FRAME II awarded $1,175,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

“Federated Repositories of Accessible Materials for Higher Education II” awarded a $1,175,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

By law, any material required for the education of a disabled student must be made accessible for them in a timely manner. In the United States, the legal obligation to provide accessible learning materials falls on individual educational institutions, and universities and colleges across the country are scrambling to meet their responsibilities to students with special information-access needs. The staff of disability services offices (DSOs) spend a great deal of time and effort remediating printed texts, transforming them into a variety of electronic formats to improve access for students with print disabilities. Because many of the same texts are commonly assigned at multiple institutions, the result is a wasteful duplication of effort as the DSO staff at each independent university must start the remediation work over again.

For the last two years, the University of Virginia Library has led a multi-institutional project to address this problem. With a two-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, University Librarian John Unsworth initiated an effort to create a web-based infrastructure allowing DSOs to share remediated texts, in order to reduce their nationwide duplication of effort, and thereby make it possible for the staff in these offices to achieve better outcomes for students in higher education.

That collective effort, known as “FRAME,” will now continue for another two years and expand to include new partners, thanks to a grant of $1,175,000 from The Mellon Foundation for a second phase dubbed “Federated Repositories of Accessible Materials for Higher Education II.” Representatives of the DSO and library staff at Ohio State University will join their counterparts from George Mason University, Northern Arizona University, Texas A&M University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Wisconsin, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Virginia, along with a development and project management team based at the UVA Library. Much of the group’s work will concentrate on expanding and improving EMMA (Educational Materials Made Accessible), a membership-based secure repository for remediated texts, and developing workflows wherein librarians and DSO staff will cooperate in uploading texts to the repository.

“For too long, most academic libraries have left accessibility to their colleagues in disability services, even though it is all about providing information resources for teaching and research. The FRAME project seeks to establish a partnership between libraries and disability service offices, to ensure that remediated content is preserved, organized, and made discoverable for re-use, reducing the duplication of staff effort in order to improve service to students (and faculty) with disabilities,” states Unsworth, who is continuing his role as principal investigator from the first FRAME grant.

Also continuing to support the project will be three major digital repositories: Bookshare, HathiTrust, and the Internet Archive. Through a federated search interface, these repositories provide EMMA users with texts that have already been remediated for users with print disabilities or that are machine-readable and suitable for further remediation by DSO staff — a big advantage over having to scan a printed book. Benetech, the parent company of Bookshare, supplied much of the search infrastructure for EMMA in the first phase of the FRAME project and has committed in the second phase to sharing certain cutting-edge technologies to automate parts of the labor-intensive remediation process. In the second year of FRAME II, an additional repository will join the collaboration: the Accessible Content e-Portal sponsored by the Ontario Council of University Libraries.

Another important element of the project is the cooperation of the university presses affiliated with six of the participating universities: George Mason, Illinois, Ohio State, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and Wisconsin. As publishers of texts that might be used in higher education, the presses have all committed to contributing machine-readable versions of their publications to EMMA or one of its federated repositories.

John Unsworth is joined by FRAME II co-principal investigator J. Stephen Downie, Associate Dean for Research at the University of Illinois School of Information Sciences. Professor Downie will lead a new educational initiative, developing curricular materials for professional education in library schools. The materials created by Downie and a team of expert collaborators will train library and information professionals in the information needs of students, faculty, and other library users with disabilities. Professor Downie states, “It is truly inspiring to be working with all the project partners at Illinois, Virginia and beyond to realize the promise of the FRAME II vision.”

Read more about the project’s beginnings in 2019 and Mason’s involvement.

Best Practices in Online Teaching and Learning

George Mason University Press has partnered with Project MUSE – a leading provider of digital humanities and social sciences content – to make one of our recent titles, Best Practices in Online Teaching and Learning Across Academic Disciplines, available as a free resource during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read more about Project MUSE’s efforts here, and you can download the book here.

Published in 2017, Best Practices in Online Teaching and Learning across Academic Disciplines provides insights from experienced university teachers and scholars across multiple disciplines—including social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, mathematics, and professional programs such as nursing, education, and business administration—who share innovative practices, pedagogies, and instructional design techniques for online teaching and learning.

About the Press: The George Mason University Press supports the academic mission of George Mason University by publishing peer-reviewed, scholarly works of distinction, written by authors from a wide range of intellectual perspectives, for a diverse, worldwide readership.

