Open Access Week 2017

Open access symbol of open padlock. Open Access Week runs from Oct. 23-29, 2017.

Open access at Vassar College is in full swing! Following the Vassar College Open Access Policy passed by the faculty in May 2017, the Libraries have been preparing to store and make available the scholarship produced at Vassar through our institutional repository, Digital Window. Just in time for this year’s Open Access Week, we are thrilled to capture the faculty research produced at Vassar through our open access resolution, knowing that this research is open in order to increase the readership for Vassar scholarship and contribute to a more equitable scholarly information ecosystem.

Submit your OA workIf you are a faculty member and would like to submit the final author’s version of your peer-reviewed article (sometimes called a “pre-print”) simply go to our submission instructions and follow the steps on the screen. Note: before you submit your work, be sure you are logged into your Vassar OneLogin account. (If you’re logged in already, you can use the “submit your work” button on this page to go directly to the submission form.)

Other open access initiatives at Vassar College

Although our OA policy is new at Vassar, our dedication to open access is not. We heard from many faculty members that have already contributed to open access journals, subject repositories (like arXiv.org for physics), and publications, and have even released books as OA scholarship! The Libraries have also released many projects in an OA way. Our digital library materials, for example, are available to the public, allowing scholars of all levels from around the world to utilize these important objects in their own work. It also allows us to contribute to larger initiatives such as the Digital Public Library of America (see many of Vassar’s materials in DPLA) and our NEH-funded grant, College Women.

Our open access work also applies to materials in our archives that have been incorporated into larger projects. The Ruth Fulton Benedict Papers is an example of an OA project that involved a commercial publisher (Alexander Street Press) and our Archives & Special Collections Library to foster a process that helped challenge the ways in which these materials could be made available. We worked with Alexander Street Press to digitize and make freely available more than 8,000 pages of diaries, field notes, articles, teaching materials, and correspondence (much of which is transcribed), as well as photographs. True to Benedict’s own principles, the materials are available to all to lay the foundation for future work: as she stated during her acceptance speech for the Annual Achievement Award of American Association of University Women in 1946, “I have faith of a scientist that behavior, no matter how unfamiliar to us, is understandable if the problem is stated so that it can be answered by investigation and if then studied by technically suitable methods. And I have the faith of a humanist in the adventures of mutual understanding of men.”

Finally, the Libraries have been a contributing member of the Lever Press, an “open access, digitally native, peer-reviewed scholarly monographs” publisher established by a group of liberal arts colleges. Lever Press has been on the forefront of new ways of producing and releasing monographs, and the Libraries are thrilled to be sponsors of this important initiative. Lever Press will host an OA Week webinar, “Open Access Monographs: Current Initiatives, Sustainable Models,” on Tuesday, 24 October 2017 at 4:00 p.m. EST for anyone interested in this work. (The webinar is free but registration is required.)

For more information about open access at Vassar, contact Rachelle Ramer, Scholarly Communications Librarian and Research Librarian for the Sciences, at raramer – at – vassar.edu, or email openaccess – at – vassar.edu.

Wishing you a happy Open Access Week!

Map-a-thon for Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief

Contribute your time to open-source mapping to aid relief efforts in Puerto Rico.


  • Date: Thursday, October​ ​5,​ ​2017​
  • Time: noon-3pm​
  • Place: ​Library Classroom (Room 160), Thompson Library

Mapping project #3661: Hurricane Maria | 2017 - Puerto Rico 5 (Cidra to Santa Isabel)

Mapping project #3661: Hurricane Maria | 2017 – Puerto Rico 5 (Cidra to Santa Isabel)

Following the recent hurricane, people around the world are using the OpenStreetMap platform to donate their time to hurricane relief efforts. The Red Cross in Puerto Rico has requested help with their relief efforts, and libraries (Columbia, Rutgers, Univ. of Miami, and more) are responding! (Thanks to @elotroalex for the idea!)

No​ ​mapping​ ​experience,​ ​knowledge​ ​of​ ​local​ ​geography,​ ​or​ ​software​ ​installation​ ​is required. Just bring yourself, lunch if you’d like, and a laptop (if you’d prefer to work on your own device rather than a classroom computer).

We’ll have a training session from 12-1 p.m., but will be available until 3 p.m. — drop in at any time to get started.

Learn more about the process through our guide, Humanitarian Mapping with OpenStreetMap.

Puerto Rico map-a-thon flyerDownload a copy of our flyer to distribute on campus.

Thank you for your interest in helping this effort!  #prmapathon

An overview of the mapping process

An overview of the mapping process (courtesy Missing Maps / Learn OSM)

Happy Ada Lovelace Day 2016!

Ruth Fulton Benedict (VC 1899)

Ruth Fulton Benedict (VC 1909)

Happy Ada Lovelace Day! On October 11, 2016, we’ll celebrate Ada Lovelace Day, an annual event recognizing achievements of women in science, technology, engineering, and math. This year we’re adding a new reason to celebrate: we are thrilled to announce that the papers of Ruth Fulton Benedict (VC 1909) are available digitally through Alexander Street Press’s Anthropological Fieldwork Online via open access. Though Benedict was a social scientist rather than in a field identified with STEM, her use of the scientific method to learn about others helped her advance her life’s work in anthropology. As she stated during her acceptance speech for the Annual Achievement Award of American Association of University Women in 1946, “I have faith of a scientist that behavior, no matter how unfamiliar to us, is understandable if the problem is stated so that it can be answered by investigation and if then studied by technically suitable methods. And I have the faith of a humanist in the adventures of mutual understanding of men.”

The Papers of Ruth Fulton Benedict are available through a partnership with Alexander Street Press.

The Papers of Ruth Fulton Benedict are available through Anthropological Fieldwork Online.

Over the past year, the Vassar College Libraries have worked with Alexander Street Press to digitize and make freely available more than 8,000 pages of diaries, field notes, articles, teaching materials, and correspondence (much of which is transcribed), as well as photographs.

The papers of Benedict, a renowned anthropologist, are housed in the Archives & Special Collections Library at Vassar. As the finding aid to her papers notes:

In 1909, after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie, New York, [Ruth Fulton] Benedict traveled to Europe with college friends. Following that, she was a social worker for a year, then spent three years teaching before marrying Stanley Benedict, a biochemistry professor at Cornell Medical School, in 1914.

In 1919 Ruth Benedict began taking courses, first at Columbia University with John Dewey and then at the New School for Social Research with Elsie Clews Parsons whose course in ethnology of the sexes kindled Benedict’s interest in anthropology. Under the guidance of Franz Boas, Benedict received her doctorate in 1923 from Columbia, where she remained throughout her career. In 1948 she was promoted to full professor in the Faculty of Political Science, the first woman to achieve such status.

Benedict’s fieldwork was done in California among the Serrano and with the Zuñi, Cochiti, and Pima in the Southwest. Student training trips took her to the Mescalero Apache in Arizona and Blackfoot in the Northwest. From her work in the field, several of her books were developed: Tales of the Cochiti Indians (New York: 1931); Zuñi Mythology (New York: 1935); and Patterns of Culture (Boston: 1934), which became a bestseller and influenced American life in that it explained the idea of “culture” to the layperson.

open-accessWe are thrilled that these materials are able to reach the widest available audiences through open access.

Wishing you a happy Ada Lovelace Day and best wishes for a wonderful semester for the arts, sciences, and social sciences alike!

Resources about Benedict: