flip the classroom as the textbook meets the exact needs that my students have. While it has taken me time to build a brand new text as there were no open textbooks out there already, my students have expressed how excited they are to have a resource that they do not need to pay for, and colleagues at other institutions have discussed adopting this text to support their students as well. I look forward to having this text improved by others who choose to use it in the future.”

PALNI is hosting and supporting Pressbooks for current Course Redesign Grant awardees, and this fall the service will be available to any faculty member at a PALNI-supported institution. To encourage faculty to create their own, original open textbooks, PALSave Textbook Creation Grants will also be announced this fall.

PALNI’s Pressbooks service is made possible by two of its collaborative groups, the OER Publishing Task Force and the Publishing Services Administration Team.  The PALSave program itself is supported with funding from the Lilly Endowment, Inc.

To view Brian Weidner’s open textbook, “Brass Techniques and Pedagogy” please see: https://pressbooks.palni.org/brasstechniquesandpedagogy/

PALNI Library Publishing Task Force Report

Library publishing programs help libraries more actively participate in the scholarly communications cycle, advance open access, and meet local needs related to the creation and dissemination of scholarship. PALNI’s Library Publishing Task Force recently wrapped up its exploration of this emerging consortial service area and prepared a report to discuss its findings and recommendations. Read and download the report here: PALNI Library Publishing Task Force Report