The Libraries at Mason – Spring Issue

Our annual issue of The Libraries at Mason magazine is now available. Special features include our Oral History Program and partnership with the Mason Osher Lifelong Learning Institute; faculty research endeavours; and our inaugural Artist-in-Residence program. We hope you enjoy this issue!

New release from GMU Press

The George Mason University Press has released The Unlikely Reformer: Carter Glass and Financial Regulation by Matthew P. Fink.

Recently described as “the single most important lawmaker in the history of American finance,” Carter Glass nonetheless remains a much misunderstood and overlooked figure in that history. Glass is most widely remembered as the sponsor (with Henry Steagall) of the Glass-Steagall provisions of the U.S.A. Banking Act of 1933, which legally separated commercial and investment banking. But the Banking Act was the culminating achievement of a monumental career as a congressman, secretary of the Treasury, and senator—a career marked by ferocity and paradox.

Glass was a small-government conservative and vocal racist who was, however, also responsible for some of the most important progressive pieces of financial legislation in U.S. history, including the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, which created mechanisms for addressing financial panics and managing the nation’s currency, and provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which created the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the model New Deal agency. In The Unlikely Reformer, Matthew Fink explains how these apparent contradictions emerged together at a pivotal moment in the modern American era. As the first new study dedicated to Carter Glass published in over seventy-five years, it updates our perspective on the welter of assumptions, beliefs, and motivations underpinning a regulatory project that continues to be topical in the tumultuous contemporary moment.

About the Author: Matthew P. Fink is the author of The Rise of Mutual Funds: An Insider’s View. He is Director of the Retirement Income Industry Association and former President of the Investment Company Institute.

About GMU Press: The George Mason University Press supports the academic mission of George Mason University by publishing peer-reviewed, scholarly works of distinction, written by authors from a wide range of intellectual perspectives, for a diverse, worldwide readership. GMU Press publishes in a variety of disciplines with special focus on the history, politics, and culture of Northern Virginia and the wider District of Columbia metropolitan area, as well as other topics such as public policy, international affairs, and higher education.

GMU Press Book Launch: George Washington and Native Americans

Join us for a panel discussion in celebration of the recent publication of George Washington and Native Americans, the latest from the George Mason University Press, on Thursday, April 4, at 3 p.m. in Fenwick 2001.

Richard Harless (author, George Washington and Native Americans), George Oberle (History Librarian, University Libraries and Affiliate Faculty, History and Art History, George Mason University), and Randolph Scully (Associate Professor, History and Art History, George Mason University) will discuss the complexities of this topic in American history and will include time for Q&A with the audience. Books will be available for purchase, and refreshments will be provided (courtesy of the University Bookstore).

About the book: George Washington had contact with Native Americans throughout most of his life. His first encounter as a teenager left him with the impression that they were nothing more than an “ignorant people.” As a young man he fought both alongside and against Native Americans during the French and Indian War and gained a grudging respect for their fighting abilities. During the American Revolution, Washington made it clear that he welcomed Indian allies as friends but would do his utmost to crush Indian enemies. As president, he sought to implement a program to “civilize” Native Americans by teaching them methods of agriculture and providing the implements of husbandry that would enable them to become proficient farmers—the only way, he believed, Native Americans would survive in a white-dominated society. Yet he discovered that his government could not protect Indian lands as guaranteed in countless treaties, and the hunger for Indian land by white settlers was so rapacious that it could not be controlled by an inadequate federal military establishment. While Washington appeared to admit the failure of the program, this book—a unique and necessary exploration of Washington’s experience with and thoughts on Native Americans—contends he deserves credit for his continued efforts to implement a policy based on the just treatment of America’s indigenous peoples.

About the author: Richard Harless has a Ph.D. in American History from George Mason University. He is a retired public school teacher, counselor, and coach. He worked as a research assistant at Mason’s Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and was a fellow at the Fred W. Smith Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon. He is currently teaching at various colleges including Saint Mary’s Honor College in Maryland. George Washington and Native Americans is his first book.

About GMU Press: The George Mason University Press supports the academic mission of George Mason University by publishing peer-reviewed, scholarly works of distinction, written by authors from a wide range of intellectual perspectives, for a diverse, worldwide readership. GMU Press publishes in a variety of disciplines with special focus on the history, politics, and culture of Northern Virginia and the wider District of Columbia metropolitan area, as well as other topics such as public policy, international affairs, and higher education.