PALNI and PALCI continue to remove barriers to Hyku adoption with IMLS grant

Midway through funding period, project organizers have completed UX research and major system upgrade, with the Consortial Institutional Repository Toolkit in production

The Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) and The Partnership for Academic Library Collaboration & Innovation (PALCI) are midway through a 2-year, $248,050 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support Hyku for Consortia: Removing Barriers to Adoption. With this award, granted in 2021 as part of the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program, the partners are increasing the flexibility, accessibility, and usability of Hyku, the multi-tenant repository platform system.  

Why Institutional Repositories?

Repositories are a critical piece of library infrastructure, enabling access to many types of digital materials created by an institution’s students, faculty, staff, and researchers. Libraries, cultural heritage institutions, and other organizations also use repositories to provide access to digitized special collections.

In the face of continued budgetary pressures, libraries seek cost-saving approaches to their work. Due to costs or other constraints, those unable to deploy Institutional Repository (IR) services are increasingly looking to consortia to serve this role. This project specifically advances Hyku to support the repository needs of library groups by increasing affordability and flexibility in a scalable, multi-tenant environment.

“This grant has provided the foundation for PALNI and PALCI to apply open source software, new business models, and collaboration to remove barriers to widespread adoption of repository software,” says Kirsten Leonard, Executive Director for PALNI. “Thanks to this award and the critical feedback provided by our pilot participants—including those from partnering consortia VIVA and LOUIS—we have made progress in building and sustaining an open, community-led repository service that has the potential to impact thousands of libraries. We leverage the advances in the Samvera open source community and contribute our advances back to the community through our developer, Software Services by”

“We place a high value on the opportunities for innovation, collaboration, cost savings, and agency that come from community-owned infrastructure and solutions like Hyku,” says Jill Morris, PALCI Executive Director. “It frees us to define scaled solutions in ways that proprietary software and fully outsourced solutions can’t. The Hyku community is active and vibrant, allowing us to partner and take advantage of momentum happening in other projects. It also puts libraries back in the driver’s seat as they make technology choices about how and where to store, discover, integrate, and access their digital assets and materials.”

The first year of the project culminated with PALNI and PALCI making significant progress on their initial goals to:

  • Produce a comprehensive gap assessment for Hyku, focusing on the barriers to adoption.
  • Complete user-focused development sprints tightly scoped around high-priority features of the system.
  • Create a toolkit to share with other library groups considering collaborating on a repository.

Engaging the User Community

The partners completed extensive user experience (UX) research with UX firm Samhaeng. Pilot participants identified barriers and had a central role in defining, reviewing, prioritizing, and approving the features of the Hyku service that are being developed. 

“Engaging with the Hyku Commons community is key to achieving the major goals for Hyku for Consortia,” says Amanda Hurford, PALNI Scholarly Communications Director. “Together, the ‘PALs’ have built a user community to identify gaps in Hyku, deduplicate work, and encourage sharing of solutions across institutions.”

That community includes pilot participants from two other major consortia, VIVA and LOUIS, bringing the total number of Hyku Commons tenants across all four partnering consortia to 50. The UX research report, combined with user satisfaction surveys, is the basis of the project’s gap assessment report, which informs development decisions by directly addressing the needs articulated by these stakeholders. 

“The support and responsiveness of the grant team to VIVA member pilot institutions has made the Hyku for Consortia project a joy to work on,” says Genya O’Gara, Acting VIVA Director. “VIVA has already gained a deeper understanding of the breadth of needs across the consortium and what future functionality would allow for a broader range of institutional engagement. With the recent release of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) advancing open repository principles, this work couldn’t be more timely—it is more critical than ever that we support the development of open repository solutions that are community-led, scalable, and sustainable for a wide range of academic library types.”

“The Hyku for Consortia project team’s community-building efforts around Hyku have been especially beneficial for LOUIS pilot members as they’ve tested the platform,” says Laurie Blandino, Associate Commissioner and Executive Director for LOUIS. “Monthly meetings to go over product developments and updates, as well as open discussions about repository practices and policy development, have enabled LOUIS’s member institutions to learn and share best practices with a wide range of academic libraries. The development of local collections of faculty and student works helps our members demonstrate their value to higher education in accordance with LOUIS’s strategic plan. It is essential to the development of such repositories that affordable, user-friendly platforms with robust support are available to meet the vastly different needs of our member institutions. The Hyku for Consortia project is a welcome addition to the institutional repository landscape.”

User-Driven Enhancements

In addition to completing initial UX research, project organizers recently concluded a major system upgrade from Hyku 2.1 to Hyku 4.1. Launched in November, the upgrade includes improvements to analytics, featured collections and cross-site search functionality, and an enhanced index and homepage. Other previous developments include improvements to bulk import and export workflows, an area defined as a high priority by users. Developments were completed in partnership with Software Services by (SoftServ), an open-source software development firm and long-time contributor to the Hyku project. 

“This upgrade has brought in many desired enhancements, especially in areas where users noted room for improvement, such as reporting analytics, as well as many ‘quality of life’ improvements for repository administrators,” says Nic Stanton-Roark, PALNI’s Institutional Repository Project Coordinator and Archivist at Anderson University. “We look forward to our continued work addressing gaps identified by our user community. We expect metadata flexibility to be the next area for development post-upgrade, as suggested by the first satisfaction survey and UX report.”

The project’s next phases include continued UX research and data collection to identify and assign priority to other gaps in functionality, especially those that present a barrier to Hyku adoption. Emphasizing the goal to help other consortia and library groups stand up a Hyku instance, the partners are creating a Consortial Institutional Repository Toolkit that will provide guidelines, documentation, and other materials to support the development of similar collaborative repository services.

For more project information, news and updates, visit the Hyku for Consortia website.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Service

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana, Inc. (PALNI)

PALNI is a non-profit organization supporting collaboration for library and information services to the libraries of its twenty-three supported institutions. Over time, the library deans and directors who sit on the PALNI board have adjusted the organization’s strategic direction as the internet and information services landscape has changed. PALNI has expanded beyond providing a resource management system to sharing expertise in many areas, including strategic planning, reference, information flue, outreach, data management, and configuration, and has identified greater collaboration in acquisitions as a key goal.

About The Partnership for Academic Library Collaboration & Innovation (PALCI)

The PALCI organization was originally founded as the ‘Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc.,” and was formed in 1996 as a grassroots federation of 35 academic libraries in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Today, PALCI is known as Partnership for Academic Library Collaboration & Innovation, with membership consisting of 74 academic and research libraries, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, and New York. PALCI’s mission is to enable cost-effective and sustainable access to information resources and services for academic libraries in Pennsylvania and surrounding states. PALCI Members serve over 800,000 students, faculty, and staff at member institutions, through a variety of programs, including the highly-regarded EZBorrow resource sharing service. PALCI also serves as the home for the Affordable Learning PA program, creating a community of practice for open textbooks and related educational resources.

About LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network

LOUIS is a consortium of public and private college and university libraries in the state of Louisiana. This partnership was formed in 1992 by the library deans and directors at these institutions, in order to create a cost-effective collaboration among the institutions for the procurement of library technology and resources. We are currently forty-seven members strong.

About VIVA

VIVA is the academic library consortium serving 71 nonprofit higher education institutions in Virginia, including 39 state assisted colleges and universities, 31 independent private, nonprofit institutions, and The Library of Virginia. VIVA’s mission is to provide, in an equitable, cooperative, and cost‐effective manner, enhanced access to library and information resources for Virginia’s academic libraries serving the nonprofit higher education community.

About’s mission is to empower and connect scientists worldwide. By transforming the way scientific research is performed, our Science as a Service® platform accelerates discoveries that cure disease, address climate change and help secure global food and energy supplies. We combine sophisticated AI technology with white-glove Research Concierge® support to enable researchers to run more innovative experiments faster and cheaper. acquired Notch8, a San Diego-based company offering application and software development services, in 2022. The acquisition of the company—now called Software Services (SoftServ)—enabled to begin offering web services—such as web and mobile application development, code audits, framework upgrades, deployment optimization and monitoring and support—to its existing global network of researchers and service providers.

Q&A with Fr. Harry Hagan: A perspective on open textbook creation

Fr. Harry Hagan, OSB, SSD, is Associate Professor of Scripture at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology. As a faculty member at a PALNI supported institution, Fr. Harry has produced three open textbooks that are free and available to scholars worldwide through the PALNI Pressbooks publishing platform. Here, he shares his experience in teaching and creating open educational resources (OER).

Please share the titles of the open textbooks you have produced.

  1. Elements of Biblical Poetry: An Introduction to Its Craft, Language, and Genres
  2. Elements of Biblical Narrative: A Brief Introduction with an Analysis of the Red Sea Story
  3. Mighty in Battle: A Literary Study of Battle Narrative in the Ancient Near East and in the Bible

Please tell us more about your current role and the courses you teach.

I am Associate Professor of Scripture at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology. I teach the following courses:

  • Biblical Narrative: Pentateuch and Historical Books
  • Biblical Narrative: Prophets and Wisdom
  • Psalms
  • Covenant
  • Story in the Deuteronomistic History
  • Hebrew, Greek, and Latin Languages

I also write texts for hymns and have published over 40 hymns. I have studied poetry and also written it.

What encouraged you to produce open textbooks for your courses?

I had written Elements of Biblical Narrative during COVID-19 to replace an introduction to narrative in English literature that I had been using. Originally written as a journal article, it became too long to publish there, and the opportunity arose to publish it with PALNI. That seemed like a great solution.

During my sabbatical in the spring of 2022, I rewrote a piece that I had given to students for many years and turned it into Elements of Biblical Poetry.

Mighty in Battle is part of my dissertation. PALNI offered me an easy way to make that available to a larger audience.

Why did you choose to publish these particular open textbooks?

Elements of Biblical Narrative was written specifically for my course on Pentateuch and Historical Books of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. There are existing introductions, but they use examples from many different stories. This book focuses mainly on the Red Sea Story (Exodus 13:17-14:31) for its examples. This is arguably the most important story in the Hebrew Bible, and so students are focusing on an important text as they explore how narrative works in the Bible.

Elements of Biblical Poetry is a revision of a document that I have used for many years in courses on prophets, psalms, and wisdom literature. It explores the ways in which biblical poetry works rather than the specific context of those books. It covers craft, language, and genres of this poetry. In some ways it is very similar to poetry in other languages, but its use of similar and sequential parallel lines gives it a different feel.

How have the textbooks been received by students?

I have received positive feedback from the students. They are used to working with online and downloadable documents, and so these are just another accessible piece for them.

What are the biggest benefits to using OER versus traditional textbooks?

They are easily accessible and come without cost. You can’t lose them, but you don’t have to haul them around. They are there for future reference, and students can also use these books later with their own students.

What has your experience publishing open textbooks been like?

It was easy to put the books on the Pressbooks platform. Grammarly functions as the editor alerting you to the problems of proofreading. You have access to the document day and night, and you have lots of control. My institution was able to help with the design of the cover.

In what ways did your library support you in the process?

The director of the library, Dr. Daniel Kolb, made me aware of the possibility, and he has been very supportive throughout the process.

Is there anything about the process that has surprised you, or benefited you or your students in unexpected ways?

You can easily put a piece of the book on a screen in a classroom for a discussion.

What is one piece of advice you would give other faculty looking to publish their own open textbook?

Don’t wait.

Would you consider publishing more open textbooks in the future? Why or why not?

I am presently putting a translation online that courses in medieval history have students read. Today, publishers must ask how they are going to get their money out of a publication before they commit to publishing a book. Thanks to PALNI, those questions do not need to control the process. 

To learn more about PALNI open publishing, visit the PALNI Press website.

DePauw University’s Prindle Institute for Ethics announces publication of open access electronic books

DePauw University Libraries are pleased to announce the publication of four open access electronic books from the Prindle Institute for Ethics. 

Available through the PALNI Press, the Prindle Post Education Edition is designed to help high school and undergraduate students, and their teachers, examine some of the most complicated moral questions of today. Each book is focused on a certain topic—COVID-19, Journalism, Climate Change, and Democracy—and includes discussion and activity support for teaching and learning ethics in the classroom.

Victoria Peters, Scholarly Communication and Resource Services Librarian at DePauw, worked to publish the texts using the PALNI Pressbooks platform, an open source book authoring and editing tool offered to PALNI-supported institutions. 

“Making these resources open access through PALNI Press was a no-brainer when the Prindle Institute notified DePauw faculty that they could request a physical copy of these texts for free,” says Peters. “Now these educational resources are available to a much wider audience and can impact students around the world. I was excited to work on my first Pressbooks project and further the DePauw Libraries’ collaboration with Prindle.”

“The Prindle Institute for Ethics is dedicated to making ethics education materials and topics for fruitful dialogue accessible to as wide a community as possible,” says Christiane Wisehart, Associate Director of Content Strategy for the institute. “Our partnership with Victoria Peters allows us to increase access to these materials while also providing a secure, archival digital home for ephemeral print materials. We’re so grateful to Victoria and the PALNI community for providing us this wonderful outlet for our work.”

The Prindle Institute regularly produces print editions containing favorite articles from The Prindle Post, a digital publication of public philosophy dedicated to examining the significant ethical issues raised by current events and present in culture. Topics range from health care and bioethics, to politics, business, the environment, and more. 

To learn more about the Prindle Institute for Ethics, visit them online. To access the free and open Prindle Post Education Edition eBooks, visit the PALNI Press.

Indiana educators awarded PALSave grants for open textbook creation

Franklin College student sitting at a desk in the library facing an open laptop.
Faculty members from Franklin College (Franklin student pictured), Anderson University and Marian University are making higher education more affordable by authoring free and open textbooks through PALSave Textbook Creation Grants.

The Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) has awarded PALSave Textbook Creation Grants to faculty authors from three of its supported institutions. The grants will allow these educators to develop open textbooks that are freely available online, making them part of a statewide effort to reduce the cost of course materials for college students. Financed with support from Lilly Endowment Inc., each author will receive up to a maximum of $5,000 per project.

The grants—awarded as part of the PALSave: PALNI Affordable Learning program—are given in overlapping two-year cohorts. Titles and authors selected for the current cohort include:

  • “Social Action Writing: Public Narratives and Methods of Community” by Mark Latta, Assistant Professor of English and Director of Community Engagement, Marian University
  • “Writing and Digital Media” by Dr. Cara Miller, Associate Professor of English and Director of First-Year Writing, Anderson University
  • “Ultrasound Physics and its Application in Medicine” by Dr. Arbin Thapaliya, Associate Professor of Physics, Franklin College

“Like so many faculty members from PALNI schools, these textbook authors are fully committed to providing high quality, affordable education materials to students,” says Amanda Hurford, PALNI’s Scholarly Communications Director and PALSave project lead. “Their hard work and dedication to making textbook affordability a reality is truly admirable, and we look forward to supporting them in the process.”

Grant recipients are already working to produce the open textbooks, which are set to be published in fall 2024, tentatively. 

“I am grateful for this opportunity from PALNI and excited to create an open source textbook with my contributing authors,” says Latta. “This will allow us to create a textbook that encourages faculty, students, and community residents to celebrate communities and create social change through writing and public literacy. PALNI’s support for open educational resources will allow others to use this work free of charge, for their own purposes, which is something I wholeheartedly support as an educator.”

“This textbook will cover general aspects of diagnostic ultrasound, providing an excellent reference for both beginners and professionals,” says Thapaliya. “We are also hopeful that this textbook will make a positive impact on institutions that are interested in developing ultrasound programs similar to Franklin College’s. I am very excited to coauthor it with my colleagues from both academia and the health profession. What’s even more exciting is publishing our textbook in the open resource format, which makes it affordable and accessible to users from all around the world. Thank you PALNI for this opportunity!”

Adds Miller, “The PALSave Textbook Creation Grant is such a tremendous opportunity for faculty to share their expertise in a way that is easily accessible to students, faculty, and other professionals in their fields. I’m proud to be part of a project that bridges the gap between quality educational materials and the students who need them most.”

About PALSave Textbook Creation Grants

At the start of the program in 2019, PALSave’s initial goal was to publish five or more textbooks by late 2023. PALNI recently received added funding from Lilly Endowment to support PALSave, which has allowed the program to award 10 additional textbook creation grants.

The PALNI Open Educational Resource (OER) Publishing Task Force put out a call for proposals in October 2020, receiving 17 in total from its 24 supported institutions. The task force selected projects for funding based on proposal quality, clearly defined goals, need within the current open access body of work, and adoption potential within PALNI schools and beyond.

PALNI coordinates peer review, copyediting, layout, and hosting services to assist grant recipients in their textbook creation. Each textbook is also supported by a local project manager to monitor progress and answer questions throughout development. The open textbooks will be published on the PALNI Press-supported Pressbooks platform alongside other faculty-contributed works, and will ultimately be submitted to the Open Textbook Library and OER repositories. 

