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CODE4LIB  December 2017

CODE4LIB December 2017

Subject:

University of Oklahoma Libraries announces release of open source, markdown converter to make open content more widely shareable.

From:

Carl Grant <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 4 Dec 2017 13:24:43 -0600

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text/plain

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text/plain (31 lines)

Apologies for cross posting!

University of Oklahoma Libraries announces release of open source, markdown converter to make open content more widely shareable.

The University of Oklahoma Libraries announces the release of an open-source Markdown Converter designed to help make open content, including open educational resources (OER), shareable to the fullest extent possible. By using the Markdown Converter, well-structured documents can be converted into PDF, HTML, EPUB, and DOCX file formats with an easy-to-use web interface instead of the command line.
 
Markdown is a markup language that simplifies authoring for the web. Its syntax is both easy-to-read and easy-to-write using tools that come installed on all computers.

Publishing OER in Markdown allows for easy editing, and then using the Markdown Converter to provide OER in multiple formats enables students to access OER content more readily. The Markdown Converter, developed by OU Libraries emerging technologies librarian Cody Taylor, is based on Pandoc but provides access through a graphical interface.
 
“OU Libraries wanted to improve the ways in which open education content creators can make content available for revision and to be remixed”, says Taylor. “Users upload a Markdown file to the site, select their desired output format, and apply a style sheet all with the click of a button instead of through the command line. Converted files are downloaded in the browser.”
 
Cable Green, director of open education for Creative Commons (CC) says, “the open education community has created and openly licensed content that can be reused, modified and redistributed by anyone for 15 years, but we’re not always thoughtful about sharing in open, editable file formats. When we share OER as PDF, for example, downstream users can’t easily edit the document. Using Markdown and the Markdown Converter helps open educators get their openly-licensed content into a common, standard, editable format so it can be easily revised and remixed by them and others. I look forward to watching and learning how OER creators and remixers use the Markdown Converter.”
 
The Markdown Converter is available for anyone to use on the OU Libraries website at https://tools.libraries.ou.edu/markdown <https://tools.libraries.ou.edu/markdown>. The source code, openly licensed under an open source software license, for the converter can be obtained via GitHub <https://github.com/OULibraries/Pandoc-Web-Interface>. The Markdown Converter <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJCfXiLYUWE&t=2s> can be viewed ‘in action’ performing an upload and conversion proces.
 
“We are so proud of Cody and his work to make OER more widely available,” says Jen Waller, OU Libraries open educational resources and scholarly communication coordinator. “I know Cody’s experience, expertise, and passion for truly open content is making a difference, and we think the Markdown Converter meets a real need for people creating and revising OER.”
 
The Markdown Converter is a product of OU Libraries’ Open Education Initiative which strives to reduce the cost of attendance for OU students. Currently in its fourth year, the Open Education Initiative will save OU students $1.9M in textbook costs through spring 2018 by encouraging and assisting faculty in the use of OER, relieving students of the burdensome cost of textbooks and providing instructors the ability to tailor materials to specific courses. OU faculty may apply for one of next year’s Alternative Textbook Grants beginning January 2018.




Carl Grant
Associate Dean, Knowledge Services & Chief Technology Officer
University of Oklahoma Libraries
E: [log in to unmask]
M: +1.540.449.2418
O: +1.405.325.2611
Twitter:  carl_grant
LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Flickr, Facebook

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