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veritas Harvard University Library Notes, For Harvard Library Staff, Number 1325 May 2005


HGSE's Monroe C. Gutman Library


Education Research Libraries Symposium at the Gutman

On January 13, representatives from 24 of the 50 highest-ranked schools of education, a variety of national library and professional associations, and the US Department of Education, met at the Monroe C. Gutman Library, Harvard Graduate School of Education, to consider the development of an Education Information Commons. The meeting was hosted by John W. Collins III, the librarian for the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to the symposium, a background paper on the "History and Purpose of the National Education Network," written by Nancy P. O'Brien, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was provided to the attending representatives.

The symposium began with a panel review of the current state of education information by exploring the coverage of electronic journal collections, the development of shared electronic collections, the preservation and dissemination of historical resources in education, and current governmental education information. Participants then engaged in a discussion facilitated by James P. Honan, senior lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The participants recognized that the need for a Commons arises from the fragmentation of education information and the lack of coordination in the field of education. John Collins, in commenting on the meeting, stated, "My colleagues and I feel that there are critical issues regarding the delivery of education research information, and that we can meet the challenges we face by working collaboratively."The benefit of the Commons would be to collaboratively provide access to vetted information for educators and scholars. It was determined that the initial focus of this Commons would be the scholarly needs of academic communities. The development of the Commons would require a collaborative framework led by the expertise of established organizations and individuals within the educational community at large. Participants agreed to initiate the Commons with pilot projects, such as the development of information portals on the history of education, mathematics and science education resources, and education informatics, and to proactively promote open-access education journals. The potential of engaging education faculty in this discussion through the publication of a special issue of a major education research journal will also be explored.

Participants agreed to continue the discussion at a meeting on June 24 in Chicago, immediately prior to the American Library Association Annual Conference.


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