Several PALSave-funded titles are currently in production, with the program’s first open textbook, “The Bible and Music,” by Dr. James Mcgrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Butler University, set for release at the end of 2022.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family — J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli — through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. More information can be found at

PALNI Awarded Additional Funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. to Support PALSave Affordable Learning Program

Faculty sitting at desks facing a projection screen during a PALSave workshop.
Faculty at Goshen College learn about adopting OER into their courses during a PALSave workshop.

Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) a $275,000 grant to support PALSave, the consortium’s affordable learning initiative. 

PALSave combats the rising costs of textbooks by advancing the use of open educational resources (OER). The project supports student success and retention by providing collaborative tools and a framework for OER awareness, education, and engagement. In addition, it enhances the teaching and learning missions of private higher education throughout the state by funding and supporting faculty adoption of open and affordable course materials. 

The new funding comes on the heels of a 2019 Lilly Endowment grant of $520,000 in support of PALSave. The $795,000 in total funding is helping to create significant savings for Indiana college students.

In its third year, PALSave has far exceeded its initial goals. Highlights of its successes include:

  • $2.1 million total savings now projected from participation levels, which will exceed PALNI’s $1 million goal, and $648,748 cumulative savings to date 
  • 10,872 students impacted, saving on average $59.67 each 
  • 98% of students reporting a positive or neutral impact on studies and grades with OER
  • 571 faculty reached with educational workshops 
  • 142 courses transformed to include OER  
  • 42% of redesigned courses indicating grade improvement 
  • 434% return on investment with course redesign funds 
  • $2.36 saved for every program dollar spent 
  • 100% of PALNI institutions participating in PALSave 

“Through the PALSave program, PALNI and its supported institutions are making a genuine impact on student success by reducing debt and implementing the use of free, customizable course materials,” says Amanda Hurford, Scholarly Communications Director for PALNI and PALSave project lead. “We are so grateful to Lilly Endowment for recognizing this effort, and for enabling us to continue enhancing the learning experience and quality of life for college students across the state.”

PALSave project lead Amanda Hurford sitting at desk across from faculty member during PALSave workshop
PALSave project lead Amanda Hurford (left) with Marisa Albrecht, library director at the University of Indianapolis, during a PALSave workshop.


While only a portion of the overall price tag on a college education, course material costs can be extremely detrimental to student success and retention. According to data from the College Board, the average full-time, on-campus undergraduate at a four-year school was asked to budget $1,240 for books and supplies during the 2020-21 academic year. 

Additionally, COVID-19 has raised the barriers students face both financially and technologically to access course materials. Students who lost jobs due to the pandemic or who lacked reliable internet access were hardest hit by course materials costs. Key findings published in 2021 from the Student Public Interest Research Groups and U.S. PIRG Education Fund show that:

  • Students continue to skip buying assigned textbooks despite concerns it will impact their grade.
  • More students are neglecting to purchase access codes for remote learning, possibly driven by financial strain. Forgoing an access code means students miss out on homework, quizzes, and other important parts of their grade in a class. 
  • Lack of reliable internet correlates with significant issues for course material access and student success.
  • Students who faced food insecurity were impacted by unaffordable course materials at a much higher rate—82% of students who reported missing a meal due to the pandemic also reported skipping buying textbooks due to cost.

PALSave works to provide a proactive solution to these barriers by helping faculty adopt openly licensed and fully customizable OER into their courses. It does so through workshops that give educators the resources they need to transform courses using materials that are entirely free to students, providing textbook creation grants, and offering publishing support. 


Initial feedback from students who have used OER via PALSave has been highly positive, with students sharing comments such as:

  • “Having the zero-cost textbook allowed my professor to be flexible with the readings, so I truly believe that I had the best readings possible for this class.”
  • “Part of the reason I was dreading STEM classes was because of high textbook costs compared to other classes. Having experience in class with actual expensive textbooks, I much prefer this medium.”
  • “There have been times when I have simply not bought the book because of cost. There have been times where my grades have suffered from these barriers, so this has made a positive difference in my performance.”
  • “It’s easier for me to do the readings anywhere when a lot of the materials are accessible on my laptop and phone.”

