at The Evergreen State College

BRM Redesign Ideas

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Recommendation Bibliographic Management might not strike people as hip or relevant when discussing the library renovation/innovation project. While investing in software might not be as flashy or exciting as a coffee/pizza bar, or in library bowling, it is of the utmost importance for an academic library to have recommendations and trainings about bibliographic management software. While politically, open source software is closest to what I would consider to be in Evergreen's best interest, it doesn't much matter what is used if the students aren't made aware of the product. For that reason, after a quarter's worth of research, I am going to have to begrudgingly recommend that Evergreen invests in RefWorks software.

RefWorks is the bibliographic management software that is most easily compatible with Moodle, the open source software that Evergreen is insistant upon forcing onto pretty much all programs at Evergreen. RefWorks and Moodle have similarly simple user interfaces and information posted on a program's Moodle site can be automatically integrated into an individual students' RefWorks account. The RefWorks Alumni Program ensures that "All alumni of subscribing academic institutions will have life-long access to RefWorks. Access will continue to be available an institution’s alumni as long as that institution subscribes" This will prove to be an asset to alumni, especially considering the proposed changes to Evergreen's code of conduct. In that code of conduct, a student can have their diploma revoked if it can be proved that there was academic impropriety during the students' time at Evergreen. Having an easily accessible bibliography that dates back to a student's time at Evergreen can help the student to fight the accusations of plaigarism.

Evergreen is a big proponant of the open source Moodle software. If, along with pushing for the use of Moodle, each class and each student was set up with a RefWorks account that followed them throughout their time at Evergreen there would be wide use of the software. The problem with Evergreen's use of Zotero is that it is not widely used. Professors don't talk about it so the students are unaware of what an asset it is to scholarly work.

Since the passing of the USA PATRIOT ACT, all information stored on public servers can be turned over to the government if they sense a person is researching ideas that are unfriendly to American government. Since this would affect RefWorks servers, and they would be required to turn over users' information and bibliographic references, some Canadian Universities have requested that their information be housed on Canadian servers. I would highly recommend that Evergreen figure out a way to do the same. The privacy and integrity of the work that is done at academic institutions should not be at risk of government intervention.

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