The ONL course continues to fascinate me! When attending the webinar last week I was so overwhelmed with suddenly having the whole world live at my office. ONL is like a huge international conference, or like doing an international exchange, not in a particular country but in the whole world at the same time, and still being at home. Going global like this is in your everyday local context is amazing.

As we’ve discussed some themes regarding openness in this second part of the course, I’ve reflected on openness in both my own work practice and openness in general. I’m working in a library, and in this setting, openness and availability are some of the fundamental pillars. We aim for making information, literature and research accessible in a fair and democratic way. During recent years, the discussion on open access of research has however grown even more and more.

Since universities and research institutions annually use a lot of money on large publishers journal packages, there has been a lot of reactions towards the business models of these big publishers. The costs have increased substantially over the last few years. In Finland, just as in many other countries, universities aim for making research available at affordable prices and there has been several negotiations with many of the large publishers, often without result. Without agreements, the subscriptions have been ended. The consequence of this is that libraries cannot offer the same amount of information anymore and everyone; research, society and of course the end users, suffer. Libraries now focus on helping patrons getting alternative access to research. This is a cold but true example of when you would like to be open and promote openness but instead you get a door slammed in your face.

However, to keep your own doors wide open you need a certain amount of courage. At my work we have made some tutorials for our students on how to use the library catalogue and how to find information. The tutorials were recorded with the Camtasia software and then uploaded to Youtube. The clips are however not available for everyone, because you have to have a link to access them. We also closed the comment function because we were too shy to hear other people’s opinions about the films ?

Another example of openness in my everyday work practices is the Theseus open repository, where all theses and publications from the Universities of Applied Sciences in Finland are stored. Students have to accept having their theses available online for anyone to read, unless parts of the thesis are classified as confidential.

How open or closed is the library?