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Chemistry LibreTexts

6.4: Contributing Existing Content (FAQ)

  • Page ID
    191180
  • Is LibreTexts currently accepting proposals for new textbooks?

    Yes. The LibreTexts is a community based project and always will accept new (quality) content.

    Is there a cost to the author or organization to host a book on LibreTexts?

    No.

    Is there a process for authors to upload and maintain their material on the site?

    Yes. All contributed content is stored in a wiki-based architecture which is the ideal technology for community-based construction and community-based curation.

    The best practice to follow for integrating content depends strongly on the format of the content (e.g., handwritten notes, PDF, word doc, Google doc, latex etc). The LibreTexts development team will facility this process if the author(s) decides to personally contribute content and if the authors desire, the LibreTexts Development team will integrate the text direct into our platform if requested.

    Curation is a simpler process and involves directly editing content on our platform via a GUI (graphical user interface) or direct editing of the underlying HTML code; most people chose the former option. Since the LibreTexts is the most visited OER platform on the internet today with over 80 million pageviews per year, we receive requests and concerns from faculty and students about content that we share with contributing authors to address. This feedback mechanism is an important tool in ensuring constant curation of contributed content.

    How do authors get attribution for contributing content?

    Each page of each book that is hosted on our platform can have an author bar added that includes author name (with a link to their individual webpage), their position and institution (with a link to their campus/dept. website) and if publishing source (if desired). Also, includes is a small avatar pic of the author. This template can be modified to address multiple authors. For example, Timon Idema's author bar below:

    clipboard_e3c65fdb8e55edcff4831417aeed350f2.png

    We also add author names to the textbook URL and textbook title

    clipboard_ef6fb9fb9af19f16e41cad5edd714e6e8.png

    and if the content is remixable (i.e., does not have a No-Derivative clause), the we add a section at the bottom call "Contributors" to carry over in remixes.

    How do authors get credit for contributing content?

    Other than the "infinity glory and fame" associated with contributing content via the attribution aspects discussed above, the LibreTexts will track student activity on contributed content including how many student visit constituent pages, when student visited these pages, where the students are located and how long the students were reading these pages. This information can be used for both contributing authors' Merit and Promotions packets for demonstrating teaching impact. Moreover, if the contributed book were generated via a grant support, then this information can be used as a metric for deliverable (e.g. in grant reports or proposals like Broader Impacts in NSF proposals).

    Remixing Control

    There are many advantages to allowing for a dynamic on-line version of the book which can be updated by experts in the field. We understand that LibreTexts will provide the ability to reuse content from several books. How will LibreTexts handle author attribution for remixed books?

    When authors remix existing content and do not change/customize that content, the page effectively gets copied over with authors preserved (i.e., an authorbar set to you with a meta-tag and we will add your name to the "Contributors" section at the bottom of each page. If someone edits the page (e.g., removes content that they do not care for) and adds something, then they can add their name to the contributor section. Your name in all those places will be preserved indefinitely.

    Version Control

    You are asking about revision control, which is an interesting topic. We are still working on the best workflow, but we intend to keep track of the original source page (or page #ID) so that we can compare the edits on each page. We have the capabilities of doing that with native tools on our platform, but we will set up a Gitlab instance that will bring arguably the best version control software into our platform and allow authors (both those that wrote the original content and those faculty that build remixes from the source material) to cherry pick changes they may or may not want to implement/share among the forked pages. I think this is really cool and I hope to have it operating natively on our platform by the end of this year.

    Curating the Content

    Unfortunately, zealots can hijack the website to promote their own propaganda or theories of the universe. I was told that the LibreTexts website will be curated to help maintain the quality and accuracy. Is this correct, and who will curate the LibreText website? Will it involve the original author?

    Yes, no, and maybe. The content in the Bookshelves we take the responsibility to curate. We try not to curate remixes in individual faculty course shells since that can cause trouble. While we have faculty on our curation team to do this work, we gladly accept help from the original authors if they want to stay in the picture. If this is the case, when issues arise (e.g., feedback is given) we will consult with those authors (unless the issue is minor editing/typesetting that we can handle instantly).

    Can the LibreTexts support streaming media, i.e. videos? If so, is there any kind of bandwidth limitations?

    We currently do not stream from our servers. We can embed images via secondary servers like YouTube and can store the whole video (e.g., as MP4). We have had discussions of moving into streaming to avoid several issues with YouTube (e.g., ads).

    Long-term Viability

    Major books in Classical mechanics, such as Goldstein’s book, published in 1950, remain available in libraries and from book publishers, providing valuable long-term access. Such long-term availability of textbooks is important in science. LibreTexts is based on the proprietary closed platform maintained by Mindtouch. If that company goes out of business, will LibreTexts have the resources to migrate to an open platform to provide a viable long-term repository?

    A complete discussion of our sustainability model takes time. The upshot is that we have a consortium called the LibreNet where institutions provide subscriptions fees that will keep us afloat. This is based on scale, so the cost per campus is low depending on campus size, scope and affluence. Yes. We would switch to a different wiki technology. It will be painful, but in this situation we would have to do it. We have contingency plans in case a catastrophic event like this occurs, but it changes as alternative technology develops.

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