“Recent research demonstrates that students provided with open course materials show improved academic outcomes and retention,” adds Hurford. “PALSave develops the expertise, tools and content to be used in the course redesign process while also building a community of champions for affordable learning through PALNI’s twenty-four supported institutions.” 

Strong faculty interest throughout PALNI schools has enabled PALSave to meet or exceed its goals earlier in the project timeline than anticipated. The additional funds from Lilly Endowment Inc. will help sustain the program’s long-term success, build upon its impact to students, and accrue significant savings for years to come.

“Participating in PALSave’s course redesign process was a fantastic experience,” says Glené Mynhardt, associate professor of biology at Hanover College. “I learned so much and found many wonderful resources that I hope to use in the future to benefit students. I highly recommend this program to faculty and would love to participate again to help move some of my other courses into the zero-cost space.”

Program details and progress are provided on the PALSave website. For more information about PALSave, contact Amanda Hurford.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family — J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli — through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. More information can be found at

Saint Meinrad Faculty Publish Open-Access Electronic Books

News from Saint Meinrad:

Saint Meinrad Archabbey Library is pleased to announce publication of six open-access electronic books authored by Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology faculty. Two of the books are original publications by Fr. Harry Hagen, OSB: Mighty in Battle: A Literary Study of Battle Narrative in the Ancient Near East and in the Bible and Elements of Biblical Narrative.  In addition, four titles from the Saint Meinrad Studies in Pastoral Ministry series, previously published in print editions by Abbey Press, are now available as electronic books. These are: CelibacyCatholic Imaginationand Workers into the Harvest: Priesthood in the New Milleniumall edited by Fr. Denis Robinson, OSB, and That the Word Might be Proclaimed: Selections from the Marten Lectures, edited by Dr. Rick Stern. These publications are made possible by PALNI Press, a service of PALNI, the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana. They can be accessed either directly through PALNI Press or through the library’s catalog. Special thanks for making these publications possible goes to the PALNI staff, especially Amanda Hurford, PALNI Scholarly Communications Director, and to Mary Jeanne Schumacher, Saint Meinrad’s Director of Communications, for generously providing final editing of the Studies in Pastoral Ministry series volumes.

Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology

PALNI’s LSTA-funded Last Copies Digitization Project Concludes

PALNI’s 2020 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, Collaboratively Preserving Rare Scholarship in Religiously Affiliated Libraries: PALNI Last Copies is has officially wrapped! We exceeded our goal of digitizing 240 books, with a total of 446 scarcely held titles contributed from 22 PALNI institutions.

View the collection here:

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PALNI Last Copies Project Flyer (PDF Here)

Project Highlights:

  • April 2021: Scanning continued
  • May 2021: Project budget revision enables additional scanning of hymnal collection
  • June 2021: All scanning concluded!
  • July 2021: Discovery strategy defined, including: Share with Indiana Memory & DPLA; Create new ebook records and a global Knowledge Base collection
  • August 2021: Project included in the Atla Digital Library!

Project Evaluation

  • We’ve scanned a total of 446 books, containing 108,846 pages, and 20 foldouts.
  • The collection has been viewed 5,072 times (a 744% increase since March!).
  • Top viewing regions from the last 30 days are 1) California, 2) Virginia, 3) Hunan, China, 4) Indiana, and 5) Germany. 
  • An account of the Vedas : with numerous extracts from the Rig-Veda, from Manchester University, has been viewed the most — at 154 times since uploaded on March 19, 2021. 
  • Most titles are accessible from the first page of results in a Google search.

Next Steps

Now that the project is officially over, there are just a few activities to wrap up, some ongoing work to do, and the potential for new directions.

  • We will complete the CONTENTdm collection and work with the Indiana State Library to share metadata with Indiana Memory and DPLA. 
  • As an ongoing project, we will continue to create ebook catalog records and complete any metadata cleanup needed in Internet Archive identified through that process. 
  • Finally, we may explore potential scholarly publishing activities such as digital scholarship projects, digital exhibits, the creation of open educational resources, and research around resource scarcity.

Many thanks to PALNI-supported institutions for their participation in PALNI Last Copies, and to our partners at Internet Archive and Atla!

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

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.

PALSave Logo
PALSave: Affordable Learning

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 for more information.

To view AcademFic,  please visit: