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Creators of the Commons

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The Commons, a term derived from the concept of common grazing ground in simpler times, is now used to describe our shared knowledge-based, and the processes that facilitate or hinder its use. This session focuses on recent activities by Canadian librarians towards creating the commons, through open access and open source approaches. The Canadian Association of Research Libraries, the Canadian Library Association (CLA), and the British Columbia Library Association have policies strongly in support of open access. E-LIS, the open archive for library and information studies, provides a means for librarians to share work through self-archiving, and is an interesting example of a new type of global collaboration. CLA's Evidence Based Librarianship Interest Group has developed a new, international, peer-reviewed open access journal, and The Partnership (of library associations across Canada) has another in the works. A new concept of open source scholarship (open sharing of content, rather than software) is explored, with examples such as the Human Genome Project and Useful Chemistry. Canadian librarian scholarly blogging and wikis are discussed. It is concluded that the commons offers new opportunities for sharing and global collaborations, the like of which we have never seen before. It will be important to develop copyright laws that facilitate sharing, not just intellectual property protection.
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